Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cheating Time in Harvest Moon

In any Harvest Moon game, finding the time to perform all your tasks or aims in any given day can be one of the greatest challenges. As Friendship and Courtship are important in these games, it is not farming tasks alone that require a judicious use of your time.

In terms of transport, it is vital, therefore, to acquire a transport animal as early as possible, whether that animal is a Horse (in most Harvest Moon games), an Ostrich (available in Tree of Tranquility) or one among an assortment of exotic Monsters (in Rune Factory). Having a Horse or other transport animal essentially cuts your travel time in half.

Even better than a transport animal is a Teleport Stone. These do not exist in all Harvest Moon games and when they do, the means of obtaining one will differ from game to game. In FoMT/MFoMT, the teleport stone is found in a Mine. In HM DS/Cute DS, it is purchased with medals in the Casino. In Island of Happiness, it can be purchased ultimately from Chen at his Market once unlocked for a rather high price.
It definitely is worth having, however. On an Island that is large enough to require three different bridges, you would be unable to make or sustain friendships with every one important if you did not have a Teleport Stone.

Travel by teleport is instantaneous and it can be used in your own Field, once you have unlocked the Rice Paddies, to save time. A tip on how to do this when watering your crops is given in my General Guide.

It is not with respect to travel alone that one needs to find ways to 'cheat' time.

In HM DS/Cute DS, there are Necklaces that, when equipped, allow a player to perform any task inside any building. If you have an upgraded Necklace that corresponds with the highest level of Tool that you are using, you even can charge your Tools while using them inside buildings. This is an official way to 'cheat time' and players, including myself, really loved having the option.

In other Harvest Moon games, however, it is a little trickier, but there are ways and means for the clever player.

In FoMT/MFoMT, you can transform some of the Cursed Tools into Blessed Tools if you use them during a Festival. As usual is the ability to fish during Festivals and Events. That option did not exist in HM DS/Cute DS, but was not needed with the Necklace option.

In Island of Happiness, once again your character can fish to his/her heart's content during any Festival. As the Festivals occur at the Meadow, however, you will be restricted to river-fishing, which means that you cannot catch Large Fish. Even so, it is a valuable option. The appearance of many characters, including one of the Eligible Bachelors and one of the Eligible Girls, is predicated upon your Fishing accomplishments. Early in the game, Fish are one of the few Recovery items that exist. Make certain that you do USE your Recovery items while fishing during a Festival, however. Your actual SR (Stamina Recovery) and FL (Fullness) bars will not be displayed during Festivals, but watch your character carefully for the physical responses that signify energy loss and eat raw fish to counteract this if you have nothing better.

Even later in the game, you may find that time still is one of the greatest challenges. As you need to fish regularly at all points in the game to keep characters on the island, it is a good idea to catch a few fish at each Festival and ship them when you return home in order to meet your character quota.

Mining in Harvest Moon may or may not consume time. Even when it does, time will pass more slowly in the Mines. In Island of Happiness, time does pass in the Mine, but more slowly than above ground. Even so, if you need to ship items from the Mines before 5.00 p.m., make adjustments in your mining schedule for that. Until you have a Teleport Stone, it will be a long journey from your Ranch to the Mine...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Patience and Island of Happiness... Tips for Saving

I am writing this post because of the many emails I have received from players who are finding that Island of Happiness is very different from previous Harvest Moon games in some ways.

In the past, my own fundamental strategy in Harvest Moon has been to push myself to find the earliest possible time to experience any Event or to unlock any new option. I told myself that I did this for the sake of my guides, but it was a personal challenge as well.

Although I have unlocked many options in IoH very early in the game, it is not a game that lends itself to quick completion in any of its aspects.

For a start, many players, including myself, found the necessity to use the stylus almost exclusively to be rather difficult. Many hours in realtime and game time have been spent simply trying to build a pen for the animals, for example. (It took me almost an entire HM night to build my first pen for my Chickens, by the way. It is not that easy to make the stone/lumber/Material Stone fall where you want it to be placed using the stylus. I thought I was particularly inept, but emails from other players have shown me that I am not alone in struggling with this.)

The Touchscreen and the stylus, however, are the future in DS games and I think there will be more games that require this kind of skill. Better to learn it playing a great Harvest Moon game now...

My fundamental strategy in terms of playing Harvest Moon has changed radically where Island of Happiness is concerned, and for players who are experiencing difficulty in the first year, it may help to know that you really cannot accomplish THAT much at the beginning of the game.

It is the Third Year that unlocks options that change your life radically. Make that your goal rather than thinking in terms of the first year in this game.

You cannot meet all the bachelors or eligible girls immediately, so that makes early marriage an impossibility in some cases. You cannot meet all the subsidiary characters in the first year. You cannot unlock all the crops, although you can unlock all the Ranch Animals if you are diligent in upgrading your Barn.

Making friends before you have a horse or a teleport stone is difficult simply because the territory is large and it takes time to go from one end to the other, especially where you are obliged to cross a bridge to arrive at another area. Climbing the mountain or exploring the Forest takes considerable time.

If you do not visit an individual almost every day, he/she will begin to reject your gifts. Don't let that disturb you. All you need to do is talk to individuals to keep them on the island in most cases. You will need to ship a few of every important item regularly to keep a few characters on the island, but in most cases, an individual who leaves automatically will return after a full season passes.

It is almost impossible to keep your field tidy in the first couple of years and in fact, my own instinct is to use the Greenhouse primarily for crops and reserve the field for fruit trees and animal pens. You really cannot control the weather effectively in Island of Happiness, because it is set 6 days in advance. So far, I never lost a Greenhouse to a typhoon or snowstorm. I need to confirm that there is NO chance of that, but I have weathered quite a few and the Greenhouse remains intact.

Where severe storms are concerned, the results are random in terms of the crops and trees destroyed. If there is a particularly valuable crop or fruit tree, do not save your game after the storm until you look at the field to see if it still remains standing. If it has been destroyed, reload and try again. That is the best I have been able to do where typhoons and snowstorms are concerned.

You only have one save slot for each game, although you can have 2 games on a cartridge. This leaves you little margin for error, but you can save ANYWHERE on the map at any time of the day or night.

The best times to save during the day are:
1. When fishing, before you catch a fish, especially at the Beach, where you can catch Large Fish, Pirate Treasures and Fossils of Fish; (Pirate Treasure can be caught only in Summer and Fish Fossils in Autumn, true to HM traditions);
2. In the mines, save as soon as you arrive on a new floor. The configuration of the items inside Rocks as well as the location of any pitfalls or stairs will change each time you reload and in fact, the configuration for an item inside a Rock is loaded at the moment you smash it. If you stand in front of a Rock, therefore, and save your game, you may find a different item in the Rock each time you smash it. This is useful on Floors with very valuable items, such as Floor 100, containing Mythic Stones. You can find a Mythic Stone inside ANY Rock, although there appears to be some limit as the the total number you can find on that floor... In any case, energy is so limited in this game that the more you can save BEFORE you perform an action with random results, the better;

In the Mine, you may wish to save immediately after you obtain any special item as well. The Mine contains pitfalls and their position is configured when you step on the square. You can lose significant stamina, (especially before you have increased total SR and FL with Accessories), when you fall through a Pitfall. Early in the game, it is best to reload if you fall through a pitfall that takes too much of your energy. Falling one or two floors at a time is best until you have decent recovery items in your Rucksack. So save BEFORE you move even a step in the Mine!

