- Harvest Moon (series)
The Harvest Moon series logo.
Genres Life simulation,
Developers Marvelous Interactive (formerly Victor Interactive Software) Publishers Creators Yasuhiro Wada Platforms Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii Platform of origin Super Nintendo Entertainment System First release Harvest Moon
August 9, 1996
Latest release The Tale of Two Towns
November 1, 2011
Spin-offs Rune Factory series Official website Harvest Moon official site
Harvest Moon (牧場物語 Bokujō Monogatari , lit. "The Farm Story") is a farm simulation role-playing video game series originally created by Yasuhiro Wada in 1996 and produced by Victor Interactive Software (later acquired by Marvelous Entertainment in 2003). English translation and distribution of the game is done by Natsume (and Rising Star Games in Europe). The object of the game is to maintain a farm over a period of time, tending the crops and livestock through the seasons, while befriending the nearby townsfolk and getting married in some games. The first game was Harvest Moon, released for the SNES in 1996. Games in the series have also been produced for Game Boy and GBA, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameCube and Nintendo DS; with new titles for PSP, Nintendo DS, and for the Wii and PlayStation 3.
Most gameplay in the Harvest Moon games consists of planting seeds to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs, and collecting items, making home improvements, and building personal relationships. A successful farmer must weigh in the cost, sell price, number of harvests, and growth times of the various types of produce in order to pick the best product for each of the seasons. One can also go fishing and mining for extra profit.
The ultimate challenge is for the player to manage their time. There is only a short amount of time in each game day, and the player only has a set amount of energy. They must balance their time and strength by working on the farm and making friends with the people in town.
The player's character has mostly been male, but some of the newer games offer the option to play as a female character. A common theme throughout the series follows the storyline wherein the player inherits a relative's or an old friend's farm, and is then taken through the various aspects of farming such as growing crops, raising livestock, making friends and ultimately finding a partner. Each game provides objects to collect or goals to complete, whether it be befriending villagers, collecting musical notes, finding sprites, making rainbows, or ringing bells.
This is the central aspect to all the games. The player must find optimal planting, watering, and harvesting patterns. Finding the most profitable plants, clearing space for planting, and harvesting the crops before the next season rolls around are key to gaining money. In the games, each season has different crops available for planting, except for winter (and fall in the first Harvest Moon), when crops cannot grow and the player must rely on fishing, foraging, mining and livestock for income, though in some versions, a greenhouse can be used during the winter to protect crops. Crops can be grown year round in "A Wonderful Life," "Another Wonderful Life" and "Hero of Leaf Valley."
Turnips, potatoes, tomatoes and corn are staple crops of the series, introduced in the first game. Since then, other games have introduced new crops, such as cabbage, carrots, onions, strawberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, rice, pineapples, cucumbers and more.
An increasingly large part of the games is purchasing, caring for, and raising your own livestock. Livestock can bring about profits on a daily basis. Giving one's animals attention will increase their affection towards the player and over time, will begin producing higher quality products. On the other hand, neglecting the animals' needs can lead to sickness and even death.
The first Harvest Moon only allowed cows and chickens and provided a barn and chicken coop to house them. Milk and eggs could both be sold, as well as the animals themselves. Later titles introduced sheep and a separate feed for chickens, as well as machines that could change milk into cheese, eggs into mayonnaise, and wool into yarn. The more recent games allow the player to also raise ducks, goats, and differently-colored cows. In Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility silkworms and ostriches were introduced to the series, and the new game also enabled players to befriend wild animals and persuade them to live on their farm.
Animals are also able to reproduce. Eggs can be placed in an incubator to hatch a chick in a few days, while giving a cow or sheep a miracle potion will impregnate them. Buying and breeding multiple horses was introduced in Harvest Moon 3 for Game Boy Color and continued in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Harvest Moon: Animal Parade
Pets and other animals
In many Harvest Moon games a player is given the opportunity to receive a dog and horse as a pet. Increasing variety of animals can be kept as pets in the newer titles, from pigs and cats to pandas and turtles. In some games, the pets attend competitions (e.g. horse races and dog races) to win prizes. In Harvest Moon: Back to Nature the player can raise fish.
Pest animals are also found in Harvest Moon including wild dogs, and gophers. Wild dogs visit the farm at night and harass any livestock not kept in a barn or fenced area. Gophers in some older titles would consume crops.
