Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Usefulness of Dialogue in Animal Parade

A friend of mine who is playing Animal Parade and who tends to be very impatient by nature, complained bitterly when he discovered that the Purple Bell Quest required that he raise at least 10 Characters to three hearts.

He wrote: 'Your help with HMAP has brought me into my first winter and I've hung
all the bells and encountered the bell in the church -- and learned the
grim news that I must make lots of friends (your guide says 10 with 3
hearts each) before that final bell will ring. To me that sounds
extremely boring -- making the same rounds day after day with a gift
list in my hand, talking to people as I've already done for a year. The
only hearts I have are from my cow!'

By reading the Walkthrough, he then discovered that there was a further Quest AFTER the Purple Bell Quest as well as a multitude of subsidiary Quests and goals. If 'the only hearts' he has are from his Cow, he obviously has not experienced ANY of the Courtship Events either! Courtship and Marriage often are the most popular aspects of any Harvest Moon/Rune Factory game. To many players, the actual plot is subsidiary to the excitement of winning some one's heart and having a family.

Obviously, every player is different where any Game is concerned, but in terms of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, a player who does not enjoy dialogue or Events really misses much of the point of these games. In Animal Parade, moreover, the variations in dialogue are incredible. For example, in logging dialogue for the Harvest Festival, I discovered that there were at least THREE different possible dialogues for Characters on the day of the Harvest Festival. There may have been more than four, but I logged four for many of the Characters.

This by no means exhausts the dialogue possibilities in terms of the Harvest Festival actually, as every character spoke of the upcoming Festival on the previous day as well.

On the actual day of the Festival, speaking to some one BEFORE your character entered any Contest early in the day elicited one dialogue. Speaking to some one AFTER your Character entered and won any Contest elicited another dialogue. Finally, speaking to some one after the Festival ended elicited another dialogue.

On any ordinary day, there are at least four different dialogues that can be experienced with any Character. One relates to the weather, one relates to the season and one is based on current Friendship/Heart Level. Beyond that, there is a set phrase that each Character has that is constant throughout the game.

In terms of Festival dialogue, you often can learn useful facts by speaking to Characters. The Harvest Festival, with its Cooking Contest revealed a wealth of useful information about various characters.

Here are some of the dialogues on the day of the Harvest Festival:

Chloe: I made Baked Potatoes for the contest today! They’re hot and delicious! (pink heart)
Toby: There are a variety of ways to cook fish. A lot of thenm are quite simple, too. I can always give you a few pointers.

Maya: I entered Seafood Stew into the conteset! But my grandma said my secret seasonings aren’t so secret!

Gill: I entered my Ratatouille in the Cooking Contest. It has vegetables, so it’s healthy. I actually don’t like bell peppers, but I don’t mind if they’re cooked.

Selena: I was going to enter a dish I learned from my dad in the cooking contest... But it came out all burned! Sigh...

Witch Princess: have you been to the Harvest Festival? What won first place? Was it ice cream? Actually... I’m not really interested!

Bo: I’ve made a mushroom saute for today’s cooking contest. I may not win, but I did as well as I could’ve!

Mira: I entered a vegetable dish in the cooking contest. My husband didn’t like carrots, so I had to get creative for him to eat them.

Ramsey: I love buckwheat noodles. I often make my own... I hope we harverst plenty of buckwheat this year.

Luke: I learned to cook by watching my father. I can make all kinds of stews! Bo’s always telling me to stop though!

Kathy: I love cheese, so I entered my seafood gratin in the Cooking Contest. The only problem is that it’s not that great when it’s cold.

Hayden: They’re holding a cooking contest for today’s Harvest Festival. Are cocktails okay?

Luna: Hey, what did you enter in the Cooking Contest? I made my specialty, pumpkin pie. It’s not too sweet, and it’s also in season!

Candace: Today is the Harvest Festival. Is your dish ready? I decided on a dish that uses herbs, since I like herbs...

Renee: I’ve entered my salmon cream stew in the cooking contest. The salmon and milk really complement each other.

Barbara: I made stir fry for the contest. It’s quick and easy ... and it’s full of vitamins.

Phoebe: Did you enter anything into the contest? I’ve entered tempura noodles. It takes longer to make the noodles by hand, but the taste is worth it.

Shelly: I made a chestnut pie for the cooking contest. Peeling chestnuts is a pain, but you can use them for a lot of different desserts.

Irene: Did you make something for the Harvest Fstival? I made croquettes!

Ruth: I submitted my spinach risotto for the Cooking Contest. Spinach is good for you, and it’s quite popular among burly sailors!

My own personal favourite, if not particularly useful in terms of likes and dislikes of Characters, was Calvin's declaration:

Calvin: In ancient times, these festivals would involve sacrifice!

Some of the declarations are more overt than others. In some cases, you must 'read between the lines' but most of the Characters speak of a 'Most Favourite' when they announce their entries. Other information that is provided, in Gill's case, is a Most Detested Item. Apart from information that is useful in terms of giving gifts to an individual, dialogue can tell you what sort of dishes are likely to win 1st Place. Bo speaks of 'Mushroom Saute' as his entry and confesses that he 'may not win' the Contest with it. In fact, it is only dishes with a very high shipping value that will win 1st Place. The same is true with respect to the Vegetable Contest, the Fruit Contest and the Flower Contest. Shipping value is ALL that counts!

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