3. When you are standing at the counter at the Cafe or Diner and are about to give Madelynn or Luke an item to make a new recipe. The results in terms of success or failure are random. There is no point in wasting ingredients... Just reload if he/she fails and try again.
4. If you have the patience for it, save before you go to sleep on any night in Winter when the last digit of your Total Earnings equals 5. Go to Chen's Market to see if a Wonderful is being offered the next morning BEFORE YOU SAVE again. If there is no Wonderful, reload and try again. (This is very tedious though and you may not want to do it that often!)
5. In the first year when you are desperately poor, without any significant number of items in storage or cooking abilities, you can save before you go to bed and search West Town for Wild Grasses and other edible items BEFORE you save. If you don't find many, reload and try again. The configuration of items in the Wilds appears to change each time you reload BEFORE you go to sleep on the previous night. Mind you, it may change before you leave the house for the first time or enter a screen for the first time. I need to test this more. It's not worth the effort once you have some recipes and food in storage...
6. In the third year and afterwards, when you stand in front of Manfred near the Tower, save BEFORE you speak to him. The item he gives is utterly random. By reloading, you can obtain any crop you have not unlocked or any rare item that you may lack...

Tip: The longer you leave an item on the ground in the Wilds, the higher its Rank, Quality and Size becomes. This stands to reason, of course. An item that continues to grow in the soil will be larger and better than one harvested too quickly. You will need to weigh desperation and need with judicious planning early in the game, though, especially when you have no recourse to the Cafe or Diner to replenish your energy.

As I wrote before, the ray of light on the horizon is the start of the third year if you have been diligent in befriending Wada. If he is at least at 7 hearts, you can experience an event at his hut that unlocks the area with the 'Tower'. Manfred, the Jungle Sprite, will be found there henceforth and if you speak to him, he will give you a random item each day. If you have not been able to ship sufficient crops to unlock Wheat or Soybeans, for example, or all the Fruit Trees, obtain one from Manfred and use your Seedmaker to convert it to Seeds. I am ashamed to say that I had to obtain my first bag of Soybean Seeds that way!

Be patient and don't fret if you lose the Contests early in the game, even though the prizes are Wonderfuls that you need. By the way, you really need to have reached the bottom of the Mine and obtained gems or ores of the highest Quality and Size in order to win the Mining Contest. A Rank 'A' Gem or Ore, even if its size is 10 will not win the Contest. It is quality that counts.

The Fishing Contest, on the other hand, is easy to win. I won it in the first year with a Large Fish that was not a 10 either in Quality or Size.

I won the Cooking Contest as well with a similar Large Fish that had been Grilled the first time I entered. In subsequent years, though, I had to make the 'Best' of a Recipe to win. It is a combination of SR and FL (Stamina and Fullness) that determines the winning Recipe.

Where Courtship and Marriage are concerned, I suggest a strategy that differs from other games here as well. BEFORE you marry, the rival heart events depend on specific heart levels and year requirements as they do in other Harvest Moon games. In other words, if the Bachelor or Girl has a heart level that is too high or if you have not reached the required year yet, you won't be able to trigger them. AFTER marriage, however, unlike some other HM games, the equivalent of AP (Affection or Love Points) is transformed to FP (Friendship Points) in quality and the only requirement for triggering Rival Heart Events is the year.

For this, therefore, I recommend that you bring all Eligible Bachelors/Girls to full red heart level by the third year and then marry in the third year after experiencing ALL heart events for each of the Eligible Spouses. After this, you will be able to trigger all three of the 1st three Rival Heart Events effortlessly. The 4th and final Rival Heart Event then will trigger in the 4th year, causing the Rival Couple to marry and have a child.

You cannot achieve 100% completion of your Inhabitants List if you do not allow all four of the Rival Couples to marry. On the other hand, if you are truly in love with some one, you should follow your heart and forget about your Rival! 100% completion is not a primary aim in Harvest Moon. It is one of those subsidiary challenges. A decent life and success for you and your community is the primary goal.

Finally, if you really are struggling with the stylus, go ahead and practice with it to build a pen for example without saving the results. Take your time without being stressed and don't save the game while you are doing it. Once you have mastered the technique, you can play seriously again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Easy Recipes in Island of Happiness

This information has been added to my General Guide, the link to which can be found on the right side of this page, but for those who are beginning the game, I thought it might be useful to post it here as well.

Cooking Tip for Maximum Energy Value

When you look at Recipes in my Guides, you will see a ‘Basic Recipe’ and a ‘Best Recipe’ for many of the Cooked Dishes that you can make in Island of Happiness. Do not be seduced by the word ‘Best’, however, into making that version automatically. It may be ‘better’ than the ‘basic’ recipe in terms of the Energy Values it gives, but it may not be as good as making TWO of the Basic Recipes for the same dish.
Where the optional ingredient is the same ingredient that would be used to make another ‘basic’ dish, do that instead!

For example, with respect to the Boiled Egg and Spa Egg Recipes, you can add Mayonnaise to boost SR by 3 Points and Fullness by 1 point. Is this worth it? No, not at all. If you do not have a Maker, Mayonnaise must be made in your kitchen with an Egg and Oil. Even if you have a Mayonnaise Maker, it would be far better to take the Egg and make another Boiled or Spa-Boiled Egg with it than to add Mayonnaise to your Basic Boiled Egg or Spa-Boiled Egg. This is not the case always with respect to optional ingredients. Each Recipe must be assessed and the enjoyment of Cooking for its own sake may be worth more to a player than the values of ingredients in terms of energy.

In the early stages of gameplay, however, Butter generally is better shipped to bring more Characters to the Island than used as an optional ingredient in Recipes. If you wish to use the Milk most profitably in terms of creating energy recovery items, boil it and make Hot Milk, which is worth +15 SR and +7 FL instead of making it into Butter, which will add only +4 SR and +1 FL to any Recipe as an optional ingredient.

Maths may be tedious for some, but if judicious calculation will allow to reach a lower level in the Mine, it is worth the effort!

Easy Recipes in the 1st Year

Here are some easy recipes and their values in terms of Stamina and Fullness. All Recipes will be listed in my Cooking Recipe Guide but there are only a few that you will be able to make in the first year with the ingredients that you can obtain. Note that you have six slots for ingredients whenever you cook. There are other optional ingredients that can be added in many cases to a Recipe, but I have tried to choose the six BEST ingredients here not only in terms of their energy values but in the ease with which you can obtain them early in the game. In many cases, you will be able to make only the Basic Recipe in the first year, but I included the Best version as well.

Note that, although there is no Basic Recipe that uses a Large Fish as an ingredient, you often can add a Large Fish as an optional ingredient to boost the energy value of a Recipe that requires a Medium Fish. I included recipes for two Herbal Dishes, even though the item required to obtain them is White Grass and cannot be found until Winter.

