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.
We arrive at the school to see an assortment of press reserved for a federal election or a red carpet gala. Instantly we catch the attention of the normal press as our clothing style is a stark contrast to their prim and proper attire. The entire shoot takes a couple hours, not counting the cops almost getting called due to V and some other camerawoman getting into a cat fight. Seriously people, if you want abs just go to a gym. It is not that hard in episode 15: Beyond the Veil. A man dressed in a fancy suit and overcoat walks up to us asking for the camera’s USB memory stick, saying the Boss sent him. I don’t know who the Keanu Reeves wannabe is but considering what we have been through I half expected him to try and kamayamaya us into a different dimension.
Occupation: Majoring in Physics. I specifically have my eye on working in the astrophysics field.
Country: United States
Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner.
Lasombra: How long have you been gaming?
Rapture: I've been gaming since I could pick up a controller. Some of my first memories were playing an assortment of random games on the SNES, games ranging from some run-and-slash ninja game to Super Mario 3. What really sealed the deal for me was when I got a Nintendo 64 when I was 5 years old. GoldenEye and Banjo Kazooie consumed a large chunk of my younger childhood.
Lasombra: How did you find PSU?
Rapture: I originally found PSU when looking up information on LittleBigPlanet, if I remember correctly. Something many members don't know is that when I joined my intentions were mostly to troll people. Fun times, but it didn't last long. I came back under an alt account shortly after and no one noticed it was me, probably due to me behaving this time.
Lasombra: Are you solely a Sony gamer this generation or do you split your time between multiple systems?
Rapture: I've very much been split from the start of this generation. I owned an Xbox 360 originally, and on a random whim my grandmother bought me a PS3. At the time I cared little for the system and what it offered, but I admit it grew on me. I started renting games and I fell in love with Uncharted.
Lasombra: What do you like about the community at PSU that keeps bringing you back for more?
Rapture: I hate to admit it but I mostly come here to fill in empty time I may have. It's not necessarily the forum's fault; this generation is really starting to get old and boring. Discussion and activity has stagnated a lot in my opinion. For years I've found myself disagreeing and arguing with many members, and there's only a few that I really like or care for. I sometimes take breaks that last a few months, but I've always returned. I think I'm mostly just waiting for the PS4 and Xbox 3 to be announced so things can be fun and alive again around here.
Lasombra: In your opinion, what needs to be done to help the community to grow bigger and better?
Rapture: That's difficult to say. I'm not person in social or technical management. I don't think there is much you can really do right now because again this generation has become rather uninteresting overall. This Forum is directly tied to the console of its name, and that console's high-time clearly reflects here on the forums.
Lasombra: Do you have any gaming goals for this year?
Rapture: Play less games. Between college, money, and my other developing activities I just have less and less time on my hands for this stuff. The past 2 years or so I've found myself really favoring small/indie games because they're easier and quicker to get into and enjoy, cheaper too. My general activity has been decreasing and it will be very low this year, I suspect.
I definitely want to play and beat Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and The Last of Us, though.
Lasombra: Are you a trophy hunter, and what do you think about trophies overall?
Rapture: I think it's a pain having to manually sync them. Not because it's manually done, but because it takes so long for it to sync fully. It's agonizing for me, with my terrible 3Mb/s connection. I haven't done it in forever because of this reason. As for the trophies themselves, they're OK. I'm not a big fan of achievements either, though I do like how Trophies have tiers dependent on their difficulty. Getting a platinum or even gold does feel good.
Lasombra: The PS2 dominated a console war like no other system. What tricks does Sony need to pull out of their hat to create the same magic with the PS4.
Rapture: They can't. The market won't allow for it. Even the mighty Wii, despite its success, couldn't pull the numbers the PS2 did. Sony simply isn't in that niche market to fully appease like the Wii did, either. I think the best they can do is focus on competing with Microsoft, and don't go with overly expensive hardware again. I recognize the benefits of Blu-Ray and what it did for the PS3, but its additional price really knocked Sony back in the long run. They should also try to release around the same time as the next Xbox.
Lasombra: Do you have a favourite era of gaming? The SNES/Genesis war? The reign of the Playstation Reich? Hail to the NES?
Rapture: Honestly I think last-gen was my favorite. I absolutely loved my Xbox and Gamecube, and I very much enjoyed some games on the PS2; Resident Evil 4, Morrowind (which is my favorite game), San Andreas, Halo 1 and 2, Republic Commando, Chaos theory, Windwaker, Pikmin, KoTOR 2, Battlefront 2, and Shadow of the Colossus. These are essentially some of my more favored games, and they all released during that generation. Plus I wasn't on the internet at that time, and it feels since then gaming has become almost a chore or job for me, instead of the fun hobby it once was.
