Retronauts Volume III Episode 14: Harvest Moon

Retronauts 14 cover

Hey gang — Bob here with a brand-new episode that might be slightly polarizing. Now, I don’t expect everyone to take an interest in the Harvest Moon series, but even if you don’t appreciate the somewhat repetitive mechanics, you can at least respect the fact that Harvest Moon as a whole still exists as an anomaly in the world of video games. Instead of shooting, punching, or slicing dudes, Yasuhiro Wada’s life sim gives players prosocial goals in an uber-friendly backdrop—and the series hasn’t veered from this intent nearly two decades after its birth. Joining us for this one is Adam Fitch, who donated generously to choose a topic and sit in as a guest host—and he’s the perfect guy for the job, considering the fact that he’s worked at Natsume (Harvest Moon’s publisher) for six years. That said, if I haven’t won you over with this preamble, please give this installment a try—as with Ray’s amazing wrestling episode, it could end up surprising you.

Libsyn (1:38:13 | MP3 | 94.6 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode’s description:

“For over 15 years, the Harvest Moon series has been teaching sickly indoor kids the virtues of tilling the land, petting the chickens, and having low-wage serfs do most of the dirty work. Join Bob Mackey, Jeremy Parish, Ray Barnholt, and special guest backer Adam Fitch as the Retronauts explore this prolific farming sim series, and maybe — just maybe — raise each other’s affection levels in the process.”

This episode’s musical breakdown:

  • 21:24 – Harvest Moon “Spring” (Tsuyoshi Tanaka)
  • 34:34 – Harvest Moon 64 “Fall” (Tsuyoshi Tanaka)
  • 44:19 – Harvest Moon: Back to Nature “Summer” (Miyuki Homareda)
  • 50:19 – Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland “Summer”
  • 56:58 – Harvest Moon: Back to Nature “Winter” (Miyuki Homareda)
  • 1:05:45 – Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life “Home Town Song”
  • 1:16:41 – Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life “Adult Period”
  • 1:35:52 – Harvest Moon: Back to Nature “Ending” (Miyuki Homareda)

Relevant Links:

Bob’s Yasuhiro Wada Interview

Bob’s Rune Factory 4 Review

The Ineffable Charm of Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

Harvest Moon Post-Mortem with Yasuhiro Wada (GDC 2012)

Your crops will remain forever moist and free of pestilence if you review our show in the iTunes Music Store.

12 thoughts on “Retronauts Volume III Episode 14: Harvest Moon

  1. I find it hard to believe that anyone could truly hate Harvest Moon. I can understand it not being everyone’s cup of tea, sure, but I maintain that the franchise is clinically unhatable.

  2. Hm, could Donald Duck’s Playground (1984) be considered an antecede to this kind of “sim light” genre of Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing? It’s still lacking any NPCs aside from shop owners, but it’s the closest thing I know from before Little Computer People. Basically you would engage in several jobs as Donald, buy stuff for the playground (which you could place alongside a grid), and then go play as one of the nephews.

    Then there’s Alter Ego from 1986, which simulates an entire human’s life from childhood to death. It was all text and based on multiple choice decisions, but there were some stats like in modern dating sims. Also had a male and female version sold separately.

  3. Also, Wikipedia led me to this NES game (which is the sequel to an even earlier Famicom game) about a stock market trader, who also has to find a girl and marry her to win the game, besides getting rich and buying a house: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_Kid

  4. I remember reading previews for Harvest Moon on SNES in Nintendo Power back in the day, and for some reason it elicited a strong reaction deep in my brain, and I had to have it.

    So, I preordered it from my local game store, and on the day of, I got there when the door opened just in case they sold out before I got there.

    I was of course the only person who had preordered. And now that cart is now worth almost $200.

    The short story of it all is that I love Harvest Moon, and I recommend everyone give the recent 3DS game a try, it’s really darn superb.

    Great episode guys, keep it up as always!

  5. Hey, I can’t download this episode through my podcast app — it looks like the RSS entry is missing the MP3 enclosure for this post. Can this be fixed or was it an intentional change? Thanks!

  6. I too remember the coverage Harvest Moon got in Nintendo Power. I think it was one of the last games that was featured in what was then the magazine’s regular RPG column.

    It piqued my interest enough that I wanted to pre-order it but the only shop that was taking orders was a Babbage’s (remeber those?) in a mall a good hour away. The trip was worth it.

    Harvest Moon was also the only SNES game I managed to hard lock necessitating a system reset. If I recall correctly it was triggered by selling and buying a chicken on the same day, which resulted in the store owner showing up to pick up a chicken at the same time the same store owner was already at your farm dropping off a chicken. I guess the whole meeting your doppelganger causing some catastrophe holds true in the Harvest Moon universe.

  7. You were correct in the episode entry: I’ve never played any Harvest Moon games but I still loved the episode. You all do a great job with the show no matter the topic, and I look forward to it every week.

  8. I wasn’t able to get into Harvest Moon, but I do have found memories of it since it was one of the first video games I got my mom to play. The crazy part is that we didn’t have an SNES so we were actually playing it on an emulator, and my mom is not a very technically adept person.

    We also did get Harvest Moon 64, but we kinda fell off the series after that. Listening to the Podcast makes me want to give it another try though.

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