Timeless Classics: Harvest Moon
The Super Nintendo was, and to some it still is, king of the JRPG. From Chrono Cross to the Final Fantasy games, you had enough lengthy adventures to fill a summer vacation. However, a game that may be passed over my the general audience is the original Harvest Moon by Natsume.
Sure, the franchise is still around and is still fairly popular (at least enough to where you’ve heard the name), but hardly any of the newer series have been able to bring the magic of the original.
What’s the Beef?
You’re just a boy (sorry, ladies) that has just inherited a huge lot of farm land from your grandfather. The problem is that grandpa decided to leave crap all over his lawn for you to pick up after he passed away. What a jerk! To make matters worst, you have 2 1/2 years to get this mess in order, so when your dad comes he can judge you on your performance. What this all boils down to is you’re going to be busting your butt to get this farm in shape, and a busting it shall be.
The game has it’s stressful moments, right at the beginning, but it’s nothing too difficult to get around. It’s a race around the fast-paced clock for a couple of in-game weeks to get the weeds pulled, the rocks busted up, and to plow the fields. On the bright side, you’re not out in the sun doing this in real life. But outside of that, Harvest Moon just pits you in a virtual farm and has you doing your best to prepare for different seasons and live your farm boy life.
Part of the game also is economy based. You need to sell your crops in order to get more crops. Or get upgrades to your house. Or buy feed. When you buy these things, you rinse and repeat. Issues will arise too: Betsy, the moo cow, she can get sick from sitting in the rain all day. You need to buy medicine, thus taking a dip into little Timmy’s college funds. (Who am I kidding? A farming degree?)
But is that it? Farming? Of course not. There’s the interaction between you and the town’s people. There’s the festivals. And there’s the romance! While farming is definitely an important factor of Harvest Moon, the interaction is what keeps you coming back. You’ll want to not only clean the farm, harvest the crops, feed the chickens, or upgrade your house. You’ll also want to pursue the love of your life. This will gain you access to family features such as your wife going to bed without you while you were at the bar all night, or her sweet booty going to the chick coop and sorting the eggs in your bin every morning.
Why’s It Matter?
In a time before The Sims, this was a pretty close simulator to real-life farming. It might not be realistic, in fact, it might be a downright simple version of The Sims, but nonetheless, before The Sims, this felt as Sim-ish as you could get. And then throw in some typical JRPG characters. The original (and the N64 and PSX versions) are some of the best versions of Harvest Moon. There’s something about these games that have so many glitches/secrets that the game is double the fun just searching for these things, or uncovering them. At times, every gameplay feels different. This is just part of the reason that the original Harvest Moon is so beautiful.
Available on: SNES, Wii Store