The Recipes chosen here have been chosen on the basis of the lowest common denominators. In other words, the Crops required are those that do not need to be unlocked. I have included no Recipes that require Makers, although optional ingredients may include processed ranch products. In other words, I have not included Cheese Recipes.

As far as obtaining Recipes is concerned, you often will find that an ingredient given to Luke or Madelynn will result in a Recipe that you cannot make at the current point in your game. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to obtain as many Recipes as you can as early as possible. Recipes as well as Cooking bring new arrivals to the Island.

The biggest value of Cooking early in the game is to provide you with Recovery items for the Mine. You may find it almost impossible to descend to low levels in the Mine until you are able to cook. Wild Grasses and Chocolate provide some Energy Recovery but not enough to take you to the 50th floor without difficulty. It is on the 50th floor that you will find Orichalc, the item needed to create Accessories that boost Stamina and Fullness. It therefore is important to reach the 50th floor of the mine as early as possible in the game.

Remember that Energy Values are defined differently in Island of Happiness from many other Harvest Moon games. They are NOT defined by Stamina Recovery and Fatigue Resistance but rather by Stamina Recovery and Fullness. I therefore have used the abbreviations SR and FL.

Pickled Turnip: 70G (Obtain from Café with Turnip)

Basic Pickled Turnip: Turnip
+15 SR +2 FL

Best Pickled Turnip: Turnip, Cucumber, Cabbage, Onion, Carrot
+26 SR +10 FL

Tomato Salad: 70G (Obtain with Tomato from Café)

Basic Tomato Salad: Tomato
+15 SR +3 FL

Best Tomato Salad: Tomato, Mayonnaise, Ketchup
+21 SR +9 FL

Herb Salad: 34G (Obtain from Café with White Grass)

Basic Herb Salad: White Grass, Black Grass
+30 SR +5 FL

Best Herb Salad: White Grass, Black Grass, Blue Grass, Purple Grass, Indigo Grass, Mayonnaise
+47 SR +9 FL


Carrot Soup: 130G (Obtain with Carrot at Café)

Basic Carrot Soup: Carrot
+15 SR +3 FL

N.B. You could add Carrot Juice as an optional ingredient but doing so adds nothing in terms of Energy Values.

Egg Soup: 60G (Obtain from Café with Egg)

Basic Egg Soup: Egg
+15 SR, +3 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Cooked Dish.

Herb Soup: 34G (Obtain with Black Grass from Café)

Basic Herb Soup: White Grass, Black Grass
+30 SR +5 FL

Best Herb Soup: White Grass, Black Grass, Blue Grass, Green Grass, Purple Grass, Indigo Grass
+45 SR +10 FL

Hot Chocolate: 20G (Obtain with Chocolate from Café)

Basic Hot Chocolate: Chocolate, Milk
+22 SR +8 FL

N.B. Although you can add optional ingredients in the form of Hot Milk, it will add nothing in terms of Energy Values.

Hot Milk: 110G (Obtain with Milk from Café)

Basic Hot Milk: Milk
+15 SR +7 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe.

Relax Tea: 460G (obtain with Relax Tea Leaves from Café)
Basic Relax Tea: Relax Tea Leaves
+50 SR +10 FL

Best Relax Tea: Relax Tea Leaves, Milk, Blue Grass, Green Grass, Red Grass, Yellow Grass
+72 SR +25 FL

Tomato Juice: 70G (Obtain with Tomato from Café)

Basic Tomato Juice: Tomato
+15 SR +3 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe


Steamed Turnip: 240G (Obtain from Café with Turnip)

Basic Steamed Turnip: Turnip, Medium Fish, Egg
+30 SR +8 FL

Best Steamed Turnip: Turnip, Medium Fish, Egg, Shitake
+33 SR +10 FL

French Fries: 100G (Obtain with Potato from Diner)

Basic French Fries: Potato, Oil
+20 SR +10 FL

Best French Fries: Potato, Oil, Mayonnaise, Ketchup
+28 SR +10 FL

Braised Potato: 90G (Obtain with Potato from Diner)

Basic Braised Potato: Potato
+15 SR +8 FL

Best Braised Potato: Potato, Carrot, Onion
+21 SR +12 FL

Roasted Corn: 110G (Obtain with Corn from Diner)

Basic Roasted Corn: Corn
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Roasted Corn: Corn, Butter, Oil
+21 SR +12 FL

Popcorn: 110G (Obtain with Corn from Diner)

Basic Popcorn: Corn
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Popcorn: Corn, Butter, Oil
+21 SR +12 FL

Corn Flakes: 110G (Obtain with Corn from Diner)

Basic Cornflakes: Corn
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Corn Flakes: Corn, Milk, Strrawberry, Chocolate, Hot Milk, Yogurt
+30 SR +24 FL

Grilled Eggplant: (Obtain with Eggplant from Diner)

Basic Grilled Eggplant: Eggplant
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Grilled Eggplant: Eggplant, Miso
+20 SR +12 FL

Boiled Egg: 60G (Obtain from Café with Egg)

Basic Boiled Egg: Egg
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Boiled Egg: Egg, Mayonnaise
+18 SR +11 FL

Spa-Boiled Egg: 60G (Obtain with Egg from Café)

Basic Spa Egg: Egg
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Spa Egg: Egg, Mayonnaise
+18 SR +11 FL

Fried Egg: 70G (Obtain with Egg from Café)

Basic Fried Egg: Egg, Oil
+20 SR +18 FL

Best Fried Egg: Egg, Oil, Butter, Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Miso
+32 SR +21 FL

Steamed Egg Custard: 110G (Obtain with Shitake from Diner)

Basic Steamed Egg Custard: Egg, Shitake
+25 SR +10 FL

Best Steamed Egg Custard: Egg, Shitake, Small Fish, Medium Fish, Large Fish, Grilled Fish
+49 SR +24 FL

Sashimi: 90G (Obtain from Diner with Medium Fish)

Basic Sashimi: Medium Fish
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Sashimi: Medium Fish, Large Fish
+18 SR +12 FL

Fish Sticks: 90G (Obtain with Medium Fish from Diner)

Basic Fish Sticks: Medium Fish
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Fish Sticks: Medium Fish, Large Fish
+18 SR +12 FL

Grilled Mushroom: 60G (Obtain with Shitake from Diner)

Basic Grilled Mushroom: Shitake
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Grilled Mushroom: Shitake, Matsutake
+20 SR +13 FL

Foiled Mushroom: 60G (Obtain with Shitake from Diner)

Basic Foiled Mushroom: Shitake
+15 SR +10 FL

Best Foiled Mushroom: Shitake, Matsutake, Butter, Wine, Miso
+36 SR +17 FL

Mountain Stew: 180G (Obtain with Shitake from Diner)

Basic Mountain Stew: Carrot, Shitake
+25 SR +15 FL

Best Mountain Stew: Carrot, Shitake, Small Fish, Medium Fish, Large Fish, Potato
+39 SR +27 FL

Seaweed Paste: 90G (Obtain with Seasweed from Diner)

Basic Seaweed Paste: Seaweed
+15 SR +8 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Dish.

