Thursday, February 28, 2008

Power Berries in Spring in HM Boy and Girl






As in both Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town, Red Power Berries and a Mystic Berry exist in Harvest Moon Boy & Girl. The methods by which they are obtained are very similar, although not identical.

A few can be obtained very early in the game, before the middle of Spring, if one is determined. These are the Power Berries from the Magical Tree, the Harvest Goddess and from the Kappa. To gain the first, all one needs is an Axe and a fierce pretense that one intends to chop down the tree, despite the fact that a basic axe CANNOT fell a tree or even a stump in this game! The poor tree will beg for its life. If you stay your hand, you will gain a Power Berry.

The tree is situated in the wide meadow beyond the Lake where flowers proliferate. It is the place where you can find Basil and his family on Monday morning.

The second Power Berry and the Mystic Berry are obtained by the sacrifice of crops grown in your field. Any one who has dealt with the Kappa in Harvest Moon (or knows the old Japanese folklore) knows that he only responds to Cucumbers. In FoMT and MFoMT, you need quite a few Cucumbers in order to gain the Blue Power Berry. In HMB&G, you need only 3. Furthermore, you can offer them one after another on the same day. In this game, you will obtain a Mystic Berry. To me, it looked much like a Red Power Berry, but it does not show up in your Shipping Menu... As a matter of fact, I believe it is the equivalent of the Blue Power Berry in FoMT and MFoMT and that it strengthens you against Fatigue.

The Kappa, incidentally, lives in the Lake, as one may have guessed. You must throw your Cucumbers at a precise location or the offering will be ignored. You must stand on the shore SOUTH of the bridge at a place where the shoreline juts into the water. From that location, you will see two trees side by side in the northwest and a tree stump to the west of the trees. You must make the offerings after noon as well or he will not appear. (He is a late riser!) It is an amusing little series of events.

The first time, only the top of his head will appear above the water. The second time, he will emerge to the point where you can see his head. The third time, you will be able to see him in all his legendary glory... That was tongue in cheek. He actually is a very peculiar little chap, not glorious at all! (Amazingly, you can court and marry the Kappa in More Friends of Mineral Town.)

It is on this third occasion that he will give you the Mystic Berry as a sort of bribe not to bother him again.

To gain the Power Berry from the Harvest Goddess, you must offer 5 crops grown on your field at the Goddess Spring. Again, you can do this in a single day if you choose. She then will give you a Red Power Berry. Do this during daylight hours before 6.00 p.m.

The third Power Berry is found in the Spring Mine. You must dig for it with your Hoe. I found it on the 6th floor I believe, but its appearance is rather random. When you go to the Mine specifically to search for it, spend half an hour in the Hot Spring beforehand to restore any energy lost previously during the day.

Red Power Berries, as in FoMT and MFoMT, each give you a 10% boost to your Stamina.

N.B. In the early weeks of the game, you may wish to ship your Spring crops instead of using a total of eight of them to procure two magical Berries... It is up to you, of course. It may be helpful to have the extra strength provided by the Power Berries before the Opening Day contest at the Beach on 1 Summer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kai secretly visits Mineral Town in early Spring???






One of the joys of Harvest Moon is the way one can follow characters and the threads of a tale from game to game. Harvest Moon Boy & Girl may be very similar to 'Friends of Mineral Town' and 'More Friends of Mineral Town' in its characters, events and even much of its dialogue but there are some surprising differences and startling new events that delight the true Harvest Moon fan.

In the first week of gameplay, as a girl in HM Boy & Girl, I triggered an event with Cliff at the Church. Carter declared his intention to go to the Supermarket for supplies and asked me if I would watch the Church in his absence. Cliff, half-hidden in one of the pews, overheard and became extremely agitated at the thought of being left alone anywhere with a GIRL. He told Carter he would accompany him to the Supermarket. Both of them went out the door and I was left alone in the Church.

What possessed me to investigate the Confessional rather than simply walking out the door I never will know but I am very pleased that I did.

I was not terribly happy to be in the tiny dark room alone.

'Ugh, this is no fun...' I thought.

I had been there only a moment or two when Kai entered the Church.

Looking for Carter, he thought perhaps that the priest might be in the Confessional. Kai entered and began his own Confession!

I now had a choice either to tell him that I wasn't Carter or simply to go ahead and hear his confession. As dearly as I wished to hear his Confession, I knew that declaring myself was the right thing to do, so I told him that I wasn't Carter.

Outside the Confessional, he introduced himself. Carter and Cliff duly returned, putting an end to this intriguing encounter. Kai said he would look forward to renewing our acquaintance in Summer...

'The 7 Brothers That Live in the Forest'





The history of the group of Sprites in Mineral Town who later become the 'Legendary Harvest Sprites' of Harvest Moon DS and Harvest Moon Cute DS is to be found in a book in the library in Mineral Town in 'Harvest Moon Boy & Girl' for the PSP.

In my first Heart Event with Mary at the Library, I afterwards was able to explore the books in the shelves, both upstairs and downstairs. Among them was a seven-volume set entitled 'The 7 Brothers That Live in the Forest'. One by one, I read the books to the accompaniment of a lovely little song that appears to be reserved solely for this particular event. (In fact, I have noticed that HM Boy & Girl has many delightful little melodies, far more than I expected.

For the sake of those HM fans who may not have this particular game but who may be interested in the story of the 7 Harvest Sprites, I am including the text of all seven books here.
These books were not written by Basil... It looks like they were written a long time ago. They're titled 'The 7 Brothers in the Forest' volumes 1 through 7...

'The 7 Brothers That Live in the Forest - 1'

A long time ago, there were 7 little brothers who lived all apart from each other. The brothers were not very friendly with the villagers because they were small and the villagers seemed big and scary. Each brother had a different favourite colour and liked a different favourite thing, so they figured they would always live apart.

'The 7 Brothers in the Forest -2'

One day Chef, whose favourite colour is red and who likes to cook, realised he had a problem.
'I love to cook, but there's nobody to eat my delicious food...'

Hoggy, whose favourite colour is yellow and who loves to sleep, also had a problem.
'I love to sleep so much I don't want to get up and cook, but then I just get hungrier and hungrier.'

'The 7 Brothers in the Forest -3'

You can hear the sound. Hoo Hooooo, at night. Something sparks in the darkness.
'Ahhhh!' Shiver-shiver-shiver... Timid likes the colour green because it's easy for him to hide in the forest. But even then he's scared. You can hear the sound, Hoo Hooo, at night. Something sparks in the darkness.
'Hai, Yaaaa!
'Crumble-crumble-crumble...
Bold loves purple because he can hide in the shadows and use his battle cry 'Hai, Yaaa!' to defeat large enemies.

'The 7 Brothers in the Forest -4'
Stylish Aqua loves the colour light blue.
'Sigh... I'm running out of provisions fast. I like being stylish, but when I work I don't have the time...
'Ughhh... That's as much as I can do... Ahh!'
Staid is very serious and a hard worker. He likes the colour blue and everything he wears is blue, so he is easy to spot.

'Staid, said Aqua, 'let's live together. It's got to be better than living alone.'
'Aqua', said Satiad, 'what brings you here, and with a story like that?'
'Well you see,' said Aqua, 'whisper...whisper... whisper...

'The 7 Brothers in the Forest - 5'

'Ha ha ha, so that's it,' said Staid. 'Sure, let's live together. But what's the point of everything being clean if you're still hungry?'
'Even when your stomach is fully, your heart remains hungry if things are not clean,' replied Aqua.
'OK, so you do the chores like the cleaning and the laundry.'
'So, all I have to do is eat?' asked Hoggy.
'Yes, all you have to do is eat. I enjoy watching you eat my food and being told it is delicious,' replied Chef.
'I don't understand, but that's fine by me.'
'Ha ha ha, what a mess you are,' laughed Bold.
'Oh, it's you Bold,' squeaked Timid.
'Who did you think I was?'
'I don't know, but I'm scared of everything in the forest.'
'Well then, you should stay with me. I 'm not afraid of anything.'
'OK, if that's what we do...'
'If we're going to live together...'
'We'll need a bigger house...'
'Let's leave the forest for a bit...'

'The 7 Brothers in the Forest -6'
So Chef and Hoggy, Staid & Aqua and Timid and Bold all decided to leave the forest for a while. The first one to find the house was Staid.
'Hey, I found a house that's just right for us.'
'Yes, it's a lot smaller than a human house, but it's just the right size for us.'
'But there's a light on inside.'
'Let's go in.'
'Hey, wait... Aqua'
... Crash!
'Oh...'

