These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
On a similar case: 64, the cult classic that is considered one of the N64's best games, or Back To Nature, the "transfer" which lead way to the current characterizations of the 64 characters?
The fandom has gotten a bunch of new fans due to the recent games, especially the Bishōnen driven Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade. This has caused conflict between older fans and modern fans. Are the newer games losing their "Harvest Moon" feeling? Are fans too boy crazy?
The announcement of The Lost Valley has caused some of this. Some fans are interested in the game and are waiting to hear more of it before passing judgment, while others are angry at Natsume for using Harvest Moon as a title for a game that's not actually part of the Bokujou Monogatari series, and are worried that this move will hurt the sales of Story of Seasons, which is a Bokujou Monogatari game.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: As mentioned under Awesome, but Impractical, there are crops that yield a higher profit than the others each season, as well as "money tricks". Complacent gamers have no qualm exploiting said money tricks and planting nothing but the most profitable crops so they can ace the game faster, even if it means the game will get more boring later on.
Contested Sequel: Several games. Harvest Moon 64 and Back to Nature are the most common disputed against each other. Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade are common, as is DS with both AWL and the (M)FOMT series.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Inverted in A New Beginning. Completing town restoration 3 in a particular order and on a particular date will end up with Dunhill going in and out of your house on repeat, each time apologizing for waking you up early: twice to introduce new villagers, once to present you the next town restoration plan, and twice to introduce new festivals. Sheesh, his age must be catching up with his senility.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Skye in DS Cute was created primarily so that there'd be a "special" marriage candidate for the girl versions, and he's extremely hard to find and talk to. Oh, he's also a bad boybishie. Is it any surprise, then, that he's become one of the most popular boys in the series?
Other games have them as well, but with the exception of Skye, most are NPCs you can't marry. Examples include Flora (AWL version), Pastor Carter (More Friends version), Alisa (Island of Happiness), Marian (Grand Bazaar) and Eileen (Two Towns). Sunshine Islands even trolls you by giving Alisa heart events like a marriageable girl, but having her turn you down. You can marry her in A Tale of Two Towns, though. But since she is a priestess, no child!(Something that Lara from Rune Factory Frontier does opposite.)
Wizard from Animal Parade certainly seems to be one of the most popular bachelors with the fandom along with Gill, Chase and Luke.
Dirk of Grand Bazaar won the first official popularity poll and even makes an appearance in Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: A common thing in dating sims but... the best way to befriend somebody or have them fall in love with you is to shower them with gifts.
Sort of justified, though. Everyone lives in a community where most everyone specializes in one type of product. Stands to reason that the best thing you could do for a person is provide them with foods or materials they don't have.
Which still doesn't explain why Rick and Popuri, who own a chicken ranch, are most easily wooed with eggs.
Fan-Preferred Couple: It has recently started to pop up often, when before fans tended to be spread evenly through the bachelors and bachelorettes. Pony x Marlin (AWL), Pony x Skye (DS Cute), Tina x Jamie (MM), Chelsea x Vaughn (IoH), Angela x Gill (ToT), Molly x Chase (AP), and Lillian x Cam (Two Towns).
Fanon: If the male player character has brown hair and wears blue overalls with a blue hat, he's "Jack", not "Mark", "Pete" (SNES, Mineral Town), "Tony" (Save The Homeland) "Tito" or "Adam" (Magical Melody).
Game Breaker: The mines in DS. With enough Save Scumming, you can collect dozens of items in the excavation site which all sell for upwards of 3000G apiece at Van's. With this money you can then buy plenty of restorative items, which you can then use to go through the entire second mine by the second day. With even more Save Scumming you can collect dozens of Alexandrites and Rose Diamonds which all sell for over 15k G. You can have millions when Van returns during the second week.
Goddamned Bats: The weeds, in a way; it's impossible to get rid of them completely.
In HM3GBC, you can just turn your entire farm into a watery grave with the shovel.
In some gamesnote Specifically, Back To Nature, the Mineral Town games and DS/DS Cute, you could invest a ton of money into putting grass everywhere you're not planting other seeds. You can technically do it in IoH and SI , but since you have to water grass in those games, it's far more trouble than it's worth.
If they don't count, the Demon Chickens and Ducks in the DS mines do. Fast, aggressive, and will chase you across the screen. The bugs are pretty annoying too, but at least they move in set paths that you can at least attempt to avoid...
