A tale of two platforms: How I met Harvest Moon

My first encounter with Harvest Moon came several moons ago.

It was a second-hand discovery; my sister is a smart cookie, and had asked for a DS for Christmas a few years earlier.

I was not as smart, so I got to sit on the sidelines and watch her and her best friend play Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness.

Sounds fun, right?

I thought the game looked like so much fun, but well, at age 17, I wasn’t exactly making bank. The best I could do was subtly (read: not subtly at all) hint to my parents that a DS might be an acceptable graduation present.

And then I waited.

In the meantime...

This was all happening in my last year of high school. I was preparing to go to university and mooning over a video game at the same time, so of course what did I do but combine the two.

University requires computer.

Emulator requires computer.

Coincidence? I think not.

Now. This didn’t occur to young me, but it’s hard to build a touchscreen emulator for computers (this was before the days of touchscreen computers, of course). I was disappointed at first, but found a solution pretty quickly.

Going retro

I decided that I was okay not playing exactly the same version my sister had, and downloaded a SNES emulator and the original Harvest Moon. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.

May I just say, it was a teensy bit different from what I expected.

I played obsessively for weeks, lugging my inordinately heavy laptop through the halls of my high school for no reason other than to boot it up on my spare period to throw rogue plants and handle some spasmodically flappy chickens.

It was bliss.

But then it all changed.

Remember how I was not-so-subtly hinting about a DS?

My parents got me a vividly bright green (“puke green,” as my dad lovingly put it) DS Lite for finishing my travails at high school. I ran right out and got Island of Happiness, and all was good in my little world.

The saga continues

Nowadays, the “sequel” to Island of Happiness, Sunshine Islands, is still one of my favourite games. Sure, I love raising alpacas in Tale of Two Towns and have every intention of having an alpaca ranch someday when I don’t need to win the ridiculously numerous Cooking Festivals, but Sunshine Islands has special appeal as a completionist’s worst nightmare.

Yes, I am a completionist. It’s a blessing and a curse.

The game has proven obscenely difficult to beat, and has even inspired me to print out a cheat sheet of all the sunstones out there in a bid to finish the darn thing, but I’ve never (legitimately) gotten everything done.

My next mission, when I either accomplish the impossible or inevitably give up? A Story of Seasons. I mean, it has alpacas and rabbits.

Game on.

5 thoughts on “A tale of two platforms: How I met Harvest Moon

  1. I’ve always been meaning to check out the Harvest Moon series, but never have. I’m not sure I’d find the time to fit it in, but which game would you recommend for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the series?


    1. Actually, I found both Island of Happiness and Sunshine Islands to be good starters. 😊 They introduced some new gameplay features that made it easy to figure out, and things started getting more complex with Grand Bazaar. They also let you save whenever, where a lot of the games make you wait until the end of the day to save.

      They’re a lot like the Pokémon games in that they’re all related by franchise but the storylines don’t really connect, so you don’t have to worry about continuity.

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