Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Harvest Moon Hallowe'en, Pumpkin Festival

When Sparks Fly in Vaughn's Heart Events in Sunshine Island

Although Will captured my heart the moment I first encountered him, I still find Vaughn very attractive. Remembering the huge outpouring of female romantic interest in Vaughn when Island of Happiness was released, I felt I owed it to the devoted fans of Vaughn to share some of his new Events in Sunshine Islands. This video explores his Blue and Green Heart Events:

Your Birthday in Sunshine Islands

In an earlier post, I hinted about the wonderful surprise I received on my character's Birthday in Sunshine Islands, but until now, I was unable to disclose more details. Here is a little video showing how Freya's birthday was celebrated in Sunshine Islands:

In fact, each Character in Sunshine Islands, apart from Haila, Nick and your own Child, will give one of three possible gifts to you for your Birthday. The very rare Firefly Flower that is Will's Most Favourite Gift is one of the items both he and the Harvest Goddess may give to you.

Comparison of Island of Happiness with Sunshine Islands

Now that I have permission from Natsume to post about Sunshine Islands, I can share some of my responses to the sequel to Island of Happiness.

Although players of Island of Happiness will find many of the fundamental principles of Sunshine Islands reassuringly familiar, there are a multitude of exciting new options as well as some changes.

As in Island of Happiness, farming degree points are at the very foundation of the requirements for unlocking new options. The many 'teams' of Subsidiary Characters that corresponded to some extent to these point totals in different areas are not found in Sunshine Islands, however. There are Harvest Sprite teams, but they serve a different function and are unlocked by Friendship Levels with other Sprites.

In terms of what were the 'subsidiary characters' in Island of Happiness, you have only two Fishermen and two Miners as well as the owners of the Diner, Cafe and Inn.

As far as 'Main Characters' are concerned, Sunshine Islands features the same cast of Characters but with a couple of exciting new introductions. Lily and Will are introduced as two new 'Eligible' Characters. Mark or Chelsea remain your 'counterparts' and eligible for marriage. The Mineral Town characters visit Sunshine Islands seasonally much as they did in Island of Happiness.

Farming is very similar in terms of Sunlight and Water requirements. It has been made a little easier, however, in that Rice, Wheat, Soybeans, Buckwheat and all the products derived from them are on sale at Chen's Market from the start of the game. (Yay!) This gives you a nice little exploitation when you can afford to build a Maker Shed and purchase a Seed Maker. Although the Seeds for the various Grains can be unlocked, you can buy the product at the Market and throw it into the Seed Maker to produce a bag of seeds. As the grains all take more than one season to mature and nothing grows in Winter, you can modify your farming strategy to suit the seasons and grow grains even before you have unlocked the Seeds.

Rice, of course, requires paddy fields and you need to raise a special Rice Island in order to be able to have access to the four paddy fields in the game.

This brings me to the fundamental plot of Sunshine Islands. At the start of the game, after meeting your first Harvest Sprite and his companions on Sprite Island, you will be introduced to the reality of the situation in the Sunshine Islands. Sadly, most of the chain of Islands has sunk into the sea. With the aid of magical Sun Stones, a Sprite named Agete COULD raise them again. There are specific Sun Stone totals that must be met for each Island. Here, strategy is important as knowing which Islands to raise first will help you unlock new important characters as early as possible in the game.

Unlike Island of Happiness, where most of the Eligible Girls and Bachelors actually had to arrive on Sunny Island before you could meet them, the majority of Characters are living on one of the two remaining Islands in Sunshine Islands at the start of the game. The exceptions are Shea, Wada, Mark/Chelsea, the Witch Princess, the Witchkin, Nathan, Alisa, the Harvest Goddess, Will and Lily.

Shea's home will be on Mushroom Island, one of the Islands that has to be raised again. When you have raised Mushroom Island, you will be able to meet both Shea and Wada, as well as being able to collect a veritable cornucopeia of Mushroom types in all seasons. (Two of the subsidiary goals in Sunshine Islands is completion of the long list of specific mushroom and fish types.)

Mystic Islands is a small chain of two separate Islands. The Harvest Goddess and her Church, inhabited by Nathan and Alisa are on the western island and the Witch Princess and her delightful niece, the Witchkin, are on the other. These Islands need to be raised before you can meet any of these important Characters.

