#2 Harvest Moon
Long before there was Farmville or Farm Town or Generic Farming Facebook Game of Your Choice, there was Harvest Moon. Anyone that knows my gaming habits, knows about my fairly constant love affair with Harvest Moon.
I actually started with the first game that was released on the Super Nintendo in 1997. I didn’t play it until a couple of years later when I obtained a not-so-legit copy. That was back in the heady days of no-consequence downloading and someone (I won’t mention any names) had given me a bunch of games (for various game systems) that ran on the computer. (I was 14 or 15, don’t judge me!) Harvest Moon was one of them and I decided to try it out. The graphics weren’t bad for the Super and while, looking back, the game’s mechanics were pretty awful, I was hooked. I played that stupid game for hours and hours. This, my friends, was only the beginning.
I stopped playing for a while when I decided I probably shouldn’t be playing pirated games and deleted it. Then, in 2001, the affair was reignited with the release of Harvest Moon 3 for the Gameboy Color. I missed three iterations of the game between the first and this one (that I tried later as my obsession grew) but for years this was my favorite game. I played through it over and over again, off and on as my other gaming ventures waxed and waned. By the time “Friends of Mineral Town” was released in 2003, I was a true fan, waiting impatiently for the release.
From then until now, there’s been a bevy of Harvest Moon titles that have crossed platforms and I’ve played most of them (except for the ones on the Wii… The Wii doesn’t like me.), some good, some bad. I’ve even branched out and tried the Harvest Moon spin-offs, like Rune Factory and Innocent Life. If it’s Harvest Moon, my eye light up and I get all fan-girl about it. (I even have a stuffed sheep and a stuffed chicken that were Harvest Moon release giveaways for two different Harvest Moon titles. They’re on my bookshelf if you’d like to see them.)
That brings us to the most resent installments of the franchise. If you can call 2006 recent. I was thrilled when they announced Harvest Moon DS (The Nintendo DS being my favorite gaming device for a while now.) and waited eagerly to get my hands on it but was sorely disappointed. Bad controls and bad in-game systems left me annoyed and I had to go back to Mineral Town for my fix. Eventually, “Island of Happiness” was announced to be released in 2008 and I was again on the bandwagon. Again, I waited in anticipation for the new DS version almost hoping with anticipation. Harvest Moon DS “Cute” released first and, of course, I bought it, hoping they had fixed some of the issues. Not only was it the exact same game (Except you could play as a girl), I brought new and different bugs. Island, though, once it was in my possession, was everything a Harvest Moon game should be but I, being a responsible adult, didn’t get to give it the proper attention that it deserved.
SO! Now, we come to the present. A few weeks ago, I was getting tired of “real games” as Aaron put it and was ready to immerse myself in the soothing repetition of Harvest Moon. I charged up Aaron’s DS (mine broke! ToT) and “Ahhhh!” it was wonderful! I played in my free time, building my farm and making moves toward the future husband I had chosen and then the unthinkable happened! CORRUPTED DATA!! I was crushed! I had just gotten my first special item and *poof* gone.
But, as it turns out, my grief turned to joy when in the depths of my sadness (Because corrupted data in a video game is the end of the world. Obviously.) when we went to Big Blue Corporate Electronics Store last weekend to look at DJ stuff for Aaron (one of his future obsessions, I’m sure) which is conveniently located behind the video game section. On a lark, since I was still in my corrupted data doldrums and I hadn’t heard of any releases I cared about, I perused the games. And what did I behold, shining like a lootable enemy? A NEW HARVEST MOON GAME!!! :D
My first impulse, always, is “I don’t need it.” but Aaron bought it for me anyway and I’m excited!! I haven’t had a chance to get beyond Day 4 since I acquired it on Sunday and have been mad busy all week, but this weekend… I have a date on the “Sunshine Islands”.
UPDATE: Sunshine Islands was alright… It removed some of the bugs that kept me from liking Harvest Moon DS but it was really just the same old game. Plus, the crop sunlight and watering mandates were taxing to the extreme! Being a true nerd, I worked out spreadsheets on watering tables, etc. Too much work.
However, Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar dropped a couple weeks ago and it takes the game back to the basics. I love it! It vastly simplifies the gameplay and it feels just as fun as the old game. If you’re wanting to give the Harvest Moon franchise a go, Grand Bazaar is a great place to start!
(as in old posts… I’m probably still obsessed with them.)