So, I had a big post planned for today, but I got, um, sidetracked. You see, Dolly recommended I write about video games I loved, and that made me think of Harvest Moon, possibly my favourite game ever. However, when I moved to Arkansas I lost all my gameboy games! It was seriously tragic, and yes, I did cry. A lot. I was so close to unlocking all the Harvest Sprites! So close!!
Anyway, my mother bought me a number of new games as an apology for moving to Arkansas when I really, really didn’t want us to, but instead of re-buying the games I had before, she got me the newer versions. This was cool for Lost in Blue and Brain Age, but not at all cool for Harvest Moon. You see, the newest version of Harvest Moon was Rune Factory, wherein the game creators said, “Hey, you know what this charming, tranquil farming game really needs? Monsters!”
And lo, there were monsters! There were monsters everywhere, impeding all the basic functions of farming. And it ruined the game for me. For one thing, it made no sense– you’d find a sheep-monster in a cave, and you’d beat it nearly to death, and then you’d take it back to your farm and feed it and brush it and gather wool from it? The monsters were hell-bent on killing you, until you killed them and then they were “domesticated,” and if they weren’t bizarre animal-monsters, that was okay, because you could just enslave them and make them water your plants.
I was not cool with this. For one thing, the monsters kept killing me. Again and again and again. I couldn’t even run away from them! For another thing, enslaving monsters is sufficiently different from befriending rainbow-colored forest sprites that it’s just not the same game any more. I think they wanted to make the game a little more challenging for their regular fans, who have mastered the art of virtual farm management, but it made it too challenging for me. I was disappointed, but not too disappointed, because Lost in Blue 2 was awesome. (I love those games!)
Luckily, it looks like the franchise is developing separately from, not replacing, the traditional Harvest Moon games– there’s a Rune Factory 2 out, but ALSO a new regular HM game, “Island of Happiness.” I bought it today (plus a used copy of Harvest Moon DS, the game I had before, so I can finally beat it…) and they’ve changed the game mechanics to make it more difficult, but in a completely different way.
Basically, they’ve made the weather vastly more important. It’s all explained here— basically, plants need a certain amount of water or sun to progress to each of the stages of growth, and each kind of weather gives a different amount of sun or water. And each plant needs a different amount for each stage. And if you leave it in the ground for a few days after it matures, it’ll improve in quality, but if you leave it too long, it’ll rot, and those numbers are different for each plant too.
I like this a lot better, because it makes it harder by enhancing the complexity of the core aspects of the game, as opposed to adding a completely new aspect to juggle. It’s true to the spirit of Harvest Moon while still providing a challenge for experienced players. I love it.
I love it so much, I’m going to go play it some more right now. Maybe I’ll do that special post tomorrow.
Or maybe I’ll just play more Harvest Moon.