Author interviews Vol.37 Z_H

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Talking to Z_H

Our guest this time is Z_H. He is in his 30s, a bachelor. His job is IT-related. He makes Hitori mainly in nikoli.com. He invented Satogaeri in 2002.

NyanBazWhat kind of games did you play as a child?

Z_HI liked video games. I played many different video games in the homes of many friends. I also played outdoors. In the neighborhood where I lived, there was much open land and parks in those days.

NyanBazDid you do puzzles?

Z_HI remember that just before entering elementary school, I had a book with mazes. I accomplished finishing the book. In elementary school I drew mazes on notebooks.

NyanBazWhen did you encounter Nikoli puzzles?

Z_HI saw them the first time in the school study materials. When I was a senior high school student, I bought my first Nikoli puzzle book. I looked for something to kill time when going to school by train, and as a result I bought a Pencil Puzzle Book. Perhaps that was Number Skeleton 1. There were still only few kinds of puzzles then.

NyanBazDid you solve all of them?

Z_HYes. I intended to solve them on the train going to school, but I kept solving them even after getting home. I finished it within a month. Then I bought other Pencil Puzzle Books. I finished 4 or 5 books in a short time. I noticed that I didn't have time to do anything else, and I stopped doing puzzles for a while.

NyanBazYou got absorbed in puzzles. You solved several books so you didn't like just one kind of puzzle, did you solve different puzzles?

Z_HYes. Because if I hadn't yet tried some puzzle, then, OK I thought, I would try this puzzle next and I bought a new book.

NyanBazDidn't you yet know Puzzle Communication Nikoli?

Z_HI knew it because Puzzle Communication Nikoli was next to the Pencil Puzzle Books in the bookstore. For some reason I didn't buy it then. I bought Puzzle Communication Nikoli for the first time around the time of the university entrance examination. Because I liked the skeleton contest, I bought Puzzle Communication Nikoli then. I also liked that it had different puzzles. I participated in the skeleton contest several times. My best result was a second place.

NyanBazGreat! It's very difficult to get the second place. Did you solve a lot of puzzles?

Z_HI tried different puzzles, but didn't solve them completely.

NyanBazFrom when did you start to contribute puzzles to Nikoli?

Z_HMy work was first published in Vol. 68, I was a university freshman then. It was a Numberlink and a Go-ishi-hiroi.

NyanBazWhy did you start to make puzzles?

Z_HI read the contribution guideline page in Nikoli, that was the direct opportunity. There I knew that Nikoli accepted contributions from readers, and I thought I would try to contribute puzzles. Because I wanted to solve problems that were harder than the published problems, I sent in Go-ishi-hiroi. I made mazes at the time I was in primary school. So I didn't have any hesitation about making problems.

NyanBazWhat is your favorite puzzle?

Z_HI think I tried to solve any puzzle, then among them I love Hitori the best.

NyanBazWhat is it you like about Hitori?

Z_HBecause I've made a lot of Hitori, I understand what is necessary. When I made Hitori at first, I thought that all the starting moves of published problems were similar. I intended to develop new ways to start.

NyanBazMaybe it was you who begun to use the cascade design by two number pairs.

Z_HMaybe. I like doing what nobody else does.

NyanBazIs that a characteristic of yours, to want to do things different from others?

Z_HI have a bit of that. When I make a puzzle without thinking, I end up with inferior problems. It isn't interesting.

NyanBazYou make a lot Numberlink besides Hitori.

Z_HYes. I love Numberlink. My work is often published. But I'm not making as many Numberlink as POTS, so I don't think that I'm really good at making Numberlink.

NyanBazPOTS has said that he has made 10,000 Numberlink problems. I also often see your name with Ripple Effect.

Z_HWell. I contributed Ripple Effect from it was born in Omopa. I love the very special rhythm of Ripple Effect.

NyanBazYou are a rare person, to be the fan from the beginning of Ripple Effect. Are there puzzles you are weak at doing?

Z_HThere are puzzles which I can't make well. For example, Slitherlink.

NyanBazIt's difficult to express something special with Slitherlink. You want to do things different from other people, so you don't get along with Slitherlink.

Z_HBut really, I don't dislike Slitherlink. I like even puzzles that do not use numbers. I make crossword puzzles.

NyanBazYou are an all-rounder. When you make a puzzle, what are you careful about?

Z_HThere is nothing that I take special care about. It's OK if I can express my ideas. The editor kills problems that aren't good. I entrust that to the editor. I only check it over once after I've made a puzzle. I don't remake a puzzle many times.

NyanBazDo you think puzzles are a kind of self expression?

Z_HHmm. I don't really think so very much. I'm simply happy that I see my name appearing. So that's a sort of self-expression.

NyanBazDo you want to entertain solvers?

Z_HI'm conscious of that in a corner of my mind. I know that puzzles should be an enjoyment to solvers. But fundamentally I'm making puzzles as I like to do them. Among authors, there are some who are 100 percent trying to serve the solvers. I can't do it to that way.

NyanBazWell. You think and you don't think. Your position is unique.

Z_HI know that my position isn't solidly anchored.

NyanBazDo you get absorbed in anything other than puzzles?

Z_HI enjoy the quiz games at a game center and I play a lot with NintendoDS. I'm an indoor person. But I belonged to the track and field club in junior high school.

NyanBazIs there something you want to do in the future?

Z_HThere isn't anything particularly, but I want to continue puzzles. I don't want to become a stubborn old man. I want to become a light hearted old man. I want to continue being interested in all kinds of things. And I want to do the things that I like.

NyanBazGood for your. Now the last question, anything that you want to tell the people solving your puzzles?

Z_HI'm enjoying making the problems. Then, if the people solving them are pleased too, there is nothing that would make me happier. I'm glad if you enjoy my puzzles. I'd be sorry if you think they are dull.

NyanBazThank you for an enjoyable conversation today.


Interviewed Oct 2012 Published on Jun 6, 2013