Friday, December 28, 2007

HELP!!! ... Harvest Moon, Sims2 Castaway, MySims...

First of all, apologies to players for not being able to finish the Sims2 Castaway Guide yet... Christmas intervened. I will work on it this weekend and try to complete the Guide. I was thinking about writing another 'mini-guide' for the game as well that will list ALL plans for all items in the game. In this sense, plans would include items needed to create any tool, piece of furniture, building object or special item, any skill requirements and so on.

Having thought about it further, however, I realised that a player has no option to complete a plan until he/she unlocks the plan and it appears in the menu. A guide that includes all plans would be helpful only in the sense of letting you know what items and skills you would need ultimately once you unlock the plan. Is it useful enough to warrant the labour? I am not certain.

I realised this when a player emailed me about the plan for the Wedding Lei. The fact that it requires 5 Hibiscus and only a basic Crafting Bench and 3 Creativity is irrelevant if the player has not unlocked it as there will be no option for him/her to craft it...

Incidentally, as usual, the creators of The Sims have a rather wicked sense of humour. ALL my Sims developed gay or lesbian leanings as soon as I let them out of my direct control. I had intended to encourage a romance between a specific man and woman and had their friendship level at maximum. I switched control to another Sim and when I returned to proceed with the courtship, I discovered the girl being serenaded quite happily by another girl. This sort of development had occurred simultaneously between two of the males. The only pairs who had NOT developed any romantic feelings about one another spontaneously were those of opposing genders! Typical of The Sims!!!

Second of all, for all those players who continue to send me emails asking about the Mushroom Shed in HM DS, please refer to an earlier post on this site, where I gave detailed information about every aspect of mushroom-growing in the game. The information IS included in my General Guide for HM DS as well.

To all players who are looking for 5 Mechanical Skill Points in Sims2 DS, please refer to my General Guide where I list ALL Skill Points and the schedule and location for finding each of them.

To all players who need to know WHY they can't save their game in MySims for Wii, please look at my General Guide for THAT game. You will not be given an option to save until you have completed the 'comfy chair', the first item to be made in your Workshop. After that, you can save any time you wish and in more than one slot!

For any player who needs help with courtship or marriage in any Harvest Moon game, please refer either to my Heart Events and Rival Heart Events Guide or my Courtship and Marriage Guide for the specific game you are playing. My 'romance' guides list the likes and dislikes of every eligible girl/bachelor, a schedule of all heart and rival heart events, the actual text of each event and include sections with general information about the requirements for marriage.

Remember: links to the actual guides are included on the right side of this webpage. This site was created primarily to give players a quick reference point for ALL my guides rather than being dedicated to the little posts I write from time to time here.

To ALL players of ANY game, happy gaming during this holiday season. Look for updates to my guides, especially my most recent Sims2 Castaway and MySims Guides. I do intend to update my guide for Rune Factory as well, when time permits. I did not include the specifications for EVERY special weapon yet...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Starry Night Festival

To all gamers and fans of Harvest Moon, I would like to wish you a very happy Starry Night Festival, a happy Yule and a very merry Christmas! May your stocking in Harvest Moon be filled by Thomas with a gem of great beauty and value. May your stocking in this world overflow with gifts and treats. May all happiness and blessings be yours in every world.

The photographs display the official Natsume Harvest Moon Christmas cards.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sims2 Castaway General Guide

You will find a link to a General Guide for the Wii version of Sims2 Castaway now on the right side of this page. It is applicable to the PSP version of the game as well for the most part. Oddly enough, the two are almost identical, apart from a few differences in the controls that are used and more clothing and accessory options in the Wii version.

The biggest difference really is in the ability to save. Using the Wii, one only is allowed a single save file, which is rather annoying. On the other hand, saving is a quick act, performed without much fuss or time. Using the PSP, one is allowed almost a dozen slots in which to save a game but, as I noted in a previous post, saving takes a long time and the PSP system tends to shut off at the point of saving a file as well as when moving from one area of the map to another, and this can corrupt data. I advise players to keep as many save files as possible, simply in order to make certain that they will have some uncorrupted data to use if a file becomes corrupt.

