Harvest Moon - Review  

The Ironman Decathlon of Video Games
by ATG

120 - 140 hours


Rating definitions 

   "This game is not for everyone" doesn’t even begin to describe the original Harvest Moon. Harvest Moon is one of those rare games where…well actually it’s more common nowadays with the release of games like the Sims, The Sims 2, and the various asunder of expansion packs and add-ons that are commonly referred to as the "simulation" genre. The original Harvest Moon is commonly overlooked as being a rather shoddily produced shell of a game that leaves as much to the imagination as most text adventures.

   This game had very simple controls; so simple a child could play it. Interacting with the different characters and giving gifts to the ladies so that they would marry you was quite laborious, and often the game clock never provided enough daytime. Since nighttime was inherently endless in this version of Harvest Moon, even the laziest of players could still experience everything this game had to offer. The concepts were so simple in this version of Harvest Moon.

Rocks make farming feel more like…prison. Rocks make farming feel more like…prison.

   Well, the music and sound are great until about the 20th day of the season, at which point you’ve heard the same song on a loop for literally 10 or so hours. Each new season has it’s own song, and the sound effects are pretty close to non-existent.

   There were no titles to my recollection that made a game out of farm work before Harvest Moon. I don’t think there has been a game since about farm work that wasn’t given the name "Harvest Moon." Marriage in a video game, a timed day system, and more than 2 endings were all ideas that stem from this game.

   A young boy’s grandfather dies and leaves his farm to his grandson. His parents don’t believe that the grandson can manage the farm. Even so, you insist on operating the farm. Thus begins your adventure. There are 5 girls for you to seduce into marrying you, all of which effects the endings and cut scenes you experience during the game. Also, depending on how successful your farm is, how many animals you have (and how much they love you), and the quality of your farm (as well as how much crop/money you manage to put away), this game has tons of variables which affect the story.

   The visuals were stylish and fancy looking for the SNES, until about the 100th hour, at which point you don’t even really see the sprites as any more than moving blobs of color. Which is cool in its own right, but diminished from the overall quality of the gaming experience.

This is meant to actually BREAK UP the monotony. This is meant to actually BREAK UP the monotony.

   Most of the Challenge associated with this game is in endurance, but the rest lies in strategy. Sure, you can spend your day harvesting and your nights wooing the only woman awake, but the real challenge lies in wooing the other 4 women while not going broke. Also the timer for the day means that you have 15 seconds of real time for every one hour of game time, making your reflexes of picking things up and dropping in the basket essential.

   As I said, 120 to 140 hours will net you more money than you know what to do with, the availability of all endings, and pretty much more fun that the constraints of human attention will allow. For anyone else who has beaten Harvest Moon as I have will be able to tell you that it was worth it.

   In conclusion, If you just picked up a copy of the latest in PS2 simulation games, by all means put down the SNES controller. But, if you are locked away in prison with nothing but an SNES and Harvest Moon, you should not be afraid. Rejoice, for this game will help pass the time very quickly, not to mention giving you the chance to amass large amounts of money, marry the mayor’s daughter, and ride around free on a horsy all night long.

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