Monday, March 31, 2008

Always Meet All Characters in Harvest Moon!

There is a general requirement in Cute that you must introduce yourself to a character before you will be able to experience any events with him/her. Skye is one of the few exceptions as his First Heart Event introduces him. Even so, if you have not introduced yourself to Lumina, Skye's First Heart Event will not trigger.

In my own games, I always meet every character within the first or second day of the game, so I never had any problem triggering Skye's First Heart Event. It was only when a player wrote to me to say that the event would not occur for her that I realised a prior meeting with Lumina could be a requirement.

In fact, this was the case. When I suggested it and she tried it, the event occurred without any problems.

This information will be added to my guides for Cute, but for players who have had the same problem, I thought a post might be in order.

It does not really amaze me that most of the emails I am receiving about Cute ask about Skye. The Harvest Moon fan base is mad about Skye, but then, so am I.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another dreamy bachelor in Harvest Moon

Without saying too much or giving out information that I shouldn't, I have to express a little enthusiasm for a new bachelor I met in an upcoming Harvest Moon game. I never liked cowboys much, but this guy is VERY handsome... those who are attracted to Skye in Harvest Moon Cute DS could find this bachelor rather appealing as well.

Characters come to your farm for their first introduction and are announced as though a new chapter in a book is beginning. It is VERY attractive visually. In any case, this bachelor is the local Animal Trader. I haven't explored his personality. From the description of a man of few words, I expect he will not be as articulate and smooth-talking as Skye, but there is an air about him that makes me want to get to know him better...

After over a week with only one bachelor in my 'village' who reminds me very much of Rick, even to his relationship with his sister, I am excited by this new possibility.
It is a game for the DS by the way.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to find Skye!!!


I am SO embarrassed. I apparently never made it clear in my Courtship and Marriage Guide that you meet Skye for the first time by experiencing his First Heart Event.

I have received a possible deluge of emails from players today who have been wandering the paths of the Valley searching for Skye in vain... As a matter of fact, I believe I did that myself in my first game, so I should have been aware of the danger of not stating very clearly that his First Heart Event is your first meeting with him.

Skye really does break all the rules. Ordinarily, you must meet an individual before you can experience any event with him/her. Skye of course, is an exception to THIS rule as well as many others.

Walk up the staircase towards the Villa between 10.00 p.m. and 11.50 p.m. on any sunny night and you will meet Skye for the first time in his First Heart Event. AFTER that, you will find him at the entrance to the Valley at 10.20 on sunny nights. He then crosses the bridge and walks up to the Goddess Spring where he stands until dawn.

By the way, you never will see him the night after one of his Heart Events, but the following night, he will resume his regular path...

There is another anomaly about Skye that may be worth mentioning. Between his First and Second Heart Events, I did find him once on the path between Turtle Pond and the Blue Bar. Once he 'hit' the Blue Bar in his Second Heart Event, though, I never saw him anywhere but on the path that leads from the Valley entrance across the bridge and then north to the Goddess Spring.

Natsume Cat and Island of Happiness


O.K. Island of Happiness is here now, accompanied by a wonderful Natsume Harvest Moon cat. Here's a photograph of the Harvest Moon Cat. I always have preferred cats to dogs and was thrilled when HM DS gave players a cat as well as a dog, even though the poor creature had no real function. My new Harvest Moon cat will sit beside me as I work and lend me strength and inspiration. I always loved black cats but have to admit I love cats of almost every colour.

I feel schizophrenic now. A part of me spent the past fews weeks longing for the point where I would be able to start and play my own permanent Cute game, to marry Skye and live happily ever after with him, farming, fishing and mining to my heart's content, after successfully fulfilling every goal in the game....

Of course, there is another part of me that is eager to experience Island of Happiness...

As Island of Happiness still is in pre-release stage, however, I shan't be able to post any information or screenshots of the game.

Map Guide for Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS

When a player emailed me with respect to the little Walkthrough for the first week in Cute, bewildered and out of her depth completely, I had a sudden inspiration. I have written 'map' sections in previous guides actually, so it is not entirely new for me, but I think that a little walkthrough of the Valley itself could be useful, with brief descriptions not only of the buildings but of the people inhabiting them and the best gift for each. I have a Characters Guide that does that, but that is organised according to the person rather than the location.

An hour after I began this post, I wrote a new 'Map' section for both my General Guide and my 1st Year Events Calendar Guide. The updated versions of both guides should be uploaded to IGN later today.

For any one who may need the information NOW:

Your farmhouse basically stands almost in the centre of the Northern part of the Valley. The path that leads south from your farm goes to a place where a number of paths meet. I term this the Crossroads. To the right of the Crossroads is a bridge that crosses the river from west to east. The river effectively cuts the Valley in half.

On the western side of the River, you will find the following:

Your Farm

Northeast of your farm:

The Goddess Spring: This is where you will find the Harvest Goddess after you have rescued 60 Sprites. Drop an offering into the Spring to persuade her to appear. Her favourite offering is a strawberry. Many of the villagers go to the Goddess Spring when the weather is fine. You can find Hugh, Rock, Muffy and Cody here on a regular basis. Below the Goddess Spring is:

The Sprite Company Tree: This is where you will find all Harvest Sprites. There is a reception area where you will find Guts, Jet and the postboxes for every Team. To the left of the reception area is a large pot where you will find the Baby after you have rescued 60 Sprites. Feed the Baby and ultimately he will grant wishes for you. Guts is the Sprite who organises the Sprite Labour force for you in exchange for medals. Jet sells special items from the counter, including Accessories, Records and the Harvest Moon cards. The most important Accessories are the Necklaces that are offered when your tools have been upgraded to the next level. The highest Necklace is the Mythic Necklace. In the northern wall of this chamber is the entrance to the Casino. Here you will find three gaming tables and a window where you can purchase medals as well as exchanging them for prizes. It is here that you can buy special crop seeds, the Teleport Stone, the Love Bangle and the Truth Bangle as well as the Red Cloak. When you have purchased the Red Cloak, the Godhand and Miracle Glove will be offered. Many events occur when you exit the Sprite Company Tree so visit often!

The 2nd Hot Spring: This will be unlocked when you have used the 1st Hot Spring 100 times for an hour each time.

South of your Farm:

A Row of Homes consisting, from left to right of:

Wally's house: here you will find Wally, Chris and Hugh
Grant's house: here you will find Grant and Kate
Hardy's Clinic/House: here you will find Hardy and, on Wednesdays, Elli and Trent from Mineral Town

Northwest of this row of homes, you will find a wide stairway leading north to:

Romana's Villa: here you will find Romana, Sebastian and Lumina and, on Monday mornings, Mary from Mineral Town
Witch Princess Hut: here you will find the Witch Princess

Directly south of the row of three houses, on the other side of the same path, from left to right are:

The Blue Bar: here you will find Griffin and Muffy
The Inner Inn: here you will find Ruby on the ground floor, Rock and Nami on the second floor and the two guest bedrooms on the 2nd floor where Mineral Town visitors stay
The Girls' guest bedroom is on the left and here you will find Karen on Tuesday, Elli on Wednesday, Ann on Friday and Popuri on Sunday
The Boys' guest bedroom is on the right and here you will find Trent on Wednesday, Grey on Thursday, Cliff on Saturday and Rick on Sunday
To the left of both guest rooms in the corridor, you will find a wooden Orange crate. It is here that Van has his stall on every day that ends in 3 or 8, beginning with the 3rd day of the season and ending with the 28th day.

South of the Crossroads, you will find the following:

Daryl's house and laboratory: here you will find Daryl on the ground floor and Leia the Mermaid in the basement. The basement will be locked until you have 100 FP with Daryl.
Gustafa's Yurt: here you will find Gustafa

Gustafa's Yurt is on the right side of a path that leads south from the crossroads and has a view of the river from the western shore. Daryl's house is on the left side of this path and can be reached from another path that leads south from the Blue Bar.

Turtle Pond: this is almost directly south of Daryl's house. It can be reached from either of the paths that lead from north to south.

The Beach: this is at the southern edge of the Valley. The entrance is below Turtle Pond. Most Festivals occur at the Beach between 10.00 a.m. and 5.50 p.m. The exceptions in terms of time are the Fireworks Festival, which occurs from 6.00 p.m. to 8.50 p.m. and the Year End Festival which begins at 6.00 p.m. and ends at 11.50 p.m.

If you go west from Turtle Pond, you will find a caravan park and, a little northwest of that, a tower on stilts. You can reach this area as well if you take the path that leads south from the Blue Bar.

In the Caravan, you will find Cody.
In the Tower, you will find the Twins, Patrick and Kassey. They make fireworks. You have to climb a rope to reach their home.

