Monday, January 14, 2008

The ordinary Valley Bachelors of Harvest Moon Cute

I feel rather ashamed of myself today after I may have appeared to slag off the bachelors of Forget-Me-Not Valley by referring to them as 'older men'. They definitely ARE older men, but each has his own charm. I personally may prefer the young boys of Harvest Moon but I ultimately do try to marry each and every one of the potential spouses in my games. I certainly experience ALL the Heart Events of each in EVERY game I play...

I often receive emails from players asking me who the best wife or husband would be in any Harvest Moon game. The fact of the matter is that all are equal in most of the games, apart from 'A Wonderful Life' and 'Another Wonderful Life' where the identity of your spouse DOES influence your child. In Harvest Moon DS, it only influences the physical appearance and clothing of your child... and the appearance of the child is randomly chosen if you marry Skye or become the 'Best Friend' of a magical girl.

In any event, I thought I should give players a little idea of the personalities of the various bachelors.

Griffin is the barkeep at the Blue Bar. He is an older man who is both sensitive and shy, extremely polite and considerate. He actually has a creative side and is a 'closet' musician, as players of AWL and AnWL will recall.

In Harvest Moon Cute, you become aware of this facet of his character when you experience his first Rival Heart Event on a rainy morning, when he confides in Muffy:

Muffy: Hey, Griffin.
Griffin: What?
Muffy: Griffin, didn't you used to be a musician?
Griffin: Yeah.
Muffy: How did you get into music?
Griffin hesitates, then turns to face her.
Griffin: Hmm... I just happened to find an old guitar in the back of this store. It was like it was calling to me to come and play it. And when I asked my dad about that guitar, he said it was one of our ancestor's. Maybe it was that ancestor telling me to play?
Muffy (with music): Yeah. That's a wonderful story. Hey, play for me next time.
Griffin: Got it. I will, sometime.

Speak to him after the event and he will say:
Griffin: I know we promised... I'm a little shy, though.

(This event is Muffy's First Rival Heart Event in the original HM DS)

Gustafa is another one of the 'older men' whom you can marry in the game. He is the resident poet of Forget-Me-Not Valley and is a musician as well, from a long line of musicians. In fact, he will tell you about his heritage when you reach 100 FP with him either in the original HM DS or Cute:

Gustafa: Hey, Freya. How have you been? Is work still busy?
I nod.
Gustafa: Hahaha. You're very straightforward. But I really admire life at the ranch. You always get to pet animals and pick crops, right? I can think of lots of songs. Oops, did I say music? I guess it's in my blood to be a musician after all.
Gustafa: My ancestors had been minstrels for the king in the country that they lived. It seems that every one in my family has had jobs involving music. That's why I've been making music since I was born. Since birth, I have followed this chosen path of becoming a musician. That's why you and I are similar. The life at the ranch was chosen for you before you were born, too.
I nod.
Gustafa: There is no 'if' in this world but if I wasn't born into a musician's family, I wonder what I would be doing now. Knowing me, I would've chosen the musician's path. After all, I love music. You probably would've chosen life at the ranch, too.
I nod.
Gustafa: Hahaha. I guess this means that things are good the way they are. Sorry to make you listen to something this boring.
I shake my head.
Gustafa: Now then, I guess I'll go sing.

If you speak to him after the event:
Gustafa: Let's both do our best.

The event that truly epitomises Rock's character is one that occurs in Another Wonderful Life when he faces your dog and later crafts an improbable tale of heroic battle against the pet he has renamed 'Crusher'.

In Harvest Moon Cute, you will discover his nature when you experience his first Heart Event at the beach:

Rock: (!) Hey, Freya. Did you come to look at the sea, too?
I nod.
Rock (with music): The sea's so nice. It's so expansive... Just so beautiful and blue! I love to look at it. Plus, it matches my personality perfectly! It's so big and beautiful. Just like me.
Me: (...)
Rock (?) What's wrong, Freya? You got quiet all of a sudden.
Rosk (with music) Oh, I know! You've been taken aback by how cool I am, huh?

My choices:

Yes, I'm mesmerised.
You disgust me.

With some amused affection for the boastful boy, I chose: Yes, I'm mesmerised.

Rock (with music): Yes, I thought so! You can look at me all you want! I'm not shy! But you have to let me look at you too, then.

Rock: ................

Rock: (with music)
Me: (?)
Rock: Hahaha, you're pretty funny, Freya. You won't even look at me. Haha!
Me: (!) (displaying large red heart)
Embarrassed, I race from the beach.
Rock: Aww, you're so shy that you're leaving! How cute!

There is no malice in Rock and he is unabashedly lazy and irresponsible. In the original Harvest Moon DS game, it was only Kai who possibly challenged his position as the ultimate charming but rather irresponsible bachelor, although Kai does work hard at his stall at the beach in the summer. In Harvest Moon Cute, however, both Kai and Rock are relegated to the shade by the smooth-talking cat burglar Skye.