Animal Island is the Island that provides an option that many players have longed to find in Harvest Moon for many years. This is the option to interact with Wild Animals, first encountered finally in Tree of Tranquility. How many players wanted to interact with the Animals that roamed the landscapes of Mineral Town and Forget-Me-Not Valley. Now, in Sunshine Islands, when you have raised Animal Island, you can journey there to befriend the various types of Wild Animals who live there. Making them your friends has concrete rewards in the form of Gifts of items...

There usually is at least one Mine in any Harvest Moon game and Sunshine Islands is no exception. The Mine is located on Volcano Island, another Island that has sunk beneath the waves. When you raise Volcano Island, your life will be enriched enormously with the opportunity to meet two amazing new Characters in the form of Will and Lily. (I am utterly infatuated with Will myself, but if I were a lad, I'd definitely fancy Lily!)

If you wish to grow Rice, Fruit Trees or build a Greenhouse, you need to raise a number of Islands, beginning with a small barren place called 'Link Island' that simply serves as a hub for all the special farming Islands. Each of the three special farming Islands must be raised separately and bridges must be constructed to them from Link Island before you will be able to travel to them.

As you can see, there are similarities here to Island of Happiness, where access to new areas (and introduction to new Characters living in those areas) was based on the construction of Bridges. The Sun Stones add an entirely new dimension, however.

Sun Stones can be obtained in a number of different ways. When you have given any Main Character five 'Most Favourite' or preferred Gifts, he/she will give you a Sun Stone in return. Taking the boat from Island to Island will result in the gifts of a few Sun Stones from the pilot, Kirk. When you have attained 2 Hearts with the owner of any business or home, he/she will give you a Sun Stone in a little special Event. The Fishermen and Miners can be given 5 'Most Favourites' to persuade them to give you Sun Stones but the Mineral Town characters have none to offer. Oter Sun Stones can be found on the various Islands. Agete gives hints about this. My General Guide, by the way, lists the method by which all Sun Stones are obtained...

When you have raised ALL the Islands in the Sunshine Islands chain, you will not be able to rest on your laurels... for it is at this point that Sunny Island sinks beneath the ocean!... More about that later...

Finally, in terms of Pets and Ranch Animals, Sunshine Islands has expanded the list to include Dog, Cat, Horse and PIG as Pets and rare Ranch Animals such as a Jersey Cow, a Suffolk Sheep and a Silkie Chicken. Youa re able to choose between two Kittens, two Puppies, two Horses and two different Pigs. There are interactive mini-games with all the Pets that are 'practice' sessions for the various Contests. Those of us who missed the old Disc-throwing game with our Dog in FoMT/MFoMT now are able to throw a Disc to the Dog in Sunshine Islands. The Pig is unique, however. He has his own Pen on Mushroom Island and HIS mini-game is hilarious. Throw him into the bushes and he will emerge with a random Mushroom. He will not give it to you meekly, however. You have to chase him and catch him before he eats it! The Pig is amazingly fast and cunning... At very high Friendship Levels, however, you have a chance of obtaining the rare Truffle from him.

These are only a few of the new options in Sunshine Islands. In terms of Courtship, Island of Happiness remains unique, with its alternate 'paths' in Heart Events. In Sunshine Islands, there is only one path for Heart Events to follow. Rival Couples can marry in the fourth year at the very earliest, but there are no children from these marriages. It is here that Harvest Moon as a series once more demonstrates its genius. Despite all the wonderful new innovations in Sunshine Islands, there still are very good reasons to play Island of Happiness!

Both of these games are complex, challenging and fun. Both have their unique strengths and for me, the ever-evolving universe of Harvest Moon continues to fascinate and delight.

Note: Screenshot taken from Vaughn's Green Heart Event in Sunshine Islands

Friday, October 30, 2009

Introduction to a 'Prince on a White Horse'

Will and Lily are new characters in Sunshine Islands. Both are extremely attractive in very different ways. Will epitomises the traditional romantic ideal of 'Prince Charming'. Lily is both exotic and adventurous.

Will may be my favourite bachelor in any Harvest Moon game. At red heart level, he will tell you: I can say this with confidence: You are my raison d’etre.

What could be more romantic?

