Friday, July 10, 2009

A Cheater Can Prosper at the Coming of Age Festival

One could spend a lifetime exploring the various nuances of every Harvest Moon and Rune Factory game, tracing Events to their inspirations in prior games, following characters and their families from generation to generation and village to village.

Even a single Festival or Event can have many different variations, however. One of the most delightful experiences I had in playing Harvest Moon was in Island of Happiness, when my character actually choked on a rice cake in one variation. It was the fifth time I had reloaded the Festival Event when I experienced that...

After all the characters who warned about the dangers of choking on Rice Cakes in various Harvest Moon games in the past, it was wonderful to discover the little Event in IoH. It is random and one could attend the Festival year after year without ever experiencing it...

The creators of these games are amazing. A player like myself, after playing any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game begins to ask: 'What if...?' and then one tries the unexpected.

The Cheating Events at the Coming of Age Festival offer an ordinary player years of enjoyment as he/she participates and perhaps is able to experience a different Event each year. By reloading without saving, I tried to experience all of them for this video, but an entire day in real time later, I had to move on without ever being able to catch Erik's Event. Another year, perhaps...

Another result came from my question to myself of 'What tried to cheat Stella?'

Here are the various Events that can occur at the Coming of Age Festival in the 2nd Year. The real difference between the 1st Year Contest and those in subsequent years is your own character's ability to cheat.

By the way, I made another video some time ago about the 1st Year Contest. It shows the traditional result if your character wins honestly, among other things.

The philosophical implications of this Contest are extremely interesting. Many characters will muse about the Coming of Age Festival and ask why it involves a Treasure Hunt. Other characters will speak of the significance of the Festival in the past, when historically it DID represent a true 'coming of age' ritual.

In Trampoli, in Rune Factory Frontier, however, it is as though the 'Lord of Misrule' had taken control of this ritual, turning it on its head. Instead of being a Festival where children can prove themselves to be adults, it is a Contest where adults vie for the privilege of showing themselves to be children in their behaviour.

Stella, when giving the rules warns:
Stella: Also… listen. Today is the Coming of Age Day. Which means I won’t allow any childish behaviour such as cheating, all right? If you’ve found Golden Turnip, bring it here to me before the sun sets. Don’t be late.

In the first year, I failed to recognise the extent of the mischief in the design of this Festival. In fact, the entire Contest is centred on cheating. Some one ALWAYS cheats! At first, a player may think that the cheating Event is random. As you will see in the video, however, it occurs every time your character participates in the hunt for the Golden Turnip.

Both Rune Factory 2 and Rune Factory Frontier are very sly at times. This is one example of the type of humour that makes both Harvest Moon and Rune Factory great.

At the same time, serious philosophical statements always are a part of the tapestry of existence in these games.

Kross' dialogue on the occasion of the Coming of Age Day fills this role.

Kross: I just can’t learn to like the Adventure Contest… Heh… You should never let children carry weapons. You will ruin them if you do.
Freyr: The Adventure Contest is where they go treasure hunting.
Kross: …

Kross' dialogue appears to refer to the Adventure Contest in Rune Factory 2. There is no danger, nor any chance of combat in the Coming of Age Day Contest in Rune Factory Frontier, but the Adventure Contest at the start of Autumn in Rune Factory 2 required exploration of the Caves.

From RF2:

Yue: Tomorrow’s the Adventure Contest. It’s dangerous! You should make sure you’re stocked up on items from my shop to keep you safe!
Me: You’re a good saleswoman as always, Yue. If I need anything, I’ll buy it from you.

Tanya: Tomorrow’s the Adventure Contest. You need to be thoroughly prepared before you head out! Now might be a good time to restock your weapons.

Julia: Tomorrow’s the Adventure Contest. A weak girl like me has no place participating in something like that. But you can count on me to cheer you on!
Freyr: I must say, I’m pretty excited for the Adventure Contest.
Julia: I’ll be cheering for you while I’m relaxing in the bath.
Freyr: Doesn’t really sound like you’ll be cheering me on at all…

Douglas: Tomorrow’s the Adventure Contest. ‘Adventure’… Now there’s a word that gets my heart racin’!

Mana: The Adventure Contest is really quite exciting, isn’t it? Maybe I should sign up too!

Dorothy: The Adventure Contest is tomorrow…
Freyr: Adventure Contest? Sounds exciting!
Dorothy: Freyr, if you do enter the contest, please don’t go anywhere dangerous, okay?
Freyr: Well, I don’t take any unnecessary risks, but if I’m going to compete, I have to give it my best shot.

Natalie: Are you competing in the Adventure Contest, Freyr? Be careful not to get hurt.

Incidentally, I made an error in this video when I wrote that the Red Core is required to unlock the Snow Ruins. It is the Relic that is required, and that is the one item that will be obtained only once from the Giant Slime of Lava Ruins. I should have consulted my own Guid... it has been a long time since I first unlocked the Snow Ruins.

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