Many Harvest Moon games require the player to gather materials for home improvement, tool improvement, cooking, or simply selling. The most common resource at earlier stages of the game (in older games) is wood; the player is able to chop up tree stumps to gather wood to add buildings to his or her farm, or add fencing to keep wild dogs out of the farm. Mining has also become an important feature, and most of the minerals found while mining in caves are required to upgrade tools to better, more manageable forms, as well as craft gifts for people in town. Cooking has also become a side activity in some games, and foraged foods, crops, milk and eggs can all be used to create different dishes.
Most games in the series feature annual festivals which the player can attend. Some of these may just be simple social events, while others may be contests with prizes available to the player. Sometimes festivals are akin to real life holidays, such as Thanksgiving and the Starry Night Festival, which seems to be reminiscent of Christmas Eve. Livestock-themed festivals often take place, where the player can submit their animals to compete against other farms. Animals who win these contests often receive benefits; for example, a cow that wins might gain the ability to produce gold milk.
The Harvest Moon games offer many choices for potential love interests. As the player spends time with the various potential love interests, he or she learns their likes and dislikes, showers them with gifts to get hearts up,and eventually proposes with the "Blue Feather". If a player fails to marry a character, then there are usually rival characters who will marry the other potential spouses. Developers of the series have taken to producing both male and female versions of Harvest Moon games in recent years, allowing for different lineups of potential spouses. More recent games have begun offering a gender choice when starting a game. Only one Harvest Moon game has yet allowed players to pursue the possibility of living with someone of the same sex (termed the "Best Friends" system), the Japanese version of Harvest Moon DS Cute. The feature is removed from the US version and Natsume refuses to comment on the matter.
In many versions, it is possible to have children, but usually only a boy. Harvest Moon, Harvest Moon 3, Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, and Rune Factory 3 are the only versions where the player can have multiple children. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life, Harvest Moon DS and Harvest Moon DS Cute are the only games in the series where the player can experience a child's growth from toddler to full-grown adult. Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility expands on this by letting the player restart the game as their child after the completion of an end game event. Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland and Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon are the only Harvest Moon titles that do not have marriage and children in them. Rune Factory 2 is the only Harvest Moon where the player can personify two characters, the father and his son or daughter. Harvest Moon: Animal Parade is the only game where you can have a husband/wife and two children either male/female and Rune Factory 3 is the only game where you have three children either male/female
Aggregate review scores Game GameRankings Metacritic Harvest Moon (SNES) 69.52% — Harvest Moon GB (GB) 72.00% — Harvest Moon 64 (N64) 83.64% (N64) 78 Harvest Moon 2 GBC (GBC) 78.20% — Harvest Moon: Back to Nature (PS1) 78.50%
Harvest Moon 3 GBC (GBC) 77.50% — Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland (PS2) 76.00% (PS2) 76 Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (GBA) 82.40% (GBA) 81 Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (GC) 81.25%
(GC) 79 Harvest Moon DS (DS) 67.33% (DS) 67 Harvest Moon: Magical Melody (GC) 83.64%
Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness (DS) 65.96% (DS) 65 Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility (Wii) 65.37% (Wii) 65 Harvest Moon DS: Sunshine Islands (DS) 74.57% (DS) 77 Harvest Moon: Animal Parade (Wii) 78.50% (Wii) 76 Harvest Moon DS: Grand Bazaar (DS) 70.33% (DS) 69
In September 2011, Rising Star Games confirmed that they had managed to sell more than 1 million units of the Harvest Moon series across PAL territories. In Japan, the DS titles of the series alone have managed to sell a total of more than 948,000 whilst the PSP titles haven't been as successful, selling only 81,498 copies as of April 2011. The Tale of Two Towns managed to reach #4 in the Japan Software and Hardware Weekly Chart shipping 64,576 copies in its first week on sale.
The games have received mostly positive reception from reviewers
List of gamesMain article: List of Harvest Moon video games
- Animal Crossing
- Farm Town
- Happy Farm
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Harvest Moon video games Console seriesHarvest Moon · Harvest Moon 64 · Back to Nature · Save the Homeland · A Wonderful Life · Magical Melody · Tree of Tranquility · Animal Parade Portable seriesHarvest Moon GB · Harvest Moon 2 GBC · Harvest Moon 3 GBC · Friends of Mineral Town · Harvest Moon DS · Island of Happiness · Sunshine Islands · Grand Bazaar · Hero of Leaf Valley · The Tale of Two Towns Spin-offsInnocent Life · Rune Factory series · Puzzle de Harvest Moon · Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming · Harvest Moon: My Little Shop List of Harvest Moon video games Rune Factory video games Portable GamesRune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon · 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon · 3 · 4 Console GamesCategories:
- Rune Factory
- 1996 introductions
- Fictional farms
- Harvest Moon games
- Natsume (company) games
- Open world video games
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