Harvest Moon was released in the early 1990s for the SNES console. It was the first game of its kind and turned out to be a massive surprise hit. Who would have thought that a game about farming could be so fun?
The basic story is that your parents are leaving you in charge of their farm for a while. It doesn't say where they are going, but they will be back in two years to see how well you have done. Therefore, you have a limited time to make something of yourself to impress them.
Your farm is pretty large, with plenty of space for planting crops. However, it is given to you in a rather dilapidated state, as the land is littered with rocks, stumps, and weeds. To make the land fit for farming, you must remove all of these obstacles. The toolshed contains everything you need, including a hammer for rocks, axe for stumps, sickle for weeds, and a plow for plowing.
Although clearing the land seems like a task that will take a long time, it is not necessary to completely clear the area. You can get by just clearing enough space for four or more crops. You can even accomplish all of the clearing in one evening by recharging your energy at the hot spring in the wilderness.
One thing you will notice when going into town is that there are a lot of single women your age. All of them have different interests and attitudes, but all of them are capable of being wooed into becoming your wife. Through persistence you can make any of them fall in love with you and track your progress by sneaking a peek at their diaries. Even after you marry them, you will have to maintain your relationship by making sure you get in before dark and don't booze it up at the pub.
There are periodic festivals that you are allowed to attend in town. Each one of them has a different theme and allow you to buy unique items. They also serve as a perfect opportunity to woo the ladies by dancing with them and buying them flowers or perfume.
Making money is one of the many goals of the game. To make money, you can do a number of things. For one, you can plant various vegetables on your farm, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and wheat. You are also able to acquire livestock in the form of cows and chickens, which you can milk and collect eggs from.
Although cows and chickens provide a nice steady income, they also require a bit more work. Cows require tender loving care in the form of hairbrushing and one must be careful that they do not become diseased. Your chickens can also be attacked by wolves if you don't maintain your fence.
With your money, you are able to buy more and more crops to plant to further increase your fortune. You can also upgrade your house in two stages and paint it. Unfortunately, there aren't many tools available to buy, but you will randomly come across special golden tools which can work in one stroke instead of the usual five.
The graphics in this game are pretty decent, but could be better. The artwork is very cartoonish and comparable to other productions by Natsume. There aren't a lot of animations and the animations that are present aren't as smooth as some other games.
There aren't a lot of sound effects in this game, but they are where they are needed. The background music is also good, but not terrific. You may find yourself getting sick of listening to the same music over and over.
Overall, this is one of the greatest games ever created and did what no other game could have done by making farming fun. There are a lot of things to do in this game, allowing for many choices. There are many modern variations of this game, but I still find myself drawn to this one with its classic 2D graphics. If you get the chance to play this game, definitely try it out!