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Video Game / Harvest Moon

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Harvest Moon (known as 牧場物語, Bokujō Monogatari in Japan, lit. "Ranch Story") is a series of Simulation Games based on farming developed by Marvelous (formerly Pack-in-Video, then Victor Interactive Software, then Marvelous Entertainment, then Marvelous AQL, due to a long line of buyouts and mergers on the Japanese side) and translated by Natsume in North America and Rising Star Games in Europe.

The original game was released for the Super Nintendo in 1996, and since then there have been over twenty Harvest Moon titles released for a variety of different consoles. The plot line, such as it is, is much the same for almost every game: the protagonist, a young hero, just starting life on his or her own, inherits or buys a farm. Sadly, its previous owner was unable to keep up with chores on the farm, leaving it in a significantly dilapidated state... and now it's up to you to fix it!

Some games have an Unexpected Gameplay Change or two; Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon for the DS has a fantasy setting and some RPG-style elements, such as the ability to fight monsters (and with the releases of RF 2 (DS) and Frontier (Wii), has become a full-fledged Spin-Off Series), while in Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon for the PSP, the player character is actually a Ridiculously Human Robot.

In early 2014, Marvelous AQL dropped Natsume as publishing and localization company for Bokujou Monogatari in the West, switching instead to XSEED Games, their Western division who were already localizing Rune Factory. However, while Natsume still owns the rights to the Harvest Moon brand, many fans favour XSEED's localisation and translation style. Natsume has chosen to continue making games under the "Harvest Moon" label that contain a similar style of gameplay but are in themselves not Bokujou Monogatari games. How everything went down is explained in this interview. The official continuation of the series is now being released under the title Story of Seasons, causing no small amount of confusion for fans and retailers alike.

Don't confuse for the Neil Young song or album, although it could make one good soundtrack for the game, or the Blue Öyster Cult song which would make a decidedly less fitting soundtrack for the games.

Compare and contrast with Hometown Story, Little Dragons Café, and River King, the former two being by the creator of the franchise and the latter being Harvest Moon's sister series. The franchise has inspired a host of Spiritual Successors, a genre which has since come to be known as Farm Life Sim.

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    The games in the series (North American releases) include 

Games published in North America by Natsume, Inc.

Games published in North America by XSEED Games

Games developed by Natsume Inc (An In Name Only series as Natsume still own the rights to the name)

Spin-offs include: