Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. No, it isn't.

Christ on a cracker, this is the most boringly annoying game I have ever played. The sad thing is, it’s charming! It is! But there are little things that add up to make it excruciatingly annoying.

For example, I need to buy fertilizer, tomato seeds, and turnip seeds. Okay. First I need to time it right, because if I linger on milking the cows for too long (provided they’re giving any milk, but we’re getting to that), the people who sell the seeds will have wandered outside of their house and won’t do any business, meaning it’s very possible to lose a day of growing. Which can be crucial if you’re not careful, since crops only grow in certain season and every season (THANKFULLY, actually) is only ten days. I thought that sounded really short when I started playing the game, since I’m used to the thirty-day seasons of the original HM and Magical Melody. But it’s a blessing. It really is. I’ve made it through one year and a spring and it feels longer than two years in MM.

Anyway. So I catch the people who sell seeds, while they’re still lingering in their houses willing to do some business. Great! This is how shopping works:

  1. “Did you want to buy something?”
  2. Yes.
  3. “Okay, what do you want to buy?”
  4. List appears. Chose fertilizer. List disappears.
  5. “Okay. How many do you want?”
  6. Chose the amount.
  7. A cut scene of about five seconds where the salesperson reaches into their pocket, takes out the seeds, hands them to you, and you take the seeds, then put them in your pocket.
  8. “Did you want to buy something else?”
  9. Yes.
  10. Repeat the above with tomato and turnip seeds.

This is kinda cute the first time, but its not when you’ve had to buy a whole bunch of things.

You earn as good as NOTHING from growing crops. What you need to do is wait for chapter two, when you get a two-headed plant that eats two kinds of crops and turns them into a hybrid, that’ll actually give you money. You’ll also get a seed maker eventually, which turns one crop into two bags of seeds. Then you can plant them and wait for another bunch of days (half a season or more) before they grow. Unlike other HMs, the plants will only yield one crop and then wither, while in other HMs there has been crops giving more than one harvest. There are also fruit trees. They take about a year to grow.

Oh, and there are fun minigames! Like, oh, digging for treasure. Sounds fun, right? Then you’re in a field with a trowel, digging one square at a time. This is what happens when you find something:

  1. Character gets a ! mark over his head like he just spotted Solid Snake.
  2. There’s a musical note and a glow on the ground lasting for a couple of seconds.
  3. Character takes the item and stands up.
  4. You get a brief description of what it is.
  5. Character puts the item in his backpack.

This, again, takes several seconds to go through. Then when you’re done with the field, you go to the guy in charge and talk to him.

  1. “Do you want to stop digging?”
  2. Yes.
  3. “I see…”
  4. loading screen (nothing has visibly changed after the loading screen)
  5. “Are you sure you want to stop digging?”
  6. Yes.
  7. “Okay. Let’s see what you’ve dug up.”
  8. loading screen
  9. Weiila: “AAAAARGH!”

Oh yeah, we should note that every second in real life is one minute in the game. Man these guys move slow.

You want to fish? Sure! Just toss out the lure and wait.

Here we go again, because it can take one real life minute or more before a fish bites. Which doesn’t sound like much, really, but imagine sitting there staring at the screen waiting for the lure to bob? You start thinking, longingly, at other games you could be playing. And you pretty much need to fish, because it’s one of the few ways to make money in the beginning. But you can’t sell fish by putting it in your shipping box, oh no! You have to wait for the third and eight day in a season, when the wandering salesman is in town.

And when you’re fishing, make sure you didn’t buy chicken feed, or sold a rooster, or you’re about to feel hungry, or the wandering salesperson is about to set up or close shop. All these things trigger sudden cut scenes (hungry just makes you grab your stomach) that interrupt whatever you’re doing. You just got a bite and was hauling it in? Hah, sucker! Your character will just stand there staring at the river like the numbskull he is.

And the cows. So far, my first cow was the biggest source of income, because I got just about nothing from the crops and my patience snapped about the fishing the fourth time my gurgling stomach or the tragic event of an excess rooster being sold interrupted me being about to reel one in.

Unfortunately, cows only gives milk for a while after they have given birth, and I forgot that fact until, whoops, she’s dry. Which meant I had to put my saved money into borrowing a bull to impregnate her. One and a half season later, there’s a cute baby calf. During that time, she didn’t give any milk. I can appreciate a sense of reality to a point, but it’s still a bit ridiculous.

Oooh right, the final insult was Tartan, the two-headed plant who make hybrid crops. Let’s tango.

  1. Talk to Tartan for a long dialogue of options until he likes you enough to hybridize.
  2. “Which two do you want to hybridize?”
  3. Chose crop 1. Chose crop 2.
  4. Give crop 1 to Tartan. Left head swallows it, after waving his leaves for a bit.
  5. Give crop 2 to Tartan. Right head swallows it, after waving his leaves for a bit.
  6. Pause.
  7. Tartan does a little dance.
  8. Tartan pauses.
  9. Tartan slowly spits out the bag of seeds.
  10. Pause.
  11. Tartan tells you what you’ve got. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a hybrid. OTHERWISE IT FAILED AND YOU GOT A NORMAL SEED BAG. Meaning you either have to resign to that, or have to reload your game, which takes about a minute too.

