Thursday, September 16, 2010

Winter in Grand Bazaar

As this is my primary site, I thought I would share some details about the Winter Season in Grand Bazaar, although more information always will be found on my Grand Bazaar Site and Grand Bazaar Guides. Click the portrait of Freya on the right side of the page to go to my Grand Bazaar Site.

Winter in Harvest Moon games always tends to be quite different from the other three Seasons but Winter in Grand Bazaar has some very creative additions to the usual snowy landscape.

First of all, there are snowballs on the ground and although you cannot push them together to make your own Snowmen who speak and give you gifts as you can in Animal Crossing, they often DO contain Gifts from Nature. Throw the Snowball to smash it and you may find it contains an Ore Stone or other surprise, including Cooked Dishes and Flowers from every Season. Freyja found a Curry Dumpling in a Snowball on the second day of Winter, Moondrop Flowers and Magic Blue Flowers.

Incidentally, there are Snowmen of various sizes and designs stashed here and there throughout the Map, although I have yet to receive a visit from one on a snowy night as in Animal Parade, asking for a replacement for his lost nose.

Next, although the River is frozen in Winter, you can find cracks in the ice. Use your Hammer to strike the ice where you see the cracks and it will create a large hole where you can dive for items or fish. Despite the freezing temperature, your Character will react no differently to immersion in the water in Winter...

Ore Stones can be found on the ground in Winter as well as inside Snowballs and when diving in the River.

There are two kinds of sparkles in Winter. One is the sparkle of ice that can be found randomly anywhere on the map, including locations your Character could not possibly reach. These are 'eye candy' in the form of glittering ice from Winter's freezing temperatures. The othr sparkles are the usual ones that denote the presence of coins.

So far, the only Cooked Dish I have found inside Snowballs is Curry Dumpling. The Rank/Quality varies, however, making one Curry Dumpling worth more than another. A Snowball incidentally can contain another Snowball!

A new activity in Winter is Snowboarding. Mayor Felix will deliver a Snowboard to your House on the 2nd of Winter or thereabouts and announce that there will be a tournament on the 20th. You can practice on the course on the Hotel Screen. Once the Snowboard delivery occurs, you will find a Skateboard on sale at the Bazaar for 9000G. This appears to take a slot ordinarily devoted to one of the Pet Toys. The other Pet Toy will continue to be sold. I believe that the Pet Toy is chosen randomly but if you wish to make certain that both are sold at Felix's Stall, you probably should purchase the Skateboard and be done with THAT.

Amir will be introduced in the first Winter on or about 3 Winter by Mayor Felix and will stay at the Hotel. Milk makes him very happy. All likes/dislikes as well as the schedule of Amir's Heart Events can be found in my Courtship and Marriage Guide.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Upcoming Games: The Sims 3 for DS

I was looking at the different versions of the DSi on Amazon as my primary DS Lite has lost the use of the L Button and while reading reviews by customers, came upon the Sims 3 game for the DS, not yet released. Has any one heard anything good or bad about this game? Generally, I have found that the handheld versions of The Sims are completely different from the console versions (and they are quite different from the PC games). The sole exception was the Sims Castaway for the PSP which was almost identical to the Wii version, but then the PSP is a rather unusual species... half-console, half-handheld.

I would be interested in the opinions of other Sims fans about this one...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review of Grand Bazaar

Having played a few Facebook Farming Simulation games recently, I was struck once again by the degree of patience and dedication that Harvest Moon requires. Yet, the rewards are far greater than any rewards gained in playing a Facebook game.

Harvest Moon and Rune Factory are not like Facebook farming simulation games except for the fact that they are based on farming. Facebook games essentially were designed for individuals who, logging into Facebook for whatever purpose, then could visit their farms for a few minutes every day in order to make gradual progress and 'meet' other players as Neighbours and Friends.

Harvest Moon games, on the other hand, require hours of dedicated gameplay if you wish to unlock all possible options and experience all Events. Players always know that there are more options to be unlocked and this often is the motivation that spurs them onward when their Characters still are scratching out the barest means of survival on farms still largely unused.

Reviews of games as well as strategy guides with 'spoilers' sometimes provide added incentive to continue. In Grand Bazaar, however, you will have information as to future options when you encounter a new Dish made by Joan or unlock the Windmills.

For those players who still have grown nothing more than the three Crops available in Spring or Summer of the first year, the 3rd Windmill offers a glimpse of the wealth of possibiilities in farming that are in the future:

3rd Windmill Recipes

Turnip Seeds:
Ingredients: Turnip
Spring Crop. Can harvest 4-5 Days after planting.

Potato Seeds
Ingredients: Potato
Spring Crop: Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Cabbage Seeds
Ingredients: Cabbage
Spring Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Cucumber Seeds
Ingredients: Cucumber
Spring Crop. Can harvest 7 - 9 Days after planting.

Asparagus Seeds
Ingredients: Asparagus
Spring Crop. Can harvest 8 - 11 Days after planting.

Strawberry Seeds
Ingredients: Strawberry
Spring Crop. Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Tomato Seeds
Ingredients: Tomato
Summer Crop. Can harvest 8 - 10 Days after planting.

Corn Seeds
Ingredients: Corn
Summer Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Onion Seeds
Ingredients: Onion
Summer Crop. Can harvest 5 - 7 Days after planting.

Pineapple Seeds
Ingredients: Pineapple
Summer Crop. Can harvest 15 - 21 Days after planting.

Pumpkin Seeds
Ingredients: Pumpkin
Summer Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Radish Seeds
Ingredients: Radish
Summer Crop. Can harvest 4 - 5 Days after planting.

Eggplant Seeds
Ingredients: Eggplant
Fall Crop. Can harvest 8 - 10 Days after planting.