'The 7 Brothers in the Forest -7'
'Hello brother, long time no see.'
There in the house was the youngest brother, Nappy.
'Oh, it's you Nappy. You surprised me. How did you get this house?'
'The people of the village built it for me.'
'What?'
'I always thought there'd be a time when we would all live together, so I had them make 7 beds.'
'What made you think that?'
'Because look, all of you are here.'
'What?'
When Staid and Aqua turned around, they saw the rest of their brothers walking toward the house.

FINIS

Monday, February 25, 2008

Harvest Moon Boy & Girl for PSP


I suspected that if I inserted my copy of HM Boy & Girl into the PSP, I would not be able to take a 'quick look' at it but would become completely immersed in the game... Today, after receiving yet another email from a player asking if I had written a guide for the game, I recalled my old promise to Shaggy and my own desires, so often suppressed in the past couple of months, to play this game...

There are those who view games like this with disdain. Sometimes dismissed as 'port' games, it amazes me that individuals who never played the ORIGINAL would be in any position to judge a game reborn in a new guise.

The old 'Back to Nature' game for the PS1 often was judged to be one of the greatest Harvest Moon games ever made. In fact, there are those who consider it one of the greatest games in the world. When this game was reborn as Harvest Moon Boy & Girl for the PSP, I for one was thrilled. I never dreamed that almost half a year would pass before I had a chance to play it.

The original 'Back to Nature' was made both in a boy and in a girl version in Japan. The girl version never made it to the States. Obviously, Harvest Moon Boy & Girl, in allowing a player to choose to be either a male or a female, incorporates both the original boy and girl versions of 'Back to Nature' in a single game.

'Back to Nature' was the predecessor of 'Friends of Mineral Town'. Most of the characters are the same in both games and many of the events are the same. There are a few small differences in terms of Festivals, and other aspects of the game, including events, but for the most part, the games are similar enough to allow a player who is familiar with one to play the other without much trouble.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that I played both Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town many times, 'Harvest Moon Boy & Girl' is both new and fresh to me.

As I began the game, I was conscious of two different responses. On the one hand, I found myself delighted to walk familiar paths and meet old friends again... at the same time, it WAS new and I enjoyed the novelty of the game.

I decided to play as a girl, even though in the original girl version of 'Back to Nature', the game ends when you marry. I am not certain yet if that is true here as well, but I would like to experience the game both as a girl and as a boy in any case.

Within the first two days of gameplay, I had experienced many events and had acquired a dog and a horse. I had experienced events involving most of the bachelors, both 'heart' and 'rival' heart events according to FoMT/MFoMT definitions.

There is an aspect to some events in HM Boy & Girl that does not exist in FoMT/MFoMT or HM DS/HM Cute DS. You can enter a screen and realise that you have entered an event situation without losing control of your character. You then must find a character on the screen and initiate a conversation with him/her in order to allow the event to progress further. One way of knowing that you have entered at type of event situation is by making certain that the time always is displayed on the screen. When the time box disappears, inevitably this signifies an event is occurring.

The situation is complicated a little in B & G because there ARE events in the game that do take control of your character and where the time continues to be displayed in the right top corner of the screen! It is altogether fascinating, in fact, how many events of different kinds have been included in this game.

In other Harvest Moon games, events ordinarily proceed automatically and control over your character's physical actions is taken from you until the event has ended. This sort of event occurs in Boy & Girl as well.

Another element of B&G that was unexpected was the fact that I was able to pick up a wild animal I met in the forest and carry it all the way home! I found a charming little squirrel on the path near the Goddess Spring. I picked it up in my arms, carried it home and actually took it into my house... Whether or not it will be there when I return or once I have slept through the night is another matter. It will be interesting to see.

A new rather amusing event in this game is the first meeting with Won. In B&G, it actually is a series of little events, wherein Harris chases him from screen to screen and you encounter Won each time directly after you have spoken to Harris and sent him off to Won's previous location.

Ultimately, Harris and Won meet and after Harris fails to find anything suspicious in Won's bag, he offers to buy something from the peddler by way of apology. Won offers him... guess what??? One of his SUGDW Apples for 500G! Does that sound familiar?

The photograph shows my character holding a wild squirrel in her farmhouse.

Incidentally, I hope to have some preliminary guides published at IGN tomorrow afternoon for this game... Much of the information from FoMT and MFoMT can be used but I want to confirm everything in my own gameplay before I add it to the new guides.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Forgotten Marriage Vows...





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I almost forgot that I had neglected to go through the actual marriage ceremonies with both Griffin and Gustafa after I brought them to red heart in order to be able to record successful marriage proposals with each of the Valley bachelors. I had gone through the weddings with Carter, Marlin and Rock, but it is a rather time-consuming process and emotionally stressful as well. I put it on hold temporarily after doing three in a row, but then it slipped my mind that I never had experienced marital bliss either with Griffin or with Gustafa.

I had begun the process of lowering their heart levels in the 2nd Spring in order to be able to trigger the rival heart events before I remembered! Actually, lowering heart levels is a little more tricky in Cute than it is in the original HM DS, particularly if you still are trying to RAISE Mineral Town bachelor levels. If you recall, changing your outfit daily will raise every bachelor's AP by 2000 points. This is great when you are courting a bachelor but rather frustrating when you are trying to persuade him to go for your rival instead!

I had lowered both Gustafa's and Griffin's level to orange when I realised I still hadn't experienced weddings with either. I returned to Griffin, blue feather in hand and a gift that would bring him up again to red, only to discover he HAD returned to red heart level without any active encouragement from me. It was because I had changed my clothes, not for him but for the Mineral Town bachelors!
The same situation existed with respect to Gustafa when I visited him later. He had bounced right back up to red heart level overnight...

In any case, experiencing marriage with Griffin was very positive and quite touching. I am inclined to marry him for real someday... I have added the full wedding event to my Courtship Guide as well as his dialogue after marriage, but I will share the comment that touched me personally.

When you are married to Griffin and speak to him after noon, he will tell you: 'Once I started my family, it feels like I found my reason for living. That's what marriage does. No, it's probably because I married you.'

Even Skye could not have said anything sweeter... Nevertheless, I reloaded to my pre-marital state and went through the entire Gustafa proposal event again in order to experience marriage to him.

Having been pleasantly surprised by Griffin's romantic sensitivity, I began to hope that my negative prejudice against Gustafa was equally misplaced. I expected music to figure into the scene and indeed he broke into song both at the wedding and at the table after we found ourselves together at the farmhouse.

He did say one thing that I found rather satisfying, simply because it was so apt. When he asked me to choose a nickname, I typed 'Muse', thinking that this would fit Gustafa well. In fact, he responded with great enthusiasm: 'Oh, that's good! From now on, I'll call you Muse!' Although I realise he would have given the same response even if I had chosen something awful or cruel like 'Rubbishmusic lover', a part of me felt he really did appreciate my gesture.

I do have to say though that Gustafa remains as egocentric after marriage as he was as a bachelor. He does not begin badly in the afternoon when he remarks that: 'The atmosphere influences music composing.'

My hopes rose a little there, thinking he would tell me that my presence created the greatest atmosphere and that I was his Muse indeed. But no! All he said was: 'The scenery here is best for composing music. This is great.'

This is one man I don't wish to marry in ANY of my games, sadly. Of all the bachelors, he is the only one that I find truly off-putting. It is not so much his appearance, although I do find him singularly unappealing. It is his personality, which reminds me of too many artists I have known personally. It is as though his humanity is funneled into his music and nothing is left for real interactions with other people. If I recall all his events, there have been moments when he said something flattering to Nami or to me, but on the whole, he is too self-centred for my taste.

Requiring myself to experience all these marriages without saving the results is more stressful and unpleasant than people may realise, chiefly because I have to get through a week of waiting before the wedding will occur. The first time, I waited until Popuri's Poultry Shop and Yodel's Farm opened to sell off all my animals and then simply slept through the remaining days until the wedding. Selling all my animals is time-consuming though, so the next time I simply slept through the days, ignoring the animals. THAT was truly horrid, as each morning, I would be forced to deal with a disappointed and rather irate Harvest Sprite who would inform me that Animals had become 'sick'. Ultimately I would be visited by Takakura and the funeral music would play as he lectured me about my neglect...

