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!