Here is the Introduction to Will:

Introduction to a Pig in Sunshine Islands

Sunshine Islands has many of the same characters as Island of Happiness and the general rules of farming are the same but the introduction of a number of new pets and wild animals is a marvelous addition.

Sunshine Islands embroiders upon some of the themes of Magical Melody and Tree of Tranquility, two Harvest Moon console games. In Magical Melody, your character could use a Pig to search for Truffles. A Pig can perform a similar favour for you in Sunshine Islands. In Tree of Tranquility, you could befriend a variety of wild creatures who then might bring you special gifts. The wild animals on Animal Island, when befriended, may give you with special items as well.

In Sunshine Islands, you have a task of raising a number of Islands that sank beneath the sea. Each Island that you succeed in raising gives new options and introduces you to new characters. Mushroom Island is one of the Islands that you must raise. Here you can find a wide variety of wild mushrooms and it is here that Shea has made his home. When you have shipped 100 Mushrooms, you will experience a special Event on Mushroom Island. 'Gannon's Secret' is one of the secrets of Sunshine Islands in the form of a Pig who will find Mushrooms for you.

Animal Island is another one of the sunken Islands that you can raise. Wild Animals there include Ducks, Rabbits, Badgers, Mice, Sparrows and Monkeys. For all the players of AWL and AnWL who wished they could interact with the wild animals encountered in Forget-Me-Not Valley, Sunshine Island now gives that opportunity on Animal Island.

Here is Gannon's Secret, your introduction to your new Pet Pig:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fishing for Wood in Rune Factory

Wood or Lumber is one of the most important items in any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game, as it is required for the many construction and upgrade projects that will contribute to your Character's success. You need Lumber for Animal Barns, house upgrades and in some games, for Maker Sheds and other buildings. Without an upgrade or sometimes two to your House, you often will be unable to marry.

In many Harvest Moon games, you can purchase Wood/Lumber from a local merchant as well as chopping branches and stumps to create it. The price may be high, but as long as the option exists, you always can sacrifice luxuries and other purchase options in order to buy the Lumber you need for the project dearest to your heart.

In Rune Factory, however, you cannot purchase Wood/Lumber from any one. With your original Axe, you will not be able to chop Stumps for Lumber either. This limits you to the branches that appear on your Field and untilled Fields in every Cave/Dungeon.

A question that many players ask, therefore, is how to obtain MORE lumber for the upgrades they desperately need. There are two solutions.

The first is by using your Fishing Rod. Branches are one of the items that you will 'catch' when Fishing in most Harvest Moon/Rune Factory games. In most games, however, they are little more than a nuisance. In Rune Factory, on the other hand, they are more than worth their weight in gold. Any 'branch' you obtain with a Fishing Rod can be thrown down onto your Field and chopped into Wood/Lumber. Fishing therefore can be a better source of Lumber than you may have imagined...

Note that branches are more plentiful in some locations than others. A location that is poor in terms of catching fish will be a treasure trove for Branches (and other rubbish items!)

The second method of obtaining Wood/Lumber is through trade. This is extremely tedious and requires another DS, but Wood/Lumber can be traded. Unfortunately, you cannot trade 'stacks' of any item in Rune Factory. You must place a single piece of Wood/Lumber in every slot and then make the trade. The recipient must have an empty slot in his/her rucksack for EACH. Items received in trade do not stack upon arrival. Unless you have an empty slot for each item, the trade will fail completely.

Incidentally, there is quite a big difference between the original Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 in terms of Lumber/Wood and the difference probably stems from the difficulty players experienced in the original. In Rune Factory 2, many of the rewards for completing Requests on the Bulletin Board include 100 Wood/Lumber. This means that, if you steadily increase Friendship levels with all Characters and perform all Requests, you never should be at a loss for the lumber needed for every building projest or upgrade. In the original Rune Factory, you do not have an opportunity to obtain gifts of 100 Wood/Lumber from the residents of Kardia in any comparable fashion.

The original Rune Factory spans only a single generation and there is no reason why you should be in a hurry to complete the game. As long as you can obtain 100 Wood for the first Monster Barn, you will be in good shape to begin exploring Dungeons and increasing your levels so that you can unlock new dungeons. As Rune Factory 2 spans two generations, the initial gifts of 100 Wood/Lumber from other characters probably were intended to motivate players who might otherwise have been discouraged by difficulties achieving initial goals in the 1st Generation.

