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.