Main Courses:

Omelet: 210G (Obtain with Egg from Café)

Basic Omelet: Egg, Milk, Oil
+20 SR +25 FL

Best Omelet: Egg, Milk, Oil, Potato, Corn, Carrot
+30 SR +33 FL

Grilled Fish: 90G (Obtain from Diner with Medium Fish)

Basic Grilled Fish: Medium Fish
+15 SR +18 FL

Best Grilled Fish: Medium Fish, Oil, Miso
+21 SR +19 FL

Boiled Fish: 90G (Obtain from Diner with Large Fish)

Basic Boiled Fish: Medium Fish
+15 SR +18 FL

Best Boiled Fish: Medium Fish, Wine
+20 SR +19 FL

Carpaccio: 140G (Obtain from Diner with Sashimi)

Basic Carpaccio: Sashimi, Oil
+20 SR +20 FL

Best Carpaccio: Sashimi, Oil, Cucumber, Tomato, Onion, Wine
+30 SR +30 FL


Two Basic Desserts that you can make early in the game, provided you obtain at least one Chicken and one Cow, are Ice Cream and Pudding. Give Madelynn Milk and give Luke Milk to acquire each of these useful Recipes. If you look at the Energy Values, however, you will see that, although both are made with the same ingredients, Pudding is worth 5 points more in terms of Stamina Recovery. Make Ice Cream once and ship it to add it both to your Cooking Page and your Shipping List, then make Pudding ever after.

Pudding: 160G (Obtain with Milk from Diner)

Basic Pudding: Egg, Milk
+30 SR +8 FL

Best Pudding: Egg, Milk, Cornflakes, Chocolate, Strawberry, Strawberry Jam
+45 SR +17 FL

Ice Cream: 160G (Obtain with Milk from Café)

Basic Ice Cream: Egg, Milk
+25 SR +8 FL

Best Ice Cream: Egg, Milk, Cornflakes, Chocolate, Strawberry, Strawberry Jam
+40 SR +17 FL


Relax Tea Leaves (Obtain with Green Weed from Diner)

Basic Relax Tea Leaves: Yellow Grass, Orange Grass, Purple Grass, Indigo Grass, Green Weed
+2 SR +3 FL

Bodigizer: 320G (Obtain with Red Magic Flower from Diner)

Basic Bodigizer: Orange Grass, Black Grass, Red Magic Flower
+50 SR +5 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe

Bodigizer XL: 450G (Obtain with Bodigizer from Diner)

Basic Bodigizer XL: Bodigizer, Blue Grass
+100 SR +5 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe

Hungerizer: 450G (Obtain with Red Magic Flower from Diner)

Basic Hungerizer: Orange Grass, White Grass, Red Magic Flower
+5 SR +30 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe

Hungerizer XL: 570G (Obtain with Hungerizer from Diner)

Basic Hungerizer XL: Hungerizer, Green Grass
+5 SR +60 FL

Mayonnaise: 100G (Obtain with Egg from Diner)

Basic Mayonnaise: Egg, Oil
+1 SR +1 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe.

Butter: 200G (Obtain with Milk from Diner)

Basic Butter: Milk
+1 SR +1 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe.

Yogurt: 150G (Obtain with Milk from Diner)

Basic Yogurt: Milk
+2 SR +2 FL

N.B. There are no optional ingredients for this Recipe.

Most Useful Cooking Ingredients in the 1st Year:

When you are playing IoH in the first year, you need to choose often between shipping an item or using it in a Recipe. In my own experience, the most useful ingredients early in the game are: Eggs, Milk, Shitake Mushrooms and Medium Fish.

To obtain Eggs, you need at least one Chicken, but a Chicken Coop can be filled quite easily by incubating Eggs. Milk is obtained from an adult Cow if you buy a Milker from Mirabelle. Medium Fish can be caught at any location on the map. Shitake Mushrooms are found in the Wilds in the Autumn season. If you buy a Seed Maker from Gannon, you can create Shitake Seeds as soon as you find them in the wilds and plant them on the pallets east of your Farmhouse. You can unlock the Seeds at Chen’s Market later in the game.

Shitake Seeds planted on a pallet grow slowly but can be harvested 50 times before they will die. As Shitake is an ingredient in a number of very useful and easy Recipes, they can be a great boon to your Energy Recovery.

Fairly early in the game, I was able to reach the 255th floor of the Mine by taking many Grilled or Boiled Fish, Puddings and Steamed Egg Custards. Extra eggs were made into Egg Soup. In terms of Energy Recovery, it always is better to cook an item than to eat it raw.

In your first Winter, you will find only White Grass in the Wilds but this is very useful as it is the ingredient you need in order to obtain two Herbal Recipes. Herb Soup and Herb Salad are useful Recovery Items, especially for players who do not have Chickens or Cows yet, although I would urge players to make a Chicken Coop one of their first priorities.

Thanks for the Input from Players on the Gender Theories

First, I want to thank every one who went to the trouble to post their findings with respect to the odd/even theory relating to your child's gender in HM Cute DS. It probably is random. After all, there is so much in Harvest Moon that IS determined randomly. One need only think of the appearance of any Cursed Tool or Cursed Accessory in the Mines in HM DS/Cute DS. Although they always will be found only on the floors specified by the game, you may not find them at all, visiting one of those floors 20 times. In another game, or on another day, you may find one the first time you visit one of the specified floors.

For the time being, in view of the data that players have posted, I would conclude that the gender of your child in HM Cute DS, alas, is random. In many situations, it is no more than coincidence when the same result occurs again and again in a game. I myself have been seduced into believing that a result depended on specific actions when it occurred again and again after meeting the requirements I had presupposed... only to discover later that it was random! I know many careful players who log all their actions and results as I do and then proceed to postulate a complex series of requirements for a result based on coincidence. We can be TOO clever sometimes.

The philosophical intention of Harvest Moon games is to create a REAL life, where Nature can behave randomly, where good fortune sometimes will follow you and sometimes will abandon you... We try to 'cheat' the game by finding exploitations and succeed in doing so, but it goes against the actual intention of the makers of these games. I always try to control the weather in my Harvest Moon games and this can be achieved very easily in games from the past, including FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/Cute DS. All you have to do is save your game before you go to bed. When you awaken in the morning, listen to the weather prediction before you save again. If weather that is contrary to your own desires is predicted, simply reload and try again...

Well, Island of Happiness has sewn up THAT loophole now. Weather is determined 6 days in advance! How many players are going to play forward six days every night before midnight to see if Taro predicts a Typhoon or Snowstorm? Is it worth the effort? I couldn't be bothered in my game... I let those storms rip, when I never did so in other HM games when they could be avoided.

In fact, although weather is set 6 days in advance in IoH, the results are determined only at the time of the storm. Go outside after any storm to see what has been destroyed before you save your game. If your best trees or rare crops have been destroyed, for example, simply reload and try again... This mitigates the horror of being forced to endure a terrible typhoon or snowstorm in IoH. Furthermore, so far, I have not experienced the actual collapse of an Animal Barn/Chicken Coop or Greenhouse. I would need to confirm this with Natsume before I could state it as a categorical truth, however.

