Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Pedant's Delight: Random Knowledge in Games


A Pedant never should be confused with descriptions with similar prefixes but which are negative 'tags' associated with illegal desires connected with children. A Pedant simply is some one who loves details where knowledge is concerned, an individual who takes great joy in knowledge for its own sake. I believe I once read a review of the original Animal Crossing game, describing it as a game that would appeal greatly to pedantic individuals. I would go further and state that it truly is 'A Pedant's Delight', a place where any one with pedantic leanings can experience the thrill of acquiring little tidbits of esoteric, random knowledge at any point in time.

Blathers, of course, is the ultimate font of esoteric knowledge. With every donation you give, he will reward you with a fact or two about the item in question. Sometimes the facts are fairly well-known, but quite often, they are more esoteric in nature. His 'lectures' are delivered with the humour and wit for which he has won international fame and renown.

Natsume prides itself on producing games that combine learning and education with fun. Animal Crossing is another game that can claim the same achievement.

I am done very little fishing in the real world, although I always have loved aquariums of every sort, so do have some intrinsic interest in fish in general. I have little interest in insects in academic or practical terms, however, but even so, I am a pedantic person in many respects who loves knowledge for its own sake.
I inevitably find some of Blathers' lectures fascinating. The problem ultimately is that I seldom retain the facts that he generously dishes out for more than a minute or two.

I do believe, however, that the text of his 'lectures' has changed from Wild World to City Folk. I do not recall that the description of the Red Snapper, for example, in Wild World included the information that:

Blathers: '...right near the gills of this fish is a bone that actually looks just like the fish itself… Some cultures believe keeping one of these on you brings good luck.'

I think I would have remembered THAT. It is entirely possible that I simply forgot it and therefore was delighted anew by this trivial detail. In fact, I am inspired to search for a charm created from the Red Snapper bone in the real world. I wonder if I could find one on Ebay?

Incidentally, there IS an auction house now in the City! I need to explore it further, but I was reminded of Ebay at once, although the Gyroid in charge is far too posh to be connected with anything less than an Animal Crossing equivalent of Christie's or Sotheby's.

In many cases, it is not the facts but the way in which they are delivered that makes Blathers such a wonderful character. For the Dace, for instance, he will declare:

Blathers: 'Most fishermen think of dace as a bit of a nuisance because they interfere with catching more desired fish. This fish cares not… During spawning season, the dace dons a bright orange stripe across its belly! Even nuisance fish get the urge to dress up and strut a bit, eh wot?'

In general, Animal Crossing is filled with extraordinary dialogue that varies wildly between the truly wit-inspired and the inane. In our village, surrounded by our bizarre Animal Neighbours, we can enjoy being silly, even if our 'real' lives do not allow much time or opportunity for that sort of thing.

In fact, Animal Crossing does address the woes of 'real life' as well and the cruelty of corporate expectations. In the person of Lyle, once an insurance salesman but now the curator of the HRA in the City, you will find a creature who was judged by corporate rules and found wanting. Lyle may have been intensely irritating in Wild World, a real pest sometimes, but I would imagine that every player must have a little compassion for Lyle now when he confesses:

Lyle: 'Lyle used to have dreams… Lyle used to have it all. Big car, corner office, bang. Then it all went to pot. Know what the boss said: ‘Offices are for closers.’ Guy busted my chops! You believe it?'

Then there are characters like Chrissy, who has only the vaguest notion where important environmental subjects are concerned. When she 'recycles' an old outfit of hers by giving it to you, she may tell you:

Chrissy: 'I’m, like, totally concerned about greenhouse flashes and sustainable forest fires or whatever!'

Who on earth would not be seduced by a world filled with characters like these?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

As players have asked about Cooking, Forging and Expansions in general in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2 and no updates can be made to my actual Guides until Monday, I decided to make a little visual guide for players. Here it is:

Although the Cookbooks and Cooking Classes in any Harvest Moon game are very enjoyable, the Classes at the School in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2 are incredible! The amount of text and effort that went into the creation of each 'recipe' amazes me. I initially was going to write a Cookbook/Recipe Guide that simply gave the ingredients for each cooked dish, weapon, accessory and pharmaceutical potion. The text though, is too good to ignore. The Guide will include the actual text of the Recipes as time permits.

Here are a few examples of early Lessons that allow you to upgrade your Rusty Tools:

Today, let’s start by making a TIN WATERPOT. It’ll make farming a breeze. I’m gonna tell you everything you need. First, an OLD WATERPOT. After that, it’s a cinch. Use a BRONZE. Then another BRONZE. Finally some BRONZE for the gilding and you’re done.

Next is a STURDY HOE. It’ll make plowing a little bit easier. First get a RUSTY HOE ready. Then you’ll need some BRONZE, but don’t overdo it. You gotta sharpen the tip a little, so use an IRON. Then add an IRON and you’re done.

Let’s learn about making a BEGINNER’s POLE next. The first thing you’ll be needing is an OLD POLE. Next you’ll need WOOD. Wood is actually the most basic component of a BEGINNER’S POLE. Use a BRONZE to make the joint. Then another BRONZE to make sure it won’t bend.

The Sorry Fate of the Special Proposal Items in RF2

I must be one of the most sentimental individuals on the face of the earth and I am no different in games than in reality. I cannot toss out old cards or items from my past... in Rune Factory 2, of course, I kept all the Special Proposal Items from the Eligible Girls I did NOT marry, after proposing to the one I chose.

Unfortunately, storage problems made it necessary to dispose of them somehow in the next Generation. In the 1st Generation, your character can give them as gifts to the designated Eligible Girls after he marries and the responses will vary from a simple recognition of a gift to disappointment that the item was not used as it was intended. Yue, for example, will declare that the ticket has passed its 'sell-by' date. Rosalind, on the other hand, will exclaim happily of her pleasure at receiving the bouquet...

What you CANNOT do, however, is keep the items for your child to give to the girls. You will receive a prompt to the effect that it is impossible to give the item. If, in the 1st Generation, you toss any Special Proposal Item into the street, it will go into the Lost and Found, where you can retrieve it at any time.

In the 2nd Generation, absolutely beside myself with the need to clear out storage space for new items, I tossed all the unused Special Proposal Items into the street, hoping that they would be stashed in the Lost and Found. Alas, this will not occur in the 2nd Generation. The items are gone, irrevocably...

Why did I save the result? Simply because I had to dispose of the items somehow and I feared that if I knew they would vanish when tossed, I would have kept them. In my next game, however, I shall give them to the designated girls BEFORE my first character disappears into the night...

Note that you can use the Lost and Found for temporary storage of the Special Proposal Items in the 1st Generation quite safely... you simply cannot do it in the 2nd Generation.

There is one ray of hope, however, if you are very sentimental and can wait until you have built the Workshop in the 2nd Generation. On Wednesdays, Yue has special 'Bargains' in the form of vital items including a Refrigerator and Shelf that each hold 60 items. If you can stand the annoyance of having less Storage than you need until then, you will be able to stash the unused Proposal Items and still have ample space for War Trophies, Spellbooks and so on...

Basic Tips and Tricks for Animal Crossing City Folk

This information is included in my Guide now, but I thought I would share it here as the latest version of the Guide may not be uploaded immediately:

A few Basic Animal Crossing Tips and Tricks:

Animal Crossing, in any version, essentially is a game wherein you collect items. Players who love to attain 100% completion in any game will be most satisfied by Animal Crossing as there are many different collections to complete and different results for each.

There are personal private collections and public collections. The Museum collections are the ‘public’ collections that can be completed by any of the four characters living in your village. Fossils, Fish, Insects and Paintings are the subject of Museum collections but the individual who actually collects each item will have the item added to his/her personal private list as well. In that sense, it is important for each character to obtain every item in the game.

Private collections are included in the Catalogue lists at Tom Nook’s shop even when they are unique items that cannot be ordered, such as the ‘Harvest’ furniture or ‘Mush’ furniture. When you access those items in your Catalogue, you will see ‘Not for Sale’ indicated. Any ordinary items of furniture can be ordered.
There are many purposes for each item in the game. As far as household decoration is concerned, furniture, carpets and wallpaper do not exist solely in order to decorate your own house and complete your Catalogue. They are useful gifts for Animal Neighbours.

Animal Requests are an important aspect of Animal Crossing. Animals can make a request for a specific item in your Pockets, an item that is part of a theme or set or a generic item with a specific purpose, such as a ‘lampy’ item.
In fact, it is a good idea to avoid Animal Neighbours when you are carrying any unique or rare item in your Pockets as Animals ALWAYS know what is concealed in your Pockets! Almost invariably, they will ask you to give them the rare items that you carry…
You therefore have three options when carrying a rare item that you do not wish to sell or give to an Animal.
1. You can avoid any conversation with an Animal on your way to your destination;
2. You can talk to the Animal and simply take your chances, refusing to give or sell the item in question if the Animal asks for it;
3. You can attach the item temporarily to a letter and stash it in your Letters Pocket instead of leaving it in your regular Pockets. Items attached to letters cannot be ‘seen’ by any one!