My underlying fear that I would save my game absentmindedly, depriving myself of a chance to marry Skye as well as shackling myself for life with some one like Gustafa was compounded by the fear of having to live with the results of killing off my animals by sleeping through the week...

Fortunately, my trial has ended, for the time being. I have reloaded back to my single state, with all weddings recorded fully in my Courtship and Marriage Guide.

I still have to go through the Mineral Town weddings, of course. So much for my hopes of marrying Skye this Spring! It probably will be Summer before I have all four heart events for each of the Mineral Town bachelors under my belt. At least I can get down to serious use of Weapons of Hate now though... and bring my rivals closer to marriage with the objects of their desire.

Mind you, it is rather sad to spend so much time, energy and so many good ingredients fixing dishes that individuals detest! It would be a lot less expensive and labour-intensive simply to make the rounds each morning with Bird Feed in hand. Every Valley bachelor HATES a gift of Bird seed, although it lowers AP only by 800 points rather than 5000. With the 2000 point bonus of changing clothing each night, though, a reduction of 800 points per day becomes rather meaningless... If I do NOT opt to change my clothing, however, it will take much longer to bring the Mineral Town bachelors to yellow heart. At least with the clothing change combined with a Most Favourite Item, I can raise a Mineral Town bachelor a full level now each time he visits the Valley...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More Sympathy for poor Rick





In all my excitement at having experienced the gift-giving ceremony of the Spring Thanksgiving event with each one of the Valley bachelors, I forgot that I could not marry Skye yet if I wished to complete all the Mineral Town heart events... My brief moment of elation now has been crushed by the weight of my duty to write a COMPLETE guide...

Just joking about that, because in fact, every event has some value and I love experiencing as many events as possible in any Harvest Moon game. I therefore put my feelings for Skye in storage and went on to experience life as a single girl, triggering Rick's 3rd Heart Event on a rainy Saturday...

Actually, I am very glad I did. One gets a sense that Rick is pushy and interfering, that he lacks a sufficient sense of moral support for his sister Popuri, that SHE in fact is the victim of his officious meddling for the most part... until one experiences Rick's Blue Heart Event in Cute.

In More Friends of Mineral Town, one realises that poor Rick is burdened by too much responsibility at too early an age. I believe it is in his fourth heart event there that he lets his hair down a little, figuratively speaking, and is able to enjoy a carefree evening with you at Doug's Inn. His enthusiasm and appreciation of your sense of humour there is quite touching...

Well, if you have not played More Friends of Mineral Town, you probably will find little to like in Rick's behaviour in Forget-Me-Not Valley until you experience his Third Heart Event. After all, most of his dialogue is filled with anger against Kai and his determination to supervise Popuri's behaviour at every turn.

The Blue Heart Event begins no differently. Ruby has expressed an intention of cooking an egg dish for Rick. It is interesting that the old adage of 'bringing coals to Newcastle' does not apply either to Popuri or Rick. Although they LIVE at a Poultry Farm, both of them love eggs and any dish made with eggs. Rick's Most Favourite is a Spa Egg and Popuri's Most Favourite dish is Omelet Rice.

Rick suggests that you join him for dinner and you greet his idea with pleasure. Ruby is delighted to accommodate an extra guest. She is in the process of beginning to prepare the meal when Popuri arrives on the scene.

Ruby tells Popuri that she is making her favourite dish for dinner without stipulating the dish. Those of us who have courted Popuri in the original HM DS know that it is Omelet Rice that is on the menu...

Popuri immediately offers to help cook the meal. Rick is very upset by this turn of events and proceeds to tell you that the dinner will be ruined by his sister's participation, that she will make many mistakes, correct none of them and ultimately serve a nightmare... so much for his hopes of enjoying one of Ruby's delights!

At this point, you may be rather disgusted with him for being such a killjoy and having such a low opinion of his sister. Wait, though...

Ruby will be impressed by Popuri's thoughtfulness in offering to help and will welcome her with open arms. As they prepare the meal, however, Popuri will prove Rick's fears to have been well-founded as she first adds too much spice, then vegetables that have not been cooked properly and finally refuses even to taste the dish before serving it, repeating again and again that everything is 'fine'...

When you eat your food, you will be poisoned by it, although you will not pass out, nor will you be rushed to Dr. Hardy for any antidote. It does not appear to have any lasting negative effects either on SR or FR... Even so, the poison icon will appear above your head...

You say nothing of this and Popuri is absolutely oblivious to the result of her carelessness. Furthermore, Ruby herself appears to think that all is well.

Outside the door of the kitchen, Rick will ask you if you have been affected badly by the food. When you attempt to reassure him, he correctly will assume that it is kindness alone that motivates you. He will thank you for being so considerate and thoughtful towards Popuri and confess that he cares greatly about his sister.

It is an event that truly offers a little window to Rick's soul...

You do have a choice during the event, after Rick's pronouncements of doom and gloom, to leave... If you choose this option, you will speed out of the room, sparing yourself a poisoning, but Rick's heart level will drop to purple again and he will be hurt and perplexed by your actions, despite the fact that he did everything in his power to warn you against Popuri's cooking!

My own question is: how could Ruby not have tasted the food herself and how could she have allowed it to be served if it actually had the power to poison a guest???
Never mind, though. The event serves its purpose which is to demonstrate that Rick, far from being the insensitive lout he appears sometimes, actually knows his sister better than we realise and is acting to protect her from her worst excesses...

There is another aspect to this event that deserves a quick mention. It emphasises the importance of Cooking in Harvest Moon. So many Harvest Moon games include very detailed and rich 'recipes' or cookbooks. Very often, the 'Most Favourite' Gift for an individual will be a cooked item. Many events focus on cooking or eating. There are many Festivals in Harvest Moon that are centred on food. The Cooking Contest in FoMT/MFoMT, Rune Factory and Harvest Moon DS/Cute DS is an example, but it is not the only Festival that focuses on food. There are Egg Festivals in other Harvest Moon games, including Magical Melody. An Innocent Life has a number of Festivals that require your character to provide specific crops or ingredients, and indeed, the Christmas Festival involves the preparation of a special Cake. In many Harvest Moon games, the Year End and New Year Festivals are your sole opportunity to acquire special ingredients needed to complete your Cookbook... You are not required to complete your Cookbook in Harvest Moon games but it is an enjoyable and sometimes challenging goal.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Spring Thanksgiving in Cute








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As far as the romantic Thanksgiving Festivals in Harvest Moon are concerned, playing as a boy rather than a girl really does have some early advantages.

There are two Thanksgiving Festivals in FoMT/MFoMT and in HM DS/HM Cute DS. The Spring Thanksgiving is an opportunity for boys to give Chocolate Cookies to girls they fancy. The Winter Thanksgiving is the corresponding Festival where girls are given the chance to present boys they fancy with a piece of Chocolate Cake. If you are playing as a boy, you DO have an advantage in Friends of Mineral Town but not in Harvest Moon DS. In FoMT, a simple gift of chocolate would suffice and would be recognised as a Thanksgiving gift. In Harvest Moon DS, however, nothing less than Cookies or Chocolate Cookies will do.

In Spring of your first year in ANY of these games, you will not have a kitchen and therefore will not be able to bake Cookies or Chocolate Cookies. You will have access to the Supermarket and be able to buy chocolate. In Mineral Town, you can give chocolate to EVERY ONE, and individuals of either gender will be pleased on the occasion of the Thanksgiving Festival, even those like Karen who ordinarily detest chocolate.

As a boy in Harvest Moon DS, you will feel very frustrated in your first Spring, not being able to give Chocolate Cookies to ANY ONE. As a girl, it is even worse, though, because it can hit your sense of self-esteem very hard not to receive a single visit from a boy... Even though you are a newcomer, it is one of those seminal events in life that can leave a nasty scar. Girls who didn't receive Valentines at school when other girls did or who weren't invited to a Ball... and so on...

Even so, by the second Spring, you can have every bachelor at your door with a gift of Chocolate Cookies. It is a rather heady feeling to be loved by every one! It does make up somewhat for that lonely first Spring Thanksgiving when all doors were locked in the Valley and you did not see a single soul, let alone receive any visits from aspiring bachelors!

In FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/HM Cute DS, there is a schedule for visitors on Festivals like this.

In Cute, the visits occur as follows:


Marlin arrives first at 6.00 a.m
Gustafa will be at your door at 8.00 a.m.
Rock is amazingly early at 10.00 a.m.
Carter is willing to leave his research to appear at 12.00 noon
Griffin arrives at 2.00 p.m.
Skye braves the dangers of the law enforcement community and vigilantes of the Valley to arrive at your door at 4.00 p.m.

