This week’s confession: I was addicted to Harvest Moon
I think I am on a farming kick this week, after reviewing Farm Simulator 2011 (it’s a cheap plug but it’s my article so I can link to whatever I want) I started thinking about one of my favourite games from the past.
A few years back, my friends and I got obsessed with Harvest Moon. It’s hard to explain why I enjoyed it so much or enjoy it so much to this day. I played the game morning noon and night (although I was never able to afford the pricey cabin and I’ll explain why later)
I would create working patterns and I knew what to plant when and how to get the most money out of each day, I was popular amongst the villagers and I had prized winning livestock. I had even upgraded all my tools to the best available level. I was the farm master.
So with the (and I used this term lightly) sim parts pretty much sorted, I decided I should try the other aspect of the game and start a family with one of the towns people. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, in each version there are several women who you can woo and eventually wed. You could even have a son/daughter. (This is first time where I had come across something like this in a game) As I already knew the people, I knew their secrets and I knew what made them tick, it wasn’t that difficult achieving the required relationship points.
Unfortunately this is where my story starts to go wrong. I had built up a relationship (with Karen if you were interested) I had even gone as far as picking a wedding date. I could play up until the wedding day and even see the wedding but then the game would fade to black and stop. At first I thought that it was simply the end of the game, I had accomplished all the major tasks available so it wasn’t unreasonable to suspect this. That is until nothing happened for 5 minutes; there were no credits, no music and no sign of life at all on my TV screen. Eventually I decided to bite the bullet and restart the game and reload my save. Once again I saw the wedding the screen faded to black and nothing. It soon became apparent that either my game was over or something was wrong. To make matters worse I had saved over my previous save so I was stuck. Faced with starting over I decided to call it a day and I retired my wellies.
I mentioned earlier that my friends also became obsessed and I was to blame, I would talk constantly about the game and they were curious so when I was done with the game he asked if he could borrow it. I was done with it, so I let him play it. He played it slightly differently but he eventually arrived at the same point I did although he had married Anne but even with a different women the outcome was the same.
Upon close inspection of the disk he found that there was a minuscule scratch on the game, and he assumed that this was causing the game to crash. After he told this, we tried every trick and technique that we could to remove the scratch from professional buffers, disk cleaners and we even put the disk in the freezer overnight(don’t ask) but it was all in vein. We were beaten we gave up and that was it. Years later my friend feeling nostalgic bought his own copy and he still had the same problem.
I don’t know what annoyed me more; the fact that it was the game to blame or the amount of time we had spent trying to fix a problem that we thought was our fault. Once again I resigned myself to stop playing to call it a day….until it arrived on the GameBoy Advance. I’ll be honest, after my past experiences I was apprehensive at first. I had spent a lot of time on t he game and I didn’t want to get addicted to it again, I tried to stop myself, I failed. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised, this version worked brilliantly and not only that it didn’t stop after the wedding. Being able to finally complete the game gave me some closure on the whole experience and while I tried to play one of the many sequels that have come out since then I have never found myself as interested as I once was. This is probably a good thing.