There is another random result in IoH that some players have not realised IS random. The appearance of Wonderfuls in Chen's Market during the Winter season may be based on a requirement that the last digit in your earnings is a 5, but even if you meet the requirement, the actual appearance of the Wonderful IS random. The colour of the Wonderful if and when it is offered is set according to a schedule, however. You therefore have two set conditions and one random effect in this situation.

As this post contains quite a lot of random information, I am going to add to it with the information that two guides for Island of Happiness have been sent to IGN. The links will be found on the right side of this page. Unfortunately, my own laptop has been sent off to a repair technician and my files are in disarray, so these guides need to be updated considerably, but it is a start. My Recipe Cookbook Guide and my Characters Guide will be published later today or tomorrow. ALL guides will be updated regularly as IGN is kind enough to allow that. I always feel it is better for players to have a basic guide as soon as possible, and I then add to that as I can. I am only one person and I have to play the games extensively as well as writing copiously in order to create these guides...

In other words, many more sections will be added to the General Guide and the text of all Heart Events and Rival Heart Events as well as all alternate Heart Events will be added to the Courtship and Marriage Guide. All the information is in my game journals, but it needs to be edited and transferred to the guides.

Finally, two offers:

I have another Harvest Moon webpage where I post stories about Harvest Moon written by fans. They must be based on an actual event in any Harvest Moon game. If any one wishes to email me a story, please do. I will post the best of them on the site.

We Love Harvest Moon

This morning, I realised it would be really interesting if devoted Harvest Moon fans shared their favourite event in ANY Harvest Moon game. I am creating a webpage, 'Favourite Harvest Moon Events'. Share as many as you like. You can add them as comments or send them as emails so I can add them as actual posts on the site.

Harvest Moon Favourite Events

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gender of Child in HM Cute DS

I am afraid I had to be reminded of this by an Anonymous contributor who made a comment on this site... but I am revising this post now. The gender of your child may be determined by an even/odd date, either by the date of your marriage or the date on which you give birth.

As I stated previously, I have not tested this myself in my own games, so will NOT add it to any of my guides. I would appreciate any feedback from players on this topic.

(Note on 27 August: Thanks to all who posted their data here! It appears that the gender IS random, after all, but I would be happy to receive more data if players wish to continue to post it here.)

Anonymous stated that, if you propose on an even day, causing your wedding to fall on an odd day, your child will be a boy. If you propose on an odd day, causing your wedding to fall on an even day, your child will be a girl. This was based on the premise that your wedding would follow 7 days after your proposal, which is not necessarily the case. If a Festival day intervenes, the Wedding will be set a day later... if there are two Festival days or intervening Rival Marriages, then two days later, and so on.

I had been given information to the effect that a child born on an even day would be a girl and that a child born on an odd day would be a boy. As I had not been able to test this in my own games, it did not go into my guide, but a number of players had emailed me to ask why they could not have a girl in Cute, which caused me to publish a post here based on the Anonymous comment.

I since decided that the information is too conflicted to be posted as definitive. What I am publishing instead is a request to players to post their own game results here. What was the date of your proposal? What was the date of your wedding? When was your child born in Cute and was it a boy or a girl?

Ryva posted a comment to the effect that she knew some one who had a boy on an even day. I welcome comments from other players giving their results. I would prefer results from your own game rather than 'I knew some one who had...' because I know from my own experience that one sometimes forgets the precise date of an event in Harvest Moon. If you have a current game, however, your child's birthday as well as your Anniversary Date will be on your Calendar. Please post here! Thank you.

Rival Heart Events in Island of Happiness

Players who know me are aware of my strategy of raising all eligible bachelors or girls to deepest red heart, experiencing all of their heart events and even marriage and then and only then choosing a spouse and allowing the rival couples to marry.

In many Harvest Moon games, if you have raised the eligible party to deepest red heart level, you then must LOWER his/her heart level in order to be able to trigger the rival heart events. It can be quite a complicated and exhausting undertaking, but it is worth it if you want to experience as many events as possible in the game.

I am happy to report, however, that Island of Happiness is different in this respect. I brought all the bachelors to red heart level, made my choice and married one permanently and THEN, much to my delight, began to trigger the Rival Heart Events without lowering any heart level by one iota. At 10 hearts, I can trigger the Rival Heart Events now that I am married and there is no romantic link between me and the single bachelors. As I never triggered these events BEFORE marriage at this level, it is possible that my marriage may be the key to freeing the rival couples to marry at red heart level.

I had been dreading the long ordeal of feeding bachelors items they hated in order to lower their heart levels. I am delighted and relieved to discover that this is not necessary.

In Island of Happiness as in many other HM games, the second rival heart event cannot be triggered before the second year and the third cannot be experienced before the third year, giving the player an advantage if he/she wishes to marry the eligible girl/bachelor, but unlike games like FoMT/MFoMT, or HM DS/HM Cute DS, you will not even meet all the eligible characters in your first year if you do not progress sufficiently in the game. As it takes time to unlock all the characters, marriage in the first year, except to Elliot or Denny, if your character is a girl, is almost impossible. It definitely is impossible to experience ALL heart events with all eligible characters in the first year. I chose not to marry until I had experienced the Wedding Event with each of the bachelors. Your Blue Feather, incidentally, will be rejected if the eligible character is not at full 10 heart level. Orange heart level does not suffice.

N.B. A reader evidently misunderstood the point of this post and made a comment to the effect that she was able to trigger all Rival Heart Events before her marriage, as if I had stated otherwise. Of course, all Rival Heart Events can be triggered while you are single still, provided the heart level of the Eligible Girl or Bachelor does not EXCEED the maximum level. My point was that I was able to trigger ALL Rival Heart Events AFTER marriage with every Eligible Bachelor still at 10 hearts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Winning the Sheep Festival in Harvest Moon

Experienced players know that, in most Harvest Moon games, any Sheep who is not fully grown, is pregnant, sick or has been sheared will not be eligible for entry in the Sheep Contest.

In Island of Happiness, the Sheep Contest occurs on 19 Spring. Another difference between Island of Happiness and FoMT/MFoMT or HM DS/Cute DS is the fact that Sheep can be sheared every four days rather than only once each week.

Imagine my embarrassment and disgust when Mirabelle told me that the Sheep I had been grooming for the Sheep Festival, who had 10 Hearts and therefore definitely would win was INELIGIBLE for entry because I had miscounted the days when I last sheared her!

I was forced to enter a Sheep with only 2 Hearts. On the day of the Sheep Festival, my Sheep with 10 hearts had a full coat of wool, one day too late...

I had to listen to all the characters at the Festival as they advised me to 'try harder' and to 'take better care' of my animals in order to be able to win next year. So humiliating.

Just a brief note to players to make certain NOT to shear any Sheep he/she intends to enter in the Sheep Festival the week before the Contest. I do mark the date for 'last shearing' in all my Event Calendar Guides and will do so in my Island of Happiness Calendar Guide as well.

