These three interviews were featured in the INH superplay dvd for Ibara. The narratives come from the booklet, and the interviews were featured on INH’s blog. As such, in addition to their thoughts on Ibara as a game, there’s interesting remarks on the experience of getting a perfect run and the incredible pressure that’s involved.

The Lunatic Ibara INH dvd
Ibara interview with Wakabyashi
Ibara interview @gamengai
Ibara @shmupforums
Ibara manga scanlation (partial)

Ibara Superplayer Interviews

from The Lunatic Ibara dvd and the INH blog

Y.S. 333
Normal mode – 2P side

Ibara was installed in game centers last June, I believe. To be honest I didn’t play it much then. I was obsessed with Garegga at the time, and moreover, KMT was all fired up and looked like he was going to take the #1 spot in Ibara. I didn’t want to get in his way, so I simply sat back and watched him from afar.

Preview of Y.S. 333’s run.

It so happened that, as I watched him, I started to think the game looked pretty fun. Once I began playing it myself I was hooked right away. We started playing together at the same game center (both of us using 1P side), talking about this and that between our runs. At some point I switched to 2P side and, with some good luck, took the #1 score. Then, in November, I heard from a certain famous superplayer1 that INH might put out an Ibara superplay dvd. I was officially invited by INH shortly thereafter, and I promptly accepted.

The recording period began in February, with the deadline in April or May. So I had 2-3 months to put together a run. At first I was very panicked: what if I can’t get a good score! I wanted to hurry and get a good score, a perfect score, as soon as possible.

If I was 50k short of my best on stage 1: reset. If I dropped a medal: reset. If I missed even one scoring opportunity: reset. I played without any room for compromise, throwing credit after credit away. Before long my health and sanity began to suffer. I hit a complete wall in my progress, unable to break past the high score I’d achieved before. The only thing increasing was my anxiety…

Finally I got a score of 26m, which I sent to INH just to be safe. And I received this in reply: “The screen is too bright. Could you adjust it on your recording device?” (laughs)

Aghhhhhhhhhhh!!! “If it was too bright after I recorded it, can’t you just adjust it on your end!!!” I cried out in vain… but what was to become of my little “insurance” run? If I couldn’t get another good run in, could I really expect them to put an overbright, saturated recording on the dvd? Of course not. In an instant my insurance had disappeared. That was right at the beginning of April…

I was pretty exahausted, so I shifted strategies, compromised a bit on my goals, and went for consistency and accuracy over perfection. This approach turned out to be very fruitful, and shortly after I achieved a new personal best.

I sent my recording to INH and there were no problems. Finally, relief. I was completely burned out.

Its unfortunate I couldn’t achieve a score that I was satisfied with though. Why wasn’t I satisfied, you ask? Well, my goal had been a perfectly chained game. To do that you have to create your routes, practice them, and then execute them perfectly until the end. Its not something you can pick up in midstride if you mess up.

So although my score isn’t to my satisfaction, I did record a competent run for this DVD. Please enjoy it, and I hope it helps you!

Finally I’d like to leave this tip. At the start of stage 6, at the statue by the flower clock on the right side of the screen, if you’re just barely touching it and use a hadou gun there, if you’re lucky it will catch the zako in the blast and you can get over 900k points! If you do this with the 2P ship you’ll be in for hell after, but be sure and try it out!

—What games do you like besides Ibara?

Y.S. 333: For STG, Star Force and Star Soldier! These two games taught me the joys of both STG and scoring. Even if we’re talking just about a fun, exhilirating STG, nothing has surpassed Star Soldier for me despite it being 20 years old.

I also like Battle Garegga, Shikigami no Shiro, Ibara… looks like I’ve only written STGs here, but at home I hardly play them at all, actually. (laughs)

—What is your gaming history?

Y.S. 333: What! If I tell you that it will really show my age. (laughs) My earliest game memories are of playing things Space Invaders and other games of that time. Well, now that I’ve said that, the truth is out. (laughs) I’m basically part of the so-called “Famicom Generation.”

—What game centers do you play at?

Y.S. 333: Show Room. Its really nice, very quiet and spacious. Though there’s only ever 3-4 people max playing STGs, so it can be a little lonely. (laughs)

—Did you have any difficulties recording this superplay?