The Requests by Animal Neighbours actually can benefit you in more ways than one. Accepting and completing a Request will increase the Animal’s Friendship for you. Ultimately one goal is that of becoming close friends with all your Neighbours. Another result, however, can be the acquisition of another item. When you give an item carried in your Pocket to an Animal when requested, he/she usually will give you another item in return. You therefore can ‘bait’ your Pocket with items you no longer need or want, in the hope that an Animal may request it.

When an Animal offers to buy a specific item from you, such as a Fish, Insect or Fossil, the price will be absurdly low. Accept the offer in order to increase Friendship unless the item is a rare one that you need to donate to the Museum or sell to Nook for cash.

When an Animal asks for a generic item such as a ‘lampy’ item, you can give him/her any sort of lamp or light to satisfy the request. In these cases, the Animal usually will give you an item in return.

There are other Requests that may require preparation, however, unlike Requests for items that you actually have in your Pockets.

In some cases, an Animal will request an item in a specific theme or set. For example, an Animal may request ‘Retro’ items. In such a case, you need to find an item that matches the description. Sets and Themes are listed in my Comprehensive Guide for Animal Crossing Wild World. The lists apply to City Folk as well.

In other cases, the Animal may request an item of clothing. This can be generic or specific.

Animal Neighbours and their Houses:

It is a good idea to pay attention to the interior decoration of any Animal Neighbour’s house. If you see something that you like, you may be able to obtain it for yourself. There are a few little tricks that can be employed to this end, apart from the straightforward Flea Market.

Send a letter to the Animal and attach an item to it that you think the Animal will like. If the Animal likes your gift, he/she usually will place it in his/her home, and remove an item from the house in order to do so. The rejected item often will be sent to the Recycling Bin where you can retrieve it for your own use.

Whenever you send a letter with a gift to an Animal, you usually will receive a letter and gift in return. It may not be an item that was displayed in the Animal’s own home, but it could be something quite rare and fine on occasion. The type of item you obtain can be influenced by the value of the item you sent to the Animal. If you send an inexpensive shell as a gift, you may not receive a rare item in return, but this is not a fixed rule. It is true, however, that the gift of a rare item is more likely to result in a gift for you that is rare and valuable.

Pride and Dignity are not useful traits in Animal Crossing:

You need to behave entirely without dignity or pride in ANimal Crossing. Visit the Lost and Found frequently and CLAIM everything, even though you know that you are not the rightful owner.

Visit the Recycling Bin regularly and take everything that you find there, even if it is unattractive stuff. Sell it to Nook if you like, but placing any item in your Pocket will add it to your Catalogue...

Adding to your Catalogue:

As previously stated, any item that is placed in your Pocket will be added to your Catalogue. This is a method that friends use frequently in any Animal Crossing game. Throw items from your Pocket onto the ground and allow your Friend to collect all of them. Meanwhile, collect all the items he/she has thrown on the ground. You then throw everything down again to recover your own property. Meanwhile, however, your friend's items will have been added to your Catalogue, allowing you to order them from Tom Nook.

Fishing Tips:

Every fish is visible as a shadow in the water in Animal Crossing. The size and shape of the shadow will be a clue as to the identity of the fish. There is an entire section devoted to fish shadows in my Wild World Guide and it applies to City Folk as well. Usually, more than one variety of fish will ‘share’ a shadow form.
One or two of those fish will be quite common. The other will be rare. Location, time of year, time of day and weather all are factors in the appearance of any Fish. My Wild World Guides gives all details for each variety. I will transfer the information to my City Folk walkthrough in time, but for now, use the old guide.
When you decide to target a fish, pay attention to the direction in which the water is flowing and cast your line accordingly. Water in the river moves downstream, towards the south. Cast your line ABOVE a fish and it will move slowly towards the fish, encouraging it to take the bait.

Fish sometimes will be oblivious to the bait and will not bite at all, nor even move closer to it. Recast in this situation and you may have better results. When a fish does show interest in the bait, it usually will ‘nibble’ first. Do NOT respond to this! Sometimes the fish will nibble two or three times before taking a real bite. When a fish is on the hook, it will pull more strongly on the line and begin to circle the bait. THAT is the point at which you should respond to reel it in. If you respond too early, you will lose the fish.

Insect Hunting Tips

Like Fish, Insects appear at specific locations according to season, time of day and weather. Some insects are found on the ground and netting them is simply a matter of good aim. When you miss, however, those insects will tend to move towards the nearest body of water. Try to ‘herd’ the insect away from water as once it leaps into the water, it will be lost to you. You can direct an insect’s movements even when you miss it through your own character’s position.

Some insects, like butterflies and dragonflies will appear in the air; others alight on flowers. Some insects can be found on the trunks of trees. There are insects who announce their presence by making a sound that is unique to that variety. All details are included in my Wild World Guide.

Be alert at all times in order to make the most money from your hunting and fishing activities.

Another reason to be alert is in order to be aware of Special Visitors. Special Visitors with unique items to offer will visit your Village regularly. If you miss the visit, you miss the opportunity to obtain new items or in one case, new ‘emoticons’ from the psychiatrist Dr. Shrunk. Again, my Wild World guide contains details about Special Visitors, although actual interactions differ a little in City Folk in some instances.

Finally, the Calendar is vital in Animal Crossing. I published a Calendar Guide for Wild World and you will find that it is applicable for the most part to City Folk, although there are additional Festivals in City Folk and I am working on a new Calendar specifically designed for Animal Crossing City Folk.

Animal Crossing City Folk Guide

I sent a brief introductory 'Walkthrough' for Animal Crossing City Folk to IGN yesterday. It really does not contain much information at this point, apart from some of the combinations of responses to Rover that determine specific faces and hairstyles for your character, information about the Harvest Festival and the Mush Furniture and a few prices for 'easy' items to obtain in November. What is DOES contain is the link to my Comprehensive Wild World General Guide.

Although the games are not identical, there are enough similarities to make my old Wild World Guide useful to players of City Folk. The lists are fairly exhaustive in terms of catalogue offerings, fish, insects and fossils. New items have been added to City Folk and those will be added to the Guide shortly.

Guide writing is not simply a matter of playing the game and knowing the answers. It is above all else, writing...

In fact, I have written such a volume of words that I actually worn DOWN the keys on my old laptop. When I took it for repair, the guy who looked at it declared he never had seen a laptop keyboard as worn as mine. That doesn't make me a GOOD writer, but it does mean that I type a lot of words.

Players who are impatient for completion of the 2nd Generation section of my Rune Factory 2 Guide or are impatient for completion or even additions to the City Folk Walkthrough should be conscious of the time needed to type out the information. I wish I could transfer it effortlessly and instantly from my brain to the Guide, but that is not possible.

The real point of this post is to let players know that I am quite aware of the fact that I barely scratched the surface of City Folk in the 'Walkthrough' as it stands. It was published primarily to create the link and to make players aware of the possibility of using the old Wild World guide for many aspects of the new Animal Crossing game.

In fact, if I only had a few more hourse, I could have added twice as much information, but IGN has its own deadlines... Monday's update should dou8ble if not triple the length of the 'Walkthrough'. (And will include Mars Frog as a contributor!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Going to School and New Characters in Rune Factory 2

This is going to be my last effort today in terms of posting new information, as it is a very busy day for me, but I wanted to share this, especially as I was unable to complete the 2nd Generation sections of my Guide before Thanksgiving.

This should help answer a few questions. Here are introductions to new characters in the 2nd Generation as well as some glimpses of the School and the classes that are taught there!

All the sophisticated skills such as forging and cooking are 2nd Generation Skills in Rune Factory 2.

A 'Gift' for Harvest Moon fans...

As Rune Factory 2 now is available to the general public, this may or may not be of interest, but here is the entrance to the 2nd Generation. It includes the 'theme' of the 2nd half of the game.

I intend to spend most of the day with Animal Crossing City Folk's Harvest Festival, after I deal with real world duties... but I thought I would share this as a little 'gift' for Thanksgiving Day.

If I were to express my 'thanks' on this day, it would be to Marvelous Interactive and Natsume for the incredible series of games that fall under the umbrella of 'Harvest Moon'...

My gratitude for 10 years of fabulous interactions with the wonderful world of Harvest Moon!

Beginning a New Life in Animal Crossing City Folk

When you begin a new game in Animal Crossing City Life, players of previous Animal Crossing games will find the situation much the same as before. Tom Nook will 'give' you a house, but then attach a price to it. You enter the village penniless or rather, Bell-less. Tom Nook issues a work uniform and demands that you work for him part-time in order to make an initial payment on your 'mortgage'.

A new situation in City Folk is the ability to choose one of four houses located in different areas of your village. Apart from that, however, the first day of your life in your new home will be the same as in previous games.