As previously posted, Magical Girls, despite their Winter promise to reciprocate, DO NOT do so!

I am absurdly sentimental about my Harvest Moon gifts. I have a 'page' in my Refrigerator and Shelf menus devoted solely to special gifts. In the refrigerator, the Big Fish from Mukumuku now has been joined by a stack of Spring Thanksgiving Chocolate Cookies from all bachelors apart from my darling Skye. My plate of Chocolate Cookies from Skye rests in a slot of its own! In the Shelf, I have a piece of Golden Lumber from Thomas on 2 Winter next to the Diamond that I found in my sock on 25 Winter. As the years progress, the slots will fill... I never, ever use any of these special items, no matter what their commercial value may be.

Rival Heart Events after Red Heart Level in Harvest Moon

There are many misconceptions among players as to the Rival heart events in Harvest Moon games. First among these is the confusion between Heart Events and Rival Heart Events.

Heart Events are events that occur between your character and a prospective spouse when you have reached a specific minimum affection level with that individual. In other words, the Purple Heart Event or 2nd Heart Event can be experienced when the individual reaches Purple Heart level OR higher. At deepest red heart, you still could experience all heart events from Black to Yellow. The prospective spouse's heart level NEVER CAN BE TOO HIGH to trigger one of the heart events.

You cannot miss heart events and they must be experienced in order. If you give the 'correct' response to a question or proposed action in the course of the heart event, the affection level of the proposed spouse will be boosted. In HM DS and HM Cute DS, AP is boosted by 3000 points when you give the desired response...

Giving the 'wrong' response will not prevent you from marrying the proposed spouse nor will it prevent you from triggering the next Heart Event when the required affection level is met. What it will do is decrease the affection level, setting you back a little in the progress of the courtship. In HM Cute DS, there is one bachelor whose heart events are divided into two parts. This is Skye. You need experience only the first part of each of his heart events in order to be able to experience the next one... again, though, missing the second part of any heart event will reduce his affection level a little. Provided there are no season requirements that prevent one from experiencing any heart event in the first year, ALL four heart events usually can be experienced in the first year, allowing your character to marry before the end of the first year of gameplay, again provided all general requirements for marriage are met as well.

Rival Heart Events are the events that allow your rival's courtship of an eligible bachelor or girl to advance. In order to experience Rival Heart Events, the affection level of the proposed spouse must be at a specific level OR LOWER. In other words, unlike the Heart Events that can be experienced even at a level that is HIGHER than that required, a rival heart event will not trigger if the heart level is too high.

Once you reach deepest red heart level with a proposed spouse, rival heart events no longer will trigger. HOWEVER... to respond to a comment by some one, this is NOT a permanent state of affairs. One can LOWER the heart level of the eligible girl or bachelor in order to trigger the rival heart events if one decides one would prefer the individual to marry the rival... I have done this again and again in Harvest Moon games. I like to experience all possible events in any Harvest Moon game. In many of them, including FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/HM Cute DS, each event is worth a specific number of points towards your Farming Degree. By experiencing ALL four heart events and all four Rival Heart Events as well, you gain maximum points towards your Farming Degree.

I will explain the method I use to do this, but first give a few more details about the Rival Heart Events. Like Heart Events, there are four rival heart events for each eligible bachelor or girl. These are Black, Blue, Green and Orange. Unlike the Heart Events, all of which can be experienced in the first year, only the first or Black Rival Heart Event can be triggered in the first year. The second Rival Heart Event or Blue Rival Heart event cannot be triggered before the Second Year. The third or Green Rival Heart Event cannot be triggered before the third year of gameplay and the fourth and final Rival Heart Event, otherwise known as the Orange Heart Event cannot be triggered before the fourth year of gameplay.

The reason for this is to load the marriage deck, as it were, in your favour. You have four years to win the bachelor or girl of your choice before there is ANY chance of your rival taking her away from you.

In my own games, I raise ALL eligible girls or bachelors to full red heart level in my first year if possible, experiencing all four of their heart events. One really does not need to raise their hearts to red heart level but only to yellow in order to experience all four of the Heart Events. I raise them to red only in order to be able to experience the Marriage Proposal Event and subsequent wedding for my guides. I do not SAVE the results or I would be married. There is no going back once the proposal is accepted!

At the start of the second year or after the Spring Festival, I then begin the painful process of LOWERING the heart levels of the bachelors or girls I do not intend to marry in order to be able to trigger the Second Rival Heart Event. If the bachelor or girl is at any level that is HIGHER than blue, the second Rival Heart event will not trigger. I therefore have to lower the heart level from Red to Blue.

There is an easy way to do this in HM DS and HM Cute DS. Each eligible girl or bachelor has one item that he/she utterly detests and which will lower AP by a full 5000 AP point and 20 FP points! I call it the 'Secret Weapon of Hate' and this information is included in my Courtship and Marriage Guide. It is unfortunate that it lowers FP as well as AP as FP does not affect heart events. For Marlin, for example, the Secret Weapon of Hate is Butter. Give him a gift of Butter and his AP will drop by 5000 points, half a full level. Give him butter for two days and you can reduce his AP from Red to Orange. Two more days will reduce it to Yellow and two more will bring it down to Green. Two final gifts of Butter will reduce it to the required Blue level in order to be able to trigger the Second Rival Heart Event.

This effectively means that, even if I have the bachelors or girls at red heart at the start of the second Spring, I can reduce their heart level sufficiently to be able to trigger the Second Rival Heart Event for each before the end of Spring in the first year. If you look at my 2nd Year Events Guide for HM DS, you will see that I did this in fact in the original 'boy version' of Harvest Moon for DS. I am doing the same in Cute and compiling my 2nd Year Events Guide now.

At the same time that I reduce heart levels using the 'Secret Weapon of Hate', I restore FP by giving them subsequent gifts each day until I have raised FP 20 points again. Remember that a second or subsequent gift does not affect AP but will affect FP. It can be a rather expensive strategy, but it works. I don't like to have any one at less than maximum FP.

By the second year, I have every one at 255 FP and have experienced all the events that depended on specific levels of FP in the first year... those events all are included usually in the First Year Events Guide. Maximum FP therefore no longer is strictly necessary, but I am very emotional where Harvest Moon is concerned and like to know that my character is universally loved! You can't do this in the real world quite as easily, alas...

All that is required, then, after experienced the Second Rival Heart event in the second year is that you raise the bachelor or girl's heart level to Green before the start of the third year in order to experience the Third Rival Heart event at the earliest possible opportunity. Raise the heart level to Yellow or Orange in the fourth year to experience the Fourth and final Rival Heart Event.

There is something that one needs to know with respect to the 4th Rival Heart Event. If you trigger it, YOUR RIVAL WILL MARRY THE GIRL OR BACHELOR ONE WEEK LATER. There is no way to prevent this from occurring, so if YOU wish to marry the individual yourself, you must not experience the fourth rival heart event. In my own games, I am long married to the individual of my choice before the fourth year, which is the earliest opportunity to trigger the fourth Rival Heart Event. Remember: experiencing the 4th Rival Heart Event guarantees the marriage of the individual to your rival!

In FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/HM Cute DS, an invitation to the wedding of your rival depends on your friendship level with your rival. If you are at maximum friendship level with your rival, you will receive an invitation to the wedding.

There is a real advantage when you allow other couples to marry. There are a number of events that only occur in the game if other couples have married. Remember that all events are worth points in terms of your Farming Degree. Even if they had no 'point' value, however, I always would make certain that every one else in my village had the happiest possible life. One of the reasons I like the idea of marrying Skye or one of the Mineral Town bachelors in Cute is because it does not deprive any of my 'rivals' of the chance to marry. In the original HM DS, I preferred marriage to one of the Magical Girls for the same reason.

Some players are apt to confuse Rival Heart Events with true Heart Events. Remember that the only Rival Heart event that can be experienced in the first year is the 1st Rival Heart Event or Rival Black Heart Event. I actually include the full text of every Heart Event and every Rival Heart Event in my guides. If a player is not certain which event he/she has experienced, it is possible to go to my Courtship and Marriage Guide to find the event and read the text to make certain...