As only one slot is allotted to each game in IoH, I could not correct my error and will be forced to wait until next year to win the Sheep Contest. Oh well...

Marriage to Shea in Island of Happiness


I feel that I have neglected one of the most colourful characters in Island of Happiness in the person of Shea, an eligible bachelor if your character is a girl.

If you are familiar with Peter Pan, you will understand what I mean when I say that Shea could be one of the 'lost boys'. Raised in the Jungle by a tribesman named Wada, he speaks a dialect of his own and his greatest interest in life is hunting.
Although you can find both Shea and Wada at a few of the festivals, on the whole, they live apart from the rest of the community.

It was when I decided to experience marriage to Shea that I discovered how different his ways were from those of the others. Marriage in Island of Happiness usually occurs at the Church in the Forest with the Harvest Goddess bestowing her usual blessing afterwards by tolling the bell. Marriage to Shea, on the other hand, occurs at Wada's hut. Wada presides and your character must drink a 'sacred drink' to become part of THEIR tribe before the marriage will be judged complete.

In the course of drinking the 'sacred drink', your character will display the skull that signifies poisoning and will fall to the ground briefly. She does recover, however, instantly and is able to assure Shea that she has not suffered any serious effects.

The proposal event is hilarious actually. Shea does not understand the significance of the 'Blue Feather' and asks if you can give one to Wada as well. Wada responds by smacking Shea! Once Shea realises that you are proposing marriage, he is thrilled and accepts with alacrity. As with other weddings, the marriage will occur a week later... In fact, Shea is proud of himself when he is able to tell Wada that the wedding should occur in a week's time. 'Oh, I know this one!' Shea exclaims happily, 'Will have ceremony in ... a week?' Wada then asks how long a week is, forcing Shea to admit that he too is ignorant of that little detail. Shea asks: 'Is it two tomorrows? Four tomorrows?'

Even if you do not wish to marry Shea on a permanent basis, every player should experience his events once.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rejecting your Gifts at Red Heart Level in IoH

In Island of Happiness, the heart levels of characters will continue to increase, even if you never speak to them or give them any more gifts, if you wear the Friendship Pendant and if you continue to make advances in the game (such as bringing new residents to the Island, winning contests and such). What is different in Island of Happiness is the requirement that you speak to an individual regularly if you wish to have ANY gifts accepted by him/her.

For example, with all the bachelors at orange or red heart level now in the game, they will REJECT my gifts if I fail to speak to them regularly. Even a Thanksgiving Gift will be rejected...

Heart levels do not appear to decrease at all when a gift is refused. Once an individual begins to reject your gifts, you need to speak to that individual EVERY DAY for five days in order to lift the 'social curse'. This applies to all individuals and not only eligible bachelors/girls.

Notwithstanding this situation, any bachelor or eligible girl at orange/red heart level WILL accept an invitation to a romantic Festival or Event even at a point when he/she would reject a gift. I have tested this thoroughly now.

The Harvest Goddess Festival is approaching again in my IoH game. Sad to say, the guy I really wish to invite is NOT on the Island once again. Vaughn so far NEVER has been on the Island on 7 Spring, the day on which one makes the invitations to the Harvest Goddess Festival. If I live single long enough, one year the 7th of Spring will fall on a Wednesday or Thursday but at this point, it has not occurred.

I experienced the Harvest Goddess Festival event with all the 'easy' bachelors first: Denny, Elliot and Pierre. This year, I could invite either Mark or Shea, but not Vaughn, only because Vaughn is nowhere to be found.

Rather to my surprise, I discovered that Shea completely ignored this Festival, even at maximum 10 hearts, full red heart level. He continues to speak of his primary concerns: hunting and eating, no matter where we meet! I expect that dancing for the Harvest Goddess may be an 'alien' ritual to him. He certainly did not attend last year, and I daresay he won't be in attendance this year either.

I bowed to the inevitable and asked Mark to go with me. I fancy him in any case, although my heart still is pulled more by Vaughn for some reason. What is infuriating is that Vaughn WILL be at the festival always, and he will squire Sabrina, my RIVAL to it! Somehow, she manages to get to him with her invitation on a day when he is not on the Island... She must have his address and be able to send a trained carrier pigeon to him, as no ships are sailing today.

Tomorrow, therefore, on 8 Spring, however much I enjoy Mark's attentions, my heart will be soured a little by the sight of Vaughn dancing attendance on my Rival, even though she is a friend of mine. The worst moment always is when the bachelors and my Rivals display large red hearts for one another in the course of the dance. I suppose I shouldn't be greedy, though. It is rather exciting to be the 'belle of the ball' on the Island, with all the bachelors in love with me, but ultimately it is far better to allow the Rival Couples to marry.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Magic of Alexandrite and Harvest Moon

One of my favourite gems both in Harvest Moon and in the 'real world' is Alexandrite. It is a gem that was discovered in Russia in the first half of the 19th century and named after the young boy Tzar, Alexander II, as it displayed the Russian Imperial colours. Natural Alexandrite was very rare when Russian mines were the sole source of the gem, but fairly recently, it has been found in other countries and on other continents, including Brazil and Africa. Alexandrite that is found outside Russia does not display quite the same colour change as the original Russian Alexandrite, however. Russian Alexandrite changes from green to purple in artificial light.

Alexandrite is one of the rarest gems that can be found in mines in Harvest Moon games and players who are observant will discover that it displays the same colour change as Alexandrite in the real world when your character takes it outside. It is details like this that make Harvest Moon games so exceptional.

In Harvest Moon, the Alexandrites found in the mines usually are faceted gems, but when it is fashioned as a cabochon, Alexandrite has the chatoyance that characterises 'cat's eye' gems. In fact, the word chatoyance is derived from the French 'oeil de chat' which means 'eye of cat'. A cat's eye gem is one with a magical lustre that gives the impression of an eye with a shining pupil. It is similar to a 'star gem', the difference being that a cat's eye has a single line of shimmering light that runs from one end of the cabochon to the other, while a star gem has three lines that cross one another in a star formation. Sapphires and rubies are gems that in cabochon, display stars. Alexandrite, like Tiger's Eye, displays a 'cat's eye'.

I am including some photographs of natural Alexandrite, both in faceted and cabochon form. (Cabochon is another word that is derived from French, in this case, a Middle French dialect, from the word 'caboche', meaning 'little head'.) It may surprise some individuals to learn that the central red gem in the ring that includes six small Alexandrite cabochon gems (3 on either side) is a Sapphire and not a Ruby. In the ring that has three faceted gems, the smaller purple gems on either side of the central Alexandrite are Tanzanite. Alexandrite as a fairly uncommon gem even now tends to be set in unusual ways, with other unusual gems. I included a gorgeous ring with three Alexandrite cabochons because the stones have a very defined chatoyance, unlike the small accent cabs surrounding the Sapphire on the other ring.

The two screenshots from IoH show Alexandrite from the Mine when it is in your character's Rucksack, both outside in the sunlight and inside under artificial light. What is interesting about this and quite different from Alexandrite in other Harvest Moon games is that the Alexandrite in IoH appears to be from Brazil, displaying an orange tone rather than the purple or purple/red of the original Russian Alexandrite from the Ural mines.

