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It grows on you--haha, get it? ...

Somehow, for two months straight, I missed that the original Harvest Moon (for SNES) was released on the Virtual Console. I own, love, and caress my copy of HMSNES in all its original glory every single day, so my 800 Wii points will be saved for another treasure. However, this is a wondrous event for the friends I have been trying to push Harvest Moon on for years.

The cart is selling for about $60 used these days (more than your initial farm house in the game is worth), and I've seen it for upwards of $200 on eBay. As one of the last SNES titles released (after the N64 was already out and stealing gamers' souls) it's rare at best, and is likely a figment of most gamers' imaginations. Being able to purchase it on the VC for ~$8.00 is almost as good of a deal as the $20 Wii points cards Wal-Mart was selling for $7. (This comparison is going to anger anyone with basic math skills.)Natsume and its series suffer from the same translational and spelling difficulties Enix always did, but to an even more hilarious extent. They actually spelled their own name wrong on the title screen of Harvest Moon 64 (by Natume). However, Harvest Moon and its legion of 'sequels' are of that genre whose potential for pure gaming bliss cannot be explained. When attempted, it sounds like "You do farm work and chores over and over, spend money on ungrateful chicks, make a baby and then the game ends." But every person I've explained the premise to and then convinced to try for themselves has transformed from "What the hell is wrong with you" to "Why the hell can't I stop playing?" It's relaxing, rewarding, and just an overall pleasant experience.

The reward system which is so necessary in games is present at every turn--water your crops, they will grow. Harvest them and you get money. Brush your cow and she will produce larger milk. Give a girl a cake and she will marry you. Just like real life. If nothing else, try it for the pregnant cows that get so fat their legs don't touch the ground and you can just scoot them around the barn on their bellies.

Or, because people seem to like lists and numbers, do it for one of the following "Reasons people never gave for playing Harvest Moon because they degrade the pure genius of the game itself but will probably appeal to a more general, crass crowd":
1. You can hang out at the bar, and woo the drunkard waitress to be your wife.
2. Your dog pees on your crops. Quite often.
3. If you get tired of being married, beat your wife with a hammer or give her weeds and she will leave you.
4. When you shove cows out in the rain, they flip out.
5. The game teaches that all girls, upon getting married, must grow their hair out to a respectable feminine length (to their waist) within a day. Even those with boy-short hair. Overnight if it was a late ceremony.
6. For some reason, you can act out the story of Jack and the Beanstalk far enough along in the game, and sell the golden goose.

7. That chicken statue really is interesting.
8. You get to grow a 'money tree.'
9. Subtly adult dialogue!
10. I'm running out of stupid reasons because there are so many genuinely awesome reasons to play.


  1. Blogger Joey | October 24, 2008 at 3:42 PM |  

    You know I'm a sucker for lists, but the "Reasons people never gave for playing Harvest Moon because they degrade the pure genius of the game itself but will probably appeal to a more general, crass crowd" is glorious.

    Subtly adult dialogue gets me everytime.