Natsume released a Harvest Moon for iOS entitled Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories. Judging from what is presented in the trailer and screenshots of this game, honestly Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories looks not at all interesting.
But, beyond the doubtful quality of the game, one thing that caught my attention was how gamers reacted to this game. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the word “nostalgia” out of gamers who commented on Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories. All these statements made me immediately frowned.
Why am I frowning? Because indeed Harvest Moon is not a game that needs to be nostalgic. Just for information, this game was last released in 2015! Saying this game can be nostalgic is like saying that Bloodborne or The Last of Us needs a new game to evoke nostalgia.
Not to mention that the Harvest Moon, which was released yesterday, is a series that is far different from what we know on the PlayStation. But why do many want nostalgia with this game? Let us examine one by one the possible answers. But first, let me explain first what caused the Harvest Moon yesterday was not the real Harvest Moon.
Harvest Moon released by iOS is indeed developed by Natsume, the company that published Harvest Moon: Back to Nature on PlayStation first. But don’t you think yesterday’s game came from the same series.
As an opening, you need to know that Harvest Moon: Back to Nature in Japan is part of the Bokujou Monogatari series. The Bokujou Monogatari series was developed by Victor Interactive Software (which was acquired by Marvelous Interactive in 2002) and was localized outside of Japan under the name Harvest Moon by Natsume.
Unfortunately this collaboration between Natsume and Marvelous only lasted until 2013, after which Marvelous published Bokujou Monogatari outside of Japan with help from XSEED. The problem is that Marvelous and XSEED do not have any rights in the name of Harvest Moon, because the title is a license owned by Natsume. That is why XSEED released Bokujou Monogatari outside of Japan under the title Story of Seasons.
Because what can be licensed is only the name, and not the gameplay, of course it does not matter if the two companies make games with the same game elements. Not wanting to waste the name Harvest Moon, which is already so familiar in many ears, Natsume made a new Harvest Moon without the cooperation of developer Bokujou Monogatari at all.
Even though the raw materials are the same, if the chef cooks it differently, the result will be different. This is what happened with Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories. So don’t be surprised if the experience you feel in this game is completely different from the experiences you know in other Harvest Moon.
What Makes Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories Identical to Nostalgia?
Story of Seasons is still regularly released. The newest game was first released on 3DS in March 2015. While the last Bokujou Monogatari game released under the name Harvest Moon is Harvest Moon: A New Beginning which was released for 3DS at the end of 2012.
A series that is still very active in spawning new games is certainly strange to receive the statement “finally can reminisce” when the new game was released early 2016. But that’s what I saw a lot happening with Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories.
I personally have a theory about this. First, if you remember, the first popular Harvest Moon was Harvest Moon: Back to Nature. It’s not even an exaggeration to say Harvest Moon: Back to Nature is the only Harvest Moon popular in the mainstream in the country.
This popularity caused many gamers who could be considered casual to play PlayStation consoles because of Harvest Moon. I experienced this because I don’t know how many hundred hours of playing on my PlayStation I was snatched away by my sister who usually doesn’t like playing video games on consoles. Of course this incident also happened to many other gamers out there, at least that was what happened when I asked people around me.
After the PlayStation which dominated the classic console war disappeared, these casual gamers were increasingly losing interest in playing consoles, except for the mere nostalgia with Harvest Moon. Many of them don’t play games anymore, until finally the world recognizes smartphones which is a paradise for casual games.
Natsume is smart enough to target Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories to smartphones first, because it is certain that more casual gamers own smartphones than 3DS right? When Bokujou Monogatari is routinely released on 3DS, people won’t care. But once this game was released on the most popular platform at this time, cash news about it immediately reached the ears of gamers who are not actively following the video game news.
Of course this is only a theory, but I am pretty sure that fans of the Bokujou Monogatari series have never felt that Harvest Moon needs to be treated like a classic game that hasn’t been in the game for years like the Chrono series (come on Square), Suikoden, and many others.
Maybe my writing seems to be patronizing and managing how people should react to a game. But I don’t mean to offend anyone at all. I just wanted to provide information that the newly released Harvest Moon might not be the Harvest Moon you were hoping for, and actually this series never dies.
The issue is whether you will now buy Natsume’s Harvest Moon, XSEED’s Story of Seasons, or even reminisce with Harvest Moon: Back to Nature … the choice is clearly in your hands.