I love you Natsume for it is you who brought me Princess Debut. But as you gave me that precious gift in one hand you sucker-punched me with a copy of Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility in the other.
Oh, I should have read the signs. Two months of delayed release dates kind of pinged my radar with the alert that all was not well in WiiWorld, but I thought, “Whatever it’s just a game, right?”
Harvest Moon is an exercise in communist woe. If Mao Zedong could have had a video game in his lifetime this is the one he would have stolen from a budding gamemaker and slapped his face on. It stands not only as an exercise in futility but a commentary on life and society in general. Harvest Moon is a microcosm of all that is wrong in the world — and the load times SUCK.
Perhaps it’s best relayed from a first-person perspective.
I’m on a boat in the middle of nowhere, and a strange old sea captain is asking me inane questions. He wants to know what foods I like to eat. Why? So he can poison me, I assume. I remain silent and shudder as a thunderous storm rolls in. I am knocked cold, but left with just enough consciousness to wonder what the sea captain will do with a defenseless passenger. I fear for myself.
Day One Continued:
I am dreaming and an image of a blue woman floats before me. And keeps floating. I hammer the A-button. She disappears.
I awaken in a strange inn on an island I don’t remember heading to. The people here seem to care about my well-being but they only repeat the same phrase and action whenever I try to speak with them. Am I a woman amongst robots? I fear for all.
I have entered a life of enslavement with a farming family near the inn. They make me toil in the fields and ridicule me for my efforts. I am disheartened as my watering can fails to pour where I specifically aimed causing me to lose precious time off of my one-minute goal. I know that beatings await. I fear for control schemes based on this model.
My captors have rewarded me with my own dilapidated home, yet I believe I have been poisoned. I can only complete a few tasks in my own field before I am overcome with exhaustion. Is this their way of punishing me for desiring freedom?
Day Five through Eight:
I toil and tire. I check my mailbox and pet stray animals. It rains. I cry.
The loading screen between the town hall and inn area causes me to snap. I abandon Harvest Moon and its island of woe and play with the free toy cow that had arrived with the game.
I realize that I actually spent over $40 for a tiny toy cow and a free crappy game.
– All images are borrowed from Natsume (www.natsume.com)