Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Harvest Moon

Though I do not play videogames as much as I used to in say, college - whenever I feel like taking a break from life, I will flip the switch on my DS, pop open a game of minesweeper, or attempt to wrestle Sak for control of the PS3. (I lose - he's playing his freebies from the fiasco.)

Lately I've been playing Rune Factory.  Yes - it's an older game, but I always play games long after they first hit the shelves because I'm cheap and have a ridiculously hard time paying full price for uh, anything.

It's by Natsume, the creators of Harvest Moon.  My very first Harvest Moon game was "Save the Homeland" for the PS2.  
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I loved, loved, loved that game - and since then have made it a habit to buy any Natsume game that is under $15. (I told you I am cheap. That's just how it is.)

The basic tenets of Harvest Moon are simple: you start with a bag of seeds, crude tools, and a farm in which to earn your living. You plant, water and harvest - you buy and raise livestock, and make friends with the local community. You upgrade tools, your farm, your home.  
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And the best part - you woo and propose to your choice of the neighborhood girls (or guys, if you're playing the elusive girl's version).  You raise a family, make your farm profitable, get old, and die.
(source) Sak's favorite: Muffy, the easy barmaid.
(source) Melody, the onsen owner I'm currently trying to court!

Each Harvest Moon game is a bit different, some with different girls, different crops, different goals. But the main idea of farming is the same.  Additionally, there's games like River King which focus more on fishing rather than farming, or Rune Factory, which introduces a dungeon fighting element to the traditional farming aspects.

I'm not sure what I like so much about Harvest Moon, as each game is painfully tedious.  Maybe it's the complexity, the life-sim qualities that really make you invested in the success of your character.  Or maybe it's just the cute graphics and the watered-down dating sim. Knowing myself, it's probably the latter.

Though I do have a confession to make - I hardly ever "finish" my Harvest Moon games.  I will play one, and since they take so long, will likely get a new one before I finish the old one.  This, people, is not a good strategy, and a good parent would be wise to force their child to finish one thing before starting another.  But as it's my money, I guess it's a problem of my own making and lack of self-control. Ah well.
My HM cow plushie, gifted long ago from best-buddy E!

List of Natsume games I currently have (though I've also played a few of the older, GB games, they weren't mine):
  • Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland (PS2)
  • River King: A Wonderful Journey (PS2)
  • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition (PS2)
  • Chulip (PS2..and deserves it's own review in the future for being epic-ly awesome)
  • Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life (Gamecube..you can play as a girl and court the dudes in this one, though the choices are terrible in my opinion!)
  • Harvest Moon DS 
  • Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness (DS)
  • Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (DS)
And in case you are wondering, there are many, many more games that I haven't played yet!  I especially want to try out Princess Debut, because who can resist a dating sim? Not I.
(source) No, I don't think the rabbit is one of your options here.

Have you played Harvest Moon? Is it similar to Farmville? I admit I haven't gotten on board with that because my snubby self thought it looked like a knock-off HM.

6 comments:

  1. Dave says,

    "Harvest Moon is actually fulfilling whereas Farmville is intentionally addicting and pointless. Plus in Harvest Moon you can have cute cows that grow up!"

    I have to admit I was a sucker for Farmville, and I thoroughly enjoy these types of games - Dave buys me games like Cooking Mama and The Sims for his old DS hoping I will be placated by his CONSTANT DS playing. (I am not good at the fighting games or the strategy games as I tend to just pick whatever option/hit whatever button seems easiest i.e. Phoenix Wright.)

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  2. I have a super-old-school Super Nintendo that I love to play. But only Super Mario World and Mario Kart. Even though I'm not too into video games, there is something therapeutic about popping one in and zoning out for an hour or so. Harvest Moon looks like a cute game!

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  3. That totally looks like something I would love! I had Nintendogs on my DS for a while, but I would seriously stress about taking care of my pup (Kibbles). It was bad enough that I would wake up in the middle of the night because I would think I didn't feed or pet her, and I was worried that I'd turn on the game and find she'd run away. I could never just stop playing, so I gave the game to my friend's daughter instead. I still wonder how Kibbles is doing. =)

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  4. If you like board games, try Agricola!

    Haha, I thought of Farmville while reading the description but I don't play it so I can't tell you if it's similar.

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  5. @kristin - cooking mama!!! i love her fire-eyed mad face when you screw up. lol.

    @kim - yes! therapeutic! but it would be healthier if it were just an hour or so...not..uh, five or six! haha

    @jennifer - my sis had nintendogs! you should try one of the natsume games (or cooking mama), totally totally addicting!

    @alvina - i wiki'ed agricola - it sounds like a similar premise! i'll have to look into it more to fulfill my inner-farmer needs. lol

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