The tasks you perform for Tom Nook do not differ. He asks you to deliver furniture, deliver a carpet, write a letter to a customer, deliver a tool to a customer and finally post an announcement for his business on the Bulletin Board. If you resent his attitude, you always can sabotage his business a little by warning customers of his greed in your Message... Not that it will make any difference!

Once you complete the last task, you will do a dance of joy and announce your freedom to the world. After this, you can return to Tom Nook as a customer to buy or sell...

In fact, you should be able to buy everything he has to offer for sale AND pay off your mortgage in the first day if you are diligent. The first step is to buy the tools that are offered. In my game, they were: net, fishing rod and watering can. Of the three, the watering can was the only one that I did not use on the first day.

By hunting insects and fishing, you should be able to make quite a sum of money. Shaking the fruit from ALL the trees and selling it to Nook, with the proceeds of all insects and fish, should provide sufficient 'Bells' to buy all the items in his shop and pay off the mortgage at the Town Hall. Shells collected from the beach and sold are another source of income.

I always donate the first fish or insect of any variety that I catch to the Museum and I did that in City Folk and still had sufficient money to pay off the mortgage with about 4000 Bells to spare afterwards.

Here are some of the values of items that can be sold on the first day of gameplay, if you are playing in 'real time', which means November. There are other insects and fish, but these are the most easily found and caught initially.


Monarch Butterfly: 140 Bells
Migratory Locust: 600 Bells
Long Locust: 200 Bells


Sea Bass: 200 Bells
Octopus: 500 Bells
Barbel Steed: 200 Bells
Bitterling: 900 Bells
Carp: 300 Bells


Dall's Top: 90 Bells
White Scallop: 450 Bells
Scallop: 600 Bells
Venus Comb: 150 Bells
Sand Dollar: 60 Bells

Native Fruit: 100 Bells

There are a few other items I have not listed here, as this is not intended to be an actual guide. My General Guide for City Folk will have complete lists of items and prices as always.

In fact, players of City Folk actually can refer to my Animal Crossing Wild World General Guide for information about the game, as most of the items are the same in both games. You will find the same themes and sets in City Folk for the most part, although there are some new themes and sets that did not exist in the DS game. I will confirm the prices of items, but I believe that in most cases, prices will not have changed either.

I bought the Carpet, the Wallpaper and the two items of Furniture as well as the three Tools sold by Tom Nook, then sold the Wallpaper and Carpet back to him. You take a loss for that, but it will add the items to your Catalogue. Completing your catalogue is one of the primary goals in this game. You can transfer a completed catalogue from Wild World to City Folk but I think part of the fun is to collect the items. Once you have everything, it is not quite as interesting. I therefore started with nothing... One day, perhaps, I'll perform a transfer, but not in this initial game.

City Folk is very generous with Fruit and Shells. I found at least three White Scallops and regular Scallops on the beach in the first morning. I was able to catch at least 10 Migratory Locusts and as many Monarchs and Long Locusts without any problem in the space of a couple of hours, while taking some time to fish and collect all the fruit from the trees.

Here's a tip for new players. Shake the trees to make the fruit fall to the ground in the early stages of gameplay even if you do not have time to gather it, as that will allow new fruit to appear on the trees, increasing income potential.

Veteran players will not find anything helpful in this post, but perhaps it will help players who never played Animal Crossing before.

Today is the Harvest Festival! Very exciting indeed...

Migratory Locusts sell for 600 Bells each.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bedeviling Tom Nook in Animal Crossing

I decided to take a break from Rune Factory 2, although I had reached an exciting point in the game, simply because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Animal Crossing runs on real time. If the famous Turkey is to appear, it will be tomorrow I daresay. I missed him sorely in Wild World as well as other holiday characters like Jingles. I have heard they have been reinstated and there are even new holiday character additions in City Folk.

In any case, I had the option to transfer my character from Wild world to City Folk but when I found my DS card and accessed my village, it was choked with weeds, and my character's pockets were filled with rare fish and insects... and she had all sorts of letters stuffed with rare items. I had heard that your character would be stripped of any special clothing, items in the rucksack and any income as well if he/she were to be transferred to City Folk, so in the end, I began a totally new game.

So here I am, where I never intended to find myself again, working for that shifty raccoon part-time! Having played a rather amusing trick on him in Wild World, I determined to try it again.

When he gave me my 'work outfit' and ordered me to change, I prompty took the clothing outside and dropped it on the ground, then returned to my temporary master.

How outraged he was! He couldn't imagine what I had done with the outfit, but told me he would give me another, 'but now I must insist you change!'

I repeated the performance, dropping the 2nd offensive outfit on the ground. (It looks like prisoner garb to me.)

Tom Nook: You haven't changed yet! And what did you do with your work clothes, hm?!
Once again: 'Hmmmph... I'll give you another one, but now I must insist you change!'

I admit it is rather silly but it had me in stitches once again, and after all, shouldn't one try to trick the Trickster once in a while?

N.B. The screenshot shows 4 of the despicable discarded 'work uniforms' on the ground and my character still was determined to defy Tom Nook further, but you can't beat Tom Nook in Animal Crossing... and I ultimately don't have time for this!!!

Mining Festival in Rune Factory 2

The Mining Festival in Rune Factory 2 occurs in Winter and you have not married yet or if all Eligible Girls are not at full 10,10 Heart Levels in the first year, speaking to every one on the day of the Festival is an opportunity to increase levels.

It is an interesting contest in a way. The object of the contest is to mine a specific gem and present it to Herman in the quickest amount of time. Herman will tell you that you can mine from any Cave but the gem he specifies will be found only in the Cave/Caves where you ordinarily would find it.

What you need to remember is that the result whenever you smash a rock in a Cave always is random. In the first year, the designated Gem is a Ruby, found only on Blessia Island. If you go to Blessia Island without saving your game first and smash every rock on the Island, you may be forced to leave without a single Ruby! I did it as a test to see if the day of the Mining Contest would produce more gems than usual. I never mined at Blessia Island before without obtaining at least one or two Rubies EXCEPT on the day of the Mining Contest. Of course, that was a random result. If I had saved my game at the Port before entering, I could have reloaded to mine again...

In point of fact, it was only a test so I didn't save the result. I was interested to see if Herman would accept a Ruby taken from my Cabinet instead, so the next time I played through the Contest, I rushed home and fetched a Ruby from storage, then gave it to him. He was astonished by my speed and pronounced me the winner!

Incidentally, when I did it 'honestly' and smashed every rock on Blessia Island after defeating the pesky monsters who try to interfere, I brought back six Rubies, gave one to Herman and still won the Contest. He told me
'Ohhhh! What an umbelievably fast time! To think that I'd live to see such unprecedented speed!'

The prize for winning is an 'Invinciroid'.

What I found more interesting even than this, however, was the fact that Yue competed in this Contest. She really is a hardy, fearless adventurer in her own right. I did not marry her in this test game simply because she has Requests to make in the 2nd Generation and I wanted to keep it as close to the 'average' game as possible...

When you speak to the participants in the Mining Contest, Yue will teach Roy another 'foreign phrase' which he rather rudely calls a 'funny phrase'. The actual phrase she will teach him is random and there is more than one dialogue connected to this. I am very sorry I didn't document all possible dialogues, but I really must move on... In any event, I did document the most interesting one, which involves a potential romance between Cammy and Roy as well as one other. If there's a third, I'll leave it for discovery in my next game! I don't want to wring every surprise from Rune Factory 2 in my first game.

In one result, Yue teaches Roy the word 'Maido' which she declares is a 'way for merchants to say goodbye when a customer has made a purchase.' She then suggests he ask his Mum for a sweet and when she gives it to him, say 'Maido'. Roy suspiciously asks: 'Why would I do that?'

(In my own rather hasty research, I discovered that:
'Maido!' is short for 'Maido, osewa ni narimasu,' a phrase many merchants and buisinessmen formerly used in Osaka to greet one another.)

In another result, Yue teaches him the phrase: 'Suki ya nen.' She declares: 'You should say this when you're confessing your true feelings to that special some one', then suggests that Roy 'run over to Cammy and pour your heart out!)

(Again, in my research, I discovered that 'Suki ya nen' is the equivalent in Osaka of 'Suki desu' in standard Japanese, which means 'I like him/her/it.' These phrases suggest that Yue is a merchant from Osaka or the Harvest Moon equivalent of Osaka!)

Once more, these little details are part of the delight of playing any Harvest Moon game. Like the random occurrence at the New Year Festival in Island of Happiness, when your character actually chokes on a Rice Cake, it is only by experiencing the same event/Festival again and again that a player will discover the wealth of detail that has been created in these games.

I will marry both Yue and Mana when I play games on my own permanent cartridge. At this point in time, however, I chose a different wife for the game that ultimately will be erased... Guess whom I chose...