Y.S. 333: The first video I recorded……… for details, please buy the dvd. (laughs)

Also, when the bomb button stopped working on the last boss and I couldn’t fire the hadou gun… when I fell asleep on the scoring section of the stage 2 boss 2 … when I thought I was returning my option formation, and instead I heard “iku ze!” from the 1P side 3 … when KMT sitting besides me was complaining about the stage 3 boss… there were quite a few “difficulties”, you see? (laughs)

—Please share with us your future ambitions.

Y.S. 333: If I can continue to enjoy Ibara, that would be great. Dear INH, please provide us with an auto-fire circuit. (laughs) Anyway, for the foreseeable future it looks like I’m going to be really busy.

—Do you have any words for the viewers of this INH superplay dvd?

Y.S. 333: If you watch this and end up liking Ibara, I’ll be very happy! I didn’t record a sloppy run, it was all very accurately and painstakingly put together. I hope it’s of use to you. Oh, and please try out the 2P side if you never have.

—What is Ibara to you?

Y.S. 333: It is the sauce to my yakiniku. Delicious!…?

Ochamania-KMT
Harder Mode – 1P side

Thank you for buying this Ibara superplay dvd.

As for my playing… to be honest, the normal players did a better job than me (is it ok for me to say this?). I regret my lackluster performance on the final boss.

I only started practicing harder mode in earnest about a week before submitting the score for this DVD, so there’s still a lot of room for improvement there. I wanted to put a bit more time into it, but the normal players needed time for their recording.

Preview of KMT’s run.

The recording itself was very difficult. I’m just exhausted. I kept screwing up early and having to start over, more than usual. I got so frustrated but had to continue, and thought many times “Agh, I don’t want to play Ibara anymore!” Y.S. was there beside me working on his own run, and soon the room was filled with angry cries. Y.S. was actually really annoying me. Uh, can I write that? (laughs) Anyway, after this experience my conviction was renewed, that games are meant to be fun.

Finally, I’d like to say that I intend to play Ibara a bit more in the future. I’d like to spend more time with Harder and Extended modes. For normal I’d like to set my goal at 30m.

Until next time.

—What games do you like besides Ibara?

KMT: For arcade, Battle Garegga, all Cave STG, all of Arika’s Tetris games.
For console, the Star Ocean, Megami Tensei, and Dynasty Warriors series.

—What is your gaming history?

KMT: For consoles it began in the second grade with the Famicom. I started going to game centers (for STG especially) in the 6th grade. I started playing STGs more seriously in my first year of college with Dodonpachi.

—What game centers do you play at?

KMT: Normally, Game Plaza Showroom. And sometimes AMS Tokyo Bypass.

—Did you have any difficulties recording this superplay?

KMT: I was often in a bad mood when I was at the boss and just couldn’t put a good score up. There were also problems with the recording equipment, and for awhile I couldn’t focus on my playing.

—Please share with us your future ambitions.

KMT: I’m going to keep working on Ibara. At the same time I’ll be challenging other games too.

—Do you have any words for the viewers of this INH superplay dvd?

KMT: I recommend this dvd for both scorers and those who want to try clearing harder mode, so please buy it!

—What is Ibara to you?

KMT: What indeed… (laughs) If I wanted to sound cool, I’d have to say: “To me, Ibara is a memory I’ll cherish my whole life.”

Kaisetsu-kun RAM
Ibara Kuro

I listened to the audio commentary I recorded and I realize you can’t hear my voice very well, and you can’t really hear what I’m saying. I apologize for that. At any rate, we had no rehearsal and had to do this in one take, so it was a bit disorganized.

Actually, in the final fight with Teresa, at the very last moment I drop a medal… but dying there would have made the run all for naught. If you die and the rank falls, its hard to get it back from 100 point medals, and you can’t get roses.

Preview of RAM’s run.

This run was actually really dicey. Just as I thought I was done for and it was game over, I beat the final boss. There had been so many runs before this where the opposite occurred: I thought “I’ve done it! I got this!” and then moments later I would end up dying. While I’m playing I never have time to look at the score, but once I checked it, I saw I was just shy of 200m. ARGHHH! Just a little more!