AAAAARGH. No. I will not accept that stupidity. Not with such a ridiculously long process of trying to make just ONE single bag of hybrid seeds. There is no excuse. It’s not cute. You’ll need to do it again and again if you want to be effective.

Oh yeah, lest I forget the map. It shows where you are, where your dog is and where your horse (thank you) is. Not where your runaway chickens, or your child, or the multitude of villagers you want to befriend are. No. The important thing is, apparently, your dog. Which fills no function whatsoever except for being cute.

All those little scenes and loading screens and shit that is completely unnecessary make for a tedious, annoying game. STAY AWAY.

I lvoe the harvest Moon series. I bought this game, I think it was the girl version actually. And I stopped playing after an hour. Waaaay too complicated. Give me Back to Nature any day, with townwide food fights and sumo chicken matches any day.

You should try the PS2 version of AWL. It’s everything you just mentioned plus an incredibly mind-boggling soul-searing slowdown that makes everything seem as if it were happening on Bullet Time. FUN.

I love HM, but while I am still completely baffled as to why in the world I find a game consisting of endless repetitive routine tasks and schedule making so charming, this particular one was way too much bullshit.

If you liked at least the IDEA of it, try Harvest Moon DS. It’s basically AWL but… well, fun. Just be sure to get the second version of the american title. First american version and the european are bugged to everloving hell.

I got Island of Happiness for my DS and Tree of Tranquility on mah Wii. I haven’t played Tree much, but Island of happiness was the worst game ever. It was unplayable. Seems like the series is getting worse.
I have Rune Factory one and two, and they are the shit.

This was such an entertaining OP, I love it! Yay Weiila!

I preferred the handheld versions of HM, but unfortunately I haven’t picked up any of them in a while. I hate to forget what I was actually doing the last time I played…

Val: I love the HM series too, although I’ve only played the original and MM. They’re so cute, though. I think they pull at something in our genes because we all have farmer ancestors XD Buuut yeah, too many annoyances in this one.

SE: It’s the PS2 version I’m playing, I forgot to mention that. It definitely wasn’t helping it’s cause to win me over, I’d bet.

Kasey: Tree of Tranquility didn’t even make it over here :confused: But from your description, suppose that’s just as well. I’m hoping that Rune Factory: Frontier will be released in Europe, that looks fun.

Vicki: Mwahaha, thanks. I’ve learnt to properly use the Force of Snarking in the last few years, but that’s for bad fanfics only normally.

Actually, it’s not as if the original Harvest Moon was GOOD. (Yeah, I said it.) It was just addictive.

I mean, it’s a game where you spend 95% of your time going through a routine consisting mostly of watching grass grow.
Also, if you want to get a “good end” (in quotation because there isn’t THAT much of a difference between a good or a bad end) you have to RUSH through that routine because you won’t have the “infinite night” to take care of large areas of crops after you get married.
If you don’t get back to the house by 5 your wife will eventually get a divorce, you workaholic.
Except you still have to have those large areas of crops to get enough money for a good end.
And since all crops have to be in the bin by 5, you have to set up a harvest rotation, by planting seeds in different areas on different days, to make sure that you don’t have lots of unharvested crops at the end of the day.
And during all this, you still have to spend time with your girlfriend/wife and any kids you might have. Not to mention that you have to run around chopping wood, finding tools and power berries, doing events and festivals and lots of other stuff.
And the real kicker is that you don’t even have the rucksack that you get in later games, so when you harvest crops, you pick them up ONE AT A TIME and throw them in the bin.
At least time always stops if you’re inside. Taking care of the cows is your island of calm in the whole stressed out mess.

I still love the game though. :wink:

Actually, give your wife an egg a day and she won’t care if you’re up forever during the nights, so you can at least chop wood, cut grass and mend the fence then, even if you can’t do anything about the crops since they rot overnight in the bin.

I loved the one for the N64. I played it more than any other game out there. Even with the mass cropping and busy work to do, like Weila said, it’s all about the charm of the game; something that’s missing from quite a lot of games these days. The soundtrack too, although highly repetative, wormed it’s way into my soul and stayed there.

I SORELY want the one for PS1 where it resembles HM64. S-o-r-e-l-y.

I think I still have my copy somewhere. Man, i rememebr playing that game many times, and trading chickens back and forth to each new game. I had one chicken who was like, sixyears old at one point. And then my card crashed and they were gone forever. Since then I’ve kinda lost interest.

Weila: Have you played Rune FActory on the DS already? From what I saw, Frontier is extremely similar to the first one, but a little different. I read a wiki or something about it, and I remember that its the same characters. I cant remember if the plots exactly the same, but I know its not a completely different game.

I <3 RF.

Oh, Weiila, you’re gently told that the life of a farmer doesn’t pay and all you had to do was spend a few hours instead of a few years.

Or I’m a bit pissed about people getting “farmer” leaves, so we can’t get ours. Yep, not angry at all.

I have a copy of HM:Back to Nature if you’re interested… :smiley:

Give a month or so when I get hooked up with some moolah and I’ll hit you up.

I simply didn’t have the patience on this one and I quit after 30 minutes of game play. I guess I just didn’t get it, or take the time to really care to get it. I still really don’t get it.