Carrot Seeds
Ingredients: Carrot
Fall Crop. Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Yam Seeds
Ingredients: Yam
Fall Crop. Can harvest 4 - 6 Days after planting.

Green Pepper Seeds
Ingredients: Green Pepper
Fall Crop. Can harvest 6 - 8 Days after planting.

Spinach Seeds
Ingredients: Spinach
Fall Crop. Can harvest 5 - 6 Days after planting.

Y. Pepper Seeds
Iingredients: Yellow Pepper
Fall Crop. Can harvest 8 - 11 Days after planting.

Cauliflower Seeds
Ingredients: Cauliflower
Fall Crop. Can harvest 11 - 15 Days after planting.

Grass Seeds
Ingredients: Fodder + Fertiliser
Grow Spring - Fall. Harvest 12 Days after planting.

Wheat Seeds
Ingredients: Wheat + Fertiliser
Grow Spring - Fall. Harvest 50 Days after planting.

Coffee Tree Seed
Ingredients: Coffee Beans + Fertiliser
Bears Fruit in the Spring. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Olive Tree Seed
Ingredients: Olive + Fertiliser
Bears Fruit in the Spring. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Peach Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 2 months to mature.

Banana Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 1 Month to mature.

Orange Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 6 Weeks to mature.

Cherry Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the summer. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Grape Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the Fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Apple Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the Fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Muscat Tree Seed
Bears fruit in the fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Blueberry Seed
Ingredients: Blueberries + Fertiliser
Bears fruit in the Fall. It takes 2 Months to mature.

Tea Tree Seed
Ingredients: Spring Tea Leaves + Summer Tea Leaves + Fall Tea Leaves
Takes a Month to mature. Leaves grow Spring - Fall.

Coffee Pack
Ingredients: Coffee Beans
Pack of ground Coffee. Enjoy coffee with ease.

Citrus Perfume
Ingredients: Orange + Pineapple
Perfume with Citrus Aroma. Makes a Great Gift.

Flower Perfume
Ingredients: Moondrop + Pink Cat + Magic Blue Flower + Magic Red Flower + Toy Flower
Perfume with floral Aroma. Makes a great Gift.

Herb Perfume
Ingredients: Mint + Chamomile + Lavender
Perfume with herbal aroma. Makes a great gift.

Olive Oil
Ingredients: Olive + Oil

Herb Oil
Ingredients: Mint + Chamomile + Lavender + Oil

Nut Oil
Ingredients: Walnut + Oil
Oil made from Nuts. Used for cooking.

Grape Seed Oil
Ingredients: Grape Tree Seeds

Pumpkin Seed Oil
Ingredients: Pumpkin Seeds
Oil made from Pumpkin Seeds. Used for cooking.

Bottled Walnuts
Ingredients: Walnut
Bottle filled with Walnuts. Incredient for cooking.

Ingredients: Honeycomb
Made from honeycomb. Very sweet and delicious.

Bottled Chestnuts
Ingredients: Chestnut
Ingredients: Bottle fileld with peeled chestnuts to cook with.

Ingredients: Wheat
A bag full of flour. Ingredient for bread/pasta.

Bread Crumbs
Ingredients: Bread
A bag full of bread crumbs. Ingredient for fried foods.

White Bread Crumbs
Ingredients: White Bread
A bag of white bread crumbs.

Rice Flour
Ingredients: Rice
A bag full of rice flour. Ingredient for recipes.

Soy Flour
Ingredients: Soybean
Made from crushed Soybeans.

Buckwheat Flour
Ingredients: Buckwheat
Soba noodle ingredient. Has other uses too.

Shiratama Flour
Ingredients: Rice Candy
The essential shiratama ingredient.

As you can see, there is so much more than the initial Turnips, Potatoes and Cabbage for the player to anticipate!

Note that it is through expansion of the Bazaar that more Crops, Cookware and other options will be unlocked. Chen and Gannon from Sunny Island/Sunshine Islands will arrive in Zephyr Village when the Bazaar is expanded for the first time and Chen will sell more Seeds as well as Oil. Sherry will begin to sell Fruit Tree Seeds. An unnamed Character will sell Cookware and another unnamed Salesman will sell the famous Big Bed. A further expansion will unlock even more Crops and items.

Some players have thought that Grand Bazaar simply incorporated aspects of other Harvest Moon games, but diving for treasure is a new option that provides entertainment and suspense to an aspiring farmer, especially when he/she discovers Gold Ore or a tin of Straight Tea caught in his/her clothing when emerging once again on dry land.

Although one could use a net to catch insects in Hero, in Grand Bazaar the player can catch them with his/her bare hands. Walk, don't run, by the way. Players who complain that they are not 'fast enough' to catch the fireflies are moving TOO FAST. You have to stand in front of the firefly and watch it wink back into view before you scoop it up in your hands. There are so many varieties and colours of Fireflies... Summer is a magical season. You can leap into the air to catch other insects, especially when they are flying.

When Insects cling to the trunks of Trees, walk slowly to a position in front of the tree but a step away from it, then leap forward into the air and catch it. It's a bit tricky sometimes but rather fun.

I have added a section to my General Guide that gives the locations of insects in each Season.

Traditional Harvest Moon Festivals have been expanded. The Flower Festival lasts four days. The Sprites' Tea Party in earlier games now is a Community Tea Party.

All in all, the game is similar enough to other Harvest Moon/Rune Factory games to give fans a sense of stability and a little 'edge' over the beginner but different enough to excite every one.

Please visit my new Grand Bazaar site for the latest versions of all my Grand Bazaar Guides. CLICK ON THE PORTRAIT OF FREYA ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE to go to the site.