Cutting the Valley in half is the River. At the top of the river is a Waterfall. Behind the Waterfall is a secret Field named the Super Field. Boulders on either side prevent access to the Super Field until you are able to claim the Legendary Sword on the 255th floor of the 2nd Mine. In Cute, you will not be able to claim it until ALL 6 tools are upgraded to Mystrile. In the original HM DS, you can claim it if your experience level is at Mystrile even if all the tools themselves have not been upgraded. To remove the boulders, equip the Legendary Sword, stand next to a boulder and press the 'A' button. Note: You do NOT use the Legendary Sword here as a tool. You can use it as a tool inside the Mines to defeat Dark Creatures, however.

You can cross the River by means of a bridge in the centre of the Valley. When you have destroyed the two boulders on either side of the Waterfall, you can take a path there above the river to cross from west to east.

East of the River are the following, from North to South:

At the far North:

Carter's Tent: here you will find Carter and Flora, living chastely together in separate sleeping bags

The Excavation Site: here you will find the four Mines, but only when they are unlocked. When each mine is unlocked, an entrance will be created in the northern wall of the Excavation Site. It is at the Excavation Site that you can dig for jewelry that ships for 2000G and can be sold to Van for up to 3250G.

A path leads south from Carter's Tent to some Windmills. Below the Windmills is another crossroads of sorts. You can continue south along the path or you can take a path that leads from the bridge to the exit from the Valley. From the windmills, you will see the exit on your right and the bridge on your left. YOU NEVER CAN LEAVE THE VALLEY!!! Other residents come and go from the Valley, but your character never can visit Mineral Town in this game.

If you go west from the exit towards the bridge, you will find Vesta's farm. In fact, on the northern side of this path, from left to right are:
Vesta's Storeroom: here you will find Vesta, Marlin and Celia in the early evening when Vesta sells seeds, including the seasonal seeds sold at the Supermarket, tree saplings and Mushroom seeds (spores really).
Vesta's Home: here you will find Vesta, Marlin and Celia

On the south side of this path you will see Vesta's fields. Her crops always are ripe and ready to harvest, even on the first day of any season, which can be rather annoying!

There are two paths actually that lead south from here. One is the path that continues south from the Excavation Site. The other is a path that begins south of the bridge and skirts the river.

If you take the path south of the Windmills, to the right you will find:

The Construction Site owned by Barney's Circus: After your child is born, Barney will move into the Valley and you will find his huge colourful tent on this site.

The 1st Hot Springs: this must be unlocked by an event with Flora when she reaches 250 FP.

The tomb of your character from FoMT or MFoMT if you insert a GBA cartridge to unlock the visitors from Mineral Town.

To the left is Galen's house, more easily reached by taking the path that leads south along the river's edge.

Take the path south from the bridge to find a little hill on the right where Galen's house stands. If you take the path south from the windmills, the hill will be on the left.

Galen's House: This is where you will find Galen and his wife Nina. Both are pivotal characters. Galen will give you a Fishing Rod if you visit him on a sunny Saturday between noon and 1.50 p.m. and make certain that no tool is equipped in your tool slot. Nina will knit you a Yule Stocking if she is at 255 FP and you visit her on a sunny morning in Winter to give her a ball of yarn. Note that she needs YARN, not wool so you will need the Yarnmaker.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Obtain your Horse on 3 Spring in HM DS and Cute DS

I have added a brief Walkthrough for the first week of the game to my 1st Year Events Calendar Guide for HM Cute DS but the updated version of the guide may not have been published yet by IGN. I believe I should add one to my 1st Year Events Guide for the original Boy version of HM DS as well. It offers many useful tips to make the game easier for players.

One of these is a way to obtain a horse on the very second day of the game. You need to spend a little time in the Excavation Site digging for jewelry, but you should do that anyway!

On Monday, 2 Spring, the day on which the game begins, the Supermarket will be open but you will have only 500G which should be spent on seeds. Never mind that. Van will come to the Valley on the 3rd to open his stall on the 2nd floor of the Inn. There you can sell jewelry from the Excavation site for up to 3250G each.

Do not forget to buy at least one item from Karen's Supermarket each day it is open for the first 10 days in order to rescue the Sprite who runs the Shopping Network.

When Tuesday arrives, you can obtain the horse from Takakura by shipping 1000 items. This is easily done as follows:

Buy Bird Feed from Popuri and dump it in the shipping container. You can carry 99 portions of Bird Seed in every empty slot in your rucksack. Even though you will have only 18 slots in the small rucksack, it will not take long to ship whatever amount of Bird Feed is required to bring your total to 1000. As soon as you throw the 1000th item in the bin, you will rescue a Sprite. Go into your house then and when you exit, Takakura will be at your door with a Horse.

It's as simple as that. Even after investing in the Bird Feed, you should have more than enough money to order the first Bird Barn from Gotz.

The horse is not really that useful once you have a teleport stone but until Sunday, 8 Spring when the Casino is unlocked, the horse will make your life MUCH easier!

Unlike some of the other Harvest Moon games (FoMT/MFoMT and Harvest Moon Boy & Girl come to mind), the horse can be ridden anywhere outdoors on the map. Riding the horse will cut your transportation time in half until you have the very useful teleport stone.

Strategies for Tool Upgrades in Harvest Moon

It was when I played Harvest Moon Boy & Girl that I realised that the strategy one should employ when upgrading any tool in Harvest Moon varies from game to game. The best strategy in Harvest Moon DS and Harvest Moon Cute DS is the worst strategy in Boy & Girl. The reverse holds true as well.

In Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, ANY tool upgrade takes three days to complete. This effectively means that you will be deprived of the use of that tool for three days. This being the case, upgrading your tools level by level is the worst strategy to employ as it means that, in the long journey from Basic level to Mystrile level, you will be deprived of each tool for a total of 12 days! That is a significant amount of time. Furthermore, the price for an upgrade remains the same, no matter how you choose to order it. In other words, it is the LEVEL of the final upgrade that determines the cost, not the number of levels that are contained in the upgrade.
Thus, upgrading a basic tool to mystrile level costs the same as upgrading a Gold Tool to Mystrile. Whenever Saibara makes a Mystrile Tool, it costs 5000G, whether he starts with a basic or a gold tool.

The best strategy in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl where tool upgrades are concerned, therefore, would be to upgrade to the highest level possible in a single order, depriving yourself of the tool only once for a period of three days. When you choose to upgrade each tool will depend on the usefulness of the tool at any given time. Obviously, the best time to upgrade a Watering Can to mystrile would be the Winter season when you have no need for it. On the other hand, you will find that a Mystrile Watering Can will be very useful throughout the growing seasons. You probably should give the tool to Saibara to upgrade to mystrile level as close to the end of the first Spring as possible, making certain that Harvest Sprites have been hired to do the watering. When your Spring crops have yielded their last harvest, there is no point in watering them further in any case.

To use the same strategy in Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS would be a mistake. In these games, the length of time needed to complete any upgrade depends on the number of levels by which the tool is upgraded. If you order an upgrade to the next level only, the job will take no more than a day. This actually means that your upgraded tool will be delivered to you the next morning at 6.00 a.m. If you made the order near the end of the previous day, you can use the tool before you order the upgrade, making any temporary deprivation totally insignificant.

There are necklaces that become available at each level of tool as well. If you skip a level or levels, you never will be able to purchase a necklace for the levels you 'missed'. Even though the cost will be greater if you order an upgrade from Grey for each level, the benefits of never being deprived of your tools far outweigh the cost factor. Money is easy to obtain in Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS, even at the start of the game, because of the treasures you can uncover in the Excavation Site. The best strategy therefore is to ask Grey to upgrade each tool by a single level only each time you order an upgrade.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

AP Tips for players of Cute

As Cute hits the shelves tonight, I realise that many players will be most interested in the romantic aspects of the game. This information is included both in my Courtship and Marriage Guide and my General Guide for Cute, but it may be worth posting separately here.

As stated elsewhere more than once, a daily routine of giving a Favourite or Most Favourite item as a gift to all bachelors is the best general strategy for increasing Affection Points, thereby raising heart levels.

There are some special actions and occasions whereby AP can be raised higher than it could be at any other time:

1. Change your outfit daily to increase the AP of every bachelor in the Valley (including any visiting Mineral Town bachelor) by 200 points.

2. On the occasion of the Fireworks Festival, speak to every bachelor at the beach to increase the AP of ALL bachelors who are there by 2000 points.

3. On the occasion of the Winter Thanksgiving, FIRST give a regular Favourite or Most Favourite Item to each bachelor and THEN give him either Chocolate or Chocolate Cake. A traditional recognised Thanks-Fest gift of Chocolate or Chocolate Cake will increase AP by 1000 points.

If you give a regular 'Most Favourite Item' as a gift first, the regular gift will increase AP by 800 points. A 'Favourite' will increase it by 500 points. If you THEN give Chocolate or Chocolate Cake, AP will increase by an additional 1000 points, making the total increase for the day 1800 AP or 1500 AP, depending on the item given. If, however, you give the Winter Thanks-Fest gift FIRST, AP will increase only by 1000 points and any items given afterwards will not affect AP at all.

