Yes boss, I understand. Yes, yes, I know I lost a cameraman. Yes, I know no sane person wants to be hired on to replace him. Why are you sending me back there again? Can’t I stay in Latveria? It is so much nicer a vacation spot than England...once you get used to the whole iron curtain and everything. Yes boss, I know you’re from England. Owwww, my ear drum. Why did he have to slam the phone so hard? Wait, this is 2012, why did he even have a phone he could slam? Anyways, Veronika, I don’t think the boss will be complaining I found a new cameraman. I’m sure it’ll be fine you have an East German passport. Welcome to Episode 16: I Don’t Sparkle, Cha! But seriously, England again? Why don’t they just leave me in permanent exile or something? I don’t think the boss likes me very much.
Name: Cal (DragonWolfVII)
Occupation: Night Stock Supervisor + AMD
Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee with the exception of spelling and some grammar corrections. Picture copyright of its artist/photographer.
Lasombra: When did you start gaming?
Dragon: I think the first time I played a game was when I was 6 years old. My Mum bought me a Nintendo for Christmas along with Duck Hunt. I spent hours and hours on that.
Lasombra: How did you choose your PSN name?
Dragon: It’s a name I have used online for a very long time. I had a fascination with dragons growing up due to my idolisation of Bruce Lee. He was the sole reason I got into martial arts and became addicted to physical fitness. The "Wolf" part of my name is just because I like wolves, I have quite a few pictures around my house of them. VII came from a few factors. I play a lot of football (soccer for you American's) and growing up my shirt number was always 7. It sort of became my favourite number. I use the Roman numerals as reference to my favourite game, Final Fantasy VII.
Lasombra: What motivated you to become a trophy hunter? What was your initial spark?
Dragon: The very first time I ever thought about trophies came in November 2009. I bought WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 as I do every year when they come out. A friend of mine then started bragging he had got the platinum for it, so being quite competitive I decided I would do the same. Badabing badaboom, my obsession started.
Lasombra: Are you a trophy hunter, platinum hunter, or a specific hunter? (Example: All GoW game hunter)
Dragon: I always try to go for the platinum in the games I play, so I guess you could call me a Platinum Hunter (whore?). But I do like to get the platinum trophy in sets of games, like Pro Evolution Soccer, WWE, Assassin's Creed, Final Fantasy etc.
Lasombra: How many hours do you dedicate to trophy hunting?
Dragon: It honestly depends on work and general family life. Some weeks I can get 40 hours, other weeks I'm lucky if I can get in 5. Luckily I now have 2 PS3's and a Vita, so if my wife wants to watch something I can go and play something else. Still, she comes first, but she is very understanding about my addiction.
Lasombra: What motivates you to go for that next trophy? How do you stay motivated after a long gaming session, particularly with grinding trophies?
Dragon: There are a few factors that motivate me. Since joining this site in 2009 I've taken to comparing myself with other members. Denaratuck and myself have always been close in level so I've always tried to keep up with him. This year we got involved in a friendly competition along with DJ_Keyser to see who could get to 100 platinums first, of which DJ is currently winning. Stupot is also a friend on the site that I try to keep close tabs on, but he's caught me and passed me in no time. However, the main factor is knowing that once I have done trophy A or trophy B, I'm one step closer to another platinum.
Lasombra: Have you ever gone through any burnout from your sessions?
Dragon: I don't think I've ever really fully experienced a "burnout". I get tired with games every now and then, but I'll always go back to them. My most recent incident is with the game I am currently playing, Assassin's Creed: Revelations. It’s a fantastic game, but after grinding out all of the online trophies on Brotherhood not too long ago, Revelations started to feel like a bit of grind itself.
Lasombra: What is your proudest platinum? Why? Was it your hardest?
Dragon: I don't have too many hard platinums really. I'd have to say Star Wars: The Force Unleashed gave me the most problems. Sith Master mode was a complete joke and it took quite a few attempts to finish it.
My proudest platinum would be Final Fantasy XIII though. It wasn't difficult, but after spending around 70 hours on it I put it to one side and totally forgot about it. When I finally went back to it I found that my save was corrupt so I had to start all over again. I spent almost double the time needed to platinum it because of this, so when the platinum finally popped it was a great feeling.
Lasombra: Do you have a trophy goal for the year? If so, how far are you along in it?
Dragon: At the beginning of the year my goal was to get 100 platinums before 2013. That is how the little race began between myself, Dena and DJ. I started off really well, but due to work I slowed down quite a bit. My goal is still 100, but if I hit 80 I'll be happy.
Lasombra: Do you believe gamers should be allowed to make trophy hunting teams? Why or why not?
Dragon: I have no interest in rankings what so ever, so sure. But I'd like there to be some sort of way to track them, just for those people that are interested in their ranking, as one person might only be able to spend 4-8 hours a day gaming, but a team could keep going 24/7. I'm not sure how they would go about identifying them though.
