The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #33 Harvest Moon

The famous Harvest Moon franchise began on the Super Nintendo. The first entry in the series, simply called Harvest Moon, was released in North America in June of 1997. It takes 33rd place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games.

Harvest Moon is a farming simulation and roleplaying game, perhaps most closely comparable with Animal Crossing. In this title, you take on the role of a young boy who has just been given a farm of his own. It’s up to you to grow crops, raise livestock, make as much money as possible, get married, and have children, all over the course of two and a half years. Intimidated yet?

Harvest Moon is all about maximizing the brief day-night cycles your character lives through to get farm chores done efficiently while still finding time to chat with the game’s many non-playable characters. After all, you are expected to find someone to marry.

For new players, I recommend beginning Harvest Moon by viewing the “How to Play” video available from the menu screen. Although Harvest Moon may quickly grow to feel simple and repetitive, it does not begin with much instruction on what the player is expected or capable of. This is a simulation game, after all, and the possibilities are remarkably open.

In short, you must take command of your new piece of land by clearing grass, chopping up tree stumps, smashing rocks, and re-arranging fences. After this is done, land must be tilled, seeded, and watered. Where to go from there can be picked up by chatting with town residents and experimentation, but if you really want to excel at Harvest Moon, a walkthrough will almost certainly be necessary.

Harvet Moon may not be the flashiest game. There is little in the way of action, and a clear absence of explosions. That doesn’t mean it can’t be an exciting game with the right mindset. The open nature of developing your own farm as you see fit, exploring the game’s possibilities, and appreciating the addictive quality of maintaining an efficient farm combine to form a truly satisfying title.

Check back next week for entry 32 on the Definitive 50 SNES games.

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