By the way, with respect to mining, there will be a point when Herman will give you all sorts of spurious advice, such as an old wives' tale to the effect that drinking milk before you mine will increase the number of gems found. One would expect that players will not be take any of it seriously...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shooting Star Festival and Last Test Marriage

I experienced the Shooting Star Festival with each of the Eligible Girls and performed a 'test marriage' with the last of the Eligible Girls in the person of Julia. It is interesting to discover the little 'perks' of marrying different girls. If you marry Alicia, you will obtain free fortune-telling services whenever you speak to her. If you marry Julia, she will not preside at the bathhouse but she will have told you previously that you are allowed to use the baths once each day!
I do not consider either a fortune costing at most 100G (for weather change) or a bath that costs the same amount sufficient incentive to determine your choice of life partner, but it is very interesting to know all the different effects of marriage.

Anyone who has played many Harvest Moon games will be familiar with the occasional 'Crazy Face' that an Eligible Girl or Bachelor displays from time to time. Ann had it in FoMT and MFoMT. Marlin had one in HM Cute DS. There are a few other characters who have a 'Crazy Face' that is made only under exceptional circumstances. In Rune Factory 2, the character who has the 'Crazy Face' is Julia. You'll see it in her Shooting Star Event. It appears to denote extreme stress for her. A 'Crazy Face' always is a characteristic that makes me hesitate when I consider marriage but for some players, it is something positive and hilarious.
In any case, you'll see Julia's 'Crazy Face' here for a moment at the end.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rosalind and Romance in Rune Factory 2

Before I moved permanently into the wedded state, I wished to experience the 'Shooting Star Festival' with each of the Eligible Girls. As with respect to the dialogues of the girls after you marry them, Rosalind's Event on the night of the Shooting Star Festival was the best in terms of romantic action, although Yue's Event was quite amusing. I will not marry Rosalind in this game but it is very tempting! She has such wonderful Events.

It appears to me now that Rosalind has the guts to do what ALL the girls want to do where romance is concerned. Every girl goes to the rendezvous hoping for romance, but only Rosalind dares to act upon her desires. There are hints, though, that your character is more inclined to act romantically where Rosalind is concerned as well. In the course of the event, he decides that he will try to kiss her after a series of uncomfortable silences heavy with hidden desires.

Here is the Shooting Star Event with both Rosalind and Yue. As you will see, they are very different interpretations of the same event.

A Brief Explanation about my Rune Factory 2 Guides

Players of Rune Factory 2 may have noticed the different Guides I have written from the General Guide to the 'mini-guides' for Courtship and Marriage, Requests, Characters and so on. None of them are complete at this point in time. ALL are works in progress. I'm afraid that is the way I work, and as I am my own mistress in this matter, I will apologise for any incovenience but continue to work this way nonetheless. Publishing the Guides while they remain 'works in progress' allows me to give players some help with the game initially, while allowing me to improve upon them daily.

I am a guide writer who likes to include as much of the actual game text in my guides as possible when they deal with Harvest Moon as I love Harvest Moon dialogues and characters. I feel that the Events, even when they do not have much significance in terms of the plot, are central to enjoyment of the games. Players who have neglected a character or who courted only one eligible girl/bachelor can look at one of my guides and see what they missed. They then may be inspired to begin a new game.

Anyway, the General Guide for RF2 will contain as many details about every aspect of the game as I can cram into it. The Courtship and Marriage Guide will focus on the business of courting a future spouse and raising her heart levels. Thus, Requests by Eligible Girls will be included in the Courtship and Marriage Guide, as well as all Romantic Festivals.

The Request Guide, on the other hand, will include Requests by ALL characters, including Eligible Girls. This may duplicate some information, of course, but the entire purpose of the Request Guide is different. It is directed more towards the order of Requests and the Rewards gained from each. I thought of adding the Requests to the Characters Guide, but I feel it is better to have two separate guides. The Characters Guide contains the biographical material about each individual in the game.

All Guides are easily accessible from this page. It's not as though you have to search hard to find them. If this were a printed guide, the 'mini-guides' would be Chapters in an enormous Comprehensive Guide, but as it floats on the ether, I think it is convenient to be able to 'pull' up the Characters Guide side by side with the Requests Guide, if you choose to do so. If they were contained in the same document, it would not be as convenient to do so.

The primary reason for this post, however, is to assure readers and users of my guides that the Rune Factory 2 Guides are not finished and that I am working on them constantly at this point. Making the videos did slow me down somewhat, but I hope they will be helpful to players as well!

Odd opportunity for marital disloyalty in Rune Factory 2

I know that marriage in the 1st Generation before you have the chance to move forward to the 2nd does not last long in Rune Factory 2 unless you delay the construction of the school. Even so, I experienced a very peculiar anomaly in the game when the Shooting Star Festival occurred.

Although Dorothy (my test wife) had announced her pregnancy only a day prior to the Festival, I was able to ask ANY of the formerly eligible girls for a date. The offer was accepted as well. When I went to the crossroads with Cecilia, I half hoped that my wife would arrive to claim her rightful position but that did not occur. Instead, Cecilia wished that she and I would become even closer!

there is so much going on at any point in this game that it really is not surprising that special dialogue was not programmed for this situation, which only occurred in the brief interval between marriage and the birth of my child. It did make me feel like a real cad, though, chatting up Ceci while my pregnant wife waited at home. The only consolation was that it wasn't a real marriage. I didn't save the marriage, and returned to an honest single state...

'Heart Events' with Magical Girls in HM Cute DS

(Screenshot from Leia's 4th Heart Event)

Most players understand that, once your character marries, 'Heart Events' no longer will trigger in any Harvest Moon game. What players of Cute sometimes fail to recognise, however, is that the original Heart Events for the Magical Girls, although they cannot lead to marriage in the English version of HM Cute DS, still operate as classical Heart Events. Two of these Events are critical where progress is concerned:

Leia's 4th Heart Event or 'Yellow heart Event': This is the Event that is triggered when you catch a Bottled Message and enter Daryl's house with it. In order to catch a Bottled Message, you must have Leia at Yellow Heart Level at least, use a Mystrile Fishing Rod (or higher) at Mystrile level and fish at the beach in Spring. In Cute, you will not have to reduce the 'charge' of any Higher Level Fishing Rod but in the original HM DS, you will not catch the Bottled Message if you charge a Rod to Blessed or Mythic level.

Keira's 1st Heart Event or Black Heart Event: To experience this Event, you must enter the 255th floor of the 3rd Mine after defeating all 'dark creatures' on the floor without cheating. When the last Dark Creature is defeated, the barrier will crumble. Enter the little bedchamber to experience the Event. Experincing this Event is a rerequisite for unlocking the 4th Mine.


What this means is that you will not be able to catch a Bottled Message nor will you be able to unlock the 4th Mine. It is yet another example of the old adage: Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

The 4the Mine is not essential nor is the Bottled Message but it is a pity if you cannot experience all possible Events nor explore all locations on the Map.

I always advise players to experience ALL possible Heart Events before they propose to some one and marry in Harvest Moon. With hundreds of years to live in the Valley, why rush? (I know Skye is irresistable but he will wait for you!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quickest Path to Second Generation with Dorothy

Having decided to experience the dialogues of the various blushing brides after marriage before I permanently wedded any girl, I began with Rosalind, then moved on to Dorothy immediately afterewards. As another player remarked, Rosalind's dialogue are extremely diverting. I felt I had made a wrothwhile detour... Dorothy, however, was less forthcoming after marriage. Nonetheless, I decided to move forward a little further in her case to see if anything would change. I therefore did something that I never would do in a REAL game: I slept through the days!

I am opposed to the habit of players to sleep through their games in order to skip the real business of life. In this situation, however, I simply was trawling for dialogue. I only mention this because something rather bizarre occurred.

dorothy duly announced her morning sickness as Rosalind had before her. She then declared she was pregnant, quite without any need for medical confirmation. The Rune Factory girls appear to be far more savvy where the 'birds and the bees' are concerned than the regular Harvest Moon girls and their husbands. In most other Harvest Moon games, husband and wife both would fear some grave illness until told otherwise by the local physician. I rather like that charming ignorance, so much a Harvest Moon tradition at this point.

In any case, I diverge. I went to my Calendar to see when the baby's birth could be expected to occur only to discover that his birthday was listed on a date that had passed two days previously! Surely Dorothy's pregnancy would not take more than an entire year... why did she speak of the baby being born soon if the gestation period exceeded 4 seasons?! My own understanding of the game had been a quick pregnancy and birth. Something was amiss...

Well, of course, any one who has been through this would know the mistake I made. By sleeping through the days, I failed to leave the house. There is no birth event per se. You go out and when you return, your wife will announce the birth of your child, asking you to name him/her. The baby will be in your wife's arms. I have to say that in Dorothy's case, our baby looked suspiciously like Fern!

So poor Dorothy continued to speak of the baby being born soon for almost a week after his actual birth because her husband was too lazy to leave the house...

