If there is “one game to rule them all” for me, it would be Harvest Moon. I know, I know, what’s a “boring,” “repetitive” farming game got to do with my history as a gamer? Well, technically, EVERYTHING.
Harvest Moon started my journey into the gaming world and up to now, it is a series that I still religiously follow. So! Let me introduce you to the top Harvest Moon titles that have made their presence felt in my life as a gamer. 🙂
The mother of all things holy, Harvest Moon (SNES) was the one that started it all. I distinctly remember my older brother’s friend playing this on an emulator with our very old and outdated desktop computer. Of course, being the curious little girl I was, I had no idea what was going on. Until it was explained to me very clearly that your main objective is to lead the life of a farmer, planting crops, raising livestock, and eventually finding the girl of your dreams and marrying her. And then I fell in love.
It may all seem boring to other people but the SNES version owns my soul. I remember waking up every morning at 6AM just so I could sneak downstairs to play the game (I was splitting the PC with a Dad and older brother who took HOURS playing USAF). I was addicted to this game and I still play this every once in a while, LOL.
I think most of those who are familiar with Harvest Moon know it from the Playstation version. Although there have been versions for the SNES and the N64, this was the title that broke through mainstream gaming. Even those who never played Harvest Moon have heard of Back to Nature, haha!
This was the one that I played until the very end of 10 game years. Sheesh. I remember playing this so often and being so obsessed with it that even my Dad knew the theme song. He would hum the melody to me just to tease me, LOL. I had a notebook for recipes, gifts for townspeople and how to plot your farm land out to make it the most lucrative piece of dirt there ever was.
Let’s not forget how most of the boys who ever played this game that I met have a distinct love for Karen, HAHAHAHA!
Not quite as popular, FoMT is the GBA-version of Back to Nature. I put this down here because I spent a good deal playing this game as well. BTN was pretty slow but they fixed that up right away in FoMT. Maybe because it wasn’t as graphics-heavy as BTN that’s why they were able to make things load a lot faster. FoMT is technically the same as BTN, just in a different console and made more for portability. 🙂
There were two Harvest Moon titles for the PS2 – Innocent Life and AWL. I played both and I hated Innocent Life because you were robot and there was no option of getting married. Which totally sucked. D:
A Wonderful Life is the PS2 port of the Gamecube version, a console that I did not have. But what I did have was a Playstation 2 so I was still able to play this game! And I thanked the high heavens that they ported this game because there was no significant HM titles for the PS2. Huhu.
A Wonderful Life is quite different. You get to play as a character in a world where the motion of time is visible around you. After completing several years, time fast forwards and you get to play as your child. Even the villagers around you age significantly, it’s pretty cool, LOL.
My only complaint about this game is that it slows down once you get to the more advanced years, so the lag is a bit of a problem and you spend more time looking at a black loading screen than milking your cows.
I know that there are several HM titles for the Wii as well although Tree of Tranquility was the only one that I was able to get my hands on. The game is also quite unique since your goal is to save the town and, well, duh, the tree. Hahaha!
What I loved the most about this title is the quality of the graphics. There are a lot of options in the game in terms of farming and you also get to choose the location of your house (near the town, beach, or mine) depending on your goals in-game. I chose the mine because mining is always a lucrative part of Harvest Moon, LOL.
A New Beginning brought about the newest change in Harvest Moon. This title had all the works – new graphics, new story, new mechanics, everything was new! This time you get to customize your character’s appearance as well as the appearance of the town. You can move villagers around to get easy access to shops that you really need!
ANB is the new age of Harvest Moon and it’s a game that I deeply love to its core. 🙂
After the entire fiasco with X-Seed and Natsume, Bokujo Monogatari had now turned into the series of Story of Seasons. Since Natsume was the one who had copyrighted the name “Harvest Moon” and they were not publishing the game anymore, X-Seed had to use a different name.
I played this game for quite a while and though I’m still thoroughly in love with the franchise, the game is slowly losing its sparkle and glamour. Story of Seasons is just a stone’s throw away from A New Beginning. They are very similar with just a few adjustments in mechanics.
They introduced new selling systems in the game that made everything very slow. And those who are not familiar with Harvest Moon might find the “normal mode” of the game extremely challenging. I have been playing Harvest Moon for years and for the first time in my life, I’ve never felt as poor as I was when I played SoS.
I still love Harvest Moon and I continuously look forward to hearing news from X-Seed regarding new Bokujo Monogatari games. Sorry for those who are fans of the current Harvest Moon titles (Lost Valley, etc.) but they’re really not Harvest Moon games anymore, only by name. Haha!
Anyway, that’s it from me! Hit me up if there are other Harvest Moon titles that made an impact in your life! I’d love to discuss! 🙂