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?
Dragon: It would definitely be an interesting thing to do, but I'm a fan of privacy and I think opening a world database would open up a big can of worms.
Lasombra: What tips do you have for someone trying to reach the next level and going after a difficult platinum?
Dragon: Don't give up and be patient. If you start to get angry, odds are you'll just make more mistakes and wind yourself up even more. The way I do it if I'm stuck on something is to try it X amount of times, then take a break and do something else or play something else. Go back to it the next day and do it X amount of times again. Eventually you will crack it.
Lasombra: Regardless of the system, what pre-trophy game would you auto-buy if it was released on the PS3 with trophy support?
Dragon: Easy, and I know I'll get a tonne of fanboy remarks for posting this, but Final Fantasy VII. It’s my favourite game of all time; I loved the characters, the story, everything about it. It also introduced me to my favourite series of all time. True, Mystic Quest was technically my first FF title, but over here it was just released as "Mystic Quest", without the Final Fantasy tag. It wasn't until I had played VII and started researching and playing all of the others that I realised Mystic Quest was actually an FF game. If I had never played VII, I very much doubt I'd have got to experience the others for a long time.
Lasombra: What is it like not to be a sparkle tween queen? Is your wife bugging you to put away the fangs and put on something sparkilicious?
Dragon: Haha. What a random question. Luckily my wife only likes the Twilight films and it stops there. So there is nothing "sparkilicious" happening in my house, I can assure you of that.
Lasombra: What does a night stock supervisor + AMD do? What is AMD?
Dragon: I basically supervise a team of people at a store, making sure that everything gets done, most of the time it involves delivery operations. It’s boring as hell. I work through the night, which sucks so bad as I barely sleep during the day. AMD is the next step, which I am currently doing. Basically at the end of it I'll be working days and will be on a lot more money. And as shitty as my job is, I can't grumble at more money.
Lasombra: How do you stay focused with your fitness regiment? Can the mystical DragonWolf break a board with his fist, or will Bruce Lee tell you boards don't hit back?
Dragon: I never have any trouble staying focused. I've loved fitness from an early age so it’s sort of built in me, like having a shower or brushing your teeth, it’s something I do without thinking. I love the idea of being able to change your body, to customise it as you see fit. I'm a big fan of bodybuilding and being able to go into a new workout with the idea of putting an inch on your arms, or losing an inch on your waist and then achieving it is fantastic, it keeps you coming back for more. I've always loved experimenting with different workouts too, just to keep them fresh.
And yes, I've broken many boards in demonstrations, but like you said, boards don't hit back!
Lasombra: Being a fitness freak have you tried out any fitness games? What are your take on them?
Dragon: The only game I have tried is EA Sports Active 2. It’s actually not too bad. The music bugs the hell out of me, but if you put it to its hardest setting it actually gives you a half decent workout. It’s more focused on "getting fit" though, it concentrates on calories burned and most of it is cardio based. It’s good for people who are just starting out, or as an "on the side" workout to accompany your main workouts. Once I have the platinum on it I probably won't touch it again.
Lasombra: Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee?
Dragon: Bruce Lee without breaking a sweat.
Lasombra: Having been on the site for over three years, what do you think needs to happen with the site to take it a step up to the next level?
Dragon: I love the site the way it is. If I didn't then I wouldn't have stayed for as long as I have. Most of the changes that have happened have all benefited the site in one way or another. All of the admins and everyone who has a hand in running it, whether it is guides, news etc, they all do a superb job.
Lasombra: Who will reach the 100 plat plateau first from your group of friendly rivals?
Dragon: I honestly don't know, 100 is a long way away and we are all still quite close. I think Dena is being sneaky though, I reckon he has a plan in place and will fly past us at the end. All of this burnout talk is just a front!
Lasombra: If it was all-expenses paid and you could only go to one would you go to E3 or Tokyo Game Show?
Dragon: I've always wanted to go to Tokyo, but E3 is covered a hell of a lot more over here than the Tokyo Game Show. So I'd probably go for E3, its suited more to the Western audience as TGS usually concentrates on the Japanese market, games we will never see on these shores without importing.
Good job V on your first episode. No, I am sure the whole hammer and sickle uniform didn’t bother anyone. A little 1989 but who am I to judge? These shades haven’t come off in two years. Wait, it’s the boss calling. Yes sir, yes, yes, uh-huh...what’s a California? Oh, Kalifonia. Yes sir, mein fuhrer. We’ll be jetting to Kalifonia in episode 17: Four letters: EPIK. Yes boss, the new cameraman is from East Germany. Yes, I know it’s 2012. Yes, I know the Berlin wall fell. Owww, why is he still using an actual phone.
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