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.
Anti-Climax Boss: Mr. Pottsdam. By the time you fight him, it's been established that he's probably the most evil person in Harvest (save possibly for the Sergeant-At-Arms). However, by that point you also have the scythe, which allows you to kill pretty much any enemy in about three hits. The resulting "battle" will most likely end up being Mr. Pottsdam hopelessly charging at Steve with two meat hooks and getting killed without even landing a hit on him.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Wasp Woman is practically a Big Lipped Alligator Character. She contributes nothing to the plot, you donít have to visit her house for any reason, and Steve can kill her without any repercussions. Which then leads to another example when she turns out to actually be half-wasp.
Most of the enemies and locations in the Lodge. Notable examples include a carnivorous plant and a clown with a chainsaw in a bloodstained birthday party room. The story explains why this is later on, though.
If you kill someone and get caught, but you have a Get Out of Jail Free Card, the sheriff drives you back home, puts you in bed, and kisses you while Steve looks on completely flabbergasted.
At the end of the day, Steve goes to bed and has nightmares of various gory scenes in the game...and a cheeseburger.
Crazy Awesome: Colonel Buster Monroe, the shell-shocked commie hunter.
Critical Dissonance: When the game came out, it didn't sell very well, and was poorly received by critics. Nowadays, people generally seem to agree that is decent enough and actually has some interesting concepts, just dated even by 1996 standards. The implementation of real time combat in certain sections is still unpopular, however.
Demonic Spiders: Jimmy James, the paperboy, is a damage sponge who can kill you in quite literally a second if you don't have the right weapon.
Disappointing Last Level: The Lodge part of the game seems like it was rushed through development. Many of its ideas seems like they were squeezed in at the last minute and come across as rather half-finished.
Depending on who you ask, it could be the game's Best Level Ever for throwing everything out the window and going completely insane with the concept of the game.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Mr. Pottsdam, due to the funny moments stemming from his meat obsession.
Sheriff Duane Dwayne and Deputy Loomis as well.
Out of the townspeople with minimal importance to the plot, Clem Parsons and Colonel Buster Monroe seem to be the most popular.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Deliberately Invoked to show how awful the people in Harvest really are. Some highlights of their moral code: Itís all right to murder people, mercy and charity are lies, and violence is always the best way.
Then again, the family shouldn't be anywhere near this game.
"You always were a kidder, Steve." Take "kidder" and replace it with "killer", and the meaning becomes a whole lot more sinister.
Look at the abhorrent violence that Hank's seeing on the TV every day! Look at all those horrible lessons and sociopathic philosophical musings delivered by characters in the Lodge! That's sick! It's the kind of thinking a serial killer would display! And that's exactly the goddamn point! Steve is being trained to become one.
The bugs in the game, and the laziness (such as the example mentioned below with the cannibal children being the same kid copied) are the result of the murder simulator being imperfect. To quote the Sergeant-At-Arms, "As advanced as our technology is, we cannot make the sim any better."If you look carefully, you can see that they're wearing the same kind of shirt Steve is.
If the purpose of the simulation is to turn Steve into a serial killer, why is murder in the town proper punished by death? Serial killers aren't wild, Grand Theft Auto protagonist-esque madmen - they kill when they think they can get away with it. The Sheriff always comments on you killing someone in public or with witnesses around, and even gets upset if you claim you didn't like murdering a victim if you play your Get Out of Jail Free Card. What's more, Mrs. Pottsdam calls the act of admitting to a murder brave and stupid.
When referring to aliens, Colonel Buster Monroe mentions that "sometimes Swell bags one at night." However, the one who hunts aliens is Clem Parsons, while Pete Swell (who is actually the midget plumber/aluminum siding salesman) claims to have never seen any aliens. At first, this seems to be an oversight on the developer's part. Monroe does not exactly have the strongest grip on reality, though, and does not seem to even be able to recognize Steve from a few feet away until being told who he is. It's possible that he just had Swell mistaken for Parsons.
Game Breaker: The scythe. It can kill just about any enemy in around three or four hits.
Memetic Badass: In the Retsupurae fandom - Steve is one when compared to Mike Dawson, the Memetic Loser protagonist of the Dark Seed duology. Many people like to point out the similarities between the two games, but they are usually in agreement that Steve is a much better protagonist than Mike. To quote a YouTube comment, and a reply to said comment:
"If Steve were in DarkSeed he would've killed all of the Ancients with his scythe, scored on his first ring toss throw, and fucked Rita (while her dad watched from behind a painting)."
