Wednesday, October 3, 2007

'Harvest Moon Forever' but 'My Sims' intervenes...

I feel slightly disloyal each time I work on a guide for a game that is not a Harvest Moon game. I had received emails from a number of players recently asking if I intended to write guides for the new 'My Sims' games for DS and Wii. When I was asked if I would be interested, I agreed to work on the project.

'Harvest Moon Boy and Girl' meanwhile has been released. I really had spent the amount of time on Rune Factory that would satisfy me either...

Regrettably for Harvest Moon, I have to take some time to work on the new 'My Sims' games. That having been said, they really are MY sort of game in many ways. Rather similar to 'Animal Crossing' (and not that different from Harvest Moon in the initial premise), the basic plot of these games rests upon the gradual diminishment of a community and the need to revitalise it.

I always intended to explore 'My Sims' for the DS, but did not expect to have a Wii. I now have been introduced to this new platform by Nintendo.

I am trying to play both the DS and Wii versions simultaneously. It actually makes sense as there are times when the Wii becomes far too exhausting.

Yes, the Wii is an exhausting interactive platform with a remote that can become a wand, a bat, a sword, a wand and anything else one might imagine. In a game like 'My Sims', it does not threaten the physical safety of the player as much as it would in a true action game. (People have broken wrists and other limbs in the process of using the Wii remote! It does use muscles that one might not expect to use and in many games, a physical action using the entire body is required!

Like many games, one cannot save 'My Sims' until one has performed a number of activities moving the plot forward to a specific point. I started the Wii version rather late in the day and really could not stand to continue a moment longer when I still found myself unable to save, held captive in my new workshop with my first furniture building project. I was told to build a 'comfy chair'.

If I had not been so exhausted and frustrated, I probably would have been able to complete the job within a couple of minutes. As it was, I failed to see the rather obvious 'blueprint' on the wall and began to design and build an extremely elaborate device.

The furniture-building tasks now remind me of 'Lost in Blue 2 but in fact are not half as difficult as energy is not used and one has no need to hammer nails or make connections in a limited amount of time while the pieces swing back and forth across a screen. In fact, it should have been a breeze, but...

I should have remembered that 'sometimes a chair is simply a chair'. I thought I had to create something with creative 'Essence', a wonderful and unique throne or objet de virtu. In fact, I should have shoved four legs beneath a square seat and a square back and left it at that...

Instead, I created an elaborate and quite tortuous edifice, rising into the air like a bizarre castle for 'Borrowers' or rodents. Even with all the blocks I used, I missed the point completely, avoiding the four stars instead of covering them. When I tried to convince the game that I was 'Done', it obligingly informed me of the need to cover the four spots I diligently had avoided.

This should be a lesson to any one not to persist in an activity when the brain and body is too tired to compute or perform. I rather desperately shoved two random blocks into the spaces where the stars hovered and proclaimed the job 'Done' simply in order to get out of there.

Alas! I was told then to take the 'comfy chair' to my own house! I had to set it in one of the rooms before I finally, finally was allowed to save the game for the first time and blessedly QUIT.

Now today, I realise I could have made a perfectly acceptable chair in less than three minutes if only I had been less exhausted and desperate. It could have been fun if only...

Like 'Animal Crossing' or Harvest Moon', however, 'My Sims' requires time, energy and dedication. One cannot approach a game of this sort without being willing to make a huge commitment.

I need to be seduced into it a little, I confess. I still happily was forging rare weapons and accessories in Rune Factory when 'My Sims' arrived on the doorstep. Nonetheless, both DS and Wii versions promise to be entertaining and quite creative... although, like ALL 'The Sims' games, they will include more than a small element of the truly bizarre.

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