Moving forward too quickly in any Harvest Moon/Rune Factory game carries its own disadvantages. One could argue that your character needs Lumber quickly for the house expansion in the original Rune Factory, but the Small Kitchen actually is sufficient at the beginning of the first year. In Rune Factory, having a Recipe and the proper utensils to make a Dish is not sufficient to guarantee success. You must practice simple Recipes again and again in order to increase your cooking skills to the point where you will succeed at more difficult or complex Recipes.

In all three Rune Factory games that I have covered, players often ask me how to defeat a specific Boss, after having been defeated again and again when they have attempted battle. Usually, the real reason for the defeat is because their Experience Levels are too low. I may err on the side of caution, but when I go into battle, I usually have more than sufficient experience and skill to defeat my opponent. I always look for a Wolf for Transport in any Rune Factory game, but in Rune Factory Frontier, you will not be able to tame a Monster until your Skill Levels are within the required Levels for that specific Monster type. This means, effectively, that you must raise your levels a little before you venture onto the Whale's Fin to tame your first Silver Wolf. Everything in its own time...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Secrets of Sunshine Islands

Not having been given permission to post about this incredible game yet, I simply will offer some more tantalising hints...

Where animals are concerned, Sunshine Islands combines some of the most interesting and original aspects both of Magical Melody and Tree of Tranquility. I know there are players who prefer console games with large screens to games played on the DS, but I think that any one who enjoyed Magical Melody and/or Tree of Tranquility will be thrilled with Sunshine Islands.

More details to follow when I am at liberty to post... but what a fantastic game!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Forwards Please, please, please!

My email address is available to all players for game questions and I try religiously to respond to all questions. There are so many of these that players sometimes do not receive as speedy a response as I would wish. I would like to repeat an old request NOT to add me to your forwarding list. I know that many people want to share amusing emails but I cannot deal with them. They clog my box and prevent me from paying attention to important emails. Please remove my address from your forwarding lists. Otherwise, I shall be required to label your emails as 'Spam' and if you have a REAL game question, your email will be in the Spam Folder where it may not be seen...

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Dangers of Being Too Successful in Rune Factory

In the original Rune Factory, when playing my first game in order to create my Guides, I defeated the Sechs Army at the earliest possible opportunity. Although I then was able to add detailed information about Freyr's victory to the Guide, the situation had some unfortunate side-effects.

For example, I no longer was able to complete the Stoller Chalice Quest. For a long time, I did not understand WHY I could not trigger the rest of the Events in the Quest. Initially, I believed that maximum FP was the solution, but even with Sabrina, Neumann and Nicholas at 10 FP, the Quest would not move forward.

In fact, you cannot complete the Stoller Chalice Quest AFTER you have defeated the Sechs Army. I believe that the reason for this mirrors that of the situation when you obtain the Pass for Carmite Cave from Godwin on the second day of the game.

When you do not have a Pass for Carmite Cave yet, you can speak to Mist on 3 Spring when she comes to your farm at noon and she may offer you another bag of Radish Seeds. When, however, I cleverly tilled 100 squares of my field on 2 Spring in order to obtain the Pass from Godwin immediately on the 3rd, I then experienced a very different dialogue with Mist.

She only would refer to my achievement in obtaining the Cave Pass... No more offers of Radish Seeds to a struggling new farmer!

In the case of the Stoller Chalice Quest, you need to speak to Sabrina in her house after hours BUT if you have defeated the Sechs Army, her dialogue changes and she only will praise your victory.

There may be other occasions in Rune Factory where an early success in unlocking a Cave could prevent an essential piece of dialogue. I will try to pinpoint any others that I discover.

Calendar for original Rune Factory DS

Rune Factory, A Fantasy Harvest Moon, was the first game in the Rune Factory series and therefore was our introduction to Kardia and the Characters who lived there. Some of the Characters from Kardia went to Alvarna and thus Rune Factory 2 is set in the same universe and indeed makes reference to more than one Character from the original game.

You will find Cecilia, a little girl in Kardia in this game, has become an adult in Alvarna in Rune Factory 2. Her birthday will remain the same and indeed, her likes and dislikes will not have changed much.

