Written By Stryctnin; PSHG Co-Founder.
Close to two years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Hakoom. At the time he was the #1 trophy hunter in the world. He sat on top of the leaderboards with an impressive collection of platinums. He was trophy level 49 with 13,240 trophies and 252 platinums. In comparison, I was trophy level 17 with 2369 trophies and 27 platinums.
That was in February 2011.
Since then, Hakoom and I have become good friends. We talk occasionally about games, especially when something in one of them pisses one of us off. We help each other with tips and hints. It’s grown into a trusting friendship as he has had me help him set up his website Hakoom.net. Of course, neither of us stopped gaming during this time as our trophy count has risen. Hakoom is now level 76 with 23150 trophies and 466 platinums and I am level 24 with 4555 trophies and 71 platinums.
So, we decided that we would do another interview to see how things have been going and if there are any goals or plans for the future.
Stryctnin: Having played so many games, do you remember what the first video game you ever played was?
Hakoom: I am not sure exactly but I think it was either Pitfall or Space Invaders.
Stryctnin: What was the first system you ever owned?
Hakoom: I used to play on the Atari, the fake Nintendo, and Sega at my cousin’s house, but I never owned those systems..
The 1st system I owned was the PS1 and the 1st handheld I owned was the 1st Gameboy issued back in the 90′s.
Stryctnin: Do you remember the first game you ever fully beat?
Hakoom: When I was a kid, I couldn’t beat games sadly. I kept trying and trying, but I always failed somewhere. The reason was because those retro games never had a save option or lots of continues, so once you died you had to repeat the entire game. I played many games when I was a kid and I don’t think I finished any of them. I guess it was one of the fighting games (Street Fighter), that I actually beat first. Those games were easy to beat because you could continue as many times as you wanted.
The 1st game I beat, on a system that I owned, was a submarine game on the PS1.
Stryctnin: After playing so many games, what is absolutely your favorite game of all time?
Hakoom: I don’t have a specific game but I could give you a list of my top 3 favorite games on each gen:
– Metal Gear Solid 3
– Final Fantasy X
– Tekken Tag
( would have added God of War 2 but I didn’t play it on the PS2 )
– Metal Gear Solid 4
– God of War 3
– Uncharted 2/3
Stryctnin: What old school game would you like to see remade with trophies added to it?
Hakoom: I wouldn’t want any old school game remade with trophies because I know how tough and long they are to finish, which would make me hate the game. That happened with a few HD collections which made me dislike the game. However, I would like them to trophy patch games like Heavenly Sword that got left out.
Stryctnin: Do you decide in advance whether or not to platinum a game or is it a concerted effort to platinum every game you play?
Hakoom: I don’t decide in advance because I play 90% of all the games I get and that’s what trophy hunting is all about. I am not a completionist. I am a trophy hunter and I play every kind of game. The problem is that every year you get a lot of games and once I have those easy games, I can’t go and play those 200 hour games. If there was a limit of 100 games per year, then I would plat each game released no matter how hard it was because for me there is no game out there that I can’t plat.
Stryctnin: What did you do before trophies were added to the PSN?
Hakoom: On the PS3, I used to play Warhawk, Tekken 5, DR online and offline with friends. Before the PS3, I used to be an MMO player. I used to play WoW and those type of games.
Stryctnin: After achieving over 400 platinums, which platinum are you most proud of?
Hakoom: Ninja Gaiden 2 and 3 and Max Payne 3
Stryctnin: Which trophy was your easiest?
Hakoom: You mean platinum? Melt of Cool Breeze. This video shows how fast I got the plat:
Stryctnin: I’ve noticed that sometimes you get games a few weeks before their release date, like Resident Evil 6, do the game developers send them to you?
Hakoom: Games in my country get released very early sometimes and that’s how I get them. Sometimes some magazines send me the games and sometimes websites do.
Stryctnin: Your name is pretty much synonymous with trophy hunting, has doing this benefited you personally, outside of Gaming?
Hakoom: Yes it did, but it was still attached to gaming. It benefited me in terms of earning money with YouTube, my website, and also working as a freelancer for IGNme.
Stryctnin: Have you ever been approached for sponsorship by Sony or any other game developer?
Hakoom: Sadly not and I don’t think Sony cares about trophy hunters or trophies to begin with. If they cared, they would at least ban jail break users on the PS3. I only get approached by game magazines and websites.
Stryctnin: Is there an ultimate goal to this, are you trying to platinum every game there is, or top some kind of official record? Is there a set number of Platinums you want to earn?
Stryctnin: Do you know how many games altogether have a platinum to it?
Hakoom: I think around 750 or 800. That includes double or triple or quadruple plats on the same franchise. For example: pes 2012 EU, pes 2012 US, pes 2012 JP.