Finally, like the certainty of 'taxes and death', there are only two events from which there is no return in FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/HM Cute DS as far as marriage is concerned. The first is the Blue Feather Marriage Proposal Event. If your proposal of marriage is accepted, you WILL marry the bachelor or girl a week later. If a holiday intervenes, the wedding will occur the day after the Festival, but it will occur nonetheless. The other irrevocable event is the 4th Rival Heart Event for any couple. If you experience this event, the couple WILL marry a week later. No ifs, ands or buts...

What you can do, if you have reached your fourth year without marrying the girl or bachelor of your dreams, is this:

1. Make certain that you have the bachelor or girl that you wish to marry at deepest red heart level. You then CANNOT trigger the 4th Rival Heart Event;
or
2. Make certain that you avoid the location of the 4th Rival Heart Event until you have the girl or bachelor of your dreams at full red heart level. You can find detailed information about ALL Heart and Rival Heart Events in my Courtship and Marriage Guide. If you do trigger the event by accident, DON'T SAVE! Simply reload and avoid the event...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Furthermore, the Magical Girls Break their Promises!!!




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On the occasion of the Winter Thanksgiving or Winter Thanks-Fest as it is called in Cute, I gave Chocolate Cake to every bachelor and all the Magical Girls. Each one professed himself or herself sorry that I had not been given a gift at the Spring Thanksgiving but promised to bring me one the next Spring... Both Leia and the Witch Princess quite clearly vowed that each would bring me a Spring Thanksgiving Gift. The Harvest Goddess treated the gift as she would any ordinary offering and as every one knows, Keira does not really TALK, but she was happy to receive the Cake!

On 14 Spring, I had many visitors:
At 6.00 a.m. Marlin came to my door bearing Chocolate Cookies.
At 8.00 a.m., Gustafa came to the door with a similar offering.
At 10.00 a.m., Rock breezed by the farmhouse with his plate of Chocolate Cookies (whipped up no doubt by his mother in her kitchen)
At 12 noon, I answered Carter's knock at the door and received a platter of Chocolate cookies from the renowned archaeologist.
At 2.00 p.m., I was greeted by Griffin who bore a plate of... Chocolate Cookies!
Finally, at 4.00 p.m. in broad daylight, Skye braved the dangers of arrest by vigilante or police officer in order to bestow the traditional Spring Thanksgiving gift upon me.

THAT in itself was well worth the dreary days of waiting to propose to him. Tonight, I will remove the Blue Feather finally from its place in my Tool Box and place it in my rucksack before I leap into bed.

I now have received Spring Thanksgiving gifts from all the bachelors and am ready to marry my beloved Skye.

I have six plates of Chocolate Cookies now, all indistinguishable one from the other. I did store Skye's Cookies in a separate place in my refrigerator in order to keep it FOREVER... one day I will show my child those Cookies, the very first Spring Thanksgiving gift from the love of my life.

I wonder though how many of these Cookies were prepared by the bachelors themselves or whether they ALL went to Ruby in order to procure their Thanksgiving Cookies! I daresay Skye made his own! Ruby is out for his blood for a start but apart from that, he enjoys cooking and is very adept at the art. To be honest, however, I would prize them even if they were made of sawdust, if they came from Skye...

I have to state, however, that I am severely disappointed in the Magical Girls. In vain did I wait for THEIR visits. Neither Leia nor the Witch Princess, both at deepest red heart level, brought me a gift... Keira at a lower level did not appear either, but really... the other two HAD promised!!!

You will see the evidence of the promise of the Witch Princess here in a photograph I captured, not realising that it might be required later as proof of a promise broken!

That's the last time I give either of them ANYTHING, except on their birthdays. It would be too uncouth not to continue to remember birthdays, but apart from that, they have lost much of the stature they once had in my eye.

Enough of that, though. Having enjoyed my brief experience as 'belle of the ball', I now will concentrate on bringing all the bachelors to marriage with my erstwhile rivals. If I am to live happily ever after with my Skye, every one else should be as happy as we...

Marriage to a Mermaid... but not in Cute







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Even though it is fairly easy to bring Leia to full red heart level before the end of the first year, you will not be able to propose to her until Spring of the second year at the very earliest in the original HM DS. In HM Cute DS, you will be able to trigger the event, bring her to full red heart level and rendezvous with her on the beach on Tuesday nights, but she will not accept the Blue Feather, alas.

In Harvest Moon DS, I had traded my mystrile rod for a Mythic Rod before the second Spring and I was unable to catch the Bottled Message with it, until I thought of a way to make the game believe it WAS the mystrile rod still. I did this by charging the Mythic Rod ONLY to Mystrile level. Doing this, I was able finally to catch the Bottled Message and I immediately took it to Daryl's house to experience Leia's fourth and final heart event.

In Cute, you need not have the bottle in your hands when you enter Daryl's house in order to trigger the event. Simply having it in your rucksack is sufficient. Although I had upgraded all other tools to Mythic Level in Cute, I kept my Fishing Rod at mystile level until 2 Spring in order to be able to catch the bottled Message without any trouble...

It was the very second item I caught in fact. I took it to Daryl's house in my rucksack, intending to give Leia one more Big Fish before I triggered the event, but the event triggered with the Bottle in my rucksack, rather to my surprise.

Leia's Yellow Heart Event is as much an event that features Daryl as it does Leia. It is an event that is characteristic of Harvest Moon's quirky sense of humour and even though I experienced it before in the original HM DS a couple of times, I enjoyed it again in Cute. At the end of the event, Leia will return to the sea, but you will have the option of encouraging her to visit the Valley again or of telling he that it would be too dangerous for her to do so. If you encourage her to visit, she will display a big red heart for you in both the original boy version and in Cute.

Here is the full text of the event in HM Cute:

You do not even have to CARRY the bottle with you in Cute. Simply enter Daryl's house with it in your rucksack to experience the event.

I enter and absolutely race up to Daryl.
Daryl: What are you so worked up about?
Now I pull the bottle from my rucksack and set it on my head.
Daryl: Ahaa... A bottle... Can't get it open, can you? Leave that detail to me! Hehehe! I'm quite excited about this!
The upper screen goes dark.
Daryl: Hm... Wow... This... cork... is... really... strong... Oh no! My invention! My wonderful, patented Super Deluxe Corkscrew is broken! Now I'll have to test out my Hyper Deluxe Super Sonic Corkscrew (patent pending). C-C-CRUNK! CLANG! D'OH! It took me a precious year of R & D to produce that! My wonderful Hyper Deluxe Super Sonic Corkscrew is in pieces! I've never experienced such a tightly fastened cork in all of my days! It's got to be stronger than a diamond! But I own't give up! Time for the ultimate weapon! I'm taking off the kid gloves now and going with my Supra Light Ultra Aggression Corkscrew! SO STAND BACK!!!

Crick crick crick CRRRRUUUUNCH!!!

Daryl: NOOO!!! My wonders of modern science have been utterly destroyed! I've failed... My scientific achievement has been reduced to scrap by a single bottle. ..................
Try to use this to get that cork off as I am exhausted. There's no way you'll get it off, but give it a shot.

POP!

Daryl: !!!!!! It... it came off? Inconceivable! Ah! I've got it! My 3 other corkscrews loosened the cork just enough for you! There's no other possible explanation for Van's cheap tool to do what it did! Yes! That settles it! My explanation fits the phenomenon like a glove!

The upper screen now displays the two of us again, me still with the bottle on my head.

Daryl: (...) At any rate, enough about the blasted cork. What does the message say?
Me: (!)
The upper screen goes dark again.
... Oh my goodness!
We now stand before Leia who is in her bathtub. The bottle still is on my head.
Leia: (?) What is that?
Daryl: Read it and see.
Leia: Ah!
She takes the bottle from me.
Leia: (!) It's from Mom!
Daryl: I knew it.
Leia: She's been worried about me and sent out a message after the typhoon.
Daryl: Your wounds have healed, so you can go back to her. Your true home is under the sea.
Liea: (!) What? But I... I still don't feel like I've repaid you!
Daryl: D'OH! Repay me by going home! It's for the best; you can see your family again.
Daryl turns to face me now.
Daryl: As for me, I can get back to my research again. Freya, take Leia back to the sea.
I nod obligingly.
Both screens darken.
Next, Leia and I stand by the shore on the right side of the beach near the umbrella and beach blankets.
Leia: (...) I wonder if I fully paid back Daryl for all he's done.
I nod encouragingly.
Leia. I see. I sure hope so. This is a nice place, and every one's been so nice to me here. I've actually only met Daryl and you, Freya but still... Is it okay if I come back to visit now and then?