Among others, you will find Alexandrite in Friends/More Friends of Mineral Town, Harvest Moon DS/Cute DS and Island of Happiness. In Island of Happiness, its shape is quite different from the emerald cut found in FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/Cute DS.

A Note of Caution: Two of the rings shown in these photographs are very expensive and I do not own these beauties myself. If you are interested in obtaining Alexandrite yourself, beware of synthetics. Very often, what is advertised as 'genuine' Alexandrite is lab-created and synthetic. If that does not matter to you, you should be able to find synthetic Alexandrites that are very inexpensive but if you are looking for a natural gem, find a reputable dealer. One of my own personal ambitions is to own a very fine Alexandrite ring someday. I do own one beautiful cat's eye Alexandrite but it is extremely small, far too small to be anything more than an accent stone in a custom-made piece. I bought it at a Gem Fair a few years ago. (I am a miner at heart, I suppose, fascinated with all gems, minerals and ores.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Harvest Goddess Festival in Island of Happiness


The Harvest Goddess Festival is not a celebration of the Harvest but of the Goddess. 8 Spring is the birthday of the Harvest Goddess and the day on which the Festival is celebrated.

The Harvest Goddess Festival is one that, unlike the Thanksgiving Festival, is not included in every traditional Harvest Moon game. Friends/More Friends of Mineral Town and Harvest Moon DS/Cute DS did not included the Festival. It is an extremely beautiful celebration of the power of the Harvest Goddess and one that adds to the spiritual component of any Harvest Moon game, even if in cases where your character has not raised the heart level of any eligible partner sufficient, it can be rather heartbreaking as well. In Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, for example, the object of your heart's desire may make comments about your Rival that almost break your heart... Even so, that need not occur more than once if you raise heart levels sufficiently before the next Harvest Goddess Festival.

I was thrilled to discover that you can unlock the Harvest Goddess Festival in Island of Happiness once you have unlocked the Church in the Forest. Playing as a girl, you do not experience an event wherein you will receive a beautiful festival gown as in HM B&G but it is a lovely celebration in the Meadow nonetheless. I have to say that the Event wherein Gotz brings you the gown that once belonged to his daughter is one of the most poignant in any Harvest Moon game. It was one of my favourite events in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl actually, and the ritual of dressing in the gown before walking to the Harvest Goddess Festival made the Festival very real to me. While wearing the Harvest Festival Gown in HM B & G, your character cannot perform ANY farming or ranching tasks. This is a very nice touch, making you feel that you really ARE wearing a special sacred gown, one that you would not dream of wearing while you milk the cows or weed the fields!

It has been many months since I had any chance to play HM B & G but writing about the Harvest Goddess Festival creates a longing in me to return to my life in that game. I do like the PSP platform better than the larger Wii or PS2, simply because it is as portable as the DS, even if the battery life is all too brief. Portable platforms have a special magic, because they allow the player to take the world of Harvest Moon or Valkyrie Profile or any other favourite reality ANYWHERE, without alerting the entire world to their existence.

Every one probably has experienced the scorn or criticism of a parent, partner or friend with respect to the amount of time and energy given to games. The DS or PSP circumvent this to some extent. The systems are small enough to escape detection in many cases. My DS and PSP both have been mistaken for devices engaged in 'serious business' by people who were unfamiliar with the platforms. (For some of us, a game is the most 'serious business' of all, but much of the world does not share these values.)

To return to the Harvest Goddess Festival, the celebration in Island of Happiness includes a sacred dance but there is less of the overt admiration of the Rivals than there is in Harvest Moon B & G. The actual dance is more compelling in B & G, however. In my view, the actual dance in B & G is one of the most beautiful events in any Harvest Moon game.

There is another wonderful event in HM B & G wherein Karen will visit you at your farm to teach you how to perform the festival dance. Despite the similarities between various Harvest Moon games, each game is unique and that is part of the enduring charm of Harvest Moon.

In Island of Happiness, the event that unlocks the Festival probably may occur almost a year before you experience the Festival for the first time. It is an Event that is connected with the Church and involves a discussion of the Festival. With the arrival of the Spring season, you will experience the Festival for the first time. As with any new Festival in Island of Happiness, you will be visited on the day before the Festival by the individual who is in charge of the celebration. In the case of the Harvest Goddess Festival, that individual is Alisa. She will tell you to invite some one to accompany you to the Festival.

This is your opportunity to court the bachelor/eligible girl of your choice. If his/her Heart Level is high enough, you will be able to accompany him/her to the Festival the next day.

Island of Happiness is interesting in its realism where this aspect of the event is concerned. On the day of the Festival, the eligible girl/bachelor will visit you at home and will wait until you have completed all of your chores/tasks. He/she then will accompany you to the Meadow to celebrate the Festival. After the Festival, he/she will bid you farewell. I love the actual dance in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, but I love the way the Festival Event occurs in IoH as well.

Whatever the nature of the actual celebration, I for one hope it will be included in all future Harvest Moon games!

100% Completion in Harvest Moon

This is a subject that I need to address for myself as well as other devoted players of Harvest Moon games. Most games are based on a couple of goals: 'winning' the game, unlocking all options and finally, realising 100% completion of items and so on.

In Harvest Moon, 100% completion is optional. Yes, you have a Shipping or Items List and you can try to complete it, but the official description of any Harvest Moon game is that 'Harvest Moon is NOT a linear game'. What this means is that the game is not one where the player must go from A to B to C, down a line to Z.

Think about it. If it is a game where your character can marry, you usually can choose between individuals other girls/bachelors may desire to wed as well. If you marry the girl/bachelor, your Rival cannot. That means that, in any game where you choose a partner for whom there is a Rival, you will not be able to experience the Rival Marriage and any subsequent events involving that Rival. In a game like Tree of Tranquility, where the Rival Marriages actually produce children, you will not be able to meet the child if you marry the individual in question.

Is this bad? No. It's Life as it exists in the Real World. The path we choose changes the future. In Harvest Moon, the same holds true.

I cheat the game a little by raising all the bachelors or girls to red heart level, experiencing their events, marrying them and then reloading the game to a point where every one is single again. I therefore can 'have my cake and eat it too'. I usually try to marry a girl/guy without a Rival so I can experience all the Rival Marriages and subsequent events for those couples. I do that partly for the sake of the guides I write.

A player, though, should have absolute freedom to follow his/her heart. Why should he/she base life-altering decisions on factors like 100% completion? Harvest Moon is a virtual reality where you have a chance to lead another life. Follow your Heart!

On the other hand, delaying your marriage definitely can be to your advantage in most Harvest Moon games. In many Harvest Moon games, Rival Heart events usually cannot occur until a specific number of years have passed. The 1st Rival Heart Event can occur immediately, but the 2nd will not trigger before the 2nd year, the
3rd before the 3rd year and the most important Rival Heart Event, the 4th and final Event that leads to a Rival Marriage, will not trigger before the 4th year.