Good Bad Bugs: The series is infamous for them, often times related to Natsume's translation.
DS. Dear God, Harvest Moon DS. Several pointless glitchs (tapping the bottom left corner of the title screen where the characters are lining up turns everyone into Leah), several annoying ones (going to the island during a festival results in the bottom screen blacked out) but lots of good bad ones. Examples:
The infamous billionaire cheat
Lord Fa's cheat for unlimited wool
Saving, turning off your DS and reloading the game clears out the entire mine floor of monsters (except, strangly, the moths)
In A Wonderful Life you can cause your inventory to become flooded with several dozen copies of literally every item in the game.
Ho Yay: Ash in Two Towns seems to talk about Cam a lot. Oddly, Cam never mentions Ash.
Can be accomplished between your male farmer and Kai in "Back To Nature." Have him give Kai a lot of gifts, and then choose Kai to watch the fireworks with rather than any of the girls. The result is some wonderfully Ho Yay text about "we saw a lot of fireworks together."
Zack with Won in the Mineral Town series. There's only one bed and they share the house...
Iron Woobie: If you raise Candace's heart level in Animal Parade while playing as a girl or when you're married as a boy, Candace says that Luna didn't cry when their parents died in order to help Candace and Shelly cope.
It's Easy, so It Sucks: The Wonderful Life games gave smaller seasons, love interests with no rivals and are much quicker to woo, a much smaller town, and in general is very simplified compared to other HM games. Though it's less of a challenge, it is a good way for newcomers to the series to get the hang of the general playthrough before going to the harder games.
Also the days in Wonderful Life are long, you can end up getting bored.
Grand Bazaar has been called "Harvest Moon For Dummies."
Mis-blamed: A lot of people mistake Natsume as being the makers of the games, when in reality they are only translators for the America's. Thus errors and glitches in gameplay that aren't related to Natsume (such as the mailbox being locked in a lot of games) are often Mis-blamed at Natsume.
Moe: Daisy in Grand Bazaar and Cecil in My Little Shop.
The Scrappy: In Tree of Tranquility/Animal Parade, Luna and Selena are not well liked by the fandom. The former gets more flak mainly because Gill's (who as shown above is part of the Fan-Preferred Couple with the female protagonist and somewhat of an Ensemble Darkhorse) rivalry scenes with Luna have her act very immature to Gill's calm nature. Doesn't help that if the player tells Luna that she likes Gill, she'll act like a complete bitch to you by saying, "I'm prettier than you." Not something you say to the player that can decide your fate and make you single because of it.
Rock from A/nother Wonderful Life isn't exactly a well-loved character (especially since Marlin is a very popular bachelor in comparison), but Harvest Moon DS (Cute) ranks up Rock's Casanova Wannabe traits to Jerkass levels. There's a scene in Cute where he'll try to ask you out despite the fact that you already have a husband, and if Rock is married to Lumina, there's a scene in both versions where he hits on Muffy, which really upsets Lumina when she walks in on it. In fact, some fans have been known to marry Lumina themselves in Harvest Moon DS and claim to have done so purely to save her from an unhappy relationship with Rock.
Some players dislike Rick from the Mineral Town series because he hates Kai, but he softens up a lot once he gets married, and even, eventually, is OK with his sister marrying him.
Muffy gets a lot of hate from certain parts of the fandom, although most of it is just catty Slut Shaming due to her flirtatious nature and provocative clothing. In recent years, however, most fans are a lot nicer to her, and some even consider her to be somewhat of a woobie, what with her seemingly chronic loneliness.
Scrappy Mechanic: Seem to pop up with regularity in the DS games, including the cooking mechanics in [IoH/SI], the animal mini-games in DS/DS Cute, the storage system in Grand Bazaar and the farm expansion and tool upgrade systems in Two Towns.
Also, for the players that hoard, when any of the games had it so that an item (crops, milk, eggs, flowers, etc) would rapidly drop in quality and become rotten in just a few days.
The damn ball in HMDS / HMDS Cute. If you sell it, Thomas will come by, scold you and give you a new one. If you leave it out Thomas again will come by and tell you that you lost the ball. You'll have to keep it in your backpack, which is space-consuming, so he will stop bothering you about it. Fortunately, after you've bought the cabinet, you can put it there permanently so you won't have to carry it and Thomas won't bother you about it.
Shipping: The fandom is completely devoted to this aspect of the series, and we ain't talkin' about what you do with your crops. Makes a certainly amount of sense, since the games are practically half Dating Sim anyway.