4. On the occasion of an individual's birthday, given him a Most Favourite or Favourite item as a gift. The value of any item given on an individual's birthday is multiplied by x5. Bear in mind the fact that it is only the first item that will affect AP. Secondary gifts will affect only FP. If, however, you give a 'Most Favourite Item' to a bachelor on his birthday, its value will be 4000 AP as opposed to the usual 800 AP. This is quite a significant increase! Only bachelors and Magical Girls have Affection Points or AP, but an item given to ANY ONE on his/her birthday will have a value of x5 its ordinary value in terms of FP or Friendship Points.

5. When you have made a certain number of offerings to the Harvest Goddess at the Goddess Spring, she will offer to raise the AP of the bachelor of your choice. There will be two lists from which to choose, one for the Valley bachelors and the other for the Mineral Town bachelors. Rather inexplicably, Skye is not included in the list of Valley bachelors. The Harvest Goddess will raise the AP of the bachelor you choose only once. Further offerings only result in the High/Low guessing game and a gift of a random number of seeds of a randomly chosen level.

Trent's very endearing 4th Heart Event

Were I not devoted utterly to Skye, it would be easy to be seduced both by the 4th Heart Events both of Kai and of Trent in Cute.

The Doctor from Mineral Town actually conforms to a rather stereotypical Asian romantic characterisation of doctors as very serious, idealistic individuals who haven't the time to become socially adept, choosing instead to embrace a passionate devotion to humanity. There was a time in Western civilisation when doctors were depicted in much the same fashion but no longer. In any case, Trent's interactions with your character tend to focus on your character's health habits and diet until the final Heart Event.

At this point in the courtship, Trent has become so attracted to your character that he no longer is able to focus on his duty. He no longer even can take refuge in his usual health-related dialogue but is tongue-tied and blushes in your presence.

To make matters worse for the poor man, Elli and Hardy tease him gently about his condition. It is quite a charming event and as both Elli and Hardy intimate, only your character has the power to 'cure' what ails him.

If you do not acknowledge his state, he will be utterly crushed.

It is interesting to compare Elli's character in Cute with her depiction in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl and to note the differences in her attitude. Although she obviously bears the same love for her Doctor in both games, in Cute she graciously steps aside when she realises that the Doctor is interested in your character. In Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, on the other hand, she never loses an opportunity to stake her claim on his heart!

A life gone with Cute...

Well, my old Cute games no longer exist and the cartridge is wending its way across the land. I feverishly worked to experience as many events as possible before I lost all the rewards of my efforts and in fact, experienced all but one of the Mineral Town bachelor events before I overwrote the data with a new game. I did that simply because I could not resist the temptation to keep playing the game and the cartridge HAD to be returned.

In any event, I now have experienced all but Cliff's 4th Heart Event. All others have been added to my Courtship and Marriage Guide for Cute. It was more difficult for me to raise Cliff's heart level as quickly as the other bachelors, simply because Finest Curry is his Most Favourite Item. At first, when I had time to spare, all the Finest Curry I made went to my beloved Skye. In the last desperate days, I no longer had time even to make the stuff. I sold all but a handful of my animals and raced through the days. I was only a week away from Cliff's 4th Heart Event but the cartridge HAD to go.

I do have my own Cute cartridge now, though, and that one is mine and mine alone. Despite my exhaustion, I 'christened' it by beginning a new game. Having enjoyed the palatial doubly expanded house for a couple of years in my old Cute game, it is rather sobering to be returned to the tiny hut that one calls 'home' at the start of the game.

Compared to Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, though, life at the beginning of HM DS and Cute DS is a breeze. After all, when one can dig up infinite amounts of jewelry that ships for 2000G and can be sold to Van for 3250G, what financial worries can there be?

I rather miss the old Ranch Bonus Trick and the Billion Gold Fishing Bonus but they almost made the game TOO easy. I will not complain. I am about to meet Skye again for the first time. These events never grow old when they involve a character one likes or loves immensely.

Incidentally, I am going to devote a post to Trent's 4th Heart Event in Cute. It is surprisingly romantic!

Rick's 4th Heart Event is rather sweet as well, although he makes dreadful faces... I always thought Trent was very cute, even if his conversation was too fixated upon health issues. In the final heart event, he becomes VERY human though.

I still feel rather cheated by Grey's 4th Heart Event in Cute. They really could have made it a little more romantic I think. I really should not complain. It is the same writers no doubt who gave us the inestimable Skye...

N.B. You now will find three Guides for Cute on the right side of this page under the heading for Harvest Moon Cute DS. I will continue to update and in fact, intend to add more guides to the list as time permits.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Grey's 4th Heart Event rather disappointing in Cute

Those of us who probably would choose Grey as a husband if Skye did not exist may be disappointed by his fourth and final Heart Event in Cute. Grey's events tend to focus on tools and his exacting grandfather Saibara, but after experiencing Kai's heart-stopping Yellow Heart Event in Cute, I had hoped for something equally inspiring in Grey's final Heart Event.

Alas... I still am very fond of Grey and will choose him as the father of my child sooner or later (but Skye comes FIRST), but I would have wished for something more from Grey to dream about until then... He does blush rather charmingly and he does admit that you have given him strength to face the trials ahead, but... Well, I would have liked another gift made with his own hands, as in MFoMT and Boy & Girl.

I was thinking about the nature of commitment in Harvest Moon in my own games. When writing a guide, experiencing all Heart Events and even my proposals and marriage are not much of a commitment. It is only when I decide to live my life with some one and create a family that a true commitment is made. After all, one must be married for a fair amount of time in order to have a child with some one. I am not about to do that without saving the game, month after month...

I am looking forward to my first truly committed Harvest Moon Cute DS game with Skye. The cartridge on which I played for the guide had to be returned and the data wiped... Now on my own cartridge, I will be able to live a REAL life. (But not until I play Island of Happiness on a temporary cartridge that ultimately must be returned as well... There is great excitement in being able to play a game before it is released, but one makes sacrifices as well.)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Marriage to Kai in HM Cute DS is a Joy

Were I not so madly besotted with Skye, I have to confess I would be thrilled with the prospect of living happily ever after with Kai in HM Cute DS. His response to the marriage proposal is everything any girl could desire. He has an open, generous heart, a sunny disposition and... AND... for all of us who ever wished that a husband or son would help us with the farm work, Kai enthusiastically displays his intention to become one with you in every respect. He is a model husband and no one could be more romantic and affectionate.

The irony in HM Cute DS is that Kai is the first bachelor from Mineral Town whom you can bring to full red heart level. Although he only visits your village in the summer season, Cute is the one game where this signifies the chance for more encounters than you can have with any other Mineral Town bachelor! The other Mineral Town bachelors visit only one day each week. Thirty days in succession each Summer means that you easily can marry Kai in your second year, provided only that you propose to him before the end of Summer.

The following has been included in my Courtship and Marriage Guide for Cute which should be uploaded by IGN tomorrow I believe. It is the full text of the proposal and wedding events with Kai:

At 6.10 a.m. on Monday, 27 Summer in my second year, I show Kai the Blue Feather.

Kai: (!) .... Is this for me? Let's talk at your place, Freya.

Now we are in my house and the beautifully evocative Mineral Town heart music plays.

Kai: F-for real, Freya?
I nod and flourish the feather again. Kai displays a big red heart.
Kai: I'm always so happy whenever you stop by. In fact, others come by all the time, but none cheer me up like you. What I'm trying to say is... I really love you, Freya. Now that you know how I feel, of course you know I'll say yes! We'll always be happy together, Freya. As husband and wife!
I display a big red heart now.
Kai: Wow, it just hit me that once we're married, we can be together all the time. You don't know how happy that makes me. Just thinking about our future gets me so stoked.
We both display big red hearts.
Kai: When should we have the ceremony? Does a week from now sound good?
I nod.
Kai: Awesome. In a week it is. I'll close up my stand and go tell my folks if there's time before the wedding. I don't think they can come to the wedding though. I should really go see my parents when I get a chance.
I nod and he leaves.

It is 6.10 a.m. on Monday, 27 Summer of the 2nd year.
The wedding would then occur on Tuesday, 4 Autumn.

We would find ourselves at the beach with the wedding march playing.
Thomas: I, Thomas, will now begin this honourable marriage ceremony.
I will now ask the groom. Do you swear to love Freya forever?
Kai's face (ching) across the screen.
Kai: You know I do.
Thomas: Good. Now the bride. And do you promise to love and cherish Kai, as long as you both shall live?
My face (ching) across the screen.
I nod and we both display big red hearts, facing one another.
Kai: This is the happiest day of my life! Let's take the world by storm!
I nod and we move towards one another, then face Thomas together side by side.
Thomas: I now pronounce you man and wife.
Cheers from the crowd.
Harvest Goddess: (Freya, Freya.)
Me: ?
Harvest Goddess: (Dum dum dum dummmm. Congratulations. Here's my present for you.)
The bells toll, the screen goes white and then... credits scroll black and white towards the centre...

Tuesday, 5 Autumn at 10.00 a.m.: Kai and I are facing one another across the table.