Your choices now:
Come back anytime.
No, you might be captured.

Of course, I will choose: 'Come back anytime.'

Leia displays a big red heart for me.

Leia: Really? I'm so glad, Freya! You've been a true friend. Well, I'll see you later then! So long!
She dives into the sea gracefully and swims away. The event ends with me alone at the beach.

Tuesday, 2 January of your Second Year is the first opportunity to experience this event, as Monday is a Festival Day. Unfortunately, the 'Best Friend' status that exists in the original Japanese version of Cute evidently HAS been eliminated from HM Cute DS in English as, when I attempted to give Leia the Blue Feather, she simply asked me which guy I intended to marry.

Of course, I could have confirmed this officially with Natsume as soon as I heard the rumours that the 'Best Friend' status had been eliminated from the upcoming English edition of the game, but I am a stubborn, independent player who always has to prove everything for herself. So I did everything that was required in order to propose successfully to Leia and then flourished my Blue Feather when I met her by the shore on Tuesday night... I now can state categorically that there is no official 'Best Friend' in lieu of marriage in Cute. (Having proven it myself, however, I then obtained official confirmation from Natsume...)

KalypsoCry mentioned the rumours to this effect in one of her comments. I, however, was determined to be optimistic, as if by doing so, I could MAKE the game behave the way I wished... It is clear now, however, that if you wish to keep house with a Magical Girl, you must marry one in the boy version of Harvest Moon DS or else play the original Japanese version of Cute.

The Original Harvest Moon, now on the Wii





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One of the true tests of the intrinsic value of a game, in my view, is when it does not depend on technological advances or special effects. The original Harvest Moon with copyright from 1997 has been released again for the Wii. It can be downloaded to any Wii if you have 800 points at the Nintendo Shop. Going from Harvest Moon Cute DS back to an archaic form of Harvest Moon is a fascinating journey through time. Obviously, Cute is far more sophisticated and far more detailed gameplay is possible, but there is an essential charm to any Harvest Moon game that can be found in the original as well as the newest releases.

Players who knew and loved the game from its inception may have sentimental reasons to play the original again, but even new players will find it entertaining and embrace it with enthusiasm.

Furthermore, the basic philosophy and 'rules' of Harvest Moon are unchanging. Whether the game includes a diary for girls or bachelors or a Love Bangle, the basis for increasing affection and friendship remains constant. The philosophy of determination and hard work is the same from game to game.

Exploring the landscape of the old Harvest Moon game, I found elements of 'A Wonderful Life', 'Magical Melody', 'Harvest Moon DS' and even 'Rune Factory'. Those who do not consider 'Rune Factory' to be a classical Harvest Moon game are mistaken. Its roots can be found in the earliest Harvest Moon games to some extent.

Graphics may be more sophisticated and gameplay may be more complex in newer Harvest Moon games, but if I had allowed myself to do so, I easily could have been swept away into the original 'Harvest Moon'... Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day and I am not finished with my life in Cute!

Still, I would recommend 'Harvest Moon' as a download for any one who owns a Wii. It is a game with a value that never will diminish. I expect to pass many happy hours with it when time permits.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Keira's Purple Heart Event: Courting Sleeping Beauty




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I have to confess that I have not been particularly diligent in courting Keira in my first game of Cute. I shan't be able to keep this game ultimately and mining is arduous always. Each day, I usually descend as far as I need to go in the Third Mine to find a piece of Mythic Stone to ship through the Can Food Maker.

As I could not have had Keira at sufficient heart level in my first year to obtain an invitation to spend the Starry Night Festival with her, I gave her a piece of Chocolate Cake at the Winter Thanksgiving but did not visit her again until her birthday on 26 Winter. On that day, I gave her one of the Suns in order to maximise AP points. The next visit and gift would bring her to Purple Heart Level.

Keira is not difficult to court. The game gives bonuses in specific circumstances in order to offset the labour involved in reaching her chamber. When, in any Heart Event, she requests a specific item, you will gain 5000 AP when you give her that item.

I entered her chamber on the 255th floor of the Third Mine to give her a Sun, raising her from 9600 AP to 10100 AP. This brought her to Purple Heart level. I simply walked out of the chamber and re-entered it then to experience the 2nd Heart Event.

Having courted AND married Keira in a previous game of Harvest Moon DS (boy version), I knew that she would request Relaxtea in her Second Heart Event. I therefore had come to the mine prepared with some of my best Relaxtea in my rucksack.

After experiencing the Second Heart Event, I read her request for Relaxtea on the message board and promptly gave it to her. This raised her AP by 5000 points.

Remember that, whenever you reach the 255th floor of the Third Mine, you must defeat ALL the Dark Creatures on the floor before the barrier will crumble. If you fall through any hole and then attempt to reload, it will not work. You will find yourself back on the 255th floor, but the barrier will remain even if you then defeat the remaining Dark Creatures. It is important, therefore, to be extremely careful when you are on the 255th floor. Do not take a single step without uncovering the square with your hoe first. Do not allow yourself to be on any square that would enable a Dark Creature to push you into an unprotected square that might conceal a hole. If you are playing your game in two slots, you can save your game in both slots when you reach the 255th floor as a safety measure. If you are playing only in a single slot, it is best NOT to save your game on the 255th floor until the barrier crumbles. Save your game only on the 254th floor BEFORE you descend the stairs to 255. That way, if you fall through a hole by some mischance, you can reload on the 254th floor and descend anew.

In the upcoming English edition of Cute, you can court the Magical Girls, experience all their heart events and fulfil all requirements that existed in the original game for marriage, but the 'Best Friend' status has been eliminated by Natsume evidently. I have confirmed this with an attempt to marry Leia now.

The Delights of General Conversation in Harvest Moon





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Players who are unfamiliar with Harvest Moon may not be aware of the incredibly detailed landscape in which they find themselves. Dialogue is part of gameplay and indeed speaking to individuals is vital in terms of unlocking events. Giving items that the individual likes is very important as well, but beyond that, there is a wealth of information, both important and completely frivolous, that can be gained from general conversation. Often you will gain information about history or individuals from other towns... you may gain important information about the man or woman you love. Sometimes, it is nothing more than highly entertaining.

Whenever I purchase or acquire a Blue Feather, I show it to every one possible in order to experience their responses to it. I am not speaking of eligible bachelors or girls here but of individuals in general, from the elders of the village to the resident Harvest Sprites.

Here are some of the Forget-Me-Not Valley individual responses in Cute:

Valley residents:

Ruby: Oh, a Blue Feather! How romantic. Good luck!
Lumina: Oh, are you getting married? Invite me to the wedding!
Hugh: Whoah, what a pretty feather! Will you give it to me? Oh, you won't?
Muffy: A Blue Feather? You're proposing, are you? Who are you proposing to?
Nami: Hm... You're proposing? Good luck.
Nina: Long ago, my husband proposed to me with a Blue Feather. Good luck.
Galen: I used to spend a lot of money on Nina, too. Do your best.
Celia: You'll be fine, Freya! Good luck!
Flora: How romantic. Please do your best.
Cody: You're going to propose? i don't know who it is, but be strong.
Patrick: Congratulations. Who is he?
Kassey: You want to marry me? If you insist! What? That's not what you meant?! You're going to dump me and marry some other guy?! Who is he?!
Sebastian: congratulations! To who...? Oh, pardon my rudeness.
Romana: Ho ho ho! Don't mock me.
Van: Will you be selling that? Hm? Keeping it, are you?
Takakura: So you've finally decided to marry, eh? Then the ranch's future is safe. Good luck!
Mukumuku: Mofaaa! Mofa mofa. Mofa!
Hardy: What is this? Are you proposing to me? Ha! You must be joking.
Daryl: What's this? A Blue Feather? Not interested...
Murrey: Where do birds that colour live? I wants to see how they taste!

Visitors from Mineral Town:

Ann: What?! You're getting married? Congratulations!

Harvest Sprites:

Paige: This is a Blue Feather. You should give it to some one you love.
Sammy: Oh! A Blue Feather! Who are you going to give it to,Freya?
Gigi: Oh! Freya, that item you've got is so cool!
Yacht: I hope some one special will give one to me one day, too!
Fry: I've never seen that before! How pretty!
Riviera: It's a Blue Feather! This Feather is full of wonders!
Fisher: Freya, you're supposed to give this to some one really special to you!
Rod: You're giving it to me? Freya, you know I can't marry you. I can't take it. Freya, I understand what you're trying to say. Thank you!

