Archive for Features

REVIEW: BS Bokujou Monogatari


this article is part of an ongoing series examining the entire Harvest Moon franchise. see the main article and index here.

So.  Japan had Super Famicom, and they also had a satellite radio company called St.GIGA.  If you had a subscription to St.GIGA, a tuner for the service, and an attachment for your Super Famicom called a Satellaview, you could play “gaiden” versions of your favorite games at certain times of day on certain dates.

Reading through the requirements, this Satellaview game service sounds pretty ridiculous, and at its peak, only served around 100,000 people.  But many popular SNES/Super Famicom games had little gaiden episodes on the service, and Harvest Moon was among them.

QUICK FACT: This isn’t a new game, just challenges using the game structure and pieces of the first Bokujou Monogatari
QUICK FACT: I don’t know a goddamn thing about the BS Harvest Moon, but am going to talk about it anyway.

GAME LENGTH: There are four episodes that were each allotted a 50-minute broadcast time, plus one rerun. They are unavailable to play outside the broadcast time.

… continue reading this entry.

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FEATURE: Ranch Story – The Harvest Moon Franchise

There are a lot of game sites that cover classic games.  With virtual console et al making such things more (legally) accessible than ever, more people can go back and relive childhood memories.  You can read a lot of nostalgic coverage of series like Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear, Shinobi, Dragon Quest, and any other well-loved franchise played by people in their childhood, the same people that faithfully buy every new installment and will tell you at length which ones in the series are the best, regardless of age.

Amidst all this coverage, Harvest Moon is rarely mentioned. Perhaps this is because it is largely played by girls, and young girls, at that. “Gamers” who seek help at Harvest Moon forums are usually… well, disgusted when confronted with the level of maturity of the average Harvest Moon player.  Willy would also be quick to point out that many of the games are re-releases of the same games with extra features or “For Girl” versions, what he calls “Game Sweatshop” games.  That’s true, too.   And yet, this series sometimes sees several games a year, and all of them always make it to the United States, regardless of system or quality of game (there are three exceptions, but even then… they still came out here). Over 30 Harvest Moon games have been released since 1996. Few video game series can boast those kind of numbers and apparent popularity in both East and West.

For adult women who are also gamers, Harvest Moon can be just as nostalgic as Castlevania or Final Fantasy. I was twelve when the first game came out in 1997, and it was probably the first video game I was really addicted to. I’ve bought and played every installment since, and am a bit ashamed to admit that my console and handheld buying habits revolve almost solely around Harvest Moon games. It’s a big part of why I play video games.

For this article, I’ll discuss the series at length, then link to reviews for what will hopefully be every game in the series.

… continue reading this entry.

FEATURE: The Epic Games Competition 3: Wacko

WANDA: See parts one and two for more info about the competition.  Willy and I passed the controller back and forth and took turns trying to high score on games from the Midway Arcade Treasures discs for Gamecube.  The games were chosen based on their obscurity and whether either of us had played them.

We had trouble with the third game.  We tried Timber.  I can’t quite remember why we didn’t wind up playing it, but I think it was because I was too good and could have gone on indefinitely with my turn.  Willy may deny this.  Then we tried Splat!, which we couldn’t play because neither of us could quite figure it out, nor could we read the text for the high scores even on a 20′ screen.  Then we tried Kosmik Krooz’r, which was horrible and also had unreadable text (Kosmik Krooz’r also has port issues since it was meant to be played while looking at a mirror and model, but they do a pretty good job emulating it).  We settled on Kosmik Krooz’r’s prequel, Wacko.

It was a feeble finish.

… continue reading this entry.

FEATURE: The Epic Games Competition 2: Tapper

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WANDA: See the part 1 article for background about the competition. Basically Willy and I played games neither of us had touched before (ie: we expected most of the games to be crappy) on the Midway Arcade Treasures collections for Game Cube blown up on a huge projection screen. Ten rounds were played on three games, with high scores recorded for each round.

Tapper was Wanda’s time to shine, baby.

… continue reading this entry.

FEATURE: The Epic Game Competition 1: Blaster

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note: the epic game competition was held on May 2nd, 2009. The contestants were Wanda and Willy Elektrix. Three games were decided on in advance from the Midway Arcade Treasures 1 & 2 discs for GameCube. The stipulation was that they had to be games that neither Wanda nor Willy had played, so they were likely going to be crappy games. These crappy, old games were played on a 6′ screen with a projector. It was epic.

… continue reading this entry.

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