I made a little video that shows the 'Quickest Timeline' for the game if you wish to have all Eligible Girls at 10 Hearts, Experience all Request Events, yet still be able to move on to the next Generation as early as possible. It is not really what
I recommend in terms of playing this game as I feel that the players who wish to experienc all the Rival Weddings in the 1st Generation have the right idea. Nonetheless, even by waiting until I had experienced all the Eligible Girls' Events and obtained all Special Proposal items, having every girl at maximum 10 Hearts before I proposed to any one, I could be playing as my child at the star of the 2nd Year.

Although I really would love to stay in the 1st Generation until the last of the Rival Marriages occurs, I have to admit that the prospect of being able to buy new weapons and fight new Monsters is very attractive.

I have documented both Dorothy's and Mana's dialogues after marriage. Neither are as interesting as Rosalind's as hers are reall little events and theirs are no more than a single line per day usually.

When I went through the quick marriage with Alicia, I discovered that If you marry her, she will tell your fortune from the privacy of your own home each morning but I experienced only a single day before reloading.

Well, here is the little video...

On now to the other girls... I want to get to the 2nd Generation as soon as possible.
I will say one thing in conclusion though. With the speed in which the game takes you from Marriage through Pregnancy and then the departure of your original character, I really would suggest that players take their time in the 1st Generation game. It is a complete game in itself and so much will be missed if you rush through it.

Cecila and the Round Stone: Marriage Proposal

In my preliminary game, I now have experienced the Proposal and marriage Events for all the Eligible Girls in the 1st Generation.

Here is Cecilia's Request Event at 10 hearts. As the actual marriage proposal option will occur in the course of the Request Event both for Cecilia and for Alicia, there is a final Request Event for each that will not appear until the girl has attained maximum 10 heart Level.

I have included all possible responses and results for Cecilia. If she walks away without having had a marriage proposal from you, the Request will reappear on the Bulletin Board immediately. You will be forced to go through the entire Request Event again if you wish to propose to her. The only other way to propose to her is if you interrupt her wedding to Jake.

Cecilia's Proposal Event is unique in this respect. The reason for this is because she wants her future spouse to propose to her in a 'monster-infested' area. You therefore must meet her once again on the Bridge if you decide to marry her after making either of the 'negative' responses previously in the Event.

When at last I believed I had dealt with all the Eligible Girls sufficiently for the Courtsihp and Marriage Guide, a visitor to this site in fact suggested that I actually stay married to each girl for 10 days after the wedding in order to experience (and document) all the dialogues for each of the girls after marriage.

I still have to cover the 2nd Generation AND the new Animal Crossing game... I am tempted, however, as I do have all the special Proposal Items and it would not require much more than sufficient patience to deal with all the well wishers at the Weddings again. I probably will do it. Would any one describe me as obsessive perhaps?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Alicia's Crystal Ball: Marry Me

It was only when Alicia reached the level of 10 Friendship and 10 Love that her final Courtship Request appeared on the Bulletin Board. I had her at 10 Friendship Heartslong before I had her at 10 Love Hearts. Even so, the Monster Contest raised the remaining Eligible Girls, including Alicia to 10 Hearts.

She must be at maximum heart level before the Request will appear because it ends in an actual Marriage Proposal. If you do not wish to propose marriage at this point, however, you will be able to take the Special Proposal Item with you for possible future use. It is a Crystal Ball.

Monster Levels and Prizes

I wrote a post about Monster Levels recently but did not mention the Monster Contest that occurs on 25 Autumn. In this Contest, your most powerful Tame Monster competes against those belong to other unspecified villagers. There is no physical combat or trial of strength. It is simply a matter of 'registering' the strength level of the monster you have chosen to enter. The prize is a 'Health It'.

Herman's instructions for the Contst are a little confusing. He will tell you to:'Please send at least one of your monsters back to the Forest.' At first I thought it would be like the 'Monster Taming Contest' which required a free space in your Monster Barn for the Monster that you tamed in the course of the competition. (I had to free a Monster in order to be able to compete in THAT one, because my Barn had its full quota at the time.)

In fact, I think that Herman's instructions in this first sentence of his probably were supposed to go with the other Contest. In the 'Monster Contest' in Autumn, your entry will be one of your existing Tame Monsters rather than a new one. In fact, as the 'strength' of your Monsters will improve with time and use, it is best to use a Monster who has been tamed for a long time.

You need to ask your Monster first to accompany you. When he/she is outside the Monster Barn, you then need to speak to Monster to discover total Strength. Yu have the option to choose NOT to enter the Monster in the Contest if you wish to see the totals of all your Monsters before you make a final decision. 15 out of 16 of my Monsters were at 46. The Silver Wolf I use in combat always was at 50. As the other monsters never fought with me but only work on the farm and provide Ranch Products, 'Strength' is not earned by combat exclusively but by 'use' of the Monster and Heart Level combined somehow. The other 15 monters ALL had 46 Strength, even though two had been tamed fairly recently, and were of many different varieties... but all were at 10 Hearts.

The prize for winning the Monster Contest is a HEALTH IT. More important a reward for me was the fact that this Festival brought the remaining girls to maximum heart level at 10 Hearts.

9 Tomatoes for 100 Rare Roses: Special Proposal Item for Rosalind

Rosalind's Requests tend to be more complicated than those issued by the other Eligible Girls in Rune Factory 2. An early Request to catch a cold for her requires that you go without sleep for 2 nights effectively, causing your character to lose farming hours as each sleepless night results in a loss of 4 hours in the morning. (Your character will not begin the day until 10.00 a.m.)

When you experience her Request at 9 Hearts, she will suggest that you speak to Max when he is in his room. Max always will be found in his bedroom after 9.00 p.m. if not earlier but speaking to him before Rosalind attains 10 hearts will not lead to any progress in your Courtship of her.

It is when Rosalind reaches 10 Hearts that a new dialogue will occur in Max's bedchamber that will bring you closer to obtaining the special Proposal Item needed if you wish to marry Rosalind.

Max will tell you that Rosalind always dreamed of a fairytale courtship similar to one in her favourite childhood tale. You will need 100 rare roses if you wish to propose to her.

As always, Max, as the enterprising young scion of the influential De Sainte-Coquille family, would be able to supply these roses to you without any trouble, but he wisely asks that you 'pay' a price in return in order to give them greater value in the currency of romance.

Max longs for 9 ripe Tomatoes. That is his price... If like me, you are a packrat who stores all possible items for a 'rainy day' or a possible future Request, you may HAVE 9 Tomatoes stored in your Fridge. If not, you can grow them in your own field in the Summer season or grow them on Blessia Island at any point in time.

Give Max 9 Tomatoes and he will give you the bouquet of 100 fabled rare Geschule Roses. Each Geschule Rose may have a market value of 68,000G according to Max, but all he wants is 9 ordinary Tomatoes...

(If only my character were a girl and could court Max!!!)

Here are the Events that lead from Max' initial request to the Wedding to Rosalind:

If you cheat by taking 9 Tomatoes in your Rucksack when you first visit Max, you can experience all three Events in immediate succession, finding yourself married to Rosalind without any delay. As I do not intend to marry Rosalind in this game, I did not save the results, but I have to confess that the proposal is one of the most romantic so far! I was sorely tempted on the basis of the proposal alone, and the idea of being able to consider Max as family.

I have all the Proposal Events and Weddings for all the Eligible Girls in the 1st Generation now. It's simply a matter of finding the time to organise them for viewing. The full text of each should be included in the Courtship and Marriage Guide on Monday when the next version is uploaded.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Julia's 8-9 Hearts Request

Julia was the last Eligible Girl to reach 8 Hearts in my game. Her Request Event at this level is interesting because the special item that is used to propose to her must be acquired from another Eligible Girl after the completion of Julia's Event.
It is Yue, in fact, who suggests that a special romantic item be made from the rare ore that you obtain in Julia's Request Event. That almost broke my heart as Yue is at 10 Hearts and there is no doubt whatsoever that she is in love with me herself. As there are no Rivals for Yue's affections, she will be doomed to a solitary future if I marry Julia. Julia, on the other hand, has the very delectable Max to sweep her into his arms if I decide not to marry her.

Poor Yue. To her eternal credit, she exhibits no jealousy or resentment whatsoever and indeed wishes you luck in your courtship of Julia, despite her profound love for you. As I always fancied Yue, she may be my choice of spouse in this first game, although Alicia and Mana are the other possibilities here.

Here are both Julia's Request Event and the Event with Yue that follows it. Note that my loyal Wolf companion was the one who displayed all the heroics on the field of battle. I didn't even have time to tuck the rare Messhlight Ore into my Rucksack before he had leapt into the fray to defeat the Monster!

I am rather ashamed to say that my character took credit for the Monster's defeat in this Event... Obviously, one really is not supposed to go on this particular Quest with a Tame Monster!

Initially, I intended to replay the Event in a more traditional fashion, but I am too pressed for time now and it is rather amusing to watch my dear Silver Wolf usurp my designated role as Julia's saviour.