Rune Factory Frontier introduced owners of a Wii to the Rune Factory universe and many of the Characters from Kardia can be found (and courted) in Trampoli. Again, their birthdays as well as most of their likes and dislikes will remain unchanged from game to game. The main difference between the three games is the English names of some of the Cooked Dishes that are ‘Most Favourites’.

For example, in Rune Factory Frontier, Tabatha will declare that she loves ‘Rice Porridge’, the dish that is her Most Favourite in the original Rune Factory. The Dish she actually loves best in Rune Factory Frontier, however, goes by the name of Oatmeal.

Even Characters who do not appear physically in Trampoli can be part of the landscape of Rune Factory Frontier. Rosetta returns to Kardia temporarily when her father Jean becomes ill. At the various Contests, you may hear references to other Characters from Rune Factory. Both Wesley and Gordon evidently communicate with Stella, the ‘Sister’ at the Church in Trampoli.

In fact, your character in Rune Factory Frontier is Raguna. Once again, he is suffering from amnesia, although he vaguely recalls his purpose in leaving Kardia, which is to search for Mist. Mist has come to Trampoli, and thus Rune Factory Frontier begins a new chapter in their lives...

Here, however, is a Calendar for the original Rune Factory (A Fantasy Harvest Moon) DS. It lists all Festivals and Birthdays. With each Birthday listing are two suggested Gifts. The first is the 'Most Favourite Gift' in most cases. The second is an item that the Character particularly likes/loves that either is less expensive or easier to obtain.

In fact, the entire issue of 'Most Favourites' and 'Loved' Gifts is a little obscure in the original Rune Factory. In many cases, the item that is designated as 'Most Favourite' yields the same response as an item that is designated simply as a 'preferred' gift. In Rune Factory 2, each Character had a specific designated 'Birthday Gift' as well as two Most Favourites. In Rune Factory Frontier, there usually is one 'Most Favourite' but more than one preferred gift and no special designated Birthday Gift.

Actually, the responses can be slightly tricky as they may differ in only a single word. For example, when you wish to assess whether BAKED POTATO (Sweet Potato, not ordinary Potato) or CORN ON COB is Rosetta's Most Favourite Gift, these are her Responses:

For Corn on the Cob: (Thanks!) Thank you! I love the CORN ON COB! But how did you know that I liked them?

For Baked Potato: (Thanks!) Thank you! I like the BAKED POTATO.

I personally would opt for the Corn on Cob as the true Most Favourite, especially in view of the fact that this is the item she chooses for your Packed Lunch after marriage.

In the case of Tori, there is one word only that differs in her Responses to PUMPKIN PUDDING and PINKCAT. Originally, I thought that PinkCat was her Most Favourite Gift, but I now realise it is PUMPKIN PUDDING.

For Pumpkin Pudding: 'Th-thank you... I ... I love the PUMP. PUDDING... That's so nice of you...'

For Pinkcat: 'Th-thank you... I ... I like the Pink Cat... That's so nice of you...'

Sharron's Responses to her Most Favourite Relax Tealeaves and the Water/Wind/Fire Crystals she loves are a bit more difficult to decipher:

For Relax Tealeaves: (Good evening!) Thanks for the RELAX TEALEAVES! I’m so happy.

When given a Water, Wind or Fire Crystal, she will say: 'Wow! I was looking for a WaterWind/Fire Crystal for so long. I'm so happy to get this!'

As for Tabatha, her Responses to the 'Most Fav.' RICE PORRIDGE and APPLES AND GRAPES are identical:

For Rice Porridge: (‘Thank you very much!) Thank you very much for the RICE PORRIDGE! I love it!

'Thank you very much for the APPLE. I love it!' (She says the same for a GRAPE.)

Does it really MATTER in the BIG picture where Courtship is concerned? Not really.
Each Eligible Girl in the original Rune Factory is different where Gifts in general are concerned. Some love to receive both Most Favourites and items they really like and their LP will increase rather quickly if you ply them with their favourite Gifts. Others will remain at 0 LP even if you give them the 'Most Favourite Gift' every single day and that gift only on the occasion of her Birthday will have any effect on Love Points.

As far as Friendship is concerned, 'meeting and greeting' on a daily basis IS the most important action to take with respect to EVERY Character. Where Eligible Girls and Love is concerned, there are different rules for each.

