Lasombra Files Episode 21: Rating Wars

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.

A swift kick to the gut drops me like a whiny kid from a Halo party. Struggling for air, I get tossed against the wall by Captain Li as if she were trying out to be V’s replacement. I cough up blood, soaking what was once a clean floor, as she pats my cheek condescendingly like I was a toy in episode 21: Ratings Wars. She tells me I won’t be killed, that I am too valuable alive. Murderer, deviant, invader all are juicy topics to help them rule the airwaves. Being dead only gives them a single headline. Letting me run free would be a continuous ratings boost. Another knee to the solar plexus keeps me focused on her speech as I contemplate a sudden career change.

Name: Brenden
Age: 17
Gender: Male
Occupation: About to begin university and studying business & business sport. Hope to run a business/sporting club one day.
Country: Australia

Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner. All likenesses used are for parody and/or satirical purposes.

Lasombra: When did you start gaming?

Brenden: I honestly cannot think of a period of time in my life where I didn’t game, from the Super Nintendo when I was young to opening up the Playstation 1 for Christmas, to now on the Playstation 3. But in saying that, I’d say my earliest memory was when I was four years old playing Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo 64.

Lasombra: How did you choose your PSN name?

Brenden: Well, my PSN name (Brenden 3) is very basic of course so not a lot of creativity really went into it. I went into it praying to get just Brenden and this was back when I was so excited to be playing online for the first time. I really just took the first thing I could think of and that was my name plus my favourite number: 3.

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

Brenden: I had my PS3 in 2008 when trophies did not exist. The first trophy I got was on Christmas day 2008 and I never really noticed them until I started having more and more games with them and started earning them more frequently. I’d have to say though, when I noticed I was close to the Ashes Cricket 2009 platinum, I decided ‘might as well finish it off’. I looked up a guide on the best way to earn a few trophies and when I got that first platinum, well, it just went from there.

Lasombra: Are you a trophy hunter, platinum hunter, or a specific hunter?

Brenden: I’d have to say I am a trophy hunter. I don’t normally platinum the majority of my games even though I always intend on doing so. I enjoy earning trophies, whether they are bronze or platinum, the same fun and satisfaction is there. Of course, there is no better feeling for a trophy hunter when you finally earn that platinum after hours and hours of grinding, so I’d say I am both, but more towards the basic trophy hunter side because some games are just too darn hard to platinum!

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

Brenden: Whenever I am on the PS3 and I am not playing online multi-player, I am trophy hunting, so probably 80% of my gaming time (which is ALOT) so yeah, let us just go with MANY hours.

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

Brenden: Staying motivated is such a difficult task. I find starting a new game after a platinum very difficult to do. What works for me is just taking a few days off trophy hunting after each platinum, that way I can take a break from grinding away or attempting a difficult challenge or collecting pointless things in games and just kick back and play a favourite game of mine or kick some ass in online multiplayer.

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

Brenden: Many times, there’s been times where I have had no desire at all to turn on my PS3 for weeks, because I have just burned myself out from gaming too much. I think it is important to know your limits and if you are playing something you don’t enjoy, take a break.

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

Brenden: To some, many of my platinum’s aren’t that amazing, but to me I think proving to myself that I could grind out multiplayer on Assassins Creed: Brotherhood was definitely one of my gaming milestones. My hardest, well even though the trophies and statistics says otherwise I found Sound Shapes incredibly frustrating. I think it caused me to break a controller.

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

Brenden: My goal this year is to achieve 50 platinums. I am currently at 32. Well, so far it is going so-so with only one platinum (Sleeping Dogs). I think it is time I go back on the hunt.

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

Brenden: I really have no problem with it. I mean it is going to happen regardless of whether we like it or not, so I guess we may as well just learn to accept it rather than trying to police it and outlawing those who have done 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?

Brenden: This is something I would love to see. I love my statistics, and, if Sony were to create this database, it would provide the most accurate statistics that one could ever ask for. Let us just say I’ve dreamed about something like this for year now. Will it happen one day? Probably not, but we can hope, right?

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

Brenden: Use a guide. 95% of the time there will be a guide on what game you are playing. Before starting a game take a good look at the trophy lists. Make sure you note what trophies you need to look out for that may be missable in any sort of way. Always attempt to achieve the collectibles trophy first because that takes a huge weight off your shoulders especially if the game requires more than one play through. If the game is tough, take a break. There is no point playing if you are frustrated, as it is very unlikely that you will ‘pass’ that difficult part. I have found that whenever I take a break I come back and I get through that difficult part in the first go.

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

Brenden: My favourite game of all time: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Lasombra: You are starting to make a name for yourself making YouTube videos for WWE and NBA2K. What got you interested in taking the time to do videos and commentary instead of being a normal gamer?

Brenden: Yes well, I’ve just recently gotten myself YouTube partnership, which is unreal, so it has been a lot of fun. Basically in 2010, I was watching people do MW2 videos and I thought to myself ‘wouldn’t that be fun?’ So I went ahead and got myself the equipment required, and that was it. I enjoy gaming and I always wanted to show my friends some interesting things I’ve been up to or just to attempt to entertain an audience. It has been well worth it and I’ve loved it.

Lasombra: With your video resume expanding are there other games you want to do coverage of? What is your long-term goal?

Brenden: My current goal is to continue doing what I am doing. My WWE videos have just started to take off and I’m focusing on that now. I have a wide variety of games, and since first person shooters are probably my best genre, I’ll definitely end up uploading some of those. My long term goal is just to continue uploading what my viewers and I are enjoying.

Lasombra: Being a WWE fan, if you could add any one thing to the newest WWE game, what would it be?

Brenden: General Manager Mode!!!

Lasombra: How is the gaming culture in Australia? Lots of conventions and non-mainstream gaming stores?

Brenden: Gaming in Australia is poor. It’s slowly growing and becoming more recognized now (18+ rating now approved), we barely get any gaming conventions and if there is its always in the major cities which has been a problem to me. You won’t find any local gaming stores really, mainly only the major companies do trading here.

Lasombra: Why are games so expensive there compared to the vast majority of other countries?

Brenden: I have no idea, especially considering the Australian economy is currently trading higher than the United States and has been for quite some time. The prices of games has now dropped though, I’ve gone from paying $110 for my new favourite game to $89 at the highest and $69 at the lowest depending on the game.

Lasombra: What kind of sporting business or club do you want to start? Will it have any ties to the video game industry?

Brenden: I’d love to work in a sporting club for one of my favourite sports like cricket or rugby league. I don’t really have any interests in working in the video game industry despite enjoying it very much. I feel as though it takes the fun out of gaming, so I’ll keep my work life and leisure separate if I can.

At this point from the beatings, gunshots, drive-bys, numerous car crashes, and falling off skyscrapers, a piece of me must be crazy as I don’t understand why beating me like a ragdoll helps me help them. I wasn’t going to get the answer any time soon as the door opens up again and I am shoved out to a chorus of flashes in episode 22: Scandinavian Showdown. A mob of cameramen take photos of me as I try to not go blind from the solar flare of flashes. What is this the 1940s? As my sight starts to come back to me I see a very large, very angry looking man in a military uniform walk through the crowd. Seeing the Finnish flag on the uniform, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is not going to be a pleasant conversation about hockey. At least he isn’t Russian.

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 FacebookTwitter, or email him at [email protected]