Kai: Today you and I are husband and wife. It feels so good to say it.
I display a big red heart.
Kai: Oh yeah, let's think up some nicknames. That'll liven things up. Just call me Kai. What should I call you, Freya?
Me: Tesora.

Kai: Don't forget to respond when I call you that.

My thoughts: Tomorrow begins our new life together!

6.00 a.m. on 6 Autumn:
Kai: Morning, Tesora! I'm doing ranch work. I never thought I'd be doing this.

I give him his Most Favourite Item, otherwise known as the MFI.
Kai: It's a Pineapple! For me? Thanks, Tesora.

After noon at home:
Kai: Oh, Tesora. Thanks for your hard work. It's great having a family. That's exactly what I think.

N.B. The only bad habit Kai has is his tendency to use the outdated slang term: stoked. He says it frequently during times of great emotion! Despite this small flaw in his personality (and some may not consider it so at all), Kai is one of the strongest male characters in Harvest Moon. He is independent, with a good sense of self-esteem, hard-working, responsible and yet has an incredible sense of adventure. He is disposed to be open and friendly to every one and yet can stand up for himself when he meets hostility from any one.

After my temporary marriage to Kai, I waited at the entrance to the Valley at 10.10 p.m. as usual to see if Skye would appear and how he would greet me. His dialogue was the same after my marriage to another as it was before marriage, but what made me realise that I never could stay married to Kai was the fact that Skye no longer displayed a deep red heart, nor in fact any heart at all for me... Without a moment's hesitation, once the marriage information had been documented for Kai, I reloaded the game back to the point where I still remained unmarried and true to my beloved Skye.

Harvest Moon Gender Discrimination

There are those who claim Harvest Moon discriminates against women by not allowing the woman to continue her game after marriage in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl. I do not think it was a deliberate form of discrimination but probably based on a smaller allotment of time to the creation of the Girl version.

The Girl version is rather strange in many respects. Many of the Heart Events of the eligible girls in the Boy version have been retained in the Girl version for no apparent reason. It is almost as though the individuals who were responsible for making the decisions in the Girl version were not familiar with courtship rules in Harvest Moon. Furthermore, some of the events are backwards. One experiences Elli's Third Heart Event BEFORE one experiences her Second Heart Event when playing as a girl in HM B & G. It is as though they simply decided to include X number of events from the Boy version irrespective of the significance of those events...

I find it maddening that romance in HM Boy and Girl, both when playing as a Boy and when playing as a Girl is based on the individual with the current highest heart level. Perhaps it makes sense but I don't like it. I always tend to use Romantic festivals as a means by which to raise the heart level of the girl or bachelor who has the LOWEST affection for me at that point in time. In Boy & Girl, the game decides the individual with whom you will be allowed to spend the festival.

There is a point where gender discrimination does occur, however, and that is the Fireworks Festival. If you play as a boy and have all eligible girls at a decent level, you can invite any of them to join you to watch the show. It is YOUR choice for once. If you play as a girl, however, the game intervenes and controls your life. Only the bachelor with the highest heart level will give you the option of watching the event with him. I had both Grey and Cliff almost at orange heart level, but Cliff's heart level was slightly higher and thus, he was the one who asked. The first time I played the event, I thought it would be the same as the Boy version and refused Cliff, thinking I then would be asked by Grey, but refusing Cliff forced me to watch the event alone at the end of the pier...

It is curious that Cliff's heart level has mounted steadily, even though I stopped giving him items some time ago, realising that I could not experience any more Heart Events until he had the Winery job. I have given Grey gifts each day and yet, his heart level is slightly lower than that of Cliff.

It will be interesting to see if Cliff is at red heart level even before I have any opportunity to offer him the Winery job. I almost would be willing to wager that it will be, even if I never give him another gift.

N.B. In contrast to Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, the Fireworks Festival in Cute is an opportunity to raise the heart levels of EVERY bachelor, even those who do not give you the option to watch the display with them. Only bachelors with green heart or higher will give you an option to invite them to watch the display but all Valley and all Mineral Town bachelors will be at the beach with the sad exception of Skye. Even where a bachelor is at blue heart level and does not allow you to invite him to watch the fireworks with him, if you speak to him, it will boost his AP by 2000 points. What this means is that, for the day of the Fireworks Festival, you can boost the AP of EVERY bachelor apart from Skye by 4000 points, 2000 points of that for speaking to him at the Fireworks Festival and 2000 points for changing your outfit. What is interesting here is that you will not raise any bachelor's AP higher by choosing to view the show with him. ALL bachelors to whom you speak will have an increase of 2000 AP the next day for your action in speaking to them.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Will you brave a Hurricane for Love (or Perfume?)

One of the most fascinating and possibly complex events that can occur in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl will take place only if you allow a Hurricane to blow through the village. I am one of those players who controls the weather for the most part in the interests of my animals and crops. After all, you cannot feed your animals during any severe storm. Crops are destroyed randomly in any severe storm as well. The seasons of severe storms tend to be Summer and Winter in HM B&G. There are no crops in Winter, unless you have the Hothouse, which is a snow storm's first target, incidentally! In Summer, however, there are Pineapples, very expensive to buy as seed and more valuable when shipped...

It may be worthwhile, nonetheless, to experience one Hurricane during Summer, especially if you are a girl. The day after, if you enter the Beach area as early as 6.00 a.m., you will experience an event that involves Kai. Although it is not a true Heart Event, it has potential to raise his Heart level.

Kai only appears in Summer in Mineral Town. If you are courting him, you have a single season in which to do it each year. In the first year, if you experience the Confession Event, his first Heart Event, and admit to your identity, his heart will be at Blue level when he comes to Mineral Town in the Summer. Even so, it is virtually impossible to marry him in the first year, as it is almost impossible to raise him to fullest red heart level before the end of the first Summer. Even if you did that, you would not have both house expansions...

Nevertheless, the post-Hurricane event can boost his heart level and have an effect on other bachelors as well. The response that you make to Kai is critical here, as it can result in the acquisition of a very rare and potent item.

When you enter the beach, you will find a Bottled Message. Those players who, like myself, fished up the Bottled Message containing the Fries Recipe, will recognise the item instantly, although its contents are different in this case (or at least cannot be accessed as easily!)

Kai will appear. Here is the event with both responses. You be the judge...

Kai: Wow... a letter from overseas. Say, Freya... do you plan to stay in this village forever?

My choices:
Yes, forever.
I may leave some day.

If I choose:
Yes, forever.

Kai (unhappy): I see... So your farm comes first... Then... can I have this?

You will give it to him automatically.

Kai; Thanks. This is for you. Girls like this kind of stuff, right?

He hands me a bottle of perfume, then walks away. I am left alone on the beach with the perfume.

Perfume: Received from Kai. He called it a Love Potion!?

You cannot ship it but you can use it by showing it to Kai.

Kai: Aha! You liked it enough to put it on. That makes me very happy.

If I choose:
I may leave some day.

Kai: Really? So when the time comes, Il'll take you there!
Then: Just kidding. If that's the case, keep it. Maybe someday you'll meet the sender. I hope he's cool.

Kai walks away, leaving me with the bottle in hand. It is 6.20 a.m. on Saturday, 26 Summer, the day after a Hurricane.

If you give Kai the bottle later: What the...? Was I lookiing at it with longing eyes or something?


What is interesting about the bottle of Perfume is that you can use it again and again, and in most cases when shown to a bachelor, you will obtain a positive result. I believe it raises affection levels a little as well, except in the case of Rick.

Showing the perfume to Rick actually may LOWER his affection level a little.

Rick: You got it from Kai? You'd better throw that away. I don't even know what it is.

The other bachelors will respond in a positive fashion.

Doctor: My father used to buy perfume for my mother from the city. She loved to wear it all the time.

Cliff: I think it's very nice.

Grey: Wow, you look stylish.

And, as previously recorded in the event itself:

Kai: Aha! You liked it enough to put it on. That makes me very happy.

One of the great delights for me in Harvest Moon games is showing individuals an unlikely item to obtain their reactions. In every Harvest Moon game that includes a Blue Feather, I usually flourish it to every one, including Harvest Sprites, to see what information I can gain... Showing the perfume to all the villagers revealed some nuggets of fascinating history.

Players may recall that Aja, daughter of Duke and Manna, left Mineral Town never to return. Harris, the local constable and the son of the Mayor, is in love with her. You will experience a series of little events with him wherein he confides his love for Aja to you, writes her a letter and then receives one from her in return.

Other mentions of Aja occur with respect to the Winery and Duke's profligate attitude towards money. The winery is named 'Aja's Winery' but after Cliff accepts the job there, Duke and Manna begin to treat him as their son and even to contemplate an inheritance for him in the form of the Winery.

To return to the Perfume, however, and the role that IT plays... if you show it both to Duke and to Manna, you will discover that it is possible that Kai was her reason for leaving. If true, it makes Duke's attitude during Kai's Blue Heart event at the Inn a little more comprehensible.

Here are the responses:

Duke: Uh-oh. Kai gave you this, didn't he? Be careful with that guy. Aja decided to leave town because of him.

