Why Am I Addicted to Harvest Moon?

Harvest Moon/ Story of Seasons is an addictive farming simulator that rewards players and allows them to freely explore the game.

I remember when I was a kid, I picked up a copy of Harvest Moon 3 GBC out of the bargain bin at Walmart. I had no idea what it was, but a game was a game. I’ve been farming ever since.

If you’ve never played a Harvest Moon game -- or as it’s now called, Story of Seasons -- it’s a farming simulator. You play as a farmer, usually a person from the city who moved to a tiny town to run a broken down farm left to you by a grandparent. Life simulators are nothing new, and Harvest Moon definitely wasn’t the first. But, for some reason, it’s always been my favorite. There’s a lot going for the franchise, but I’ve always wondered why I get so hooked on these simple little games.

I think one reason is that the game is DIY fun.

There’s usually some kind of goal you need to complete—like stop a company from destroying the village, or awaken the Harvest Goddess—but other than that, the game lets you roam free. Don’t like a certain villager? You can probably avoid them for the entire game. Want to have 10 chickens? Go for it.

You set your own goals, which is a refreshing experience when so many games are quest-oriented and hold players by the hand from destination to destination. Harvest Moon gives you the game’s setup and then you’re on your own.

Another reason is because the games are very good at pacing and rewarding players.

There are several festivals and events specific to each season. While players are not required to participate in these events, winning them usually yields monetary rewards or useful items associated with the event. Players are awarded for their hard work, but aren’t punished for not making the cut like some games might do.

Harvest Moon was a staple of my childhood and I love it to this day. Even under a new name, it continues to be a fun experience that pushes itself to change with each game. If you haven’t checked it out, I definitely encourage you to.

Published Aug. 30th 2016
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