This short interview with MON after his Death Label clear is best read as a companion piece to the longer 4gamer interview. One nice addition here is that he lists the other shmups he’s cleared.

MON’s homepage
MON 4gamer interview
Death Label @ shmupforums MON Interview


After 7 years and 5 months, a player has finally appeared who can clear DOJ Death Label! When I heard this surpising news,
I was further shocked to realize that this person was a flute player for GAME band! Not wanting to miss this unique chance, and moreover with it being a member of Gameband, we conducted this interview with MON!

—Your Death Label record is 1 win, 81 losses. How many hours did you put in?

MON: If you count the time in the replays I’ve got saved since 4/09, about 500 hours (an average playtime for Death Label is around 12 minutes). But I also spent time during the day thinking about routes, so maybe somewhere around 1000 hours.

Prior to 4/09, my practicing was sporadic, so I’m not sure, but despite it being 6 years I don’t think I spent a considerable amount of time on it. However, to clear Death Label, you need enough skill to be able to clear DOJ itself, and it took me about two years, so you have to add that in. If you consider it all together I’ve probably spent several thousand hours on this game.

—What kind of environment did you play in?

MON: A 25″ Sony Trinitron CRT, a PS2 connected via AV multicable (similar to an RGB connection), a Hori Real Arcade Pro with my own modifications, and a 3-way recording setup (PC Capture, miniDV, VHS). It was like a little stronghold in the corner of my living room. (laughs)

—Are there any tricks or techniques to bullet dodging?

MON: The most important is coming up with routes where you don’t have to dodge. Doing that, you can divide things into “bullets I have to dodge” and “bullets I don’t have to dodge.” Also, not looking at one’s ship, but looking a little above it.

—Please tell us about your training and anything else you did for the clear.

MON: If you lose your concentration its all over, so I did things like take naps, keep my blood sugar up with snacks, and cool my brow with cold compresses if it was hot. I also made sure my position relative to the screen, like where I held my joystick and the position of my head, was always the same. (laughs)

—What was it like in that moment you cleared it?

MON: I did a guts pose, and after that I broke into tears.

—Did you ever think of quitting?

MON: At first I didn’t think a clear was possible. I mean, I think there were only 5 people in the world who had even gotten to the last boss. That last boss was the craziest I’d ever seen, so I thought it was totally impossible.

—Well, why didn’t you quit then?

MON: Once I buckled down and decided to make this my life’s work, I saw a path towards a clear. So I just kept persevering.

—Please give a word to all the STG players reading this!

MON: Don’t just do shooting games, try out other things too. (laughs)

—What was it that made you get into STGs?

MON: When I started playing games, STG and action games were the most popular genres. So I didn’t really think about it, I just started playing STGs. The first game I really got into deeply was Star Soldier for the Famicom.

—Please tell us a history of your clears in other STGs!


Star Soldier (Famicom): Normal and Ura ALL
Super Star Force (Famicom): ALL
Mahou Daisakusen: 2-4
Darius Gaiden: All routes clear (10 mil)
Battle Garegga: ALL (Golden Bat, 12mil)
Radiant Silvergun: ALL (both st2 and st4 routes)
Guwange: Kosame (56mil)
Gigawing: ALL (Carmine)
Gigawing 2: ALL (~2quad)
Dimahoo: ALL (Karte, 68mil)
Espgaluda: ALL (Tateha)
Espgaluda 2: ALL (Asagi, aroung 200mil)
Mushihimesama: ALL (Original)
Mushihimesama Futari 1.0: ALL (Original, all types/ships)
Mushihimesama Futari Black Label: ALL (Original Palm)
Ibara: ALL
Muchi Muchi Pork: ALL
Dodonpachi: 2-ALL (C-S 390mil)
Dodonpachi Daioujou: 2-ALL (B-S 920mil)
Dodonpachi Daioujou Black Label: 2-ALL (B-S 1.3bil)

—Are there any other non-STG games you’re into?

MON: I was really into the original Mother on the Famicom, which I played a ton on the actual hardware. I’ve also played the Monster Hunter series on the PSP a lot. For Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, I cleared all the quests solo using only dual swords.

—Is there a particular STG you’re planning to challenge next?

MON: I’ve got a lot of STGs on the 360 piled up, so I’m just going to play those casually for awhile I think. I don’t think I’ll be playing them seriously.

—Do you have any last message?

MON: I’m exhausted. (laughs)