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HFD interview in N-Pro DDP: DOJ BL DVD booklet (2007)

Translated by adversity / April 5, 2009

Interview with HFD, Dodonpachi: Daioujou Black Label N-Pro Superplay DVD Player

National Top Score (As of November 2007)

Score: 3,511,462,970
Submission Date: December 2006

Score: 3,097,782,550
Submission Date: February 2005

TKS: Alright, please tell us about where your name comes from.
HFD: I suppose I first used my scoring name around 2003 at a game center in Yokohama called "Seven Island". At the time I wasn't even aiming to be #1 in the country or anything, I was just putting in high score applications for the competition at that game center. At the time, one of my favorite bands was an American band named Halford. So that's why I went with HFD.

TKS: Next, tell us which games prompted you to start going for high scores.
HFD: It was Lost Worlds. This was the first game on Capcom's CP system in 1988. It was... a shooting game which at the time spat an unbelievable amount of bullets at you. It was innovative in that you just had to hold down the button to get auto-fire and there was a rolling switch which allowed you to shoot in every direction. At the time I was a sixth grader, but I played it hardcore at a game center at Tsuruma station in Kanagawa called "Orange House", getting up to 8,500,000 points.

TKS: Wow! That's a little too high for an elementary school kid, isn't it? (laughs)
HFD: I played to the point where I had to consider whether to go for #1 in the country or not. But of course the other players were really good... Actually the way I did it was buying 600 yen arcade memberships. Because otherwise it gets pretty expensive.

TKS: You were a pretty hardcore and amazing elementary school kid it seems. Ok, so what was the first 'danmaku shooting' game that you played?
HFD: The first one I played was R-Type on the PC-Engine. I managed to get the 2-ALL on that. Had to really work hard with a pad but... After that I played Irem's Image Fight, which led to playing at the game center, and getting to the fifth stage of the second loop.

TKS: Wow, you managed that on a pretty tough game...
HFD: I heard somewhere that Image Fight is ranked as the most difficult shooting game of all, and after stage four it just turns into hell. But still I liked it... I was also playing other games at the time and somehow my interests became focused on shooting games in general.

TKS: Well it seems like you're a shooter from the roots up doesn't it?
HFD: No, I just play them because I like them...

TKS: Did you not play any fighting games?
HFD: I couldn't do those games. Going back to shooters, I continued playing those, going from 1941 to Area 88 to US Navy. Capcom made their games easy to clear, and I really liked them.

[Getting into the Dodonpachi: Daioujou games]

TKS: I see... so how did you start getting into the Dodonpachi: Daioujou games?
HFD: Dodonpachi: Daioujou (white version) went into operation in 2002, and the announcement for it at the time was that "this was the end of shooting games". Well, I don't know if that was the promotional slogan Cave was putting out at the time or not but it was posted up at the game center I frequented at the time. They wrote something like: "Goodbye to traditional shooters". So I said, "well this is the end, so I'll give it a try" and started getting used to it.

TKS: I see.
HFD: At first I was playing it at my local game center, but at some point there was a 'score trial' sponsored at that location, and by choosing B type with the shot boost and holding on to the maximum bonus I was able to get around fifty million in one loop, and that was enough to get #1 at the shop (laughs). But that was my first experience with high scores, and here we are today...

TKS: I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be happy about that...
HFD: After that, I found the white version to be pretty hard and so I didn't really play it much. In October of the same year Black Label came out, and a nearby game center in Yamato-shi got it in, so I had a lot of fun playing that.

[What led you to start playing Black Label intensively?]

TKS: How did you feel when you first cleared it?
HFD: At first my objective was just to clear this game and forget about it. I thought that if I can beat it once I'll just be done with it, but after it clearing it once I was really impressed by the game and eventually... (laughs)

TKS: When you finally got to "Hibachi", the last boss, were you able to beat him in a couple of tries?
HFD: Ahh... Hibachi was pretty tough. But you know the white version of the superplay DVD was out at the time, and it was good that I was able to use that while I played Black Label. Still though I had to fight him maybe twenty or thirty times.

TKS: I think that's pretty fast compared to others.
HFD: I wonder... but anyways it was that feeling of "I finally cleared it". I was moved!

