Saturday, March 1, 2008

A very difficult life in HM Boy and Girl, but with rewards

Harvest Moon Log, Harvest Moon date: 3 Summer, Year 1. Earth time: Noon, 1 March 2008. I ask myself: 'Why bother with Harvest Moon Boy & Girl where the largest rucksack only gives me 8 slots and where at the beginning of Summer, I haven't been able to expand my house yet?'

Why indeed? There is a part of me that longs to spend my entire Harvest Moon life in the Forget-Me-Not Valley of HM DS/Cute DS, where each slot allows a stack of 99 items, where one can get rich on the first day of gameplay by digging in the Excavation Site, where my life at this point is rather easy and automatic...

Why did I have ANY interest in the PSP Harvest Moon Boy & Girl? My life is difficult there, far more so than in Friends of Mineral Town or More Friends of Mineral Town. The controls stick often, causing dreadful accidents where I throw away an item inadvertantly. Transportation is SLOW. In HM DS and HM Cute DS, one can buy a Teleport Stone in the second week of gameplay... Oh, for a Teleport Stone!!!

Having said all this, I still want to continue my life in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl. The graphics are wonderful, with vibrant colours and detail. Although it is very similar to FoMT/MFoMT in plot and even in terms of many events, there are new events to experience. In particular, the Blue Heart Events of the girls, hitherto the stuff of legend for me, now can be experienced firsthand.

When a game is difficult, moreover, the rewards are greatly appreciated once they are obtained. I have to say that I HATED the Swim Contest on Opening Day. I knew that I would. I did not win it. If I had been able to save my game immediately before I entered the Beach area (as one could do in FoMT and MFoMT), I would have replayed it again and again until I won it, but in the circumstances, where one must replay the entire day, I couldn't be bothered. I'll win it next year...

The most important motivation in continuing Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, though, may be the emotional attachment to characters. There is a real poignancy to some of the stories about characters in HMBG that does not exist in HM DS or HM Cute DS. These stories are included in FoMT and MFoMT, but I had forgotten how they tug at the heartstrings.

For example, there is the story of little May and her longing for her mother, Joanna. I just experienced the event where Barley asks me to help him find her, when she is missing... Finding her on the pier at last after 6.00 p.m., she told me: 'I hope Mom comes home soon... Then I can live with her and Grandpa, the three of us.' When I take her home to Barley, he asks her: 'Are you lonely living with me?'

Both children in Mineral Town are rather lonely. Stu lives with his disabled grandmother, Ellen. She is very loving, but cannot leave the house (apart from one incident in FoMT/MFoMT, where she manages to get to Kai's restaurant for a meal). Elli, his sister, spends most of her time at the Clinic. Until you engineer a regular babysitting job for Carter that includes both children, they wander about aimlessly alone, wishing for a playmate.

The story of Aja is another rather poignant tale of loss and longing. She is the daughter of Duke and Manna who ran off to the city. The Winery in fact was named after her, but she has not been willing to return and does not communicate enough with her parents. Duke's heavy drinking apparently started after her departure... Manna's loneliness is based on her longing for her daughter's return. Harris, the local police constable, is in love with Aja, but it is an unrequited affair.

For characters like these and for the excitement that new heart events brings, I am determined to continue my lives in Harvest Moon PSP Boy and Girl. Unfortunately, I now must gird my loins for the ordeal of the Sumo Chicken Contest. I hated that Contest in FoMT/MFoMT, although by being able to save at the point of entering the Square, I could replay it until I won. It was possible in those games to win even with a Chicken with only a single heart... but one had to be persistent. Even chickens with maximum heart levels could behave idiotically, again and again... I daresay it will be the same in this game.


Mountain Gnome said...

Hi Freyashawk

I can empathise with you. The PSP version of B&G's saving technique is extremely annoying. It totally works against playing the game in the manner in which YOU play. ie: saving and repeating events to see all the options in order to write the guide. I think it is dedicated of you to do this, but I can understand the joy and pleasure you derive from doing that, especially when you unlock the joyful stories like the one posted above.

I initially also wanted to try and win the swimming contest. I sat for quite a few days, saving and repeating the entire day including all chores etc to try and win, but every time I lost. I gave up and continued anyway. Every year I entered and every year I lost the contest and lost face (IMO) with the villagers for being such a hopeless swimmer! In real life I am a good swimmer and love swimming in the sea, so the defeat was doubly sore! The button press combinations require such timing that I found putting the PSP down on a table helped somewhat, but still having to redo an entire day is what eventually proved to be the final straw!

I also never once won the Sumo Contest, even with my oldest champion chicken, "Clucky"! The reason again, the save function.

That was mainly also the reason why I decided to just play the game in a straight line and not bother about experiencing all the events. The plus side to doing that is being able to go back at a later date and play again and experience a different ending, no doubt, the way the game was intended to be played.

All the best. You'll personally get a trophy from me if you post a picture of you winning the swimming contest! ;-)

Fond Regards

Freyashawk said...

Ah Shaggy, I think this is the comment that you thought had been lost! I am so glad it wasn't, but it does take some time for me to receive notice that comments are awaiting my moderation. It is a pity I have to 'moderate' but nowadays, I receive at least one spurious advertising comment each day for every legitimate comment.
I will not have any of what I consider 'cyber-terrorism' on my site!!!

Well, I can't believe I had to win the Sumo Contest twice with my chicken because of the hurricane threat...

Now I have been obliged to go back THREE days in my game because I forgot about the postbox and found an invitation to Ann's Birthday party two days AFTER the event. Well, I couldn't bear the thought of having missed it, not to mention the fact that I had a rolled up enormous now-useless invitation in my rucksack taking a slot... so I went back to the 17th, took my spa egg to the Supermarket instead of giving it to Ann at the Goddess Spring, and then toddled along to the Inn after 11.00 a.m. I will write about that event separately. Did you experience it in your game?

Have you noticed that the game is slanted in favour of Ann as a potential spouse? I always suspected she was the childhood playmate, frankly...

Mountain Gnome said...

Hi Freyashawk

Well I sure am glad that my comments weren't lost. I kinda presumed that you just hadn't gotten round to it, but was concerned that you had maybe deleted it by accident while deleting all the spurious advertising spam comments. It really is disappointing the way people shamelessly spam in comments!

Yes I did notice a certain bias towards Ann, especially because of the fact that she was the only one who ever sent me an invitation to her birthday. I do tend to agree with you that she must have been THAT childhood playmate.

Keep Well