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.
The music blares in the bar as we find the table and sit with who the boss sent us out here to meet. “Uh, hi, uh, so, Siamese eh?” That is a new twist as we never interviewed a set of Siamese twins, let alone a male/female set. Awkward was an understatement, like the three-breasted bar hooker in Total Recall, except creepier. V jabs me in the side of the ribs with her elbow and gives me a look, forcing me to only shrug as I have no clue why the Boss would send us to see a set of Siamese twins in Peru. “So, uh, like South Park much?” was all I could blurt out before a loud bang breaks the tension in Episode 8: Double Date. “Oh great, the Greek Mafia. Just in time to save me from the most pitiful interview in my career.” I say in relief. V leans over and whispers something in my ear. “Okay, not as pitiful as episode 15. Poor, poor Richard. You know some days I can still smell his burnt corpse but then I remember it’s actually the toast I was making for breakfast.”
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: Lucy & Brian (bnecker717)
Age: 29 & 27
Gender: Female & Male
Occupation: Self-Employed (Coin Dealers)
Lasombra: When did you start gaming?
BNecker: I first started gaming when I was around 6 or 7 years old on the NES. I had some fun times with my neighbours playing games like Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Dr. Mario, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and others. As I got older I got less interested in gaming and it wasn't until my husband and I got together that I started gaming again. We've had an Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, 2 PS3's and PS Vita throughout our 8 years together. Out of all of those we found the PS3 & Vita to be the most addicting.
Lasombra: How did you choose your PSN name?
BNecker: When we first got our PS3 we thought that my husband would be the one primarily playing it as he was more of a gamer than I was. So, my husband created the PSN, bnecker717, which is a combination of his first initial and last name plus his birth date. Even though it turned out that we both equally game, it doesn't really matter to me that it's under his name.
We eventually got a second PS3 and a second PSN that we alternate with and I chose the name for that one: Brucy420. That name is a combination of our names and the number represents one of our favorite hobbies.
Lasombra: What motivated you to become a trophy hunter? What was your initial spark?
BNecker: I'm not sure what first motivated us to start hunting trophies, but I do remember seeing trophies pop up and hearing that unforgettable "bing!" when we first started playing Dead Space. It probably wasn't until we got into Tekken 6 that we really started to unlock trophies on purpose. Eventually we got very addicted to trophies and were regularly buying new games (retail and on the PSN). We've slowed down recently in terms of buying new games and have been focusing more on playing games that we enjoy and/or are challenging to complete.
Lasombra: Are you a trophy hunter, platinum hunter, or a specific hunter? (Example: All GoW game hunter)
BNecker: I would say a little of each. We will usually only take the time to platinum a game if it is something we really enjoy (unless it's for a trophy competition). Eventually I plan to have all of the LittleBigPlanet games (1, 2, Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves, Vita and Karting) at 100% because those are games that I really love. Some day we will probably also have all of the Call of Duty games platinumed since we already have 3 of them. Otherwise, we both enjoy getting trophies in whatever is out that we like even if it doesn't have a platinum.
Lasombra: How many hours do you dedicate to trophy hunting?
BNecker: I have no idea, but it's definitely a lot. It might be around 70 hours a week or more. I guess that's the perk to working from home! That number will probably change soon though once we get busier.
Lasombra: What motivates you to go for that next trophy? How do you stay motivated after a long gaming session, particularly with grinding trophies?
BNecker: Seeing a platinum trophy or the percentage at 100% motivates each of us. I don't think it's hard to stay motivated if I'm playing something I enjoy. Certain trophies can be tiring or frustrating though and when that happens I will either switch to another game or take a break and do something else. If I come back to something with a clear mind I feel like I can concentrate a lot better and get past something I was stuck in.
Lasombra: Have you ever gone through any burnout from your sessions?
BNecker: Yes, many times! We've both gotten burnt out from chasing after trophies, going after platinums and working on challenging games. Whenever that happens we'll just switch it up and play something else (usually something for fun that we can't get anymore trophies in) or take a break and do something in the "real" world.
Lasombra: What is your proudest platinum? Why? Was it your hardest?
BNecker: My personal proudest platinum(s) would have to be LBP 1 & 2. Those two games took me over a year to platinum, but that was mostly because I held off on them because I was scared that if I platinumed them I wouldn't want to play them anymore. It turns out though that I was wrong and they are even more fun to play now that I have them both at 100%. The reason they are my proudest is because they are really fun to play and also challenging.
My husband's proudest platinum would probably have to be Spelunker HD as it is a really challenging but fun game. When we first bought it, it was really difficult for him (the trophy guide does not lie when it says "You will die. A lot."), but now he has the platinum and is working on the even harder dlc! I'm amazed at some of the trophies he's gotten as I know they would be almost impossible for me.
Lasombra: Do you have a trophy goal for the year? If so, how far are you along in it?
BNecker: We don't really set goals, but we are looking forward to getting to 4000 trophies soon and 40 platinums. Other than that, the only thing I really have planned is making trophy #4200 the Every Herb Bearing Seed trophy from L.A. Noire because of the trophy icon.
Lasombra: Do you believe gamers should be allowed to make trophy hunting teams? Why or why not?
BNecker: Sure, I don't see why not. Gaming is meant to be a fun hobby and if someone finds it more fun to play on a team then they do by themselves then I say more power to them! Plus, if you're in a relationship I think it's a lot of fun to game together and may even bring you closer together as a couple.
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?
