Harvest Moon 64

Harvest Moon 64 Horse

Riding my horse around my farm to exercise him and increase his mood so that he'll perform better in the races.

What have I been doing?  Playing Harvest Moon 64.   It’s an oldie, releasing in 1999, but a goody.   It’s an odd game, like the rest of the Harvest Moon series.  All you do is manage a farm which feels very much like doing chores.  What makes it so fun?  The answer to why Harvest Moon 64 is fun might explain why I find sandbox games in general to be so much fun.

I get to choose what I do and almost total control of how I play rests in my hands.  I can choose what to plant, how I take care of my crops and animals, and who I take to be a wife.  I’ve been given a plot of land and been tasked with doing whatever I want to it.  I’m even able to upgrade my house.

Having to manage the economic side fascinates me.  To make money all I have to do is plant crops and/or manage my farm animals (eggs, wool, milk).  Since there are limited hours in the day before I must sleep (or risk getting sick), I have to choose how I will allocate that time.  If I plant too much, I won’t have time to take care of my animals, etc..

The gameplay is dynamic.  It changes forever based on the inputs I provide.  I’m not following any story whatsoever, and nothing but time is linear.  These are the same virtual world traits I look for in sandbox MMO’s.  Something about ‘living’ in a game vs. playing-through has a psychological benefit for me.

Ridiculous, but watering eggplants in the Fall and brushing my horse give me more pleasure than questing in a galaxy far, far away or saving the galaxy from a reaper invasion.



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Gringar - April 18, 2012

I don’t know what it was but I used to work up a sweat playing this game. Sometimes I would make my farm too large and there isn’t enough time in the day to water and harvest plants and care for animals to do all the cool side things like digging in the cave, the festivals that happened every so often… this game is crazy. There’s so much to do.

Keen - April 18, 2012

I know! I’m already stressing to get my crops watered.

When I finish HM64 I’m going to play some of the newer ones in Gamecube, or go to Runefactory on the Wii.

Cyprus - April 18, 2012

I’m actually having a blast with Rune Factory Frontier right now! I have some very fond memories with Harvest Moon 64, though. That game and Ogre Battle 64 are the highlights of my video game playing experiences during my youth.

Gringar - April 19, 2012

Keen, some of the things i remember from that game was it’s good to keep a good area of your land as flowers. It attracts more random visitors which is good and they don’t have to be watered. A fenced in area with grass is good for cows, the grass also doesn’t need to be watered and the cows produce golden milk by eating grass. I tried to do most of my real planting in the greenhouse since time had a strange habit of standing still when you were indoors. Left a ton of time for those side things like cave digging, exploring the hot springs, and collecting things that grew in random places, fishing, festivals and wooing the local girls.

Keen - April 19, 2012

My problem is that I’ve had no time to gather wood so I can’t build anything yet. I’ve been focusing a ton of wooing Karen and planting crops to earn money.

Morganic - April 19, 2012

I loved this game and still play it from time to time. I did have horrible luck with my greenhouse getting taken out by hurricanes though.

Keen - April 19, 2012

I’m torn between making a greenhouse asap or getting a kitchen, etc., to get married.

qpon - April 19, 2012

You sound like a libertarian.

Rinvan - April 19, 2012

I enjoyed Harvest Moon on the first game boy back in the the 90’s. I never would have thought a game about farming could be fun.

Cyprus - April 20, 2012

Get the Greenhouse, for sure. Time pauses inside of it so you can water and harvest as many crops as you want. Heck, in my save file, I converted my -entire- outdoor farm field to grass just because I didn’t want to waste time outside.

Neuronomad - April 20, 2012

I am looking forward to Harvest Moon 3D coming out.

Gringar - April 20, 2012

From an efficiency standpoint greenhouse should always be the first building to get. I too usually had very little to no watering done outside since it wasted so much daylight. The flowers though, they are good to have a good chunk of land devoted to because more flowers attracted more visitors which was something you were rated on for your final score.

My reset button was pushed immediately whenever a hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. If you saved every night like you should you never lost any real time and the greenhouse can still survive.

In the end you have to play the game the way you want to though. As soon as you feel forced the game will become like real work and less fun. If you want a kitchen first by all means build it. Getting a wife first and fast will also save a lot of daylight since they all have a good chance of doing some timesaving things. One of them actually almost always waters your crops.

chantel - December 19, 2012

where can i download this version of harvest moon?

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