Manna: Wow, Freya, you have something fancy in your hand. May I? Oh, smells nice. It's a gift from Kai? Aha! He gets too friendly with girls, as you may now. It is a little problem in a closed community like our town. Duke tells me he is the reason Aja left here. Well, even so, it's Aja's decision.

(N.B. It is an act of true devotion to Harvest Moon to record Manna's conversation in any case, as she speaks very quickly and the text scrolls at an amazing rate. I usually have to listen to it a couple of times before I can complete the transcript.)

If you show the perfume to Harris, he will not BLAME Kai for anything but will refer to him as the sort of guy who represents a threat to his hopes.

Harris: I look at Kai and the other young men and they seem so stylish. That must be the kind of guys hanging around Aja.

Finally, what is the BEST response to make to Kai? Initially, one may believe that the reply that makes him happiest is the 'correct' one, but if you tell him that you may leave one day, you will keep the Bottled Message but not obtain the Perfume. If you confess your intention to remain in Mineral Town forever, he may not be as happy BUT after you have the perfume, you can 'wear' it for him every day, boosting his heart level a little each time you show it to him...

I personally will opt for the Perfume, if I choose to allow the Hurricane, and I think I should. The crops that are destroyed are chosen randomly. If I awaken the day after the hurricane to find that Pineapples have been taken, I can reload...

If it were possible to marry Kai in the first Summer, I might consider the larger initial boost to heart level that would be given by the response in favour of travel to be worthwhile. In the circumstances, though, the perfume certainly can provide the same boost to heart level, albeit more slowly and over the course of time.

Incidentally, in both the Boy and Girl version of the game, the Perfume can be given as a gift to any eligible girl. Even as a girl, when you show the Perfume to one of your rivals, you have the option either to give it to her or to keep it. If you choose to keep it, she will compliment you on the Perfume.

In the Boy version of the game, giving the Perfume to an eligible girl will boost her heart level.

A postscript to this: The perfume, like the Spring Goddess Gown and Grey's Necklace, only can be stored in the Fancybox. A true packrat, I love filling my boxes with special items...

With respect to this event, I experienced it the first and second times only for the sake of the guide without saving the effects, because I had not gone through the previous day properly. The previous day was the Fireworks Festival, which I will cover in a separate post. The Girl version of the game is VERY different from the Boy in terms of the Fireworks Festival and jolly unfair in my view. Very discriminatory towards our gender! In any case, you will be unable to save the game AFTER the Fireworks Festival as you are sent to bed immediately. I could not save again until I went to bed on 25 Summer. Guess what weather prediction I got the next morning: Another HURRICANE! Having lost 3 pineapple plants and 3 corn plants, not to mention a few tomatoes and onions in the first hurricane, I wasn't about to allow another, especially as there were no more benefits in the terms of special events, so I had to replay THREE days in order to obtain a different result in terms of the weather... I have to be honest and admit that I replayed once after losing 1 pineapple plant and 3 corn plants only to lose MORE the second time... by then I was too weary to struggle further with this event so I saved it.

If you are going to allow any severe storms, best not to allow them on the day following a festival that sends you straight to bed, but it was close to the end of the Summer season and I wanted to have Kai's hurricane event in my game...

HM DS and Cute DS are so much more generous in allowing one to save at any given point in the day and any location. I really hate having to replay entire days, not to mention three days at a stretch.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Kai's 4th Heart Event

As I must send the Cute cartridge back now, I am trying to finish off all the events in Cute as quickly as possible in my test game... It requires that I play a game that is contrary to my careful habits. I sold off most of my animals in order to be able to move quickly through the seasons... In a few days, happily, I will have a permanent cartridge on which to lavish all my time and attention (after Island of Happiness, that is...)

It is an odd experience to be courting Kai both in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl and in HM Cute DS simultaneously. I have to say that his Fourth and Final Heart Event in HM Cute DS is extremely sweet...

The event begins at the Inn where he and Ruby are discussing the legends of the Harvest Goddess. I must force myself to remember that most of the villagers both in Mineral Town and Forget-Me-Not Valley do not KNOW the Harvest Goddess, have never seen her and do not even know whether she truly exists or not. Many do not SEE the Harvest Sprites... It is not a 'magical' world. It is a world like ours, in which only a few chosen are given the opportunity to interact with magical creatures.

Kai suggests suddenly that you and he should walk to the Goddess Spring to investigate. While there, he suggests that you make a wish. Here you have a choice:
love or money basically. You can wish that Kai will like you more or that your farm will be prosperous.

If you choose the former, Kai will confess that he made the same wish. You both will display a big red heart...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Bizarre Heart Event Quirks in Girl version of Boy & Girl

I was not too surprised to experience the 1st Heart Events for all the girls in the Girl version of Boy & Girl. After all, this is the case in More Friends of Mineral Town as well. It did surprise me somewhat when I began to experience the Blue Heart Events for the girls when I was playing as a girl... First was Elli with the sandwiches, then Popuri with her Egg. I wondered why I did not experience Ann's Blue Heart Event until one rainy afternoon, I experienced her 2nd Heart Event! I now wonder if this event had to be triggered before I could experience her Blue Heart Event.

Ann's Blue Heart Event is one of the most profitable events in the Boy version of the game, which is why I am eager to see if it can be experienced when you play the Girl version. At this point, I have experienced her first two Heart Events and attended her Birthday party as a girl.

Meanwhile, I have experienced a most disturbing event for poor Grey. One evening in the pouring rain, Saibara castigated him for his lack of expertise as a blacksmith. Grey's dialogue often involves complaints that his grandfather is too strict and much too exacting. If one ever thought that Grey might have exaggerated a little, this event proves otherwise:

Saibara: You idiot!
Grey: What!
Saibara: You need to train 100 years before you can make tools!
Grey: I can make tools no problem!
Saibara: Hush! They may look like tools, but they are useless.
Grey: ..............
Saibara: You wouldn't understand that now.
Grey: Ugh...

Poor Grey! To his credit, he is more determined than ever to succeed. This event cannot be experienced until Grey is at Yellow Heart level.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Heart Events in Harvest Moon Boy and Girl

When I experienced one of the girl's 1st Heart Events in the Girl version of Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, I remembered that More Friends of Mineral Town included the 1st Heart Event of each of the eligible girls in the original Friends of Mineral Town. When, however, I then experienced Elli's Blue Heart Event in the Girl version of Boy & Girl, I began to suspect that ALL the Blue Heart Events for the eligible girls in the Boy version were included in the girl game. When I experienced Popuri's Blue Heart event and received an egg from her, my theory was vindicated somewhat...

What this would mean, of course, is that you could obtain all the benefits of these events. Elli's sandwiches may not be worth much either in a culinary or a financial sense, but Ann's request for 3 eggs is extremely profitable and is worth experiencing even if you are playing as a girl.

Obviously you must have met all requirements for each of these events. In the case of Ann's Blue Heart Event, you must have at least three adult egg-laying chickens in the boy version as well as having Ann at the right heart level. In the girl version of the game, I have not experienced the event yet. Perhaps it was not included, which would be a pity, but I am not going to give up yet...

In the boy version of the game, Ann and Popuri always repeat the same dialogue at the Goddess Spring. In the girl version of the game, their dialogue changes with their friendship level.

Another discovery I made was to confirm what I suspected when I met Kai in the Church in the middle of the first Spring: it is, in fact, his Black Heart Event. If you choose the correct action, which is to tell him that you are NOT Carter, his heart will be at Blue level as soon as he comes to Mineral Town for the Summer.

Incidentally, for the sake of those who wonder what Kai would have confessed that day, it was an argument with his father... I replayed the event simply to discover what would happen if I pretended to be Carter... in fact, I always try to give both results in my guides in any case. Kai will begin to confess an argument with his father, who does not believe Kai should be spending any time in Mineral Town. He then will become increasingly uncomfortable with the entire Confession process, declare that he cannot go through with it and leave without ever meeting you...

Honesty IS the best policy and you will have the chance to meet Kai and win his heart somewhat if you tell him that you are not Carter, even if you are tempted to hear his confession!

The significant Heart Events in the Boy version of the game are the Blue Heart Events. In the girl version of the game, it may be the Green Heart Event, which is accompanied by Heart Event music.

Rick's Green Heart Event has special requirements. You must leave a chicken outside overnight in order to trigger the event, rather like the old Indian practice of tethering a goat outside in order to bait a tiger! I did not enjoy this AT ALL, as I always am conscious of the threat that the wild dog poses. Perhaps the game allows one night of guaranteed safety for the poor chicken in pursuance of this Heart Event, but I rather doubt it.

In any case, Rick's Green Heart Event is very interesting because of the responses in both cases to his comment. In Heart Events, there usually is a 'correct' and an 'incorrect' response.

Here is the dialogue:

At 6.00 a.m. when you exit your house after leaving at least one chicken outside overnight, you will find Rick in front of your henhouse at Green Heart level.

