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How Harvest Moon Jumpstarted the Farming Genre

Diesen Artickel einschätzen Bokujo Monogatari is a legend among computer games, it practically jump-started a whole new video game genre. Let's take a look on what this game is all about and how it did it.

Farm Spiele kostenlos - How Harvest Moon Jumpstarted the Farming Genre

If you have ever wondered where all these farming games we have today came from or how the entire farming genre was born, then started crawling, rolling, then running, remember the name Bokujo Monogatari meaning a farmer's or farming tale. This game was envisioned by a Japanese farm boy named Yasuhiro Wada, who, after school, went to work in the big city at a game/video company and missed his old farm life so bad that it prompted him to make a game about it. Wada wanted to catch his farm life and experiences in a video game so that others/players could have an idea and experience it for themselves. This was the start of a legendary game called Harvest Moon.

HM Crop Planting and Harvesting

Granted a limited budget and staff by Pack-In-Video, the company Yasuhiro worked for, started work on the game in the early 1990s. The development team focused on three major elements that would make up the farming game. These were Planting, and growing crops were like on a real farm. One had to build it up daily by gathering and using tools/resources, planting, then harvesting and selling the produce at the market. Then there was Interaction, where the player had to interact with the surroundings and the people. Finally, the third element was Cattle, or simply put, raising and breeding the farm animals for produce. Naturally, if you raise Chickens, you get both eggs and cooked delicious crackling and crispy fowl from it. Breed Cows, and you've got Corned Beef and Yumburgers. However, the game focused on caring for your animals, who usually have no idea they're being fattened for the cooking.

HM Raising and Breeding the Animals

Anyway, these three elements are the basic formula used by almost all farming games we have today. Bokujo (farmer) Monogatari (tale) started it all. The game was designed and created to be warm-hearted and appeal more to the younger set (who comprised the majority of video game addicts in Japan). Creating the Bokujo game was not easy as development was slow, tedious and the game usually went boring after a time of playing and didn't quite live up to the expectations of the folks creating it. They kept on adding ideas and features to the three essential elements that it took so long, and the company they worked for went bankrupt before they even finished the game. Talk about bummer start-ups!

HM Interaction

Eventually, Pack-In-Video was acquired by Victor Entertainment and merged with their own Victor Interactive Software. The original ten-member development team was reduced to three, and the budget was cut drastically. Still, despite all these, Bokujo's development moved on, and the game was finally released in Japan in 1996 for the Super NES. Natural farming is not an accessible business since many calamities can happen (both natural and man-made), which can ruin your crops and set- back your harvest in one way or the other. As a namesake game, Bokujo Monogatari seemed to be cursed with this as well. But, as the months moved on, the game went from 20,000 to 100,000 + units sold. It had somehow established itself in the market as gamers could now farm in video games.

Capitalizing on the game's rising popularity, Victor Entertainment commissioned Wada and his team to create three more versions of the game for
the console market. They were now given the budget and staff they needed. Several versions of the game were released for both the Game Boy, The Nintendo 64, The Saturn consoles, and the PlayStation, among others. In the Playstation version, the game switched to a fully 3D third-person POV environment. Victor Entertainment went into a deal with a company called Natsume to repackage and release the game in the Western market. For this, the game's name was changed to Harvest Moon, and the rest became gaming history.

Mehehehry had a little lamb

From the mid 90's and onwards, many developers started to take notice and capitalized themselves on the popularity and playability of Harvest Moon. The farming simulator RPG genre was born, and a number of developers opted to join the speed wagon. Many farming games came out in the 2k's, not only single play but online multi-play and with a touch of social media gaming as well. Foremost on the list was FarmVille, who every Tom, Dick, Harry, or Jane with a FaceBook account was likely to be aware of or even playing it. Happy Farm was another though released for the Chinese/Asian market. At this point, the Farming Game genre was at the running state, and things could only get better.

Barone Country

In 2016, Concerned Ape, aka Eric Barone, a long-time fan and player of Harvest Moon, released his very own self-made farming game online for the PC called Stardew Valley. This game took the world by Chicken, Hog, Cattle, and Lettuce! The Farming Game genre took its first colossal jump. Stardew had all the elements of Harvest Moon but Barone added much more complicated elements in the daily life, interactions, and relationships of the online players. While Harvest Moon was a lot more simple and smiley for the younger people, Stardew attracted those who typically spent dozens and dozens of hours on EverQuest and WoW, so to speak. Never mind the cartoonish graphics, it's a Farming and Social Game, not Neverwinter Nights.

Bokujo Monogatari has come a very long way to inspire all these and the millions of farming simulation game players the world over, but the Tale of the Farmer doesn't end there. The current ending of the overall tale of the game that started it all is quite sad. After years of success and popularity, Yasuhiro Wada left Harvest Moon development to the next generation of game developers after Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, which was released in 2008 to pursue other interests as he had outgrown the game series he created. He then founded his own development company ToyBox Inc. to develop console games like Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters and Deadly Premonition. Without Wada at the helm, things didn't go too well for Harvest Moon.

Somehow, the Chaos Lords attacked, and the Imperial Space Marines were thrown into a bit of disarray (pardon the W40K pun). Natsume continued with the Harvest Moon series releasing newer iterations on their own, starting with Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley in 2014. The game, however, lacked the quality and looks of the original series. Also, Marvelous Inc. and Xseed Games took over the game's Western market and repacked and released the game again under a new title called Story of Seasons. This game is the actual continuation of the original Bokujo Monogatari - Harvest Moon game and has not only earned game awards but is loved by the original fans as well. Natsume, however, continues with their own version of Harvest Moon as they own the franchise name, although the games they put out are a shadow of the original with quite a different look and feel. What a mess Harvest Moon is today with two very different and confusing versions of it.

Regardless, the legacy that Harvest Moon has imparted to farming games has jump-started the
genre to the dynamic, potentially charged game market it is in it is current state today. Farming simulation, RPG, and social games are being released left and right due to the genre's popularity. Here are just a few new and upcoming games that will take farm games to greater heights.

- HogvaLord -Both a farming and ranching simulator which focuses on raising hogs/pigs. It's a single-player game but with lots of features and potential.

- Sun Haven - Similar to Harvest and Stardew but with Fantasy RPG elements and settings.

- Coral Island - Indonesian developed game similar to Stardew and Harvest but more on a SouthEast Asian setting with crops and livestock present in the region. As the title suggests, you will have the extra job of cleaning up the coral reefs surrounding the island as well.

Finally, One Lonely Outpost is an upcoming game that deals with farming in the far reaches of space. Sort of a Sci-fi RPG and farming adventure where you build up a farming colony and community on another planet dealing with alien life, crops, genetic crop engineering, and a whole lot of unknown variables. Another unique idea in the farming games genre.

With that, let us all keep in mind that really great things usually start from small beginnings, like a young farm boy who goes to work in a big city, misses his hometown, and starts a massive chunk of gaming history. And to that, Harvest Moon, aka Bokujo Monogatari, will always be remembered as the game that kicked jumped, and head-butt started it all.

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