I realized that I haven’t bored anyone to death with a video game update in quite some time, even though I just completed Final Fantasy XIII-2 (it was a mind trip) and I’ve been gearing up for the next beta weekend of Guild Wars 2 (yah!), so to remedy that here is this. Feel free to throw tomatoes in the comments. Also, I have had people try to tell me that they don’t think that Farmville is a video game, but since video games are generally any game that involves being displayed and input into using an electronic device, I say you are in denial. 🙂
Harvest Moon is a very fun little game that’s been produced in Japan since the mid-1990s. Like Farmville, it is a simulation farming game, with many different titles that have been released for various gaming platforms. I have always played the releases for Nintendo’s hand-held devices, the Gameboy and the DS, but titles are also made for Playstation 2, PSP, Wii and maybe other things. They also make a similar game called Rune Factory, which still has the farming aspect and introduces monster hunting, as well.
Anyway, on with my list!
1) Harvest Moon won’t clog your notifications or update feed. Your friends cannot leave a million updates about how you need to help them out, nor do you run the risk of being “that friend.” However, you can still have the fun of interacting with other people, with the ability to cut that off when you need to. The game I’m currently playing, A Tale of Two Towns, has a collective farming plot where you can invite people to farm with you by connecting your DS to the internet and exchanging friend codes.
2) The game you buy is the game you get, and you only have to buy it once. One of the things that I disliked about playing Farmville is that even though it is a free game, all of the fun useful stuff has to be bought. Not only that, but usually it’s a finite item and has to eventually be bought again. And if you don’t want to buy it, generally you have to pester your friends to click on your posts to help you get it. While Harvest Moon is a more expensive game up front and you need a console to play it, you get the whole game, no tricks. This is simply a difference in the way the companies look to gain profit- Zynga needs to make money off their products to stay in business, but I find the game is less fun when you’re expected to keep buying things for it.
3) There are other activities besides farming. Farmville has introduced the market aspect, and of course there are animals to care for and collectibles to collect, but mostly you chill out on the same plot of land that can only get bigger if you buy it or collect enough friends. If you want to do other things, you have to play a different game. Harvest Moon offers more to do: fishing, bug-catching, exploring, falling in love, having kids, expanding your house, building friendships with villagers, contests, etc. Like, I said, it costs more to buy in the beginning, but I’ve never felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. You can also have two different saved games in most newer releases, so you can be trying out two different paths at the same time, as well.
4) Courting, marriage and kids! And semblance of plot! Something that I have a lot of fun with is the bachelor/bachelorette courting: in most recent HM games, you have the option to pick someone you like, meet some friendship requirements, and then get married and have a baby! It’s fun! Plus, most Harvest Moon games have ultimate objectives that you have to meet (free all the harvest sprites, mend the relationship between two towns, make the bazaar the very best in the world, save the city, etc.) that give you something to work toward. It puts a little more life in the thing, and it’s different in each game.
5) You can shut the game off and go do other things. Your plants won’t die. Yes, this is important. No need to wake at 2 am to water your whatevers so they don’t shrivel up and die. (Or was that just me?) When you shut the game off, it doesn’t keep running, so there’s no need for you to plan on being near a computer in 4 hours because your raspberries will be done. This comes in real handy if you really want to do well in a game but don’t want to sacrifice your personal life, meals, or sleep. But if you do, at least it’s entirely your fault. 🙂 Time does not pass in game unless you’re playing, which actually might allow for an even more casual experience than Farmville.
And I made this list without evening mentioning the llamas! They are the cutest, better than a Farmville Valentine’s Day sheep any time. Anyway, I thought this might be fun to share, since so many people like Farmville but have never heard of this nice little game that’s been doing it for over a decade. If you want to know more, obviously Wikipedia is a good start, but I also recommend checking out this neat help site called Ushi No Tane (fogu.com/hm). They have all kinds of info for pretty much each HM and Rune Factory game out there, as well as a great online community if you want to chat with others about the game or share friend codes for co-op farming.
What are some of your secret video game obsessions? Or do you not play them at all? Let me know in the comments, and happy gaming!