Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sly Natsume... Jeff's unshown artwork in Karen's event

It is difficult to express the thrill that a true Harvest Moon fanatic experiences when an event that was eliminated from a previous version of a game finally is experienced. There were quite a few events in the original Japanese version of the boy game of Harvest Moon DS that were eliminated from the English version. These events for the most part apparently have been included in 'Cute'. Every week of gameplay so far, I have been able to experience new events hitherto denied to some one who is not fluent in Japanese.

I had heard of these events, of course and read about them, even done everything in my power to trigger them in the original English boy edition of HM DS. In fact, my contact at Natsume had been unable to tell me categorically whether or not they had been eliminated from the game... there are so many steps in the production of a game from its inception to its completion. Often notes from programmers are sketchy and it is only by playing the game diligently that one can see what is or is not included in the final version.

I am not the only player who does this, of course. There are scores of Harvest Moon fans who attempted in vain to trigger events in the original English boy edition of HM DS. Flurries of emails and board discussions dealt with the situation... Were the events there or not? Were there hidden requirements that none of us had discovered or had they simply been eliminated from the English version of the game? Ultimately, we came to the sad conclusion that they had been 'lost' somewhere along the way in the translation of the original Japanese game to English.

In Cute, I have experienced many of these hitherto 'lost' events effortlessly. When any 'new' event begins, the emotion that I experience is absolutely priceless. It is almost like discovering the 'Holy Grail'. There is that initial moment when one realises one has triggered a new event. Then, as the event unfolds, one recognises it as one of those mythical events one has read about but never had the privilege of experiencing. Such unadulterated delight!

It is almost impossible to express the degree of excitement to any one who never tried to trigger a special event in a game but was unable to do so. In HM DS, one did everything possible to make the event occur:

1. raise the affection and/or friendship levels of the character;
2. try to experience the event in different weather conditions: rain or sun
3. try to experience the event in different seasons
4. try to experience the event at different times of the day and night
5. And then, as a last resort: try to experience the event after marriage

Year after year, during gameplay, one kept these events in the back of ones consciousness. One became fairly certain that they did not exist, but even so...
Again, I was not the only player who was reluctant to admit defeat.

The inclusion, therefore, of all the 'lost' events in 'Cute' is extremely gratifying to any Harvest Moon fanatic. Now we can experience all those events that we read about but never were able to know firsthand. It is rather like finally being accepted as a member of an exclusive club. There is no substitute for direct experience and when Cute is released in English at the end of March, every Harvest Moon fan will have that direct experience!

For those who are new to Harvest Moon, it may be useful to know that there are two types of events. There are events that actually have a potential effect on your character's future and there are events that have no real effect. 'Heart Events' and 'Rival Heart Events' are events that potentially affect your future and/or the future of other characters in the game. You must experience a potential spouse's 'Heart Events' if you wish to marry that individual. You must experience all 'Rival Heart Events' between a couple if you wish to see THEM marry.

Harvest Moon is wonderful in that there are a multitude of events that really affect nothing in terms of success and failure but which can give you more detailed information about the characters. Once in awhile, an event like this can unlock a minor item or be the first in a series of events involving the same character. It is not essential to experience these events, but it adds enormously to the enjoyment and depth of the game.

Meanwhile, here are some photographs from the 100 FP event between Karen and Romana, when Karen asks to see Jeff's painting.

The makers of Harvest Moon often can be rather mischievous! There is a point in the event when Romana invites your character along to see a private exhibition of paintings by Jeff that never have been shown to any one. One becomes very excited at the prospect of seeing new paintings by Jeff... If one had played other Harvest Moon games, one would have seen paintings by Jeff hanging in the Inner Inn in AWL and AnWL as well as many paintings in Mineral Town in FoMT and MFoMT, and of course, there is the painting in Romana's bedroom in the Villa, but here one anticipates that one will be given an opportunity to see new paintings that never have been exposed to the light of day...

What happens then? Both screens go black and your character thinks to herself: 'Hmph... Even after seeing all these, I still don't get his art... I better get back to work.'

Actually, there are quite a few events in both the original Harvest Moon DS and Cute that involve either Romana or Karen. Romana is not as vital a character as she was in A Wonderful Life when only she could provide you with a marvelous watering can that would make your life as a farmer much simpler and she was the one who would give you a cat, but she still is an important character in HM DS where events are concerned.

Karen was the 'hot babe' in Friends of Mineral Town and she only will visit the Valley in Cute if you connect your cartridge to a FoMT or MFoMT cartridge. If you do this, however, you will be able to experience a number of events that involve her.

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