The interchange with Kassey is almost a little event in itself. The same is true with respect to the dialogue with Rod of the Fishing Team. Marvelous Interactive, the company that creates Harvest Moon, never ceases to amaze me with its attention to detail. Natsume, in patiently translating the game into English for us without sacrificing any of the thousands of wonderful details, is equally amazing.

So many games cut corners. When Peter Jackson made 'King Kong', EA games produced a game but in their haste to bring the game out at a time that would capitalise on the interest in the film, they produced a shoddy game that only served to disappoint fans. (I am not obsessed with King Kong myself, but it is a good example of a game that sacrificed quality in order to have the earliest possible release. Many game producers force the release of new games at the Christmas holiday season in order to maximise sales, to the detriment of the intrinsic value of the game. Fans of Harvest Moon sometimes are impatient with Natsume when delays are announced with respect to the release of a new game, but I would rather wait and have the best possible game in every instance. You can't have it both ways, and every Harvest Moon game is a gem.)

The Secret Life of Harvest Sprites

We know quite about about Harvest Sprites, from the Sprites in 'Save the Homeland' and 'A Wonderful Life' to the Legendary Sprites of Mineral Town and the 101 Sprites of Forget-Me-Not Valley in Harvest Moon DS and Cute. We know, for example, that every Sprite is unique in his dreams, ambitions and taste, but ALL Sprites will respond positively to a gift of flour. The 101 Sprites of Forget-Me-Not Valley operate in Teams run by Team Leaders who are larger than they and not quite as cute in appearance. Each Team Leader has a very unique personality of his own. Some are friendlier than others. Some can be rather forbidding until you make friends with them.

We know from HM DS and Cute that Sprites are not created in adult form but begin their lives as babies. In fact, there appears to be an orphan Harvest Sprite baby living in the large jar on the left side of the Sprite Company Tree. Baby Sprites love sweets and many of the same dishes that appeal to human babies, but there is one significant difference: Baby Sprites have magical powers! When you have given 255 gifts to the Baby, he will offer to grant little wishes.

Harvest Sprites are addicted to catalogue shopping evidently and the items that they buy are extravagantly expensive and completely impractical. We know this from watching the Harvest Sprite Outlet on television. Sprites do not use Gold as currency. They have their own currency of Korobos... Human beings never will be able to acquire a single Korobo, no matter how friendly you have become with your local Sprite population.

Catalogue shopping is nothing new for Harvest Sprites. They have been shopping in this fashion for hundreds of years. You could watch the channel in 'A Wonderful Life', wishing sometimes that you could buy one of the preposterous items being offered there. 'Shocking, dismaying catalogue living' appeals to the Sprite mentality...

Harvest Sprites can be extremely lazy or very industrious, depending on their level of training and level of friendship with you. The Legendary Sprites could become adept at every type of farm activity, but the Forget-Me-Not Valley 101 Sprites are very specific in career choice and apart from some situations, will not work outside their area of expertise. There are Sprites outside the official Watering Team who will water your fields, for example, but that is one of the exceptions to the general rule.

What is the Secret Life of Harvest Sprites then? We know where some of them live, but we do not know HOW they live. Do they have wives?

Well, apparently, there are Sprites who marry and even share the human tradition of the Blue Feather in terms of Marriage Proposals.

Show the Blue Feather to Yacht and he will tell you: 'I hope some one special will give one to me someday.'

Sprites do not accept the Blue Feather from humans, however, so it must be another Harvest Sprite that offers it traditionally. If you attempt to show the Blue Feather to Rod, he will exclaim: 'You're giving it to me? Freya, you know I can't marry you. I can't take it. Freya, I understand what you're trying to say. Thank you!'

Perhaps the tradition of the Blue Feather is a fairly recent one for Harvest Sprites, as in 'A Wonderful Life', the three Sprites simply fought over it as a pretty trinket, without ever mentioning any potential use for them in terms of marriage...

Another aspect of Sprite life is television in general. Some Harvest Sprites in the Valley proclaim themselves addicted to regular weekly programmes... So there may be a few 'couch potatoes' among the Harvest Sprite population.

Sprite Dance Parties




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Both in the original HM DS and in HM Cute DS, when you have rescued all 12 members of any Sprite Team, you will be invited to a Sprite Dance Party.

You must attempt to leave your house after 10.00 p.m. in order to initiate the event. It will not occur in bad weather so if it is raining or snowing on the day when you rescue the final member of the Team, the event will be postponed until the next day.

It is rather a charming event. The music, in particular, is absolutely delightful, reminding me of Renaissance formal dances. You will find yourself in the centre of a circle of Sprites and they, in measured steps, will perform a rather intricate dance. You will be thanked formally by the Sprite Team Leader and only regain control of your character the next morning.

It is suggested therefore that you save your game either before you ENTER the house after 10.00 p.m. (in case you forgot any chores that require you to be outside your house) or after you enter the house after 10.00 p.m. as when you awaken the next day after the Sprite Dance, the weather forecast for the following day will be set. If you saved your game BEFORE the Sprite Dance event, you will be able to reload to change the weather...

You will gain points towards your Farming Degree when you attend a Sprite Dance Party as well as whenever you rescue any Harvest Sprite. In most cases, you need not perform any exceptional action in order to rescue Harvest Sprites, but simply perform all your usual chores a specific number of times. There are a few Sprites who are rescued by performing peculiar actions, such as casting your Fishing Rod into your Watering Hole or into the Hot Spring... or by pressing A in front of an object. These are the exceptions rather than the rule. Essentially, most Sprites are rescued when you water a specific number of squares, catch a specific number of fish, chop a specific number of branches or stumps, smash a specified number of stones or boulders, upgrade specified tools, pet, brush or wash a designated number of animals, collect a specified number of bottles of milk and so on...

Trent's Blue Heart Event: So cute but such a bore...








Trent, formerly known simply as 'the Doctor' in Mineral Town (FoMT/MFoMT) now is known by name either as Trent or Dr. Trent, depending upon the degree of formality between the parties. Elli invariably refers to him as Dr. Trent in HM Cute DS, making one wonder if even marriage would dissolve the title in front of his name.

I'm afraid she is welcome to him, as far as I am concerned. I always thought he was extremely cute and he still is, but he is SUCH a complete BORE. He rabbits on and on about diet and health, even as his level of affection for you increases.

His Blue Heart Event is no exception. Basically, you enter the Clinic in order to 'play' as Elli puts it or 'relax' as Hardy would describe a friendly visit. Hardy immediately decides to visit Romana and Elli offers to accompany him... As the plan is made only AFTER your arrival, you would be excused for thinking that every one is desperate to avoid your company! When Trent declares HIS intention to accompany the Romana delegation, injury is added to insult.

Hardy fortunately intervenes and puts your thoughts and feelings into words by saying: 'No, you stay here, Dr. rent. Freya came all this way, after all. It's a bit rude to Freya is all three of us get up and take off.'
(To say the least...)
Trent still is determined to add his weight to the delegation, however and continues to protest!
Trent: Huh? But I think...

At this point, Hardy is forced to snap at him: Don't think. Stay here and keep Freya company. Well, we're off.

Any woman who was not utterly besotted with Trent would be thoroughly disgusted by him at this point. I mean, a shy disposition is one thing but his desperate, repeated attempts to get away from you are too much!

Elli at this juncture says something rather amusing to those who know her well: 'OK. Take care of things while I'm gone.'

This is the girl who continually makes mistakes, who is nothing more than an assistant and who never displays anything but the most formal and respectful admiration for HER Dr. Trent. And yet, she is speaking to him here as if she is the one in charge and is handing over the sceptre of power to him temporarily. Not even 'while WE are gone' but 'while I'm gone'!!!

Well, to be honest, I applaud Elli's surge of confidence here, as no one else ever does or says anything to boost her morale and sense of self-worth. The many events you have witnessed wherein she makes mistakes in the clinic or where individuals refer to her mistakes in the past are numerous and excite both compassion and a small degree of anger and frustration with Trent for not defending her as much as he could! He does remark at one point essentially that she could be a good nurse if she would get her act together, but that is as far as it goes.

When they leave, you will be rewarded with the rather appealing sight of Trent blushing as he remarks upon the fact that it is 'just the two of us'. That is perhaps the best point in the entire event. He really is very cute.

In any case, with the other two off on their pilgrimage to the Villa, Trent proceeds to seize the day by delivering a long, boring lecture on diet and health.