TKS: So what led you to start working on a high score for Black Label?
HFD: It was definitely the fact that the white label DVD had come out. I was using that as a reference for basic patterns through Black Label. I first learned that you could connect the combo through stage four via that DVD. That was when I discovered how fun it is to connect up combos in this game.

TKS: The impact of that DVD was that great, huh?
HFD: Actually way before that, I had gone all the way to Ogikubo to a game store that sold game stuff early to pick up the Dodonpachi superplay video. That video really stunned me... I just kept thinking about how awesome it would be if I could play like that.

[Lastly, for the players who bought the DVD]

Nakano: So does that relate to why you're an A-type player?
HFD: No, actually I originally used B-type. But while playing I gave type A a try and found it to be surprisingly strong. That's why I 'transferred' to A-type if you will.

TKS: Alright, so can you say something to people who will play Dodonpachi: Daioujou (white version included) in the future, or those already playing it?
HFD: Don't throw away games if you're losing.

TKS: Yeah, that's pretty essential isn't it?
HFD: Especially with Daioujou, I think that the best way to go about playing the game is to avoid throwing away games and get a sense of the overall flow of the game.

Nakano: I see... lately many players will do that won't they? "Good players throw away their games when they've screwed up, so I'll just copy that." Personally I think that's no good.
HFD & TKS: Yeah, exactly. But I don't want to hear that from you!! (laughs)

Nakano: Well it's unfortunate that we've just gotten warmed up, but do you have any messages for players out there?
HFD: Hmm, yeah, there is plenty of room for improvement in the score on this DVD, so I eagerly invite people to make this score obsolete.

TKS: In other words, there's still a possibility of improvement.
HFD: Yes, there still is!

TKS: Got it. Alright, thank you very much for today! (END)

Player Roundtable

[Dodonpachi: Daioujou arrives in arcades - 2002]

Nakano: ... You were playing Daioujou in Yamato city right?
HFD: That's right.
Nakano: You were also coming to Machida quite a bit yeah?
HFD: I think I was going there quite a bit yes.
Nakano: At Cosmo, right? Cosmo was a place I went to quite a lot myself, and I really found it to my liking... and that was where I played "white version" with my friends. I was A type and he was B type.
HFD: The person playing B-type was awesome wasn't he? He was the first person I saw connect everything on stage five. I was shocked.
Nakano: It was pretty much right when the game came out, but from that point on he was making awesome patterns and managed to create one which connected everything on stage four. He was really doing some research.
HFD: There were a lot of amazing players at Machida back then...

[What we get from games]

HFD: But after Daioujou, were there any shooting games at Machida?
Nakano: Ketsui came in quick, sort of as a replacement for Daioujou.
HFD: Ketsui was at Cosmo.
Nakano: Yeah, and again I chose A type and my friend chose B. It's like this meaningless tradition we have after Daioujou. Now, the reason we played together was that we weren't particularly going for a high score, we were just playing to chat really. Talking about this and that while you're playing is pretty fun. We'd trade off and talk about stupid stuff and it became this place to hang out. Non-scorer players probably understand that... but actually I'm not always playing for high score myself (laughs).
HFD: Yeah.
Nakano: But at some point you realize it's not that fun when you're putting money in just to chat... in that sense Daioujou and Ketsui were optimal for us because we weren't trying to make patterns at all. But you get better at the game even if you're sitting there talking to each other, and eventually we were both able to get to the last stage of the second loop of both Daioujou and Ketsui.
HFD: Right.
Nakano: If only I knew that HFD was coming to the same place, I would have liked to meet you earlier...
HFD: I think I probably saw you and your friend once or twice. Via "Daioujou".

[B-Type was actually pretty hard]

HFD: But it's most important to be playing and having fun isn't it.
Nakano: Definitely.
HFD: It's hardest when it starts to stress you out, seriously. Recording the B-type run was like that. I thought to myself "Why the hell am I doing this?"
Nakano: Oh, so B-type was pretty tough then?!
HFD: It's definitely tough... I really got to my wit's end (laughs). Connect everything up on 2-4 and 2-5 with that ship they say! Right!
TKS: And then at the end Hibachi shows up... (laughs).
Nakano: Yeah, jeez. Great job on the run, HFD.
TKS: But Daioujou really is a great game.
HFD: It's truly fun to me. For me it will always be a classic.
Nakano: Among all of Cave's games I think it is extremely well balanced.
TKS: I think it's a game where players can really learn how fun it is to build patterns.