I was happy to have achieved a new personal best, but it was a bitter victory considering how close I was. 200m would have been so cool…

My biggest mistake on this run was the stage 3 boss, when my grazing got cut short. The boss doesn’t have much health and I didn’t want to kill her, so I was peppering my shot lightly and I messed up the grazing. So yeah, stage 3 was a failure. I also dropped a medal there and couldn’t complete the options. I feel like if I hadn’t made these stupid mistakes I might have reached 200m (but my stage 4 midboss was good. It looks like staying close is worth more points than being far away for that midboss? In any event, staying far away didn’t get me many points). After stage 3 I really wondered if I’d make 200m, but I strived onwards… only to not make it after all *pounds head into ground*. Well, I’ve left you a ticket to the big 200 mil… now its up to you to make it! That’s my excuse at least. UBWAAAA! 4

—What is the origin of your initials?

RAM: When I was in middle school, my friends and I were talking excitedly about Rambo 3, and I was given the nickname Rambo. I love Rambo myself, and I liked the nickname, so I took the first three letters for my initials. I’m super thin and scrawny, so the gap makes it funny. People often mistake my initials for Lum from Urusei Yatsura 5, but its not that. I do love Lum and Urusei Yatsura though. That world is hilarious.

—What would you say the appeal of Ibara Black Label is?

RAM: I like the many different special colors for the weapons, and the fact that there are so many weapons to choose from. I like how the Hadou Gun has so many uses: to attack with, grazing, scoring, defense… I’ve never seen a STG with such a versatile and fun weapon. Also, to score you need to graze, and destroy bosses when there’s many bullets on screen, so studying the bosses’ movements was fun (especially the st2 and st4 bosses).

—What games do you like besides Ibara Black Label?

RAM: I love Guwange. I love the feeling when the gold is flowing non-stop. I guess I really like games where you have to manually tap buttons. There’s lots of tapping in Guwange, and I did it even in Mushihimesama. 6 I tapped in Ibara too.

I also like sports and FPS games on the PC. I was really obsessed with Quake and played Quake 1, 2, and 3 quite a bit. I played UT2k4 a little, too.

—What is your gaming history?

RAM: I’ve been playing game since the Game and Watch series. I had the little mini-upright (LSI) Pacman and Froggers. As for STG, the first experience may have been at a friend’s house on the CassetteVision.

—What game centers do you play at?

RAM: GameboxQ2 behind Meieki station. Its 50 yen there… I’m thankful for that. I apologize for monopolizing the Ibara Black Label cab while doing this recording… though I don’t think there are many people playing it.

—Did you have any difficulties recording this superplay?

RAM: Hmm. I’m not sure whether to call it a difficulty with the recording, or a difficulty with the game itself, but I wanted to avoid having a “lucky” run and giving viewers the impression that a good score is a matter of luck. Maybe I was a little too lucky for Rose (the last boss’ first form), though. It was also decided very quickly that I’d do this dvd, so the period of time I had for recording was short.

During the week I had to work, so on the weekends I spent every moment on Ibara Kuro. My 50 yen coins were disappearing so fast, I started to have delusions I was playing a medal game. I had to pay for my own credits during this recording, so when I’d waste a bunch of money with no results, I’d tell myself “you just ate yakiniku.” (laughs) 7

—Please share with us your future ambitions.

RAM: Well, I want to leave my Ibara Kuro experience on a high note, but I’m actually planning to make a STG game, so I’ll leave the rest to you!

When (and if) I’ll complete remains to be seen. So I’m not exactly withdrawing, but I will be taking a break from Ibara for awhile.

—Do you have any words for the viewers of this INH superplay dvd?

RAM: I’m proud of my work on the st2 boss. With my patterns it could be possible to get over 80m on st2. Also, my “vacuum hadou gun” is a must-see! That and my dumb, lucky performance on Rose. (laughs)

—What is Ibara to you?

RAM: You know, it was woner after wonder, a game that inspired dreams in my lowly self. To a STG lover like myself I’m very glad to have had the chance to play it.

However, I have to say the balance of Ibara and Ibara Kuro is really amazing. I have to wonder if they weren’t intending to make Black Label at the same time they made Ibara? I think it must be so when I see the safe spots on the st2 boss second form and the st5 boss second form, the way the st4 boss moves, and the grazing on Rose. I wish Cave could have done a little more regarding the element of luck in scoring, but the difficulty overall is just right, and I think its really a top-tier game.