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Lasombra Files Episode 7: From Greek with Love

on 26 November 2012

Welcome to the Lasombra Files, PSU’s weekly hit program. Follow the story of Lasombra and V as they try to stay alive in Shadow City, unraveling its secrets, while at the same time shining the spotlight on Trophy hunters around the world and in our community.

V has a way at making people talk, and sometimes I wish she didn't as the hitman spills his guts like we are his therapists. I'm all for a good cry, and getting juicy information, but we've been here in a Peruvian airport for 8 hours. It's dark, coyotes are howling, and I'm hungry for food, not information. V is threatening to snap bones if he doesn't shut up now as the police take him away. It is dark as we drive through the streets of Lima, tired, pumped through of adrenaline, and wondering why the Greek mafia wants to assassinate us. I never even knew there was such a thing, and personally I feel insulted in Episode 7: From Greek with Love. No Yakuza, no Mafiaso, not even the Russians. Hell, Liam Neeson got to fight off the Albanians, but no, not us, we get the Greeks. Where is the Dragon of Dojima when you need him?

Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee with the exception of spelling and some grammar corrections. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner.

Name: My real name is Jim, although pretty much everyone calls me Winston.
Age: 15
Gender: Male
Occupation: Currently in high school, I aim for the navy, however time will tell.
Country: I am proud to be Greek.

Lasombra: When did you start gaming?

Winston: First of all, my older brother got me into gaming. I started gaming with a Game Boy Pocket which he had. I used to play Super Mario and Pokemon which were great at that time. That must have been around the age of 5. I moved on to the PSX quite soon after that. My parents got me a PS2 for my birthday in 2004. That was it. I have been hooked ever since that day. I got a PSP and a PS3 in 2009. As you can see I'm a huge Sony fan but a PC gamer as well.

Lasombra: How did you choose your PSN name?

Winston: Oh man I don't even want to remember that haha! I wanted to play PES online and it was the first thing that dawned on me ("dimitris" is my Greek name and "n" is the first letter of my last name.) I had never imagined such a large community! I would have chosen "w1n5t0n" instead. I would be glad to change it!

Lasombra: What motivated you to become a Trophy hunter? What was your initial spark?

Winston: My first games were MotorStorm (which was free) and GTA IV (which was the reason I got my PS3). Some Trophies popped randomly and I went back to the Trophy collection section to see what was going on. I got a few Trophies to see if I could handle it and I pretty much thought I would like collecting Trophies. When I registered for a Trophy site I was highly motivated to get even more Trophies. When the magical moment of my 1st plat came, I started collecting Trophies for real.

Lasombra: Are you a Trophy hunter, platinum hunter, or a specific hunter? (Example: All GoW game hunter)

Winston: I would call myself a Trophy hunter. That is due to the fact I only try and platinum the games I really like. There are some kiddie games in my collection but I'm not ashamed of them, I have in fact enjoyed all of them. I am not in any way a completionist or a platinum hunter; I just play whatever I like.

Lasombra: How many hours do you dedicate to Trophy hunting?

Winston: It's not Trophy hunting man. It's gaming! While on vacation, I can dedicate as much as 6 hours a day. But when not on vacation I can play about 4 hours a week. It all depends on the stuff I have to do every day.

Lasombra: What motivates you to go for that next Trophy? How do you stay motivated after a long gaming session, particularly with grinding Trophies?

Winston: It has to do with the Trophy percentage. If it is over 70% I will give it a go. But again it all depends on whether I like the game or not. Grinding Trophies are the easiest for me! I mean if you have to collect x things, it is nothing you can't do!

Lasombra: Have you ever gone through any burnout from your sessions?

Winston: To a great extent. I had stopped gaming for 2 months but then I got over it. I have never had any rage quits, nor have broken any controller. But I just thought I couldn't handle gaming anymore. Fortunately, I'm more than happy to continue gaming 10 years after my first session.

Lasombra: What is your proudest platinum? Why? Was it your hardest?

Winston: My proudest platinum is my hardest as well. It's Pro Evolution Soccer 2010. It must have taken around 150 hours. I had no idea I would spend so many hours on a soccer game! I really loved playing it and I am proud to have this gem in my collection, although there are hundreds of more difficult platinums!

Lasombra: Do you have a Trophy goal for the year? If so, how far are you along in it?

Winston: I aim to hit level 15 by the end of the year and I'm nearing the end of 13. I would also love to hit 20 platinums but it seems kind of hard! However, my most important goal is to have fun while gaming and that's never going to change. (Interviewer’s Note: Numbers are from the time of the interview)

Lasombra: Do you believe gamers should be allowed to make Trophy hunting teams? Why or why not?

Winston: No, just no. Gamers should be totally on their own when it comes to Trophy hunting. They are free to form clans or other teams but Trophies are something like "personal achievements" and I would prefer it to remain that way. It wouldn’t be fair to compare a single Trophy hunter with a Trophy hunting team formed by 5 people, would it?

Lasombra: Do you think Sony should create a world database with every user’s PSN trophy info for all to see? Why or why not?

