Girly Games: Harvest Moon BtN

My take on why I still enjoy the game Harvest Moon Back to Nature.
October 11, 2006
Alright, I’ve been thinking of writing an article for Retro Junk for awhile and I’ve finally been inspired to do so. What am I writing about? My odd love for Harvest Moon Back to Nature. This is not an article on the game per say, it’s more about why I play it (still) and my view on the game. I apologize if the images seem waaaay too big, I'll probably make them smaller for my next article.

A few years ago when I moved into the basement of our old house (my parents are now moving) when my brother went to college, I was able to get his old Playstation. All it cost me was $20 which I had conveniently won on a scratch off lottery ticket at the time (aka it cost me nothing). I therefore inherited the PS console, a blue memory card, the original controller and a red Mad Catz controller. Also, some sports games. Which I have never touched. But I have them. Lucky me? Being a girl, I didn’t really like the generic gray controller, or the Mad Catz one. So for Christmas I got a shiny new BLUE controller. I must always use it, because it is my favorite color and I just like it.

ah my good old PS. that's my SNES on the right side. and my lovely blue controller. with the red mad catz one.

So of course I slowly expanded my collection of games. Somehow I got hooked on Harvest Moon. I don’t remember how, but I think it is because I played a ROM for it on my SNES emulator on our old Gateway PC (Akio, may he rest in pieces). One day by chance at our local Target, Harvest Moon Back to Nature was on clearance. A whopping $20ish bucks. There were three there. At first I didn’t get it, but then I HAD to go back and buy it. Let the addiction begin.

ooo, ahh, the elusive game. and get ready for some SERIOUS fun. because it's farming. har har.

Here’s the story from the back. “As a child you visited your Grandfather’s ranch when vacation plans fell through. Return to the farm that holds fond childhood memories and rejuvenate it’s long neglected fields. Tend to your livestock and interact with over 50 characters. As you struggle to make the farm something you grandfather would be proud of, one nagging question remains: What ever happened to the little girl that you knew a decade ago?” (and no, the “it’s” is not my typo, it is on the back of the game). Sadly, after owning this game for over 5 years, I have yet to finish it. I get lazy.

Here’s how my playing style breaks down.
- game sits for months unplayed
- I maybe play it for about a half hour when a whim comes over me
- A few months later…I’ll go through an obsessive phase where I will play it for hours for a few days/week straight.
- Back to being unplayed
- Rinse and repeat.
(The only exception was when I first got it. It was all I played, then the above listed playing style became the norm.)

letsa go! get your butt out in the field and WORK![/align]

Why is this game addicting you may ask? I don’t know. Really, it’s kind of boring. All you do is run around, plant/water, run into town to woo the girls with your stuff and do little “tasks” to make the townspeople (and girls) like you to let you stay on the farm.

if you're like me, eventually you get lazy and make the Sprites do your work. Wooing girls, such work.[/align]

But I would sit for hours and play the game. My freshman year of college I ended up playing a lot. My roommate thought I was nuts because I would just sit and play this game that seemingly had no point. I’m still on that same game. I’ve restarted my farm at least 4 times, because now I know what to do, where to pick the things from nature to earn money right away and have the recipes already written down. Therefore I cheat slightly. It works for me!

actually, i just found this since i just moved to my apartment a week ago...lucky![/align]

To break up the monotony of going through your daily tasks of watering the fields, collecting the grasses/bamboo/mushrooms on the mountain, there may be a Festival or some type of activity in town. One must always be there! They always start at 10am. Plus side, as long as you show up BEFORE 5pm, if I remember correctly, the festival goes on and you don’t miss a thing. Time is a key player in this game. If you’re late putting your crops in the bin to sell, you don’t make anything. Therefore if it’s 4:30, just run in your expanded barn and dump them in the box there. Time stands still in buildings, which sometimes can be very convenient.

Best thing: always save the day before a Festival, especially if it has some type of mini game (Tomato Festival, Horse Racing, Swimming, etc) because if you lose, just hit Restart and try again until you win! I’ve done that. Especially when it pisses me off. I’ve walked away from the game many a time after those things. Or I start playing for 5 minutes and just hit the power button on my PS and go do something else. Either I’m in the mood to really play it, or not.

oo, they spin around in dresses. riveting.[/align]

Where am I in this game? Spring of my 3rd year. Finally getting into my 3rd year to await judgment from the townspeople and the Mayor. I’m married to Popuri and I have a kid. Have a full henhouse and almost full barn of sheep and cows.

as you can tell i started another random game... and my wife loves the kid. and me.[/align]

At the time you can tell what animes I used to like. All of my animals (minus the one named Popuri to score me extra points) are named after characters from Martian Sucessor Nadesico, Yu Gi Oh (I liked the subtitled version), Hana Yori Dango, Princess Nine and Revolutionary Girl Utena. The ones from Nadesico were traded from my REALLY early game from high school for the sake of me not having to raise more animals and buy more. Easiest way to save money. Plus the animals are fully grown and happy! Therefore they produce more. Cha-ching.

With a cluck cluck here....

ze chickens...mainly named after YuGiOh characters...and one from Princess Nine[/align]

and a moo-moo there....

moocows...from Hana Yori Dango, Nadesico and randomly Nightwalker...[/align]

and a baaa-baaa in the right hand corner....makes for a very noisy barn.

sheepies...again with Nadesico, Utena and Princess Nine...minus the last two. NO idea what I was thinking of when I named the 10th sheep....*innocent grin*[/align]

This game holds a spot in my heart (and memory card) because it’s dorky, girly and very very pointless. I think I like it because it’s somewhat cute and you get to run around and act like you care about the townspeople. Plus the idea of it just sucks you in. Cute little characters in their ideal little town, mostly happy until they tell you little things when they’re sad, or how Popuri’s dad went away to find a flower to cure her mom, how people are too chicken to tell the various girls they like that they like them (unless you take them away of course), yadda yadda yadda.

awww, all alone and i married her daughter...[/align]

AND you get to control your love life. If only real life was like that.
Boy: “Here, I brought you this flower every day for the past 2 months and agreed with you on certain things and named the chicken that hatched from the egg you gave me after you.”

Guys, seriously. If all it took to get a nice girl was to give her a flower everyday and naming a chicken after her, wouldn’t life just be so much easier?

Essentially, Harvest Moon isn’t for everyone. Either you like it or you don’t. That’s just how it is (besides being very, VERY repetitive). No matter what, it’s a quirky niche farming game that continues to have newer versions come out for the current consoles. Therefore someone has to like playing it. I’m one of those girls.

ah! nekkid sheep![/align]

Thanks for taking the time to read my article!

Next up, another random game I bought at Target for $10 bucks. Superstar Dance Club Hits #1! (yes, that is the full title). Super girly, kinda trashy yet somehow addicting.[/size]
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