Rick: Sorry to bother you, but keep the chickens inside at night. There are wild dogs.

I nod and turn towards my chickens.

Rick: Chickens love to stay outside in the sun. So cute...

My choices now:
They lay eggs too.
You could eat them.

If I choose: They lay eggs too.

Rick: Right. We make a living off of them. We have to be appreciative. See you around.

If I choose:

You could eat them.

Rick; Ha ha ha ha! You're too funny! I know you love chickens!
He then will turn to you:

Rick: Can I come to see your chickens again? See you.

Later in front of the Supermarket after choosing the second option:

Rick (still at green heart): How are your chickens? I know it's hard to keep animals. If you ever need advice, please let me know.


I would have thought that the first option was the obviously correct one, until I went back to experience what I thought would be the response to the 'incorrect' choice. The expression on Rick's face when I remarked that one could eat them was a very happy one. He immediately assumed I was teasing him and liked it. In fact, in MFoMT, Rick's yellow heart event I seem to recall involved a visit to the Inn where he was highly entertained by my sense of humour, telling me how funny I was and how much fun it was to be with me.

After the event, I chased him to the Supermarket where I spoke to him to see his heart level... it remained green and had not decreased as far as I could discern. (How I wish for a Love Bangle at such moments in Boy & Girl!!!) I am beginning to believe that both options may be acceptable here...

I am including photographs of Rick's heart level AFTER the event in both cases.
Is there any perceptible difference?

In one case, he simply says: See you around.
In the other case, he asks: Can I come to see your chickens again? See you.

One reason I would lean towards the second option now is his attempt to ask for another invitation to see you in that case. Perhaps I am over-dissecting the event though and the obvious choice is the best...

I would be interested in the opinions of other players.

N.B. I have noticed that the size of the heart icon in the corner changes randomly sometimes at any given level and therefore may not be an accurate gauge.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A very Stressful Crazy Day for Relaxation Tea Leaves

I recognise that the quality that makes me (possibly) a decent guide writer where Harvest Moon games are concerned is also a quality bordering on insanity. I am obsessive... in fact, the last time I spoke to my contact at Natsume, we both laughed at this characteristic we both share. I cannot stand to miss out on something or throw away an item by accident or even to be forced to throw one away. So here I am in the Girl version of Harvest Moon Boy & Girl with a terrible dilemma on 25 Spring.

I am running out of time where the Harvest Sprite Spring Tea Party is concerned. I have the largest rucksack which means that, were I a normal human being, I'd be able to stash 7 flowers or boxes of flour in my rucksack to take to the Sprite Hut to dispense as gifts in order to be invited to join the party.

Unfortunately, both in the Boy and Girl version of the game, I caught the Bottled Fries Recipe very early in Spring and being the sentimental packrat that I am, lugged this useless and valueless item about in the medium rucksack for WEEKS until the Supermarket offered the Large Rucksack. With the large rucksack, I should have had 7 empty item slots even with the Fries Recipe in the Bottle, but of course I have to experience all the Heart Events as early as possible.

Grey came to my house in Part II of his Blue Heart Event and, reminding me of his courtship in More Friends of Mineral Town, gave me a Necklace that he had made for me. Its description is: Necklace A gift from Grey. It's not as good as Saibara's.

Well, excuse me! To me, it is far better than anything Saibara could make, as it was made FOR ME by sweet Grey, who always somehow tugs at my heart, even though he can make a fairly horrible crazy face at certain points in the game. (It is Ann's horrible crazy face and Cliff's crazy face that put me off them ultimately... other than those moments, I am very attracted to both of them... but those crazy faces!!!)
The Doctor is the only bachelor who doesn't have a crazy face moment, but then, he has that miniature satellite dish on his forehead at all times, even in the nuptial bed. (The possibility that he might switch that tiny light on at an intimate moment is very daunting.)

To return to the problem at hand, I now had only 6 free slots, as the Necklace from Grey and the Fries Recipe occupied two slots. One might think that one could carry a gift to one of the Sprites but this is not the case. You actually must speak to a Sprite in the Hut BEFORE you begin to dispense your gifts or the Tea Party will not be an option for you.

I therefore had to free one more slot. Normal players would have tossed out the Fries Recipe with the rest of their rubbish immediately after catching it on their hooks. Most players probably would ship Grey's Necklace as well, although I suspect its shipping value probably is half that of any of the jewelry Saibara makes. (I'll confirm that later by shipping it and not saving the result.) For I, you see, sooner would lose my right arm than ship a sentimental gift from a bachelor. In fact, I carried the bottle of Bodigizer the Doctor gave me in HIS blue heart event with me for a few days WITH the Fries Recipe in the medium rucksack, effectively crippling myself in terms of storage until some vestige of practicality intervened and I drank it finally on a rainy night.

Not much problem choosing between a silly Fries Recipe and a hand-crafted necklace from Grey... but I still could not bear to toss it in the rubbish bin, so I decided to give it to May, the one person in the village who actually would be grateful for the gift. (I did this once before in my first game in the Boy version, but ultimately I reloaded and kept the bottle, placing it finally in my Cabinet forevermore.)

(Actually, if I had been a little more intelligent, I would have remembered my Fancybox. It was only when I discovered, after the upgrade of my house, that Grey's Necklace could not be stored in the Cabinet that I thought of the Fancybox as an option. Foolish, foolish... I could have kept the Fries Recipe after all!)

So here I was, with a multitude of self-imposed tasks on Wednesday 25 Spring and not enough time to perform them all. You have to understand that I try to give all the bachelors gifts daily, so that task was included in my programme of the day.

Here is the way the day went the first time:
1. 6.00 a.m. Pick up the dog for a heart display, watch the Weather prediction, then go to the Stable to brush the horse and speak to him.
2. Race through my fields gathering 6 ripened crops to ship, keeping my hands free in order to toss Fish Food into the Pond. (Remember that at this point, I still had the Fries Recipe in one slot and the Necklace in another.)
3. Ship the crops in the rucksack in the Henhouse, feed the Chickens, pick up each Chicken to 'hug' it, then collect the two eggs on the floor.
4. Race to the Spring to transform the two eggs into Spa Eggs, collect all three Bamboo Shoot and the Blue Grass there. Race down the steps and collect the other Blue Grass from the Forest next to Gotz' house.
5. Return to the Henhouse, trying not to drop the item in my hands on the way through the door (2 Spa Eggs, 3 Bamboo Shoots, 2 Blue Grass, 1 Necklace, 1 Fries Recipe = 9 items) Ship the 2 Spa Eggs, 2 of the Bamboo Shoots, 2 Blue Grass and try not to ship any of the other items by mistake.
6. It now is 9.00 a.m. I race up the mountain to give the Doctor his Bamboo Shoot at the shore of the Lake.
7. I think that I will be clever and kill three birds with a single stone, chopping both stumps for lumber before I collect 5 flowers from the Meadow to give to the Sprites later to trigger the Tea Party.
8. Down the mountain again and now I go to Barley's house to find May so I can dispose of the Fries Recipe, freeing another slot.
9. Race back to the Forest to collect the two flowers there now, giving myself a total of 7 flowers for the Sprites in the rucksack with the Necklace.
10. Take a portion of Chicken feed to give to Rick, rushing over to the Poultry Farm quickly to do it.
11. Backtrack to the farm to grab one cucumber that is ready to harvest in order to give it to Cliff at the Church. Now I have 7 flowers, 1 Necklace in the rucksack and a cucumber in my hands.

Well, there wasn't a hope of making it in time. Halfway to the Church, I began to debate whether or not even to give the cucumber to Cliff... what was the point if I were not capable of admitting defeat where the Tea party was concerned? So I wearily walked home and went into the house to read my diary, reloading at 6.00 a.m.

This time, I decided I would give most of the bachelors gifts later... but I still did not make it in time. Omitting the steps involving chicken feed and cucumber...

12. Race to the Church... it is now 3.40 p.m. and my feet stick to the path like glue. For some reason, progress ALWAYS is slow between the Clinic and the Church. One cannot run properly.

I give him the Cucumber and desperately try to reach the Sprite Hut before 4.00 p.m., knowing in my heart and in fact, knowing from the moment I harvested that cucumber that I was not going to make it... And in fact, I entered the Church at 4.00 p.m., and none of the Sprites were remotely disposed to throw a 2nd LATE tea party after the first one they enjoyed by themselves.

That was the 2nd attempt... In the third attempt, I decided to dispense with the task of chopping the two stumps on the Mountain... This time, however, upon reaching the Doctor at the Lake, I miscalculated my angle and threw the Bamboo Shoot into the Lake instead.

On the fourth attempt I got caught twice trying to navigate, and lost a valuable 20 minutes at least by not being able to maintain running speed.

On the fifth attempt, I would have made it!!! I was at the door of the Sprite Hut at 3.30 p.m. when, for no apparent reason apart from the sheer bloodimindedness of the Gods, my PSP decided to shut OFF! My battery was charged fully and indeed the power plug was connected, so why o why???