Winston: That would be really awesome. Maybe there were more statistics for every single country and gamers with common games and platinums. I would really love to see that happen!

Lasombra: What tips do you have for someone trying to reach the next level and going after a difficult platinum?

Winston: I suck at motivating people to do things but anyway, my only advice is to really keep going! If they try hard enough they will succeed. A Trophy exists, which means it is possible. Never forget that platinums are a reward for having extreme fun.

Lasombra: Regardless of the system, what pre-Trophy game would you auto-buy if it was released on the PS3 with Trophy support?

Winston: I cannot decide between two games, Need For Speed Most Wanted and GTA San Andreas! I have spent countless hours on both of them. These would totally be a no-brainer for me. Add HD and Trophy Support and you got my money for sure!

Lasombra: Being from Greece how is the gaming scene there? Are there a lot of dedicated gaming stores? Also, how expensive are games there in the current European financial crisis.

Winston: The gaming scene is a bit poor in Greece. Gaming is somehow considered a waste of time, but still boys start gaming from an early age, stopping it by the time they reach high school. There are no completely game-dedicated stores, but there are some video clubs and computer stores which also sell videogames for a price few people can afford. The games are really expensive, for instance, every new release I’m 90% sure that will cost anywhere from 60-70 Euros. Trust me that is a lot of money if you are a gamer. I personally buy my games online because there's a huge price drop and also there are deals and offers available.

Lasombra: Are the games released in Greece translated, either dubbed or subbed, or are they all in English. Is English a common language in Greece?

Winston: Nope, games are all in English. Some games were subbed in Greek but trust me, they sucked. I couldn't help but laugh with the quality of translation. However, English is the most common foreign language here. Almost every kid here has a mere knowledge of English, while others are very good at it.

Lasombra: You mentioned you want to join the Navy. Because of that dream to join the military do you find yourself wanting to play games like Call of Duty, or do you stay away from them?

Winston: No, I stay away from them. I don't think the Navy has anything to do with such games, it’s just the fact I never liked them! I have in fact played Medal of Honor, Killzone, and CoD, but none could impress me.

Lasombra: In North America the hardcore gamer is stigmatized as a social outcast. What is the view of gamers in Greece? Does gaming in Greece have the same problems as gaming in North America?

Winston: It all depends on the person I think. As far as I know, gamers are usually nice people who tend to hang out with other people. Now if you don't even know what's happening outside your front door, then yeah, you will be stigmatized. But if you are a gamer who goes to game events (a rare occurrence here, lol) uploads videos on YouTube, and generally a nice guy to know, then you will be the life and soul of the party.

Lasombra: I have not been to your country before, and I do not know its laws. Australia and Germany have censorship laws that make gaming harder than it should be compared to North America, the UK, and Japan. Do you have laws like that in Greece?

Winston: Hey bro, it's one of the most beautiful countries around the world! Pay us a visit sometime! Now to return to the topic, Greece doesn't have any censorship laws. I've heard about the laws in Germany and Australia and they are just sad. I feel sorry for the gamers there!

Lasombra: All over the Trophy site you go to, you have more banners for John Marston than at Rockstar games. Do you really love Red Dead Redemption or just the character?

Winston: Hahaha that could be true. Red Dead Redemption is one of my favourite PS3 games! I never liked any western movie or game but RDR was just epic. Well since John Marston is the main character I'd say he is my favourite in the game.

Lasombra: Are you a big fan of western movies from your love of Red Dead Redemption, or is it just the game that gets your attention?

Winston: Nope, as I said before only Red Dead Redemption has caught my attention! It could be because I haven't been deeply involved in western stuff, such as watching western movies. Either way, RDR is the way to go.

Lasombra: 'The Duke' John Wayne vs. John Marston, who wins the duel using pistols, shotguns, and rifles.

Winston: I would say The Duke. In many duels Marston is kind of not that fast to react, although the Duke wouldn't let anyone beat him in a duel!

The night settles into a rhythm as we are supposed to meet our contact at a club on the outskirts of the city. Whatever the Boss had in mind for us I can only assume I would rather fight the Greek mafia. As we enter the back alley,  a grungy looking club with lots of motorcycles, I remain confident we can handle ourselves. Opening the door and hearing the loud music blasting my ear drums, I immediately grab V’s hand as we enter, making sure none of the very butch men wearing way too much leather get the wrong idea. “You know, I really hate the boss” I tell her. “I’m going to burn his DVD collection” in Episode 8: Double Date. “Seriously, I’m Mahoney not Blanks. He should have me running behind the Van on a dirt road, or push-ups in the rain, not send me to a gay leather bar. I know the aggressive attitude and Soviet outfit are confusing, but he does know you’re a...a...very beautiful woman, with the grace of an angel and...it’s not working is it? Fine, I’ll buy you those heels you were eyeing at the boutique.” Some days I don’t know what is worse, a boss who finds the need to send me to report from Peruvian leather bars, or a girlfriend who could snap me in two Onatopp style.