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My very first experience with Harvest Moon and why i'll always love console games!

This weekend what started as me marking off as simply marking another title of my backlog results in me enjoying a game in a deeper way than I have in well over a year .

Jonathan Jennings, Blogger

May 8, 2013

7 Min Read

Nothing like the feeling of a Controller in my hand:

Consoles built the foundation of my love for gamin wile many other people grew up loving PC games or becoming PC enthusaists in there early teens I grew up as a kid only playing Console games due to not owning a PC and didn't even come to expiriment PC games until my early adulthood . So for me Sitting down in front of the T.V. to enjoy a game is bordelrine Ritualistic , for a brief moment in time I had the opportunity to  pay tribute to my gaming  shrine and enjoy myself in a way that has always entertained me in a deeper way than film or TV.

However as I've gotten older and games  as well as I  have changed, finding the time to sit in front of the TV uninterrupted has been difficult at best and impossible at worst.   The fact that developing games has minimized my playing time significantly always makes me chuckle a bit to mysef. 

 For the last year or so my gaming time is mostly split between a  constantly growing admiration for mobile games, a few PC indie games, and every so often an hour or two of my favorite sports , RPG  , or platforming console titles .

While I have played lots of games that have entertained me anywhere between 10 minutes to 2 hours I can't count how many games i have played once and put down for a significant stretch of time or games I just occasionally revisit to scratch my gaming itch .

Then This Weekend Happened :

The Core Of Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing

I have never been very interested in the Harvest
Moon series, games like Harvest moon and Animal Crossing don't appeal to me from a conceptual standpoint.  If you eplained to me the core mechanic of Animal crossing is to virtually pay off your landlord I would never even consider that there is fun to be had in that .  However I remember that Animal crossing hwich was initially a title I bought for my younger  sisters birthday ended up becoming a huge hit with my family as a whole including me( i spent hundreds of hours playing that game) .

So while visiting my parents house this weekend my sister mentioend to me that a friend of hers let her borrow Harvest Moon. Since I had never played a Harvest Moon title and knowing that while conceptually a farming simulator seems dull, I had to remember how much I thoroughly enjoyed Animal Crossing and decided to give it a shot. 

I expected to play the game maybe an hour , possibly two but overall I just wanted to get the gist of the experience and mark it off of my " never played" list .  6 hours later I had just sold my first round of tomato plants , bought a rooster and a hen, and established a basic routing consisting of farming and taking care of my livestock in the morning, selling my produce and milk thereafter, and spending the afternoons roaming Forget-Me-not alley and talking with the towns people.  I was hooked and it happened without me realizing it .

Patience is a virtue, but  can  forced patience be fun ?:
There are several aspects of the game I love already and considering I am only 11 in-game days in I have barely scratched the surface of what Harvest moon  has to offer I know but what stuck out most to me was how my time investment seemed like it recieved an adequate payoff.  

In comparison I have actually really enjoyed The Simpsons : Tapped out for the past month or two . it's pretty formulaic like many social games you ta your character , give the a tasks, set and forget, and come back and reap the rewards.  I can " play" the Simpsons: Tapped Out for  10 minutes a day or so and walk away satisfied and feeling like i accomplished the tasks of that  game for that day .

in 10 minutes I have doled out my towns peoples tasks and responsibilities for the next 24 hours

Simpson: Tapped Out

 Like I said in a relatively short time I can set tasks for my citizens to make money, return tomorrow to reap the rewards and keep doing this. it's definitely enjoyable in its own right .

 Pictured: A far more successful farmer than me

Harvest Moon : a wonderful Life

However in Harvest Moon It took maybe 2 hours for my first set of tomatoes to grow and I used a Hoe to break up the dirt in each individual plot, placed fertilizer on every tomatoe, watered each one daily, and after investing all of tis time seeing the tomatoes blossom and then become ready to harvest was rewarding in a way that was so satisfying to me it makes me laugh. You would think i really did plant and grow my own tomatoes .  

You get what you give?:

After I broke out of my trance and was shockd to see 6 hours passed so seamlessly , with a game I hadn't expected to joy nearly this much I had to figure out why I enjoyed the experience so much . It really did take me back to when I was younger and would sit in front of my TV for hours at a time cruising the oceans as Link in Wind Waker  or plotting  war against Seyda Neen in Morrowind .   

I think I came to realize I don't think I have played too many games in recent years that have demanded my time and attention quite so muchand more so a game I felt that after I had played for the day I had gotten my " fill" so to speak . 

Once again I am not trying to attack mobile games ( i work on them why would I ?) but for someone like me I don't think i have encountered a mobile game that has really required much of my time or focus and therefore the return I get from the game experiences is diminished.  I full understand that long and deep experiences are usually against the general design axioms of mobile developed games and with good reason mobile games can be enjoyed in a way Harvets moon can't. If I tried to play harvest moon at work Either my work would get done or I would progress in harvest moon, It would be impossible to achieve or get the maximum return from either .  however even saying that I can't forget games like Eufloria , the adventure game  Yesterday  , and metroidvania -type title Walking Mars which all stole my attention and provided very enjoyable experiences for me . 

Waking Mars is extremely captivating off adventure and mystery in equal doses

Waking Mars

What I am  really trying to say if I'm saying anything is .... :

 Harvest Moon reminded me just how much I used to be invested in the videogames i love , how many hours i spent in front of the TV complteley captured by the enironment, world, and tasks that were set for my characters .  While Harvest Moon is definitely a quality and solidly made titleI think its appeal to me makes me realize just how few games especially on consoles that have grabbed me quite to that degree. It felt really good to pay one more Tribute to my traditional gaming shrine and hopefully with the advent of mobile and te exploding PC indie game scene tis won't be my last chance to enjoy games in the form I have known them most my entire life .  Thanks for Reading!

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