That was the time when I had vowed to myself that, no matter what, I was going to play through the day and simply accept the consequences, whether or not I made it to the Sprite Tea Party. After all, tomorrow is another day.

In that attempt, however, I was thwarted because there was no day to save once the PSP shut off. I had to begin again at 6.00 a.m...

Amazingly enough, although the Relaxation Tea Leaves could be considered a sentimental gift, I raced home at 4.00 p.m. to ship them before Zack's arrival at 5.00 p.m. and simply prayed with all my might that I would make it through the day and be able to save the day in my 'diary'...

And finally, it came to pass, but at what a price! Thinking about this repeated fiasco, I realised that another player could have played through an entire season in the time I wasted on a single day. What difference does it really make? By the end of the first year, whether or not I had obtained those Relaxation Tea Leaves, I would have all building upgrades including the Hothouse, all tool upgrades and more money than I ever could use again...

Furthermore, there is a great irony in the fact that the object of my 'quest' was Relaxation Tea Leaves and yet it was possibly the most stressful day I have had in a long time.

So this is my Confession of the worst sort of Insanity that I am capable of exhibiting in the course of Harvest Moon gameplay.

For those who read this simply in order to discover the rules that govern the Sprite Tea Party, they are as follows:

You must visit the Sprite Hut between 3.00 p.m. and 3.50 p.m. in order to have the option to attend the party as the party ends at 4.00 p.m.
Make certain that you have a gift for each of the seven Sprites and speak to one Sprite BEFORE you give the first gift in order to initiate the Tea Party dialogue.
When you give a gift, the Sprite then will tell you to give some to the 'others'. Do so until all Sprites have had gifts and you then will be invited to join them for the Tea Party.

At the end of the Party, you will find yourself outside the door with a bag of Relaxation Tea Leaves in your hands. In the first Spring, you will have no place to store them apart from your rucksack and no means by which to make them into Relaxation Tea. The most practical option would be to ship them for 1000G.

Although the Sprites hold their tea parties daily throughout the Spring season and will not accept any jobs during that period, you can attend the Tea Party only once per year. As previously stated, because of the requirement of being able to give each of the 7 Sprites a gift without leaving the Hut, you must have the largest rucksack if you wish to accomplish this.

I am including a photograph of the medium rucksack containing both the Fries Recipe and the Necklace from Grey. As you can see, keeping these items reduced the size of my rucksack to the original capacity of the small one!

At the moment, I am not disposed to go back in time to the point where I still had both Fries Recipe and Necklace to replay this entire episode... I am moving on.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Horse Race Exploit in HM Boy & Girl as well

Many years ago, when playing FoMT, I discovered that I could take my Basket to the Races and winning Medals, purchase a total of 39 brooches there, placing 30 in the Basket, 8 in my large rucksack and 1 in my hands, leaving my Basket at Rose Square until I could throw the brooch in my hands into the shipping container at home.

This provided sufficient wealth to allow me to purchase every possible upgrade and as many seeds as any farmer could desire before the end of Spring in the first year.

When More Friends of Mineral Town was released, I discovered I could use the same exploit in that game. Furthermore, racing was fairly predictable up to a point and it helped immensely that one could save the game directly before one entered Rose Square, making it easy to reload if the wrong horse won.

One can use this trick up to a point in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl as well. I have not tested it with the Basket yet because the races are wildly unpredictable and I grew tired of reloading the entire day. As you can save your game only at the point of going to bed at night, you have to replay the entire day if you wish to replay any part of the day, including the Races on 18 Spring.

If you can bear it though, prior to the point where you can win enough Medals to be able to purchase the Power Berry, you can trade your Medals for Earrings at the cost of 33 Medals each. Earrings ship for 2000G. As the price of any ticket is 50G, even if you bet on a horse with odds of 1 to 1 in the First Spring to win only 33 medals on a bet of 33 Medals, you can purchase Earrings and ship them for 2000G, giving you a profit of 350G. If you win on a horse at better odds, obviously you can buy more earrings and make a greater profit.

The problem here is that the results really are completely random and not even related to ordinary probabilities. A horse going off at even odds can lose to a horse that goes off at 13 to 1 odds. It happens frequently! As previously stated, if one could reload at the point of entering Rose Square, it wouldn't be so bad, but when one must replay the entire day, it becomes an exercise in frustration.

Your best chance to win enough Medals for the Power Berry is when you first race your own horse. Your first opportunity is the Spring of the second year. As it will be the horse's first race, the odds will be very high. If you can win at those odds, you should be able to purchase the Power Berry.

All other prizes, apart from the Earrings, are not worth the investment. A ticket costs 50G. A Truffle costs 12 Medals, making its price higher than its shipping value of 500G. The other Jewelry items, although they COST more, do not ship for more than the Earrings. All jewelry ships for 2000G.

When the Lumber is offered AFTER your purchase of the Power Berry, you should be at a point in the game where you never will need that quantity of Lumber again. By the end of the first year in fact, you probably will have all building upgrades including the Hothouse. It therefore always is better to exchange medals for Earrings and then ship them. Of course, once you have lived through a year or so, you probably won't need the profit from ANY shipments and therefore may wish to give away the jewelry instead of shipping it. That is your choice, of course.

You always could opt to trade your Medals for Bodigizer XL or Turbojolt XL but by then, you should have a full kitchen and be able to make food items that work almost as well and cost far less...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Down Memory Lane... FoMT and MFoMT


Thinking about marriage in Boy & Girl reminded me of Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town, two of the greatest games ever made. In the days when I played FoMT, it never occurred to me to take screenshots of my games. I captured events in words. In fact, that was the start of my first game guide. Unfortunately, I cannot find my original game where I was married to Karen. I did, however, manage to find two old games. In one I was married to Elli and had a child. In the other, I had married Mary quite recently.

You will see the infamous mouse-eared child in both FoMT and MFoMT I am including some scenes from an old MFoMT game. My husband is not in evidence... so you will have to guess which one of the guys fathered this particular mouse-eared child!

When I revisited my old lives, I took a quick peek into my Refrigerator and Shelf and was thrilled to find that all my sentimental treasures remained safe... I include a photograph of the 'treasures' from the Blue Heart Events in MFoMT. I have all the gifts from the girls in my Shelf in FoMT, naturally.

For those who never played FoMT or MFoMT but who have played 'Boy & Girl', I am including a photograph of the 'White Flower of Happiness'. In MFoMT, you can obtain this flower more than once.

Here is the ultimate proof as well of the hours I put into research for my guides, for better or worse. My mother would be horrified at what she would consider a colossal waste of time and energy but to me, a job worth doing at all is worth doing properly. A life worth living is worth living properly and I consider my Harvest Moon lives to be 'real' on some plane of existence.

Marriage to Mary in HM Boy & Girl

I promised some photographs of Mary's wedding to a fan of Harvest Moon. Here are photographs of my (temporary) wedding to Mary. Her behaviour after marriage has been included now in my Courtship and Marriage Guide. I'm rather sorry I didn't stay married long enough to record Ann's dialogue at night... Another time perhaps.

I have been married to all these girls before in FoMT. I was a little cross with Mary in FoMT as in the afternoon, she would talk about how much I ate, as though endless supplies of food was my sole interest in life. In HM Boy & Girl in the afternoon, her first remark is similarly about food but then she softens it a little by saying that a person who works as hard as I do needs food.

She does remark sweetly that no one understands her the way I do... I almost could have stayed married to her for that.

Incidentally, pregnancy in Boy & Girl is far less dramatic than in FoMT/MFoMT. Mary's conversation simply changed one day and a few days later, she told me she had visited the clinic and that I should expect a blessed event... Perhaps I missed something as I was rushing through the game at that point simply to experience rival heart events but probably not.

As I do not like to play Harvest Moon that way, I refused to experience the birth of a child until I had played properly... so in the middle of summer, I simply reloaded back to my single state.

Weddings occur about a week after a successful marriage proposal. You will awaken in Church and Carter will preside. As you can see, May and Stu often act as page and flower girl. Thomas lends the weight of his official presence to the ceremony.

At home, your wife will move back and forth through the main chamber of the farmhouse during the day but will be in the bedroom after 6.00 p.m. Her conversation will change after noon and at night. At night, Mary confessed that she was a night owl and that she often fell asleep in the Library after a late night. She expressed a wish that we both could stay up late together, but then said she realised farmers could not live that way...

Rival Heart Events in Harvest Moon Boy and Girl

After much tedious experimentation, I am convinced that, in the Boy version of the game at least, the Third Rival Heart Event cannot be experienced before the second year. This actually makes sense and is true to general principles of Harvest Moon. The game ALWAYS gives you an advantage over your rivals and HM Boy & Girl is no exception.

The 3rd Rival Heart Event in the Boy version is a two-part event in each case, rather like Skye's Events in Cute. Part I and Part II may occur in the same location but usually occur in different locations. In some cases, you can trigger Part II on the same day as Part I. I initially intended to name the event the 3rd and 4th Rival Heart Events but I soon realised that they really were connected and formed a single event.