You probably can guess the question that will determine his heart level. Yes, it concerns DIET AND HEALTH.

Trent: (...) Do you eat a balanced diet? Proper nutrition's an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

Your choices:
I eat balanced meals.
I just eat what tastes good.

It is fairly obvious which of the two responses will please him, but really, eating 'what tastes good' is not necessarily tantamount to eating junk food! Nonetheless, I firmly squelched my instincts for mischief and dutifully told Trent that I existed solely on balanced meals.

It is only if you give this response that you will be given a very tiny window into the state of Trent's emotions. He will ramble on a bit about diet and health but THEN, after telling you that he is 'so happy to see you healthy and in good spirits', he will let you see that it is a bit more than his ordinary happiness at the sight of ANY individual who is in good health.

He will confess: 'I don't know why, really... You know... These ... feelings I have.'
He then sinks into tortured silent introspection in the form of (...)

You attempt to prise more out of him with a question mark, but alas. Trent does not take your bait. In fact, he tramples over what little progress he had made in courting you by saying:

Trent: ... I'm sure it's nothing. Just pretend I never said anything.

Perhaps you could have persuaded him to unburden himself further but Hardy and Elli return at this potentially interesting moment.

Romana, not surprisingly, was too busy to see the Medical Team. Hardy rather unexpectedly blames Sebastian for this!

Hardy: Romana was busy, so we got told to take a hike. Gr. That stuck-up Sebastian...'

Hardy's first remark, however, in response to Trent's comment that the two had returned quickly, is: 'Hmph. Too quick.'

He could be referring to their failure to see Romana, but I think he engineered the entire expedition in order to give Trent a chance to be alone with me.

Elli remarks that Trent looks 'a little uneasy' and Trent tells her that 'It's nothing' and then rather officiously advises me to return to my ranch.

Surprise, surprise... I am propelled unceremoniously out the door, left to wonder if Trent actually likes me or not, despite the fact that the event increased his AP by the usual 3000 points awarded for the 'correct response'.

Mind you, I did experience the event with the 'wrong response' as well, as I always do in order to add the information to my Courtship Guide. The lecture that Trent gave me almost made me want to use my new 'Lovely Maiden' martial arts technique on him!

Tell him that: 'I just eat what tastes good' and he will say:

Trent: That's no good, Freya. You're not a child anymore. Just sticking to the things you like could take its toll on your health. You need to keep track of what's going into your body.
Me: (...)
Trent: You are what you eat, as they say. As a doctor, it pains me to see an increase in unhealthy people.
Trent and I both: (!)
The door opens and Hardy speeds into the room, followed by Elli... In this situation, although Hardy says that their return was 'Too quick', it was not nearly quick enough for me...

In the scenario where you give the incorrect response, he actually tells Elli and Hardy, upon their return that: 'Apparently Freya needs to change her eating habits.' I mean, the nerve of the man! What really infuriated me was that he leapt instantly to the conclusion that the food that tasted good to me HAD to be junk food. That's the puritan in him I suppose. He actually implied that I ought to eat food that I actively disliked if it were healthy stuff...

I have to admit, however, that ice cream is a staple of my diet both in real life and in Harvest Moon. I am not certain that it should be categorised as 'junk food
in either world, though. It does restore 30 points of Stamina and reduces Fatigue by 20 points as well when made with nothing more than a small milk and a small egg!

In any event, I am not really looking forward to married life with Trent, when I finally choose him as a husband. I shan't stay long with him, that's for certain, despite his good looks. What would you bet that, after marriage, when Trent suggests that you choose a nickname for yourself, he will say something on the order of: 'You can call me Dr. Trent as always.'???

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Unhappy Baby Animals

Any player of Harvest Moon games will be aware of the necessity of keeping animals happy by feeding them and not keeping them outside in bad weather conditions. In a game like Harvest Moon DS or Harvest Moon Cute DS, the fact that you can have many Bird Barns and Animal Barns can make Animal Care a little more complex, as you must remember to enter EVERY barn to feed animals and perform whatever tasks are needed. If you have four Bird Barns and three Animal Barns and they are in different parts of the field, it is not difficult to forget one...

You can hire a Sprite Team to care for your Animals but as you only can hire one team at a time, you may wish to hire a Team for a different task such as Watering or Fishing.

When not fed, animals first become Unhappy and then Sick. Once an Animal falls sick, you will be obliged to purchase and use Animal Medicine in order to cure it. If you do not feed an animal for even a single day, you run the risk of having a Sick Animal on the next day in Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS. Sick Animals when not medicated usually take more than one day to die but they will die ultimately if you do not medicate them.

The reason for this post is not to write about these basic facts but to share a more subtle aspect of animal behaviour in Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS.

When an Animal is born on your farm, you then will have both Mother and Child. If you sell the Mother while her offspring still is a baby, the baby MAY become Unhappy. This is a random effect but it is rather touching. I have experienced it more than once myself. I therefore try not to deprive a baby animal of its parent if possible. Once the Animal is an adult, the relationship between parent and child apparently becomes more distant, but when the Animal is a baby, it needs its mother!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Star Festival and Griffin


Spending the Festival with Griffin and Muffy means an evening of drinking. No food whatsoever is offered but drinks are displayed in generous number. In fact, watching Muffy and Griffin together, it is obvious that they are made for one another. I did not feel guilty at all at the prospect of spending the Festival with Skye instead...

It is only Carter actually who appears to dread the prospect of spending the evening alone with your rival if you refuse his invitation!

The Star Festival and Marlin


If you spend the Star Festival with Marlin, you essentially spend it with his family at Vesta's farmhouse. Every one is warm and friendly but there is very little romance to the occasion. Vesta will remark, however, that Marlin seldom invites any one to the house, making you feel rather special.

Curiously enough, only one place has been set at the table. Farmers have a reputation for their great hospitality, for large tables groaning with food. The single piece of cake displayed on the tiny table is rather surprising in the circumstances.

The Star Festival and Gustafa



Oddly enough, spending the Star Festival with Gustafa is a rather interesting event. I did not choose to do so in the end, as I was determined to spend it with Skye but I did experience it temporarily.

I was the only girl there, by the way. Gustafa organises an event that includes all the men in the Valley without family there. Cody and the Twins are his guests. He apparently invited Daryl as well but Daryl was unable to come for some unspecified reason. No one but my character is aware of the presence of a mermaid in Daryl's Basement, and I said nothing...

Gustafa serves pizza and wine to his guests at his rather bohemian gathering, then offers to play a song for you while you eat. Any excuse to perform!

At first, I was very uncomfortable, expecting Kassey to hit on me as usual, but he behaved himself and in fact, it would have been a fairly decent party if I had not promised myself that I would spend the evening with Skye.

Skye and the Starry Night Festival



Although my primary reason for keeping the Blue Feather stashed in my Tool Box since Skye reached red heart level was to be able to experience all the Starry Night events with each and every bachelor and Magical Girl, it ultimately was Skye as always who made the event truly magical for me. If I had proposed to him last week, I would not have experienced this marvelous event with him as a single girl... Married couples do celebrate the Festival but in a slightly different fashion.

I met Skye on the path as usual and much to my delight, he mentioned the Festival and asked if he could celebrate it with me at my house. Of course I agreed. The day seemed to last forever... I was too excited to do much beyond the necessary chores. Even if I had to wait longer before I married him, meanwhile I still could enjoy the incredible romance he brought into my life and heart on occasions like this one.

Of all the bachelors, it was only Skye who appeared to consider the Festival a romantic event. When I went to the door at 6.00 p.m., my heart was pounding. Sad to say, I had not prepared any food. When the Witch Princess and Leia had mentioned the lack of food on my table, it had not bothered me in the least. I laughed it off. When Skye brought it to my attention, however, I was utterly mortified! How could I not have prepared a proper celebration for the man I adored?

Skye, however, was WONDERFUL! He confessed that he had brought his special curry mix in case of such an eventuality. In similar circumstances, the Witch Princess and Leia had offered to cook the meal for me. Skye, on the other hand, suggested that we cook curry together. Never before in all my life had the possibility of cooking curry, of all things, appeared so completely romantic!

It was as romantic a situation as any maiden could have hoped to experience... Ah, how I long for the day when I shall be free to marry him at last. Is it THAT important to experience all the Mineral Town Heart Events??? I must be a guide writer first, though, and a player second. I must put aside my longing for Skye temporarily and continue to perform my duty by continuing to court the Mineral Town bachelors...