"And mike would still be in the bathroom...thinking."
Memetic Mutation: Retsupurae's Wrongpurae of Harvester appears to have started popularizing "You always were a kidder, Steve" (the oft-repeated response to Steve insisting his amnesia is real) and "BYE" (the almost universal prompt to end a conversation).
It helps that "BYE" is a very appropriate response to any of the creepier residents of Harvest.
Moral Event Horizon: This is ultimately a game about them, but there are two characters in particular worth discussing.
Mr. Pottsdam crosses it when he molests a girl and buries her alive just so he can get into the Lodge.
Steve can pass it at any point in the game once the player obtains a weapon, should the player choose to kill someone and use the "Get Out Of Jail Free" Card - the player can even murder a kid and get away with it. The official example occurs in the Bad Ending, where he can kill Stephanie in order to become a real serial killer.
Narm Charm: Say what you want about the goofy FMVs or the silly acting. Occasionally, the game will blindside you with a rather creepy (and jarringly well-acted) character comment. And other times, its cheesy special effects only makes some of the scary scenes worse than they would have been with modern graphics.
Nightmare Fuel: The Temple of Motherly Love. A woman is surrounded by three children, who are actually eating her alive. In between WHAT IS NOT an Author Tract, the game cuts to a FMV of the kids, mouths covered in gore, commenting on how good mommy tastes. Oh, and then one of the kids takes a chunk out of her thigh.
Player Punch: The game frequently highlights the consequences of Steveís actions (albeit very exaggerated), but none works quite like the fallout from Day 5ís little bit of vandalism. Steve burns down Ednaís Diner. Edna is so distraught that she hangs both herself and Karin, IF you had just saved a few days ago.
Without giving anything away, the Bad Ending is the epitome of this in the game, also serving as a You Bastard moment for the player.
Scrappy Mechanic: Real-time combat in a point and click rarely works very well. This is not one of the times it does.
Special Effects Failure: The gameís many attempts at gore during the FMVs fall short; the effects were rotoscoped in afterwards, with many looking like they were edited in two minutes with MS Paint.
The most horrifying scene in the game detailed under Nightmare Fuel is somewhat blunted by the fact that the cannibal children are plainly just the same kid copied three times.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Though Harvester is unique for addressing its subject, there are a couple of details that aren't expanded upon that would have made for a more interesting story.
Should the player take advantage of the "Get Out Of Jail Free Card" and murder a random citizen, they can advance the plot without getting a game over. However, no one addresses Steve any differently if he chooses to kill anyone, and there are no story-related consequences to the action.
While the explanation that reveals what Harvest and the Lodge are really about does make sense, the plot element is almost completely unforeshadowed in the game. Had the element not come out of the left field, the ending could have been made more effective.
In addition, there isn't any extrapolation on how the game was supposed to convince Steve to become a serial killer other than by forced to act violently, even when psychological conditioning is a big part of what the Harvesters are trying to do.
There's a little bit in there, but it's aimed more at the player than at Steve himself, with almost every character being offensive, unhelpful, hostile, obnoxious and stereotypical to the point of caricature, to the point that some players wouldn't mind if they were killed, or even willing to kill them themselves (which is exactly what the Harvesters want.)
There are other subtle hints - the fact that all the mothers in town are very blatantly the same person, the fact everyone having the exact same phrase catch, and a few probably intentional anachronisms here and there.
The Woobie: Pretty much any character deserving of sympathy.
Steve is this, should the player try and take the high road throughout the game.
Stephanie, who is put through a situation worse than Steve's and is the only normal person in Harvest.
Steve's dad is a victim of some serious psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.
Deputy Loomis. As he says, "a man's got needs," and it's implied that he acts the way he does because no one will allow him to fulfill these "needs." The man's wife beats him bloody and throws him outside naked to get bitten by the "black widder spiders" if he so much as asks for a girly magazine, and his boss beats him with a rolled up newspaper (though, in the latter case, it seems to be more because Loomis stains the jail mattresses).
Edna Fitzpatrick, especially if the player waits too long and allows Karen to die.