Harvest Moon (video game)
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North American cover art
|Series||Story of Seasons|
|Genre(s)||Farm simulation, role-playing game|
Harvest Moon (牧場物語 Bokujō Monogatari, lit. "Farm Story") is a farm simulation role-playing game developed by Amccus for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game first released in Japan in 1996, in North America in 1997, and in Europe in 1998. The European version shipped with language localizations for Germany and France. It is the first game in the long-running Story of Seasons series, previously known as the Harvest Moon series in western territories. The game has been re-released on the Satellaview and the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles.
The game follows a young boy charged with maintaining his absent father’s farm. The primary objective is to restore and maintain a farm that has fallen into disrepair. The player decides how to allocate time between daily tasks, such as clearing land, planting crops, selling harvests, raising livestock, attending festivals, building relationships with villagers, and foraging.
For vegetables to develop, they must receive water each day; lack of water does not kill crops, but prevents them from growing. Animals must be fed once a day to keep them producing. While the only care that chickens require is feeding, cows must be continually talked to, brushed, and milked to retain their health. A cow may become sick if not fed for a day and, if untreated, sickness can lead to death. Chickens may die if left outside, where they can be blown away in a storm or eaten by wild dogs. After dark, the only business in town that the player can access is the bar, where a number of non-player characters gather to drink and talk.
The game was released on August 9 1996 in Japan for the Super Famicom. It was released in North America in 1997, and Europe in 1998. According to Natsume's Adam Fitch, the game sold "a decent amount for that time".
In the localized North American version, all references to alcohol are changed to "juice," even though anyone who drinks said "juice" clearly becomes intoxicated. While many elements of the game were "westernized" for its American release, some Japanese cultural elements remained. For example, townspeople sometimes discuss the church and its religion in Shinto terms, such as referring to the existence of both a "God of the Harvest" and a "God of Business." In the "New Day" cinematic sequences, the character eats an onigiri, a traditional Japanese food item. The news anchor on TV in the game bows to the audience in a welcoming manner, which is uncommon in western countries.
BS Bokujō Monogatari (BS 牧場物語) was an episodically released ura- or gaiden-version of the original Harvest Moon consisting of 4 unique episodes on the Satellaview. Each episode had to be downloaded by players from St.GIGA (at NikoNiko Ranch on the BS-X cartridge) during a specified broadcast week and during a specified time-window. It featured "SoundLink" narration (radio drama-style streaming voice data intended to guide players through the game and give helpful hints and advice). Due to the nature of SoundLink broadcasts these games were only broadcast to players between 6:00 and 6:50PM on broadcast dates. The game was never released outside Japan and as with all other Satellaview titles it has never been re-released as a stand-alone title. Online Satellaview emulation enthusiasts refer to the game unofficially as "BS Makiba Monogatari". A single rerun of the broadcasts was conducted in the same weekly format from November 4, 1996 to November 30, 1996 at 5:00 to 5:50PM. The BS-X download location changed to Bagupotamia Temple. The episodes were known as:
- First Time "Outdoor Life" (はじめての“あうとどあＬＩＦＥ” Hajimeteno "Autodoa Life") released on September 2, 1996
- Fruitful Land and Mind! (大地と心に溢れる実り！ Daichi to Kokoro ni Afure ru Minori!) released on September 9, 1996
- We Are All Alive (僕らはみんな生きている Bokura Haminna Iki Teiru) released on September 16, 1996
- Aim for Ranch Master! (牧場マスターを目指せ！ Bokujō Masuta wo Mezase!) released on September 23, 1996
The game received mainly positive reviews and has a GameRankings standing of 73%. Crispin Boyer remarked in Electronic Gaming Monthly, "An RPG about farming? Talk about a hard sell. But this epic adventure in agriculture is as fun as it is original." He and the other three members of the EGM review team praised the game's original concept and the numerous interesting tasks the player must juggle.
- "Review Crew: Harvest Moon". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 95. Ziff Davis. June 1997. p. 46.
- Inc., Aetas. "「牧場物語」の和田康宏氏がSwitchに感じた可能性。生態系シム「ハッピーバースデイズ」クリエイティブプロデューサーインタビュー" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on April 10, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- "牧場物語 [スーパーファミコン] / ファミ通.com". www.famitsu.com. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
- Mackey, Bob (January 20, 2014). "Retronauts Volume III Episode 14: Harvest Moon". Retronauts (Podcast). Event occurs at 12 minutes 25 seconds. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- Kameb (February 12, 2008). スーパーファミコンアワー番組表 (in Japanese). The Satellaview History Museum. Retrieved March 29, 2009.
- "Harvest Moon for Super Nintendo". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
- Lucas M. Thomas (February 11, 2008). "Harvest Moon Review". IGN. Retrieved February 12, 2008.