Girl Talk in Rune Factory 2

You can find the Eligible Girls of Alvarna gathered in groups of three in one of the girl's bedrooms on various days at different hours.

Julia, Rosalind and Dorothy sometimes congregate in Dorothy's room in the morning. Mana, Cecilia and Alicia gather in Mana's bedroom in the evening.

One dialogue involves the respective merits of cats and dogs. Your character is asked to choose his favourite. Your response will provide information about the girls' preferences:

There are quite a few amusing exchanges between Mana, Cecilia and Alicia that display their rivalry as they seek to win your affections. On Festival Days, you always can experience a conversation of this nature when you find them outside your Monster Barn. In the evening iin Mana's bedroom, the conversation in summer alludes to Mana's romantic interest in you.

Monster Levels in Rune Factory 2

As a tame Monster continues to live with you, his/her Levels will increase. Originally, I thought that their levels increased with time but now I believe that they increase according to the amount of experience they gain.

A Silver Wolf when first tamed has an HP level of 65. My Silver Wolf now has an HP of 186. Yesterday, his HP was 180. this morning, when I took him with me into a Cave, he was fighting a Monster when I received a prompt to the effect that a 'Level increased.' MY level did not increase. In fact, I was walking towards a Generator at the time, and was involved in no other activity. It was the Silver Wolf's level that increased, adding 6 points of HP to his total.

I need to confirm this, but it appears to me now that you need to use the Monster actively in order to increase his/her levels. In terms of a 'farmhand' Monster, I imagine that levels would increase with farm labour. In terms of Monsters that give Ranch products, levels should increase according to the number of times that you have obtained product from them. It is not combat alone that raises levels but use, I believe. It cannot be Heart Level that determines total HP as all the Monsters I have are at 10 Hearts and have been at 10 Hearts for a couple of seasons. Nonetheless, their HP continues to increase.

I would be interested in confirmation by other players as to the speed and amount by which their tame Monsters' HP increases. Unfortunately, you cannot see your Monsters' actual Skill or Experience levels but only their total HP and Heart Levels.

You can see any tame Monster's HP when you access the board in front of the Barn that displays the status of all the Monsters in the barn as well as total Feed, Friendship Levels, Ranch Products to be obtained and any farm tasks that a Monster can perform. When you tap on an individual Monster, its description and total HP will appear on the top screen.

My Orc currently is at a total of 170 HP. If I send him to the Forest of Beginnings and tame a new Orc, his total HP will be 45. All of my Buffamoos are at a total of 205 HP. If I send one back to the Forest of Beginnings and tame another, her total HP will be only 80.

I would have thought that total HP increased according to the length of time that one had the Monster, but when my Silver Wolf's HP was the only one to increase and it occurred when his level increased during HIS combat with an enemy, I realised that it must be a situation where each Monster's HP increases individually. The only way to disprove this would be NOT to use a Monster at all for a couple of seasons and see if his/her total HP nonetheless continues to increase...

By the way, the Silver Wolf is the only Monster I use in combat situations. The Orc is used to harvest Crops, my Goblin Pirate waters crops and the other Monsters in the Barn produce Ranch Products. All have increased in total HP over the course of time. I expect therefore that obtaining Ranch Product would increase those Monsters' levels and performing farm tasks would increase the farmhand Monsters levels.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Social Interactions in Alvarna

One of the most delightful aspects of Rune Factory 2 is the wealth of social interactions between characters. Some have real significance in terms of the future. Others are nothing more than amusing dialogues between various characters.

Here are two different entertaining situations where my character was surprised... The first involves Rosalind and Ray on a Festival Day. The second is an exchange with Julia at her Bathhouse.

Rune Factory 2 truly is an interactive novel as much as a video game.

Ceci's Request for the Round Stone

Players of the original Rune Factory will recall the 'Round Stone' Quest. There are echoes of the original game when, at 9 Hearts, Cecilia makes a request for the Round Stone. In this game, you will find it on the ground, openly displayed, at the end of the long bridge in the Messhina Valley. When you take it to her, she will return it to you for safekeeping... until later. I wonder why?!

Tips for Long-Term 1st Generation Players in RF2

A player who intends to stay in the 1st Generation game long enough to be able to experience the Rival Wedding events and have opportunities to 'steal the bride' wondered what this would do to experience levels...

What I have done in my own 1st Generation game is to attempt to increase ALL my experience levels. When I had increased my Weapons Skill to the point where it was almost embarrassingly high for any combat with the Monsters to whom I have access, I began to use other methods of fighting in the Cave/Dungeon areas. I began with Magic, buying the Rod and using it exclusively. Even though you have few options in terms of Spells at this stage of the game, the levels you attain in Magic will be useful for ALL Magic later in the game. I therefore stashed conventional weapons and began to fight with Fireball.

Once I had increased that Skill to a very respectable level, I began to focus on farm tools that received little use otherwise and used THEM as weapons in combat in the Cave/Dungeon areas. I used the Axe, which is the least used Tool in my game, as there are few branches or stumps as I tend to use all squares for farming. Although there are rocks to smash daily in the Caves, I used the Hammer to pulverise Monster Generators as well... And so on...

If you focus exclusively on traditional weapons in the 1st Generation, your Weapons Skill will be at maximum, but you will not have good levels in any other areas apart from Farming and possibly Fishing. (You can't use the Fishing Rod as a weapon, by the way!) By using all your tools in unconventional ways, you can raise your Skills in every department, something that will serve you well in the next generation.

Incidentally, it is the transition to the 2nd Generation that will make it impossible for you to experience the Rival Weddings firsthand, not your marriage per se. If you wish to delay the transition to the 2nd Generation in order to experience all the Rival Weddings, simply do not build the school until the last of the Rival Weddings occurs in the 4th year. Once married yourself, you obviously will not have the option to 'steal the bride' but you can attend the wedding. Personally I do not see the point of this unless you intend to marry a girl who has a Rival. If you intend to marry Mist, Yue or Alicia, but wish to experience the Rival Weddings, it is better to remain single until the last one has occurred, giving your character the option to save his game BEFORE each Wedding, steal the Bridge to experience THAT result and then reloading to the point where the Wedding is about to occur. He then can allow the Rival Marriage to proceed unhindered... and repeat this performance for each Rival Wedding until the last one has been 'done and dusted'... At that point, he can choose the partner of his dreams, marry her, have the child and move forward almost instantly to the 2nd Generation. Each player can play the game differently, however and that is the beauty of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rune Factory 2 Guides and Updates

As I have received a number of emails from players asking if the Rune Factory 2 Guides that have been uploaded are complete now, I think I should make it clear that I am updating those Guides (and adding new Guides) on a daily basis at this point. Always look at the top of the Guide to make certain it is the latest version.

I sent out new Guides as well as updated versions of the General Guide this afternoon but they may not have been uploaded yet. By tomorrow, all Guides will be expanded further.

My own philosophy here is that it is better for players to have something than nothing. Rather than waiting until the Guides are complete, I prefer to publish them as quickly as possible, while continuing to update and expand them. Fortunately, IGN has been wonderful about uploading the updated versions regularly.

In terms of my ego, it is not as satisfying for me perhaps to put my name on an incomplete guide but the real point of the guides is to help players enjoy the games. If I were looking for a game guide, I'd rather find a decent incomplete guide than no guide at all or a guide that pretended to be complete but waffled where any details were concerned.

Dorothy's Moment of Truth

It is typical of the attention to details that goes into any Harvest Moon game that the Wedding Events of your character will differ slightly for each Eligible Girl.
After the marriage vows have been pronounced, every character will come forward to congratulate the happy couple. Some will speak to both parties to the marriage, while some will speak either to you or to the blushing bridge. Every marriage brings different responses from the townspeople.

Dorothy's Wedding is unique for another reason, however. It is the first time that you will be able to see her face in all of its exquisite beauty. She is truly a rare beauty and this fact makes her journey from desperate shyness into the light even more poignant.

She will show her face first when she makes her vow by stating, 'I do.' She shows her face for the second time when your character promises to make her happy, after receiving the good wishes of every other character.

After the wedding, when your wife speaks to you for the first time at home, Dorothy once more will hide her face beneath her cowl. Were this a society where women covered their heads, her dress code would not be unusual, but no other woman conceals her beauty in Alvarna. Like Alicia's tall pointed 'witch's hat', though, Dorothy's hood is an integral part of her persona and it is the differences between each individual that make the exploration of characters in Harvest Moon so satisfying.

For those players who may wonder what would occur if your character chooses the 'other option' at the point where you can make your proposal, here is the result:

After giving Dorothy the Blessing Pendant, you will have the opportunity to ask her to marry you. Dorothy has complained that she feels weak almost to the point of fainting whenever she is in your presence. You tell her that, as her condition appears 'incurable', you may have a solution. Your choices are:

... will you marry me?'
... try holding your breath.'

If you choose the latter, Dorothy will protest that she believes she actually would pass out if she were to hold her breath and then returns the Blessing Pendant to you.