You can experience ALL Rival Heart Events EXCEPT the 4th and still marry the eligible girl/bachelor yourself. Once the 4th Rival Heart Event triggers, the Rival Marriage inevitably will follow, usually within a week.

Here are some other examples of paths that will not be open to you if you marry too quickly.

In HM DS and Cute DS, you cannot unlock the 4th Mine if you marry before you experience Keira's 1st Heart Event. Making 'friends' with Keira after marriage will not satisfy the requirement, evidently. You need to go to the 255th Floor of the
3rd Mine BEFORE you marry in order to be able to experience the Event with Carter at the Excavation Site that will unlock the 4th Mine.

Being unable to visit the 4th Mine will not diminish the quality of your life if you married in haste, but it will prevent 100% completion. If you become obsessed with 100% completion, you probably will jettison all your hard work in creating a decent and happy life for yourself with the partner of your choice to start a new game. Is this really a good decision? I don't think so. Continue to play your game, even though you won't see the inside of the 4th Mine... By all means, start a new game where you CAN unlock the 4th Mine but don't devalue the game on which you have lavished your heart and soul and so many hours of REAL TIME.

In my very first game of HM Cute, I made an 'error' that upset me immensely and almost caused me to wipe the game. Like many players after me, I fell head over heels in love with Skye and was determined to win his heart at any cost. I made the mistake, then, of triggering Part 1 of his 3rd Heart Event on a Sunday, little realising that it would cost me Part 2 of the Event. Part 2 of Skye's 3rd Heart Event may be the most romantic of all Skye's Heart Events, but failing to experience it will NOT prevent you from marrying him. Experiencing Part 1 of any of his Heart Events is all that matters in terms of fulfilling the requirements for marriage.

I actually began a new game in the other slot and began to play it, ignoring the game on which I had spent so much time and energy before I realised how foolish I was being, especially as I was working on the guides for Cute at that time. It was important for me to discover if I could experience Skye's 4th Heart Event even though I had not been able to trigger Part II of the 3rd Heart Event.

In fact, I proved that a player COULD go on to experience the rest of the Heart Events and marry Skye. This was far more important in the general scheme of things than experiencing Part 2 of the 3rd Heart Event at that point in time, long before the game was released.

Anyway, that is an example from my own life of a game where I had to resign myself to the loss of an event in favour of building a future without it.

Remember that, unlike THIS life on earth, you always can start a new game later. Few mistakes in Harvest Moon will devastate your game to the point where you cannot continue. A typhoon may occur, collapsing a Shed or a Greenhouse, but you can go on to rebuild a new one. Animals may die, but you can raise more Animals. People may die as well... but you can go on afterwards.

An example of the death of a character is Nina's death in HM DS and Cute DS. That event will occur after the birth of your child. Players who failed to obtain a Starry Night Stocking BEFORE Nina's death need not despair, however. Even if you neglected Nina during her lifetime, she did not neglect you. In a wonderful example of Harvest Moon friendship and selflessness, Nina knitted the Starry Night Stocking for you and left it with Galen before she died. If you raise your Friendship Level (FP) with Galen, you will experience an Event with him wherein he will give you the Stocking that Nina knitted for you.

Harvest Moon teaches us the value of perseverance in the face of loss. It teaches us that there are many different paths in life, that where the choices of our heart are concerned, we are free to create our own destiny.

100% completion gives a player a sense of great achievement, but it is far less valuable than the other goals in life, such as that of creating a home, finding a partner and raising a family.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Starry Night Festival in Island of Happiness


Unfortunately, I am having trouble with my wireless connection on my laptop, and I have been forced into 'Recovery' three times, which is an awful time-wasting procedure afterwards, as all programmes must be re-installed. Days ago, I had intended to write a post about the Starry Night Festival in Island of Happiness.

I have to confess (once more) that I am attracted to guys with long silver hair. I am not certain bachelors with long silver hair in Harvest Moon games tend to have complicated schedules and only occasional appearances, making them more difficult to court, but Vaughn in Island of Happiness, like Skye in Harvest Moon Cute DS, is absent much of the time on the days when invitations to romantic festivals must be made.

I have been able now to spend the Starry Night Festival with every bachelor apart from Vaughn. Mark, like the Magical Girls in HM DS/Cute DS will spend the evening at YOUR home and, like the Magical Girls (and Skye in Cute) will provide the food and help with the cooking. It is very endearing.

Vaughn, sad to say, has not been on the Island yet on 23 Winter when the invitation for the Starry Night date must be made. I am running out of time on this temporary game. I either have to marry Vaughn to be able to experience the festival with him or I have to move forward into marriage with some one else without ever experiencing the event with him. I have married a couple of the bachelors on a trial basis, never saving the result, but I need to fix upon a real spouse in order to experience pregnancy and childbirth. I only have a couple of weeks before the game is released. It is time to make a decision.

I would like to see how Vaughn behaves, though, when he celebrates the Starry Night Festival as a bachelor. I suppose that minor detail can wait until I have my own retail copy of the game, though. There are far more important goals to complete before then.

Vaughn is an odd, taciturn guy, very unlike the smooth-talking, romantic Skye whom I adore in Cute. He does possess his own attractive qualities, though. Mark would be my other choice. He is the classical blond-haired, wide-eyed hero of storybooks. (I almost wrote 'blue-eyed' but Mark's eyes are green.) My only dissatisfaction with Mark occurred in his Blue Heart Event. I had to pretend to be weaker than I was, but not TOO weak, in order to please him when we competed in a trial of strength. Ideally, I would have liked him to have admired me for besting him but I don't suppose there are many males who would not have a bruised ego if a girl they liked were to be superior to them where sheer brute strength is concerned. (Even Gannon lectured me when I had the audacity to WIN the rock-pushing contest!)

When a trial of strength occurs between romantic partners, I always think of Brunnhilde in the Niebelungenlied, who demanded that her husband-to-be have the ability to defeat her. When she discovered that she had been tricked, she took her newly wedded husband by the scruff of the neck and suspended him by his collar from a peg on the wall, then calmly went off to bed alone.

Brunnhilde was not allowed to triumph ultimately either though. The entire saga ends in tragedy. In IoH, there are no great tragedies and even if you beat Mark in the rock-pushing contest, lowering his heart level in the process, you can raise it again afterwards by winning more contests. I was rather upset, though, that despite the fact that he displays signs of hero-worship towards my character, he still had to be deceived by a result that showed him to be stronger than she! What rankles a little is that he basically insisted I compete with him in that fashion. I wasn't the one to issue the challenge. He was. If it had been my challenge, I happily would have involved myself in a small deception to boost his ego, but as he basically forced me into the contest, he should have been willing to accept an honest results.

Never mind. He redeemed himself by his gentlemanly behaviour on the night of the Starry Night Festival, when he provided all the ingredients for the meal and helped me prepare them. He is truly adorable with those huge . I will let him have his illusions of strength and indeed may allow him to sire my child. After all, if I marry Vaughn, I lose the opportunity to bring one of the rival children to the Island's population...

I have added a couple of screenshots of the Starry Night Festival with Pierre, who waxes rather poetic and combines his inspiration for culinary creativity with his appreciation of the heavens...