Because it lacks rival couples, A New Beginning is one of the few installments in the series where the bachelors/bachelorettes are shipped with each other as often as they are with the protagonist, as fans take to imagining who the likely canon pairings would be if they existed.
The latter point is especially egregious in Grand Bazaar, where the dialogue of the marriage candidates doesn't change at all until after you get married.
Actually, dialogue DOES change. Unfortunately, it ONLY changes when they're inside their houses/bedrooms, during certain times of day. It has yet to really be confirmed whether or not it's true of ALL villagers, but it's a bit obscure all the same.
It's better in Animal Parade, though. As you build up hearts with a marriage candidate, they actually woo you back, giving you gifts, sending you love letters, and even going on dates with you!
A Tale Of Two Towns is also better about building a more complex relationship. The way flower events work means you have to take your intended partner out on quite a few dates, and many of the suitors with families won't accept your proposal until their household all approves of you. If you're a girl and hold out on a guy, some of them will eventually bite the bullet and propose to you. On the other side of the coin, once you start going on dates, letting one partner monopolize your time long enough will start making the other jealous.
In A New Beginning, you must officially "commit" to a bachelor/bachelorette before you can see their later heart events and propose. Unlike in A Tale of Two Towns, both bachelors and bachelorettes will eventually confess to you and propose if you don't take the initiative.
In the Game Boy games you can only marry your farm hand.
That One Level: Inasmuch as Harvest Moon games have levels, the Ancient Ruins in A New Beginning. They're the most expensive location to travel to. No matter what you do, you'll have the least time to spend there of all the travel spots: It takes the longest to reach them (5 hours) and you leave them the earliest (at 8 PM). They also contain a massive number of important and rare items, such as certain colors of the Down you'll need to make clothes (only available as trades from Sandra otherwise, and they're not cheap), a large number of the Fragments you use to make useful items, and the Ancient Figurines you'll need if you want the Witch Princess to live in your town.
Town Restoration Plan 4 in A New Beginning. Specifically, the task that requires you to unlock the Foliage Festival. Long story short, said task is a Fake Longevity attempt that causes those unprepared and unwilling to play online to be delayed a whole game year.
Also the Swimming Contest in Back To Nature. You will be reloading and replaying that one A LOT.
And the snowboard contest and horse race in Grand Bazaar. There's a reason you're allowed (and encouraged) to practice year-round
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some fans view on the games after 64, and to a larger extent most fans views on BTN/FOMT/MFOMT compared to 64 and DS/Cute compared to AWL/ANWL/AWL:SE/FOMT/MFOMT.
Many HM fans seem to feel that way with IoH and it's many "innovations" (The all-stylus controls, the Fullness meter, the weather/crop growing mechanic, the gimped [compared to other games in the series] cooking system, etc.)
In general, fans don't take well to the system in newer games like A Tale of Two Towns and Harvest Moon A New Beginning, in which the time passes exact seconds, catching bugs and the quality rank of the items you pick up.
They Just Didn't Care: A New Beginning has multiple species of eel in it. However, instead of making a unique model for eels, they just used the generic fish model.
Toy Ship: Stu and May (BTN and Mineral Town), Hugh and Katie (DS\DS Cute), Charlie and Eliza (Island of Happiness), Rahi and Ying (Tale of Two Towns)
In It's a Wonderful Life the two girls you don't marry will live lives of misery.
The tendency for bachelors from previous games to show up in newer ones can cause long-time players to run into their chosen spouse just a few years older, back to celibacy and frequently obviously moving in from somewhere else. This is not helped by the fact that this tends to happen to the more popular bachelors/bachelorettes.
Poor Muffy seems heartbreakingly lonely at times, especially in games where the protagonist doesn't marry her and rival marriage isn't an option, like in AWL.
Mira in AP is miserable without her husband and won't even go back to work without encouragement at first. Even after the protagonist befriends her and she cheers up a little, she still remarks on how much she misses or loves him at most festivals. Similarly, Galen from AWL/DS after Nina dies.
Grant in DS in particular, where he's obviously struggling to raise his daughter alone after his wife left them and Kate isn't grateful for it at all, berating him constantly and blaming him for every little thing that goes wrong. Admittedly, she is somewhat of a Jerkass Woobie herself, but the fandom still tends to dislike her for her treatment of her father nonetheless.