Her heart level will remain at 10 afterwards, giving you the chance to reconsider your response...

There are more dramatic 'second chances' in Rune Factory 2 where Marriage is concerned. In one of Cecilia's Request Events, she will confide that Jake has proposed marriage. You then have the option to tell her not to marry your Rival. Whatever response you choose in this Event, Cecilia will NOT marry Jake at this point in the game. She will not marry you either as the Request will occur when she is not at sufficient Heart Level to accept any proposal from you.

When you have an Eligible Girl at 10 Hearts but do not propose to her and this situation continues for a certain length of time, your Rival finally will take matters into his own hands and ask the girl to marry HIM. As with any Wedding in Rune Factory 2, the marriage ceremony will occur at the Church.

If you suddenly realise that you want the girl for yourself, you then will have one final chance to make your intentions known. You can steal the bride from your Rival at the 11th hour!

In all fairness to the Rival, though, it is YOU whom the girl loves if she is at maximum heart level. She only accepts the proposal from your Rival because she has lost all hope that you ever will ask her to marry you...

As in other Harvest Moon games, the Rival cannot marry the girl until the you have had adequate time to court her yourself. This gives you the 'edge' where Courtship is concerned.

The difference here is that Rival Marriages will occur according to a pre-ordained schedule. The earliest will occur in the second year and the last in Winter of the fourth. The actual schedule of each Rival Wedding is included in my Courtship and Marriage Guide now but I will state here and now that Cecilia is the first to capitulate in the Summer of the 2nd Year.

Finally, I consider the existence of this option one more reason to avoid too much haste when you are playing the 1st Generation game. It is a rich and satisfying game in its own right and players who move too quickly into the next generation will cheat themselves considerably where experience of Events is concerned.

Dorothy's Proposal and Wedding Event

Finally, fans of Dorothy in Rune Factory 2 will have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of her face when she marries your character in the Church. She is truly exquisite.

Here are the Proposal and Wedding Events:

After the wedding, she returns to her usual demure style of clothing and wears the hood even at home with her new spouse.

You must have experienced Gordon's Request to obtain the Blessing Pendant and have Dorothy at 10 Hearts before you can make a successful marriage proposal to her.

Progress in Rune Factory not Wasted in 1st Generation

For those players who have expressed some concern that any accomplishments made in the 1st Generation of the game will be wasted in the 2nd, this is not the case at all. All the items you have gained will be saved and the money you have earned will be inherited. The levels you have gained will be reflected in your child's levels.

Friendships will have to be made anew, however, which makes sense as your child is a different person!

For those who are interested particularly in Dorothy, her Proposal and Marriage Event will follow shortly. I was so busy that I almost forgot to marry her! You are allowed to see her face during the ceremony and it is truly lovely.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rosalind's Request for an Official Date

As usual, some characters have their own peculiar rituals sometimes in Harvest Moon. Herman, an inveterate Gourmet, demands that you provide him with a 'Royal Curry' if you wish to have his approval for the courtship of his daughter. That is another event entirely but once you have obtained the 'seal of approval', Rosalind will ask you for an official date at 9 Hearts.

The actual date takes place on Blessia Island at the Port Area. Ironically, although Rosalind speaks of it as the perfect location where you will find no one else, Yue will be found there on a regular basis. In fact, when I met Rosalind there near the save point, Yue was standing quietly on the right side of the screen. I felt rather guilty about courting another girl right under her nose as it were!

Rosalind tends to wax quite poetic at times. I rather like some of the images she creates with words. I was surprised to find her the most 'forward' of the girls in terms of making a physical connection in the course of this date.

Actually, upon recollection, that's not entirely true. Yue gave me a kiss on the cheek once. Oh, the days of wine and roses! Now to marry and give up on this 'player lifestyle'...

By the way, preliminary guides should be published on IGN now. I have spent too much time on these little videos lately and need to return to the written word.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Truly a Woman after my own Heart...

With all the interest in the Eligible Girls in Rune Factory 2, I remain devoted to a character one cannot marry: the female Blacksmith Tanya.

As a collector of edged weapons and erstwhile martial artist myself, one of my favourite activities in the original Rune Factory was my ability to forge fabulous weapons.

I am looking forward to the day when I shall be able to obtain a forge of my own in Rune Factory 2. Meanwhile, though, when I visited Tanya one evening, she happened to remark:

Tanya: Shooting stars apparently have ores inside them you can’t find anywhere else.
Thinking about it really gets me excited.

I feel the same, Tanya, in ANY world. Meteorites have been used to forge steel of superior and rather mystical types variously known as 'damascus', 'watered steel' or 'wootz'. Pattern-welded blades actually are created using a different technique from Wootz, but both are termed 'Damascus Steel'.

For a number of centuries, this was a lost art in the Western World, although bladesmiths in the Arab world and in Southeast Asia never entirely lost their ancient knowledge.

It is rather ironic that blades crafted in the West during the so-called 'Dark Ages' were far more complex and superior in quality to anything fashioned for another thousand years or so. It was only recently that Western knifemakers were able to fathom the techniques that created such fabled swords as the sword of Sutton Hoo and indeed to forge copies.

Meteorites are not the only source of the metal used to create Damascus steel or Wootz but they are one of the most ancient. Each meteorite in fact creates its own unique pattern in the blade and weapons and armour containing metal from meteorites have been prized throughout history for their beauty and magical properties.

For Tanya to speak ot the special ore found only in 'shooting stars' delighted me. I wonder if meteorite or a meteorite blade is one of the special items in Rune Factory 2. I would doubt it somehow, but it will be interesting to follow this hint nonetheless to see if it leads anywhere.

Alicia's Request Event

I am not moving fast enough in Rune Factory 2. The game is scheduled for release tomorrow and although I have been working steadily on my guides, I have not covered the 2nd Generation yet. Nonetheless, I feel it is better to do it properly than neglect the first half of the game.

If it is a few more days before I am able to write substantially about the next generation, so be it.

Meanwhile, I finally was able to experience Alicia's Request Event. In earlier Requests, Alicia will insist that your character take other girls on dates in order to 'prove' her predictions of love. Now finally, she will ask you to take her on a date... to a rather dangerous location.

The Event had an amusing unintended result the first time I experienced it. The result was so amusing that I decided to share it separately. For now, though, here is the Event in its 'classical' Romantic form:

When Alicia asks you to meet her for a date at the Crossroads of the Pavova Mountains, you must destroy both generators before the Event will commence. When you have destroyed the second and move towards the entrance again, the Event will start, even if another Monster, spawned before the generator's destruction, remains on the screen. When you pass a specific point on the screen, any Monsters will be frozen until the Event is completed.

Here is the result of my character's failure to take action against the Monster who remained on the screen. (To be honest, it was deliberate on my part as it appears as though my character has been blinded by love temporarily.) It is not intended as a substitute for the 'proper' event!

'Princess Debut' DS Game by Natsume

For Harvest Moon fans who are addicted to Courtship rituals as well as any DS player who loves dancing and stylus manipulation, a new game has been released by Natsume that is based on the old fairytale fantasy of the Princess finding her true love at the Ball. Unfortunately, I do not have this game so any review I write is based on secondhand information. By all accounts, it is not difficult to master, but is filled with humour and unpredictable interactions between characters.

The storyline is simple in essence: your character is a Princess who has a full season to court one of 6 Princes and master dance steps to prepare for her official Debut at the Court Ball.

There are four different modes of gameplay: Story, Ballroom, Practice and Movie.
The actual Dances are taken from motion-captured video of professional dancers, so any one who wishes to learn how to dance in real life can practice the steps if he/she likes in person. (I doubt many could work the stylus AND execute real ballroom dancing steps simultaneously but that would be another challenge...)

The game has 14 different possible endings and 18 different kinds of dance styles and music as well as 20 outfits to find/unlock.

It was designed in a way to make it easy for young players to succeed in finding true love's dream, but players of all ages have been enchanted by it, not only for its visual charm but for the humour and the many different outcomes that one can experience.

It may not be as complex as Harvest Moon but it sounds rather delightful. As an inveterate Romantic at heart, I very much would welcome a chance to play it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dorothy's Request at 9 Hearts

I documented the following Event with Dorothy in great detail for all her fans. Like Yue's Request for a Date at 9 Hearts, the 'Date' with Dorothy consists mainly of an Interview, a series of questions and responses. You have the opportunity to choose the questions you wish to ask, as well as the chance to choose different responses to her questions.

The 'best' results are given first, but I have included all possible results after that as each provides a few details about Dorothy herself.

As I have stated in other posts that deal with Romantic Request Events, I really do not think that the response you give affects heart level. It certainly does not have any substantial effect. It is by accepting the Request and satisfying it that you increase the Heart level of the individual. When I give the 'best' responses, therefore, they simply are the responses that please the girl the most, but you can give any response you like and still move forward in the Courtship.