Lasombra: Is there a lot of gaming culture in your area of the world? Unique stores, conventions, etc?
Rapture: I live out in the country, in the south of the United States. I don't think people even know what video games are.
Lasombra: Have you ever been burnt out from a gaming session?
Rapture: The first time I played Minecraft. I played it for about 40 hours straight, only getting up to use the bathroom and get water. I'm not joking. The second worst is probably when I played a huge round in Civilization 5. The game took 30 hours, and I completed it all over the course of a weekend. I felt sick and dizzy by the end of it, but I swore to not rest until I wiped the Earth of all opposing civilizations, especially those damn Mongols!
Lasombra: What had you interested in the 360 when it first came out?
Rapture: Oblivion, Oblivion, Oblivion. This game consumed my life during that time period. I was never more hyped for a game than I was that that game and it did not let me down. It blew me away at the time.
Lasombra: Why has gaming become a chore for you?
Rapture: I find myself indulging in other activities and spending less attention and time to gaming as a whole, but I still somehow feel obligated to buy games when I can and beat them. It's just a habit that won't go away for me in many aspects, even if I still enjoy some parts of it.
Lasombra: Having a love for indie games, do you think the next-generation will take a page out of the Steam playbook in trying to get a bigger share of the indie market?
Rapture: I think so, yes. Over the course of this generation XBL and PSN opened up and somewhat encouraged smaller developers and games to contribute to their respective libraries. I think between Steam's encouragement of indie titles into the mainstream gamer market and with the advent of games like Minecraft, indie games are becoming an influential force that would be unwise to not tap into further. I very much expect for MS and Sony to take further look into indie titles for their next systems. I hope they do, anyways.
Lasombra: Have you tried playing many games on mobile devices, or are you strictly a console/PC kind of guy?
Rapture: I'm not really a phone oriented or mobile person. The only game in recent years that I played and cared for on a mobile device was Plants vs Zombies on the iPhone. That was an enjoyable game to have on the go. Many years ago I would play the Pokemon Games, too. They encompassed a huge chunk of my childhood.
Lasombra: Why are you not a one system guy? Just too many good games you like on multiple platforms?
Rapture: Pretty much. I never really understood the necessity for fanboyism nor saw any reason (money aside, obviously) to not acquire more and more games when growing up. Though I felt some systems offered less for me in some ways and others more, I still found myself playing and owning multiple systems whenever I could.
Lasombra: You believe the market won't allow another domination like the PS2. If the market is too saturated, do you think the rumored Steam system will be destined to fail or make the pie even smaller for the big 3?
Rapture: I don't think it will make a huge splash, but it will snowball and become a strong player if it gets the chance; certainly it's striking a mixed market, and will probably be favored among multi-console owners, not single-system users mostly. Initially I speculate that it will gain a few million sales, maybe a dozen or so over it's life, but for what it's striving for that may be all it needs. We saw how MS went from the petty sales of the Xbox and pulled a very respectable and solid run this generation, and that's a system that's imbedded in the console market and directly competing, not one trying to wheedle in and take a share of the cake unnoticed.
Big things have small beginnings, and if anyone can pull this off it is Valve. They've shown they know what they're doing.
Lasombra: Liking so many games on so many different systems what is your favourite genre? What kind of game immediately makes you turn your head to look at it?
Rapture: Probably western RPGs, but that's if I'm forced to answer. I don't particularly favor any one genre, really. As for games that catch my eye? Well, anything god/physics related. I immensely enjoyed games like Black and White 1 and 2, and From Dust. I greatly enjoy having that power and mass interaction with the world. Besides that, I guess anything that generally just looks well designed and polished. Pretty graphics certainly help, but advanced physics and AI go much further for me.
“Seriously! Seriously! We’re on probation? We’re not 12, we don’t need a babysitter!” This time it is my yelling that is making the others in the office nervous as the three of us are discussing the new filming arrangement. The Boss gives it to us straight. We’re loose cannons, mavericks, un-controllable that the corporation is getting sued left and right due to all the chaos and public indecency charges we are racking up. I keep telling V we are not in Koln, but you know, not wanting her to break me is my long-term fitness goal in Episode 16: The Finnish Flash. “We’re being censored for TV? Max can talk about his hooker vacations on live TV but we can’t show how we survived a cross-continental hit squad?” All I know is someone or something got to the Boss as we work for a network that makes HBO look like children’s quality educational programming.
Missed an episode? Check out the back issues.
Want to hear random thoughts about life in Japan, gaming, or want to leave your thoughts about the series and the story? Follow our intrepid reporter on Facebook, Twitter, or email him at Dane.Smith@psu.com.