I have 464 as I write this, so that’s more than 50%.
Stryctnin: What made you decide between and Xbox and PS3? Do you prefer the trophy system over the achievements?
Hakoom: I have loved the PS since PS1 because it had the best of the best games on it. When I 1st saw the Xbox, I disliked it immediately and in my opinion the Xbox 360 ruined the nextgen era. Every game is being downgraded because of the Xbox hardware limitations. If it wasn’t for the Xbox 360 then 70% of PS3 games would have looked like Uncharted.
Trophies are much better than achievements, although they both share the same idea:
1- The sound
2- Its organization. Trophies are bronze, silver, gold, and then a plat, unlike the Xbox which is just a bunch of numbers which don’t differentiate between each.
3- With trophies you can see how many games you plat’d = 1000′d on the Xbox, but I think they stole this idea from Sony now and implemented it with achievements.
And before the fanboys jump me on this about Microsoft stealing the idea, trophies > achievements, the difference is huge..
Stryctnin: Is there one game you have come across and said “To Hell with this, the Platinum just isn’t worth it?”
Hakoom: Yes, there was one game called Kane and Lynch 2. I didn’t say “ to hell with this” I said let me open the window and jump out of it, but I plat’d it in the end. Another game was Ninja Gaiden 2, but the haters made me come back to it and plat it. They said, “ you can only platinum games like Hannah Montana and Ice Age”, so I said to myself I will prove those haters wrong and I did. You can see it here.
Stryctnin: What is your vision of the PS4?
Hakoom: I think the PS4 is going to fail if Sony keeps up with all these limitations between the generations. If you look at the PS3, since 2007 many features were removed and many account limitations were applied and then look at the Vita which flopped. I think it’s because of the limitations, when you put a lot of limits on something which can’t be shared and have 1000 different regions it’s going to fail. If Sony keeps this up, the PS4 is going nowhere.
Stryctnin: What do you think about The Walking Dead game winning Game of the Year? Do you think it was a good choice?
Hakoom: The walking dead is a great game… I really enjoyed it and it was very emotional and dramatic, but I don’t think it deserves game of the year.. In the end, the awards are self-opinions and everyone is entitled to their own opinion… Far cry 3, Max Payne 3 and BO2 where better choices to go with.
Stryctnin: What’s it like in Bahrain? Describe the city you live in, the weather, lifestyle, night life, etc.
Hakoom: Bahrain is a small island in the Middle East region, next to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Yes, I live on an island :p which is only about 50km from top to bottom. I live in the capital city “Manama” and I think it’s the best place to live because everything is close to you (malls, shops, etc). The weather is not very friendly here. It can go up to 50°C (122°F) in the summer. I filmed the heat if you want to take a look http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8PquluEvgI. The country is free just like any country in Europe. We have several mall centers and coffee shops that you can go to or hang out with friends etc. Everything you want is available here. And of course games are released, 1 or 2 weeks before their actual release!
Stryctnin: What college did you attend? How hard was it for you to manage gaming and studying for school?
Hakoom: I attended the Arab Open University and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in IT. It was hard to manage both so I had to cheat a bit in college to keep my grades up. I am not the type of person that loves to study. Gaming all the way!
Stryctnin: What type of music do you listen to?
Hakoom: I like gaming music, whatever comes with the game. But in general I like rock music or metal.
Stryctnin: What kinds of food do you like to eat?
Hakoom: Arabian food and especially my favorite food “tikka.”
I also like sushi.
Stryctnin: What do you do for fun besides play video games?
Hakoom: Just play and earn trophies for the most part, but sometimes I watch anime.
Stryctnin: What’s your favorite anime and why?
Hakoom: I do not have a favorite one but I do have a small list which I think are the best I have seen. Ippo is one of the best animes I’ve seen but I haven’t finished it yet. Naruto is another anime which I have been watching since 2002, I think and the story is really good and dramatic. One piece is another epic anime with a unique style of action. And one of my favorite animes is Kaiji which is a MUST see by everyone.. Even non anime fans would really enjoy it
Stryctnin: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Hakoom: Nope I have none… 1 man army!
Stryctnin: Is there someone special in your life, a girlfriend?
Hakoom: Yes, I do have a special girl and she’s my GF.
Stryctnin: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Hakoom: I would like to thank my fans and the people who support me with my Trophy career. I would also like to note that I can’t reply to everyone on Facebook, YouTube, and PSN because of the sheer amount of messages. So if they want to get in touch with me or ask me any question they want, then they can join my forums and post in the “ask hakoom” thread, that will be answered 100%. Also don’t forget to follow me for my latest news on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Here is my latest trophy video released just a couple of days ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UB5zpEnuHU