I actually had completed the last two tasks of building a bungalow and a lavish shower in one slot. When I attempted to save, the game shut off in the middle of saving, corrupting the file completely. I had to return to an earlier point and perform these tasks again...

In the Wii version of the game, the Chimps move at incredible speeds. It is far easier to interact with the Chimps using the PSP. In the Wii version, a Chimp will enter the screen with a green delivery packet and simply race to the exit with it. Even when my Sim attempts to 'Respond', very often the Chimp simply ignores him/her and runs off into the distance. This is one of the most exasperating aspects of the Wii version of the game. The most exasperating aspect of the PSP version, apart from the system's dismal habit of shutting off destructively, is the camera angle. I have found it almost impossible to navigate sometimes, especially within the Dark Cave, due to the camera angles.

Having noted these unpleasant points, I have to say that the game is a lot of fun. Watching the Sims interact always is amusing. If you are bored, take out the Sleeping Mat and command your Sim to 'Do Yoga'. That is always good for a laugh.

The Sims always are a feckless lot at best and these Sims are no exception, even if you have created an entire crew of doctors, as I did in one of my games. Moreover, they tend to be moody and unpredictable. Even when skilled to the max, at times when they are not under your direct control, they often will go without food, hygiene or sleep to the point almost of suicide. When they actually do not NEED food, however, they will cook themselves a hearty meal, stuffing themselves. A word of warning: do not save good food in your inventory. A greedy Sim will take your Ham or any marvelous Large Fish at the earliest opportunity, whether he/she needs it or not. I somehow thought my Sims would allow me to cook the first Ham for a special occasion as a Group Meal, especially in view of the fact that, in my first game, my most skilled Sim sacrificed his life to slay the first wild boar he encountered. Alas, when I went to the larder, the Ham was gone!

Remember that Chess builds logic and that Music increases Creativity as well as the Fun Motive. An Umbrella is a useful tool when it rains... and it often rains in the tropics.

Finally, Sims will leave their rubbish about, as any one who is familiar with this bizarre species knows. Instead of choosing the 'Clean up' option, they tend to 'Drop' dirty dishes on the ground. Rubbish is a fire hazard in this game. An Emergency Fire Pit is dangerous in terms of uncontrolled fire but rubbish near ANY source of fire can result in a conflagration. Whenever you assume control of a Sim, spend a few minutes in housekeeping tasks, clearing up any rubbish you see in the area. Furthermore, as in all Sims games, rotten food will attract multitudes of flies and you will be regaled by a constant buzzing if any rubbish remains on the screen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Secrets of Sims2 Castaway

IGN has published my guide for Sims2 Castaway for Wii now, although it is a work in progress. Even though I have not been able to transfer all information from my game journals to the guide yet, it does have a fair amount of useful information in it.

One of the most vital 'secrets' of Sims2 Castaway is the potency of guarana, a spice that can be found in many locations on the islands. Using guarana in any cooked dish will give your Sim extra energy and allow him/her to pass through new Portals, exploring difficult terrain, whether on land or on sea.

Make certain as well that you create all possible tools as quickly as you can, as this will 'unlock' new items.

Accept deliveries from Chimps. This fulfils goals as well as allowing you to obtain a piece of the Treasure Map.

I have noticed something very troublesome where the PSP version of the game is concerned. It is extremely slow at the point of moving from one location on the map to another AND whenever you wish to save the game. I advise saving frequently, although it is a case of 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' as the game system has shut off more than once for some reason in the middle of saving, thus corrupting the data. My system never did this with any other game, so I only can assume it is a problem inherent in Sims2 Castaway. I therefore would caution players to keep more than one save file for their game. Furthermore, as the system shuts off randomly in the course of this game, usually when saving or using the map to move from one location to another, even when the battery is fully charged, one is in danger of losing valuable progress if one does not save frequently.

Apart from these problems, the game is fun. The Wii version IS superior, alas... I always would like to be able to declare that a game on a portable system is the equal of the same game on a console but in the case of Sims2 Castaway, the PSP version is not quite as good for the reasons I have given.

There are more clothing options in the Wii version as well... although that is a minor point of comparison