Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making Rare Items in Harvest Moon and Sunshine Islands

When I first played FoMT and made the four Suns in my Kitchen, I wondered about their purpose. In Friends of Mineral Town, they had no real practical purpose... Then came HM DS and Cute DS, where the four Suns could be obtained in the Mine. In these games, they had a vital task to perform. They acted as surrogate 'Suns' in your Basements.

On to Island of Happiness, where the four Suns were put to similar use in your Greenhouse. Now we reach Sunshine Islands, where the four Suns can be purchased from Chen once you have your Greenhouse.

There are no Recipes for Suns in Sunshine Islands, but there are Recipes for OTHER rare items that delight me.

Any veteran player of Harvest Moon will have followed the rare Red Magic Flower, sometimes given other names such as Blue Red Magic Flower. In FoMT and MFoMT, a bag of Blue Magic Flower Seeds when planted had a chance of producing a Red Magic Flower.
In Island of Happiness, you could find them growing wild near the Mine on occasion. In Sunshine Islands, although they do grow wild (but are as uncommon as they were in IoH), you can MAKE them in your Kitchen! Admittedly, the Recipe requires another rare item in the form of Alexandrite but the idea that one can create a Red Magic Flower is enchanting.

Another rare item familiar to veteran players is Gold Lumber. The most expensive building material that exists (apart from Mythic Stone, useful in 'building' a Refrigerator and Cabinet where items stay fresh forever), it is available in almost every Harvest Moon game at the local Carpenter's workshop for a rather high price.
In Sunshine Islands, you can buy Gold Lumber from Gannon, but you can MAKE it as well in your Kitchen, using a piece of Gold. Were the piece of Gold Ore the only ingredient, we'd all be rich... The catch here is that you need a Million Gold Ticket as well... (The Recipe calls for Copper and Silver Ore, but that is easily obtained, even by a pauper.) I recall that there were inventive players in HM DS and Cute DS who attempted to make Golden Lumber from Gold Ore... but in vain, of course. Now they can do it in Sunshine Islands!

All those players who never truly understood the purpose of the Tickets in other Harvest Moon games now have a very practical use for them. In fact, the Million Gold Ticket is one of Lily's Favourite Gifts, rather unsurprisingly. although not as well-received as the Pirate Treasure. (After all, she is an avowed Treasure Hunter!)
The tickets always had a practical use for millionaires and billionaires in any Harvest Moon game, by the way, if not so much for ordinary folk. There is a limit to the amount of money that 'fits' into your Earnings total. If you exceeded that amount, all of your labours would be as nought in terms of shipping. By purchasing a Ticket and stashing it in your Cabinet, you could continue to add to your earnings.
Tickets always are items that need to be shipped once to complete the Shipping List as well.

All of these various permutations in rare items in Harvest Moon are so typical of the creators of these games. The creativity of these artists is boundless. Here you have a very well-defined Universe. Characters may appear in more than one game and when they do, they always are consistent with the earlier appearances in terms of their histories, likes and dislikes. Nonetheless, each game usually adds depth to existing characters as well as introducing new ones. Most items tend to be the same from game to game but there are new methods of obtaining them or new uses for them. What this does in a way, is to provide players with a sense of security, that they 'live' in a stable world and yet, it always reminds them that this Harvest Moon world is magical. Every item can surprise you. New potential lurks like an unsprouted seed within every Crop.

I wish I could eavesdrop on the initial creation of a new Harvest Moon game, to witness the brainstorming that must occur. 'What if...?' 'What if the player could MAKE Gold Lumber in his/her Kitchen?' 'Red Magic Flowers are used in so many Recipes... but we don't want to make them too common in the Wilds. What if the player could MAKE them in his/her Kitchen?' 'Yes, but you can't make that too easy either. Let's add a valuable item to the Recipe.' 'What about Pink Diamond?' 'Good, but not rare enough. Let's make it Alexandrite.' It is possible that all of these dialogues would be internal, in the mind of a single artist... but I imagine that all the artists who work on new Harvest Moon games have some input. It is the sort of world that captures the heart of any one who comes close to it in any way.

It makes me sad to think of all the people who never even heard of 'Harvest Moon' and who never played a single game... Perhaps this will change gradually and they will become as famous as any Classic in literature. They certainly deserve to be.

N.B. Only a few examples were given for each of the rare items. They do appear in other Harvest Moon games as well...


Anonymous said...

Dear Freya,

I know what you mean!
How about starting a brainstorming "What if..." forum of our own? Right here?

What if ...
1 - shipping 1000 Litographs will reveal the history of the Tower, by Gerald, the archeologist?

2 - What would that story be? How about the sequel of Sunshine Islands?


Anonymous said...

I like your idea!

What if...
1) Garbage (besides logs) that you caught fishing had some use besides shipping list?

2) There could be a game where you started out as an established farmer?

3) You could make some sort of casserole?