As in your date with Yue, there is a moment when you may become very excited, thinking that you are about to experience something new. In Yue's case, it was the chance to travel to a new location. In Dorothy's case, it is the chance to see her face!

I will not spoil the surprise here, though. All will be revealed in the Event itself:

This Event leads to a new Request on the Bulletin Board from Gordon.

Autumn Farm Melody and Farm Tutorial in Rune Factory 2

Two different factors persuaded me to create a little video of the monsters working in my field. One was the lovely Autumn melody that plays whe4never you are on the screen containing your field in Rune Factory 2. The other is the amusing way that the monsters move and work in the field.

After filming the sequence, I decided to use it as an opportunity to share some basic farming tips with players. Without any text, it could have been a little dull.

Here is the result:

The Autumn Farm Melody is only one delightful theme among many different musical themes in Rune Factory 2.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yue's Wedding in Rune Factory 2

Here is the Proposal and Wedding to Yue in Rune Factory 2. Proposals of marriage in Rune Factory 2 are similar to those in the original Rune Factory. Each of the eligible girls has a different requirement or item that will trigger the Proposal unlike the Blue Feather that is used for ALL marriage proposals in many of the traditional Harvest Moon games.

In Mana's case, it is the Engagement Ring that you must obtain from her father Douglas after experiencing her 9 Heart Event. In Yue's case, it is the Yue Swap Ticket that she will give you at the end of her 9 Heart Event.

At 9 Hearts, no girl will accept your Proposal, however, even if you are able to make one. You need to wait until she reaches 10 Hearts.

I had hoped some readers would guess the 'best' answers to Yue's questions in her 9 Heart Event before I posted the entire Event... I shall post it tomorrow even if there are no responses. I did list all her 'Interview' questions in a previous post. There are no 'wrong' answers, but for each question, there is an answer that Yue prefers to the others and to which she will respond that she 'feels the same way'.

Earliest Date for Successful Marriage Proposal, RF2

In my first game, the earliest day I could make a successful marriage proposal would be the 30th of Summer, when Mana reached 10 Hearts.

The earliest day that I could make a successful marriage proposal to Yue would have been the 1st day of Autumn, immediately after winning the 'Adventure Contest'. Yue remained at 9 Hearts prior to the day of the Festival. On the day of the Contest, she remained at 9 Hearts at dawn. When I spoke to her, however, her heart level increased to 10. If I had proposed to her then, however, I would have missed the Contest as the wedding would follow.

After I won the Contest by finding the Amethyst Herman had concealed on Blessia Island, I could have proposed successfully either to Yue or to Mana. (Mana's Heart Level had increased to 10 on the previous day, so I could have proposed to Mana on 30Summer.)

Technically speaking, it is not even participation in the Contest that makes the difference in heart levels but actually speaking to some one on the day of a Festival. I actually had Mana at 10 Hearts on the previous day. It is a little more dramatic, however, to link my acquisition of the title of 'Adventurer King' to the successful Proposal to Mana.

It is not by a full Heart that Heart Levels increase when you speak to a girl on the day of a Festival. This is true as well of Request Events. Very often, the girl will acquire another Heart after a Request is satisfied but sometimes the actual number of Hearts she has will remain the same. This makes it clear that each Request Event is worth a specific number of points rather than a full Heart. If the Eligible Girl is close to attainment of another Heart, fulfilling the Request will add another Heart to her Level, but if she is not close to the next level, she probably will have the same number of Hearts after the Request is satisfied. In the same way, speaking to an individual on the day of a Festival is worth a specific number of Love Points and Friend Points.

Here is the Wedding Event for Mana:

It is not the best I could have created, but in the interest of progress, I am going to move on to Yue's Wedding.

To propose to Mana, all I had to do was give her the Engagement Ring that Douglas relinquished to me in his Challenge Request. If I attempted to give it to her any earlier when she remained at 9 Hearts, she would have told me she was not ready yet for marriage. At 10 hearts, however, she accepted with alacrity. The wedding followed instantly. In fact, it followed so quickly that the official wedding photographer was unprepared!

Needless to say, I did not save the results, as I wish to be able to make a successful proposal to each of the Eligible Girls before I finally settle down with any one.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Engagement Ring for Mana, Part II

At 9 Hearts, you will experience the first part of the Courtship Event that ends in your acquisition of an Engagement Ring. I posted Mana's Request at 9 Hearts previously. Once you have experienced that event, you need to return to the Bulletin Board where you will find a new Request: A Challenge from Douglas!

The following documents Douglas' Request Event:

The Event is mainly captured in short video clips to include the original music, as there are at least three different musical themes that occur in the course of Douglas' Event.

Yue's Request at 9 Hearts

As I wrote in the preceding post, Yue's Request Event at 9 Hearts was almost too touching for words. When you meet Yue, she stammers that she wants to go out on a real 'date' with you and asks to meet you on the following day.

When you meet her, she will ask you a series of questions about yourself. This is one of the more complicated Events simply in terms of the sheer number of options that you have throughout the course of your 'date'. Each question has three possible answers. Her response to you at the end is determined by the number of queestions you answered in the manner that would suit her best. There are three possible outcomes only in terms of her actual verbal response at the end of her 'Interview' with you.

The actual outcome of the event never changes, however. You can respond to each question with the least acceptable answer and she still will give you her 'present' before you leave.

Here are the questions with the response options for each:

1. What kind of food do you like?

Yue: Alright, let me ask you some questions, then! What kind of food do you like, Freyr?
Me: Hmmm… I’d have to say…

My choices now:

Lighter foods.
Richer foods.
Strange foods.

2. What kind of music do you like?

Yue: Alright, next question. What kind of music do you like?
Me: Hmmm…

My choices now:

Slow music.
Fast music.
Chanting monks.

3. What kind of clothes do you like?

Yue: Next question! What kind of clothes do you like?
Me: I don’t know a lot about fashion, but…

My choices:

Comfortable clothes
Stylish clothing

4. What kind of books do you like?

Yue: Well, next question! You read sometimes, don’t you? What kind of books do you like?
Me: Books, huh…?

My choices:

Dramatic books
Adventure books
Children’s Books

5. What don't you like?

Yue: Now for my last question! Tell me something you don’t like.
Me: Hmm… Let me think…

My choices:

Hurting others.
Selfish people.

I will post the responses that Yue prefers over the others after giving readers a chance to guess the answers that Yue would like best.

No matter what you tell her, she will give you 'Yue's Swap Ticket' and her heart level will not decrease, but her verbal response at the end of the 'Interview' will indicate whether or not she considers you a true 'kindred spirit'.

Yue's Swap Ticket in Rune Factory 2

Each time I think I probably have experienced the best romantic event in Rune Factory 2, another one challenges that definition. Yue's Request at 9 Hearts is truly amazing. It has plenty of humour but ends in a way that is calculated to melt the hardest heart and redefine courtship!

There are a number of different options in this event and each one is worth experiencing. As usual, the responses that you choose do not really signify in terms of increasing or lowering her heart level, but some elicit more amusing responses than other.

Another component of this Request Event is the hope that you could visit a new location. When Yue tells you the nature of her request, it will be to ask you to go on a proper date with her on the following day. When you meet her for the date, she will tell you, almost casually, that:

Yue: Freyr, you kept your promise. I’m glad you really came! Today, it’s going to be just the two of us! Since this is a special date, I thought we might go to another town so we could have a change of scenery.

My heart almost stopped, thinking of the possibility that we might be allowed to visit Kardia or some other wonderful village in the Harvest Moon universe. 'How cool is THIS!' I thought...

Of course, it is one of those 'teases' characteristic of Harvest Moon games, like the path that leads out of the Valley to Mineral Town in HM DS/Cute DS but which every character BUT yours is allowed to take!

Despite this disappointment, the Event is rich both in humour and in romance.

Yue is a generous girl and if you experience her Request Events faithfully, you will obtain a couple of useful accessories, including a Headband and a Critical Ring. It is in her Request at 9 Hearts, however, that you obtain the most valuable item of all: 'Yue's Swap Ticket'.

At the end of the Event, Yue will tell you, almost as an afterthought:

Yue: Oh, I almost forgot! I have a present for you. This is a coupon for my shop. I’m giving it to you, Freyr. You can exchange it for anything that I sell. I’ve never given one to anybody else. Think of it as a token of my love for you.


Me: I don’t know what to say, Yue. You’ve given me so much...
Yue: Please, take it. I’m just happy to be with you. I always want to see you. I’ll be waiting for you to come back! Thanks for today.

The description of the Ticket is as follows:

Yue Swap Ticket: CURIO: A ticket that can be swapped for a prize at Yue’s store. Apparently it is very unique.

It is only if you attempt to use it that you will discover its true potential. It is the equivalent of the 'Blue Feather' in terms of your Courtship of Yue.

Once again, I do not understand why any one would wish to rush through the 1st Generation in Rune Factory 2. It represents the sort of Harvest Moon experience that is most valued by those who enjoy character exploration, humour, romance and courtship.

More to follow...