Rune Factory Calendar

The Calendar in Rune Factory is comprised of four seasons of 30 days each. There are six days in every week and the week begins on the Holiday. Friday therefore is the last day of the week. As 30 days is precisely five weeks, Festivals will fall on the same day every year.


1 Spring: New Year's Day
Meet and Greet all Characters to increase Friendship
3 Spring: Jean's Birthday (Bullhorn, Moondrop)
11 Spring: Melody's Birthday (Relax Tea, Medicinal Herb)
13 Spring: Neumann's Birthday (Grilled Shrimp, Egg)
18 Spring: Spring Festival (Rune Factory equivalent of Spring Thanksgiving Festival)
Give Eligible Girls Cookies and/or Chocolate Cookies
20 Spring: Russell's Birthday (Chinese Manju, Fried Rice)
23 Spring: Egg Show
Submit Large Egg if possible (highest level) to win.
N.B. In the first Spring, you may be able to win even with a Small Egg purchased from Neumann.
27 Spring: Big Cook-Off
Speak to Jasper to discover specific Dish requirement for Entry, then make it and submit it.
Note that the Dish is chosen randomly so save your game BEFORE midnight on the previous day and if the entry that is announced is one that you cannot make, reload and try again.
30 Spring: Emmet's Birthday (Ultimate Curry, Wine, Insect Jaw)

Unlike other Harvest Moon games, you can access other seasons by touching L or R with the stylus.


1 Summer: Beaches Open
3 Summer: Jasper's Birthday (Omelet, Fried Eggs)
8 Summer: Bianca's Birthday (No Favourite Gift)
12 Summer: Cecilia's Birthday (Aquamarine, Amethyst)
13 Summer: Zavier's Birthday (Devil Horn, Medicinal Herb)
18 Summer: Dairy Show
Enter Large Milk to win Contest
20 Summer: Lady Ann's Birthday (Grilled Lobster, Toyherb)
23 Summer: Godwin's Birthday (Boiled Gyoza, Pineapple)
25 Summer: Announcement about Treasure Hunt from Godwin
26 Summer: Treasure Hunt
Speak to Godwin at the Square to begin Contest
30 Summer: Nicholas' Birthday (Stew, any Coloured Grass)


1 Fall: Mist's Birthday (Emery Flower, Radish)
5 Fall: Felicity's Birthday (Eggplant Curd, Cheesecake)
7 Fall: Harvest Festival
Give a Crop to every character and especially to each of the Eligible Girls (for some, this will increase LP)
10 Fall: Mei's Birthday (Baked Riceball, most raw Fish)
12 Fall: Tabitha's Birthday (Rice Porridge, Flour)
14 Fall: Camus's Birthday (Warrior Certificate, Milk)
16 Fall: Announcement from Godwin about Moonlit Eve
17 Fall: Moonlit Eve
Speak to any Eligible Girl with at least 4 LP to make a date at the top of Mt. Clemens and meet her after 6.00 p.m.
21 Fall: Rosetta's Birthday (Corn on Cob, Strawberry, Baked Potato)
23 Fall: Announcement from Godwin about Wool Festival
24 Fall: Wool Show
Submit Large Wool (highest level) if possible to win Contest
25 Fall: Lynette’s Birthday (4 Leaf Clover, Bamboo Sprout)
29 Fall: Fishing Day
Give Mei a Fish to increase her LP. (Do not give Pond Smelt or Lobster)


1 Winter: Lara's Birthday (Chocolate Cake, Strawberry)
4 Winter: Sabrina's Birthday (Grape Liqueur, all Sashimi)
6 Winter: Winter Festival (RF equivalent of Winter Thanksgiving or Japanese White Day)
Visits from all Eligible Girls with at least 5 Hearts to your farmhouse after 6.00 a.m.
8 Winter: Edward's Birthday (Fried Skipjack, Antidotal Herb)
11 Winter: Leo's Birthday (Bronze Bracelet, Flour)
17 Winter: Wesley's Birthday (Grape Juice, Tomato)
19 Winter: Sharron's Birthday (Relax Tealeaves, Wind Crystal, Fire Crystal)
23 Winter: Sacred Night Announcement from Godwin
24 Winter: Sacred Night
Meet and Greet all Eligible Girls; any girl with 7 Hearts or more can be visited in her own room after 6.00 p.m.
26 Winter: Tori's Birthday (Pumpkin Pudding, Pinkcat)
28 Winter: Luka's Birthday (Curry Manju, Moondrop, Strawberry)
29 Winter: New Year’s Eve Announcement from Godwin
Note that all businesses will be shut for TWO DAYS. Make certain you have Feed.
30 Winter: New Year's Eve
Meet and greet every one for FP increases.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Rune Factory Characters Guide