For example, in Elli's 3rd Rival Heart Event, Part I occurs at the Beach, where the Doctor tells her that he feels he is ill-equipped to run the Clinic as most of the 'business' is related to childbirth. He speaks of leaving Mineral Town to study elsewhere. In Part II of this Event, you will find him in Confession at the Church. He will continue much in the same vein, while Carter will speak of his own insecurities but ultimately declare that he has to look within himself and stay in Mineral Town only if it serves his own needs to do so.

Another reason not to label these events as the 3rd and 4th Rival heart Events is because the marriage of the rival does NOT follow after triggering Part II of the Event. There is another Rival heart Event that must be experienced before the rival will marry the girl. I am beginning to suspect that the 4th and final Rival heart Event cannot be triggered before the 3rd Year, but I could be wrong. If any one has been able to induce a rival to marry in the 2nd year, please let me know! Ultimately, I will return to my Boy game and trigger all the rest of the events myself but in the meantime...

I must return to my very difficult life as a girl.

Power or Wealth? It depends on your Gender

I feel a bit schizophrenic at the moment, playing the Boy and the Girl version of Harvest Moon Boy & Girl simultaneously. Although both versions share the same foundation fundamentally, there are some differences that are significant and others that are minor. Chief among significant differences is the fact that marriage in the Girl version ends the game. In the Boy version, you go on to create a family for yourself. For those who assume that the creators of the game are prejudiced against women, that assumption is quite false. There are many Harvest Moon games where a female character can marry and raise a family: 'Another Wonderful Life', 'More Friends of Mineral Town', 'Magic Melody' and 'Harvest Moon Cute DS' are among them.

I personally think that the reason why the option is not available in the Girl version is that it is based on an old Japanese game that never was produced in English. Perhaps it was created rather hastily or almost as an afterthought to please players who wished to play 'Back to Nature' as a girl... I wish that one could marry and have a child as a girl in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, but there is no profit to be made in belabouring the point. If you wish to have a family, play as a boy... I always court all the eligible girls and all the bachelors in every game in any case, so seldom save the results after marriage. So far, as a boy in HM Boy & Girl, I have married Ann and Mary without saving the results of either marriage. In fact, I went through half a year of married life with Mary simply in order to experience events that cannot be triggered before the second year, including a two-part Rival Heart Event for each girl.

Courtship and Marriage appears to be one of the primary concerns of players of both genders. As I have completed all the Heart Events for the eligible girls in the Boy version and my Courtship guide now can take a male player to a successful marriage, I decided I had to return to the Girl version of the game to do the same with respect to all the eligible bachelors.

As I initially began to play this game as a girl but switched to the Boy version as early as 11 Spring in my first year, I was appalled by the state of my girl's game when I returned to it. I have become so much more adept at the game after playing a year and a half as a boy...

I therefore simply began a new game, overwriting the rather feeble first attempts to play as a girl. Having amassed a number of Power Berries withiin the first week as a boy, I thought I would do the same in the girl version.

Imagine my surprise when, after throwing five crop offerings into the Goddess Spring, the Harvest Goddess gave me a piece of lumber! In the Boy version of the game, she gives a Red Power Berry after five crop offerings, a chance to share the Spa with the girl with the highest heart level after 10 and finally, after a total of 20 offerings, a piece of lumber that Gotz will pay a very generous price to obtain.

In the girl version, the gift of the Lumber is first and in fact, Gotz pays 3000G for it rather than 1000G. Apparently, the makers of this game felt that Power was more important for a Boy and wealth was more vital to a Girl!

I now will have to discover if I receive the Power Berry after I have tossed another five crops into the Spring or if I am offered the chance to share a bath with the bachelor with highest heart level... As it is only 8 Spring, I do not have that many crops ready for harvest at present. I shipped the first lot and will have to wait until tomorrow for more to ripen.

Well, I have experienced the events now. It cost me a total of TWENTY crops to obtain the Red Power Berry and there is no Spa event in the Girl version. When you have tossed a total of 10 crop offerings in the Spring, the Goddess WILL ask you if you have a Sweetheart. If you admit that you do, she will send the bachelor with the highest heart level to you... In my case, rather to my annoyance, it presently is the Doctor, so he came to me and threw me a Moondrop! Not even a Toyflower, but a Moondrop, the most common flower in Spring. Never mind. A part of me did not wish to save the result, but I'll keep a separate file at a point prior to this so I can experience the event with all the other bachelors. It is not THAT important, although it sent him to Blue Heart level instantly. I still need to raise his heart further in order to experience the Wednesday Lake event though, apparently.

To return to the main issue, however, the Power Berry in the Girl version is given only after 20 crop offerings, making it far more difficult in the beginning of the first Spring than it is in the Boy game. I got it, of course, but at what a price!

I have to say that there are other minor differences between the two games that can be very cruel. My first experience of the Spring Goddess Festival was utterly humiliating. Even though the scene in which Gotz gives you a gorgeous traditional gown to wear is very poignant, as it is an heirloom that should have belonged to his deceased daughter, the actual Festival is horrible in the first year. Despite the fact that I had plied the bachelors with gifts since the start of the game, no heart level was sufficiently high to allow me to gain an escort to the Festival... When I arrived there, Mary was with Grey, Elli was with the Doctor and Cliff and Ann were together... Rick remained with his sister, thus leaving Karen to her own devices, but... various individuals were determined to remind me of the fact that I had NO ONE.

Grey spoke besottedly of Mary and how 'cute' she was in pink. Anna made a comment to the effect that Grey and Mary reminded her of herself and her own husband when they were young...Elli crowed about the Doctor being HER date... and so on and so forth, ad nauseum. It reminded me of the worst nightmares one had as a young girl, with respect to school dances and the fear that one would not have an acceptable escort...

In all honesty though, we had a very clever tradition of throwing an annual Twelfth Night party and inviting ONLY boys so that my sister and I would have a choice of six dance partners. All the boys we invited were our best friends so it inevitably was a great success. I suppose the Spring Goddess Festival in Harvest Moon will teach me humility, at least in the first year. It is interesting that my gaming practice of bringing all eligible girls or bachelors to deepest red heart level before I allow them to marry my rivals is not unlike my actual experience.

Well, back to the arduous task of building a farm... Ironically, I have forced myself to put down the Boy version of the game temporarily when it actually had become FUN... I had all the farm, house and tool upgrades as well as the Hothouse. All the girls were there for the taking and I received gifts from each and every one of them at the Winter Thanksgiving... Now I am taken back to a point when I am struggling with life, having only the medium rucksack, basic tools and a very meagre amount of money. I actually COUNT the bags of coins I scoop up in the Mine each day at 10G each. This gave me another realisation actually. When you do not have the Basket, a trip to the Spring Mine is important for the number of 10G bags of coins you can collect... after all, Copper Ore only ships for 15G. With only a few slots in your rucksack, collecting bags of coin probably is as profitable as anything else, unless you are willing to toss out all ore apart from Mystrile.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Only Three Heart Events in Boy version of Boy & Girl

Ultimately, the only way truly to know something is by personal experience. After I experienced the Blue Heart Event of the eligible girls in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, I raised them to yellow heart level and then waited in vain to experience another Heart Event... Gradually, their heart levels climbed higher. When Ann reached orange heart level, I decided to test a theory. I purchased the Blue Feather from the Supermarket, raised her heart level to deepest red, then proposed to her. (I had no intention of saving the result, by the way. I still need to experience the Starry Night Festival with each girl.) Ann rose faster to red heart level probably because of the extra events she has, such as her Birthday Party Event, rather than any personal preference on my part.

In any event, she responded to my proposal with the words: Really? Are you sure you want a girl like me? You won't regret it later? ...I... I'm happy... but...

What was that 'but...'? Whatever it signified, she had taken the Blue Feather and, a week later, our wedding took place at the Church. In time-honoured Harvest Moon fashion, then, Ann asked me to choose a nickname and our married life would have commenced, except that I reloaded my game back to the eve of the Starry Night Festival, single once again.

No need now to waste any more time hitting all the likely spots for a fourth Heart Event for any of the girls. I do believe, however, that there are four rival heart events and, when I decide if I wish to marry any girl and which one I intend to choose, I can lower the heart levels of the others to experience the two remaining rival heart events and marriage of the other couples in this game.

Incidentally, in HM Boy & Girl, you can raise either any eligible girl or bachelor a full heart level or more in a single day provided you have sufficient 'Most Favourite Items' to squander in this pursuit. Unlike HMDS and HM Cute DS, where only the first gift will raise AP, in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, every item given in a single day will have an effect, although subsequent gifts have less value than the first item given. Now that I know there is no fourth heart event, I can propose to all the eligible girls, apart from Karen, successfully before the end of the first year if I wish. The only reason one cannot marry Karen in the first year is because her Third Heart Event cannot be experienced before Spring of the 2nd year. (Perhaps I should see if I can marry her without ever experiencing that event...) It therefore very much IS possible to marry a girl in HM Boy & Girl before the end of the first year.