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    Nemo's Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (GC)

    [February 9, 2007 06:55:02 AM]
    As I went through another ritual-like day of Harvest Moon game play, I got to thinking…What is the end of this game? How is the ‘completeness’ defined? In some games, the goal is to beat an ultimate boss. In other games, you may want to explore and discover all of the treasures, short cuts, and dungeons. For some, it is a combination of both. Donkey Kong, for super Nintendo, is a great example of this. At the end, there is a giant crocodile king guy to beat. But, also, every time you save the game, you are given a percentage of how many of the secrets you have discovered. I guess in that case the goal would be to get 100% as well as beat the boss (although I’ve heard that you can get over if it wasn’t complicated enough). But with harvest moon, there is no such marker of success. Your farm can always be bigger, you can always give your wife more flowers, and you can always go and catch a few more fish. There is also the concept of playing the game in different ways. This includes making different friends and having the different wives. Or, you can just go through on life as fast as possible and see what ‘the end’ entails and see how quickly you could get there. These are all different ways to think of completeness in the game. I’m not sure for this game which one I believe fits best.
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    [February 9, 2007 06:32:34 AM]
    Harvest Moon is unlike any other game I have played. It is so weird to not have an enemy in a game! No other players, nothing to 'kill' or destroy...yet so much to do! I must admit, the tasks this game has for the player are not always the most exciting. Yet for some reason I still give in to the fact that they must be done. Example? Watering the plants. After walking over each square of dirt with my little watering can for a good 10 minutes, I can't help but want to scream. Or do I? There is something strangely satisfying about doing it. Maybe its knowing that in a few 'days' I will have fruit to show for my labor (literally). But still, my main question is this…how is a game successful when it doesn’t have an antagonist (either the computer or another player)? Thinking back to some of our definitions of a game, I notice the following things:

    If looking at the Abt definition of a game, there is definitely some activity going on where you, as a decision maker, do or do not do things to help or hinder your life and farm. But, what is the ultimate goal? This is a bit fuzzy to me. It seems like the purpose of this game is to just exist. I guess that’s not entirely true. There are definite advancements made in the game as certain ‘life events’ occur. For example, after courting a lady for a while, you will get to marry her. After being married for a while, you will have a child. And so on and so forth. The last criteria according to the Abt definition is the requirement of a limiting context. This game has a lot of rules and restrictions to make it more ‘life-like’ including day and night, a concept of time, and limited paces and spaces for working, walking, etc. There are also a LOT of resources to manage that effect how you game play goes.
    So, in short, I guess it is a game. It just hits the criteria of being a game in new ways that involve a shovel and some seeds. Who would have thought this game would do as well as its doing?
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    Nemo's Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (GC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 9 February, 2007

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    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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