Although the original Rune Factory DS game was released in the States a couple of years ago and my guides for the game were published then, it evidently has been released in the U.K. only recently. While players in the States ask questions about Rune Factory 2 and Rune Factory Frontier, those from the U.K. and Europe send queries about the original Rune Factory game.

Rereading old Rune Factory General Guide recently, I was rather appalled to discover that I had not added as many details as I usually do to any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory guide. Rather to my dismay, although birthdays were given in the Calendar section, they were not added to the description for each Character in the Characters' section of the Guide. I therefore am revising my Rune Factory General Guide today as well as creating a new Rune Factory Characters Guide. It would be shameful if the original game in this series received less attention from me than its sequels!

Incidentally, my game journals for Rune Factory did not neglect any aspect of the game and are filled with the text of the Events as well as the information about the items that characters prefer. It therefore simply is a matter (as always) of organising and transferring information from my journals to the Guides.

Evening of 20 October: The new Rune Factory Characters Guide has been uploaded by IGN and you will find a link under 'Rune Factory Guides' on the right side of the page.

I have modified the 'Most Favourites' Lists for each Character slightly, including those allocated to the Eligible Girls, even though it seems to me that when a character responds in precisely the same fashion to more than one item, all those items will have equal point values in terms of LP and/or FP.

Evening of 21 October: I finally added proper sections for the Stoller Chalice Quest and Holy Book Quest to the Rune Factory Walkthrough/General Guide as well as the Characters Guide.

Shame on me for not completing these Guides properly any sooner! There have been so many incredible Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games in the past couple of years. One is driven forward to a new game long before one has exhausted all the potentials of an existing game...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Perfectly Stunning and Splendid Birthday in Harvest Moon

Without giving away any surprises, I was delighted by my latest birthday celebration in the Harvest Moon game I am playing at the moment. Shocked... thrilled... I think that players will be well pleased!

I have been playing Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games for a few years now but I still am capable of being startled by new options in these games. The creators appear to have boundless creativity and enthusiasm and although they build on beloved characters and traditions, there always is something new and wonderful added to the mix.

I personally would recommend that players try to play ALL of the games in each series if they can find them. A number of players have been asking whether they should invest in Sunshine Islands or Island of Happiness. I think it would be a mistake to dismiss Island of Happiness at this point. Much of my pleasure in exploring Sunshine Islands is derived from my experiences in Island of Happiness. The two games are similar in many respects but each is unique. I don't see these games as being progressively better, but rather as a continuing saga.

Long ago, when I explored the Library in 'More Friends of Mineral Town', I was able to appreciate the books about Forget-Me-Not Valley because I had played 'A Wonderful Life'. HM DS and Cute DS drew upon previous games set both in Mineral Town and Forget-Me-Not Valley. Island of Happiness introduces many new characters but still includes references to Mineral Town and indeed, characters from Mineral Town visit the Island annually. Frantic Farming, a different sort of Harvest Moon game, still has wonderful Events that involve the characters from Island of Happiness. As for Sunshine Islands... well, more about that later.

Players have begun to discuss Rune Factory 3 but I should hate to play any future Rune Factory game without having played the original Rune Factory, Rune Factory 2 and Rune Factory Frontier. All these games are linked by a common history.

I have to confess that I enjoy the sense of familiarity I experience whenever I explore a new Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game. I am glad that I have some idea of what I can expect... but the little surprises and changes are very exciting as well. The creators of these games appear to have a very fine sense of balance where any new game is concerned. Without jettisoning the traditional aspects of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory that fans have grown to love and expect, they always introduce enough new surprises to keep our experiences fresh and exciting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taro and the Fishing Rod in Island of Happiness

I know I have written about this before, but it still remains the aspect of Island of Happiness that represents a problem for the greatest number of players. As it is based on a fundamental aspect of Island of Happiness, it is worth exploring here once again.