BNecker: Yes, I think that would be awesome. There are already some great leaderboards out there, but they aren't complete and don't show every single gamer on the PSN. It would be cool to know exactly how many gamers there are out there and how you stack up against them. I think some friendly competition is an important ingredient in gaming and something Sony should consider.
Lasombra: What tips do you have for someone trying to reach the next level and going after a difficult platinum?
BNecker: Gaming is meant to be fun. Go after games that you enjoy playing. If you find yourself stuck on something or wanting to break something, take a break (not literally!) and go back to it when you're calm. Anger can cloud your judgement and make something that is difficult even harder for you. If you give yourself time to cool down it will help you to think more clearly when you go back to that game. A lot of times I will have breakthroughs when I go back to a game I was having trouble with.
Lasombra: Regardless of the system, what pre-trophy game would you auto-buy if it was released on the PS3 with trophy support?
BNecker: We would both immediately re-buy The Orange Box because of Portal and Half-Life 2. Tekken 5 would be another must-buy. I also wouldn't mind having Nintendo classics like Super Mario Bros on the PS3!
Lasombra: Being a gaming couple what's it like having to fight over who gets to game first?
BNecker: lol We don't have to worry about that problem anymore since we have 2 PS3's. However, when we only had 1 PS3 we used to take turns. I'm so glad we don't have to do that anymore because it can get boring to watch someone else play a game after a while when you want to play too. Now we can both play whatever we want without having to wait for our turn, which is nice!
Lasombra: As a female gamer have you experienced any kind of sexism or stigma from other people, gamers and non-gamers alike.
BNecker: Most of the people I've come across are very nice and think it's cool that I like to game. There have been times though when I've been hit on for being a female. Because of this I don't really like to wear a mic anymore because I don't feel like dealing with it when I am happily married and just want to enjoy a game. I've also had people from a few different games ask me to send them my picture. I don't understand why some guys act like this, but can get really annoying.
On the opposite extreme a lot of guys will automatically assume that I'm a guy and call me "Bro, Dude, Man, etc." and a lot of times I won't correct them because I'm afraid that I'll end up getting hit on. It's not really a big deal if they assume I'm a guy, but I don't like it when friends that know I'm a female call me those things. If you're struggling for a term to call me then just go ahead and call me "Buddy, Amigo, Mate, Friend, etc."
Lasombra: Is there a friendly rivalry between the two of you to see who gets more trophies in a set amount of time?
BNecker: Yes, sometimes. We go through phases where we like to trophy hunt and other times we'll just play games for fun. When we are both in the trophy hunting phase it is fun to keep track of how many trophies we've each earned so we can have a little friendly competition. Sometimes when we get trophies we will turn up the volume so the other person can hear the "bing" of the trophy popping.
Lasombra: Technically you two are a 'team', but being a couple adds another shade of grey to the team debate. Having participated in trophy competitions in the past do you feel it is unethical that you have an edge when, for example, the teams are supposed to be 3 individuals and not 2 individuals and a pair?
BNecker: I didn't really think about that before, but that is a good point. We've only competed in one trophy competition so far and I would have felt guilty about that one except for the fact that 2 of the 4 people on our team barely got any trophies. We're currently in our second trophy competition and as far as I know there isn't any problem with us being on the team. I think that some people are okay with it since we are a couple and there are other couples on the site that share an account as well.
Lasombra: As a cannabis connoisseur, have you ever played a game for an extended amount of time while high or was there a game you played which made you light up because it was that terrible?
BNecker: Yes, always! I personally think games are more enjoyable while high. Sometimes it helps me to focus more like in puzzle games. Other times it will help me stay calm while playing FPS, fighting or racing games. I can't think of any game that was so terrible that I had to light up, but I'm sure there have been a few. A lot of times if I don't enjoy a game though, I'll just move on to something else.
Lasombra: If you decided to celebrate your wedding anniversary by going to a gaming convention would it be E3 or TGS. All expenses paid, no hassles, 100% free.
BNecker: I don't know a lot about TGS so I would have to say E3. I've only followed the past two E3 conventions as we're pretty new to gaming (on the PS3). It was a lot of fun to watch videos of E3 and see what cool games they would show off. I would love to go to one of these someday. That's a great idea for an anniversary! I'll have to remember that.
Lasombra: Where do you buy your games, and is there a big gaming culture in your area of the US?
BNecker: We usually buy our games at Gamestop since it's so convenient and close. We also rent games from Gamefly, which saves a lot of money when we're unsure of whether we'll like a game or not. I think that gaming is pretty big here. I don't personally know any gamers in this area, but when we go shopping for games the stores are usually busy. Also, while looking on the Near application on the Vita a lot of people show up in our area so I'd say a lot of people are into games in North Carolina.
The group of gunmen surround the four, er, three of us, guns aimed at our faces like they are afraid we’ll come back from the dead as this decade seems to have zombified everything from games to toothpaste. One of the gunman asks where the documents are. I shake my head not knowing what documents he was talking about. He presses the barrel of the magnum against my skull, pulling back the hammer. The click almost makes me defecate my pants but no one is scarier than the Boss, or V when she doesn’t shave her legs in Episode 9: Trail Blazing. “So, if you told me what these documents were maybe I could help you and let me keep my brain inside my skull or at least shoot me in the heart. Glasses equals vampire. I think you got your mystical creature killing facts mixed up.” The sudden pain washing over me from having my skull cracked by the butt of his gun might have taught a lesser man from quitting with the sly remarks but if V couldn’t beat it out of me, no one could, and she breaks bones as a hobby.
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