It is the 'older men' I intended to showcase in this post, however, and it is Carter and Marlin who need to be discussed now.

Carter is a devoted archaeologist who is driven by the belief that he will discover facts about his ancestors and heritage through his work. He is an avowed
sun-worshipper, as players of AWL and AnWL may recall. He actually shares a tent with his assistant Flora, but although she cooks for him (very badly!), their relationship is properly platonic. You will not be courting a married man if you court Carter!

Many of Carter's statements deal with Flora's cuisine. In fact, it is the focus of his first Rival Heart Event:

Carter was facing the northern wall and Flora was behind him.
Flora; Professor?
Carter: What's the matter, Flora?
Flora: How about Curry Rice for dinner tonight?
Carter (with cross): What?!
Flora: Don't be so picky!
Carter: I'm begging you! Anything but that!
Flora: Grrrr! Are you trying to make me mad?!
Carter: (...) Umm, n... no... Oh no...

Carter evidently is too pedantic for most people as when you visit him at his tent, morning or night:

Carter: Ah. Thank you for coming. Make yourself comfortable. Would you like to talk of ancient ruins? What? You'll 'pass' on that? Very well then...

Apparently, he never has been able to persuade any one to settle down for a long session of archaeological dialogue. One feels rather sorry for him sometimes...

Marlin, if anything, is even more shy about himself than Griffin. He is thoroughly tongue-tied, a little abrupt and unapproachable. I happen to know that many female players are attracted to these qualities, although I would not include myself in Marlin's fan group. In Another Wonderful Life, where there were but three choices in terms of potential spouses, he was my second choice after Rock. (The wedding event with Gustafa, with Gustafa hopping along on his buttocks, just was too awful for words. I cannot look at him even in Cute without recalling it! Gustafa is the ultimate laid-back hippy from the 1960s. Ironically, I really like his character, but find his personal appearance off-putting. I never have liked beards for a start.) This paragraph was supposed to be about MARLIN, not Gustafa...

Marlin demonstrates his almost pathological reticence in his First Heart Event in Cute:

Marlin: (!) ... Hey.... sorry, but Celia is upstairs sleeping. Vesta is looking after Celia right now... If you want to meet with Vesta or Celia, please come another time... Or did you come for me?

My choices:
Want to talk?
OK. I'm leaving, then.

(N.B. In any heart event, your character has two choices of response. One will raise the affection level of the bachelor and the other will lower it. I am including both here. The first response was the correct one obviously.)

I chose: Want to talk?
Marlin (startled): I don't really have anything to talk to you about...
Me (with tear):
My choices now:
Wh... what food do you like?
What do you think of Celia?

Wh... what food do you like?
Marline: ... Why do you ask that?
Me (with tear)
Marlin: ... Well, whatever... Yeah...
... What's my favourite food?
I nod encouragingly.
Marlin: (...) ... I never do have a good answer for that...
I nod again encouragingly, desperately hoping to get SOMETHING out of him.
Marlin: (...) ........................
... My favourite food is...
I nod once again with infinite patience.
Vesta now comes down the stairs:
Vesta: (!) Oh, Freya! You're here. You and Marlin together? Well, that's unexpected! What were you talking about?
Marlin: (Freya... This conversation is over.) Nothing, really... It was no big deal... More importantly... How is Celia feeling?
Vesta: Well, it's no big deal. She's just worn out. I think she'll wake up soon.
Marlin: ... Oh, I see. ... I hope so.


Marlin: ... Let's talk again later.
Vesta: Don't worry! I'll be better soon!

If I had said: OK. I'm leaving, then.
Marlin: ... Oh, OK. ... Fine. Sorry that every one worth talking to is busy. .... See you.
Vesta comes down the stairs after I leave.
Vesta: ? Oh, is somebody here?
Marlin: It's not important. How is Celia feeling?
Vesta: Well, it's no big deal. She's just worn out. I think sh'll wake up soon.
Marlin: ... Oh, I see. ... I hope so.

As you can see, you will not even discover Marlin's favourite food in this event. Oddly enough, it was an important question, as each individual in any Harvest Moon game has a 'Most Favourite Item' that, when given, will raise his/her affection and/or friendship level. For any one who may be interested in Marlin, I happen to know that his 'Most Favourite' is Elli Leaves, a concoction that is more potent than any other Medicine available in the game. This makes sense when you realise that Marlin's health is as precarious as his ability to socialise. If you meet him outside the farm, he will tell you:

Marlin: Our farm was near town at first, but my ancestors came here looking for more land. It looks like my ancestors were sickly too. It must be hereditary...

I dealt with Skye exhaustively in an earlier post. I will discuss the bachelors of Mineral Town later. Any one who has played Friends of Mineral Town or More Friends of Mineral Town will be very familiar with their characters. Moreover, unless you insert a cartridge of FoMT or MFoMT into your DS, you never will meet any of them in HM Cute...

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