In Island of Happiness, a character will not accept any gift from you if you have neglected him/her. Neglect in this respect means that you have not done your regular 'meeting and greeting' in the immediate past. Your level of Friendship with the individual will not protect you. Ignoring an individual who has a high level of Friendship with you can result in a refusal of your gift until you have spoken to him/her regularly again.

The number of days that your gift will be rejected is based on the length of time that you neglected the individual. If you did not speak to the individual for a couple of days, your gift may be rejected only for a single day. If, however, you neglected the individual for a week or so, it may take six consecutive days of 'meeting and greeting' that character before he/she will accept a gift from you.

This is a very interesting aspect of Island of Happiness of which every player must be aware. Many players only become aware of it, however, when they attempt to give Taro one of the Coloured Herbs/Wild Grasses that he loves and he rejects it. As Taro must be at 2 Hearts before he will give you a Fishing Rod, cultivating a relationship with him is essential.

Note that gift-giving is not the only way to raise Love and Friendship in Island of Happiness. Simply speaking to an individual will raise levels, albeit more slowly than gift-giving. In fact, my Walkthrough for Island of Happiness urges players to visit Taro's house each morning not only to speak to Taro and obtain the weather report from him but to speak to Elliot and Natalie as well in order to begin the process of raising Heart Levels. Elliot is an Eligible Bachelor if your character is a girl and Natalie is an Eligible Girl if you are playing a boy. You can raise Heart Levels to the next level by speaking to any character daily even if you never give a single gift. It will take a long time, however!

Giving Taro a Coloured Herb/Grass each day will raise his Friendship Level to 2 Hearts faster than simply speaking to him will and, because you really need a Fishing Rod as early as possible in IoH in order to make money and bring members of the Fishing Team to the Island, I advise players to make the gift of the Coloured Herb/Grass. It is not necessary, however. What IS necessary is 'meeting and greeting' him each day. As his weather predictions are totally accurate, it is a good idea to do so even if he didn't have the power to give or withhold a Fishing Rod. Knowing if a Typhoon is set to hit the Island the next day can be critical information.

The rules of Neglect are as follows: The number of days you have failed to greet a character determines the number of days that your gift will be rejected BUT six days is the maximum number of days that a character can refuse a gift. Even if you fail to speak to a character for a fortnight, he/she will refuse your gift for six days only. You do need to speak to the individual EVERY day, however, in order to 'clear the slate'. In other words, in such a case, six consecutive days of greetings are needed to persuade the character to accept a gift from you.

I always stress the importance of avoiding 'tunnel vision' in any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game. Friendship, not money, is the backbone of success. If you grow and harvest all the crops in the world but fail to greet your fellow villagers, you will not succeed in any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game. IoH demonstrates this by placing the Fishing Rod in Taro's hands. Many Harvest Moon games in the past have done likewise by making a Fishing Rod the one tool that cannot be purchased.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Move Over, Vaughn!


As much as I responded to Vaughn's physical appearance in Island of Happiness, I really rather detested his surly disposition and lack of good manners. One is sympathetic to the difficult, rather lonely life he led in his childhood, but orphans and those whom fortune has not favoured have been known to behave far better in the face of social deprivation.
Nonetheless, as I always had a weakness for young men with long silver hair, I courted Vaughn in Island of Happiness with single-minded determination (even though I went through the Courtship and Marriage moves with every bachelor, never saving the results afterwards).

Now, however, I have to declare that I have met some one who embodies all of my fantasies and dreams. With aristocratic bearing (and a string of names to equal his lineage), a love of animals, a chivalrous disposition, impeccable manners AND the 'peaches and cream' 6th form sort of wildly attractive looks that captures my heart instantly, I cannot find a single flaw in this Eligible Bachelor. He is a REAL Prince Charming but I cannot say anything else about him at this point in time...

Just to let you know that upcoming Harvest Moon games have some wonderful romantic surprises in store for players... Nor have male players been shorted here. There is an exquisite new Eligible Girl for them and they ALWAYS had the Witch Princess, who is one of my favourite characters, although I really could not bear to slaughter animals even for her.