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Video Game / Harvest Moon DS

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Harvest Moon DS was the first Harvest Moon (now Story of Seasons) Farm Life Sim game to be released on the Nintendo DS in 2006. The game can be summed up as A Wonderful Life played like Friends of Mineral Town, using almost all the characters from A Wonderful Life while adding a few new ones and having some access to the Mineral Town ones.

The game takes place a century after A Wonderful Life, where we cut in during a feud between the Harvest Goddess and the Witch Princess. One day the Witch Princess accidentally turned the Harvest Goddess into stone, and then made things worse by making the Goddess and the Sprites disappear. Since you just happen to be around, she then recruits you to save the Goddess by finding the Sprites.

In 2007, the Distaff Counterpart DS Cute was released. It is like the main game, but you play as a girl and a lot of the Game-Breaking Bugs got patched. The opening plot was changed to the Harvest Goddess turning to stone after calling the Harvest King a "baldy" from a heated argument when she dismisses you as being unable to sustain a farm. (It doesn't help her case since she shows up late at night, and you are asleep.)

The Following Tropes apply for this game:

  • 100% Completion: The Farm Summary page serves as a completion checklist in addition to keeping track of your money, supplies, and tools. Some of these are important for unlocking in-game rewards, but several of the checklists are unnecessarily thorough, have no reward, and/or only granted achievements that you receive through the mail (and the mailbox’s functionality was removed in the English version):
    • There are 101 Farm Sprites with different unlock requirements, including doing specific actions that might not be part of your gameplay routine hundreds of times and using your tools on random spots on the map. You only need 60 to rescue the Harvest Goddess and enable marriage, but you need all 101 if you want to marry the Harvest Goddess.
    • There are 134 recipes to discover that will either require experimenting with dozens of ingredients and six utensils (including the no utensil option) of the fully stocked kitchen or looking at a guide.
    • There are five house upgrades and twelve unique buildings, and the list shows what each building is made out of. Three of the upgrades and eleven of the buildings can be built using the extremely expensive gold lumber. Buying all of them costs over 900 million gold, plus 900 million for the private island that the villa must be built on. Accounting for the ability to have seven barns, that results in about 2 billion gold to have all of the best buildings.
    • There are 51 species of fish and 7 assorted items you can attain by fishing with Galen's fishing rod during different seasons on various bodies of water, including the 900 million gold private island. The six "Fish Kings" will require a Level 6 or 7 rod, and at least one item cannot be caught if you pull back the rod too far.
    • There are four unlockable mines with 64 items that you can mine, both by digging with your hoe and by hammering rocks, 10 enemies that can be fought, and 66,799 floors to explore. The mining item list is another requirement for marrying the Harvest Goddess.
    • And then there is the shipping list with 273 unique items that must be placed in the shipping bin or cannery, including several of the items from the mining and fishing lists (though thankfully not any of the unique species of fish); every crop, animal product, forage item, maker product, and recipe (including the failed ones); items from the vendors, gifts from the Witch and Harvest Goddess, and an item from a secret minigame that can only be unlocked at 4:44 AM. Completion of this list is required for marrying the Harvest Goddess.
      • Each item also has an optional checklist that for some just requires you to find two of the item and ship once each with the bin and the cannery, but for the farm products which can be leveled up list levels 1 to 100 for every item, and for each level include the normal version, canned version, and for the crops the rare "big" version that has a 1 in 255 chance of appearing outside during the correct season. Completely optional and no reward, but the game still presents it like something it wants you to complete.
    • There are 608 (625 in the girl version) cards to collect from the randomized card packs sold in the Sprite Company Tree, with five rarities that each card can come in, totaling 3,040 or 3,125 cards total. You can narrow down the range of cards by checking the hundreds digit of your gold balance, but even with save scumming it's a grueling task with no reward.
    • And finally, there is the Farm Degree, or Farmer Title, which is based on a hidden number that ticks up with the completion of certain milestones. The highest amount you can add at once is 5000, if you go through the tedious but repeatable effort to collect all nine Wonderfuls in the 4th mine and make a wish to raise your ranching level (You receive a random x000 number between 1000-5000, and it's impossible to check the exact number in normal gameplay). How many points do you need to achieve the highest rank? One BILLION.
  • And Your Reward Is Parenthood: After you get married, you can have a baby, which leads to a Time Skip after which your child is a toddler. Your child's appearance is based on your spouse, with each bachelor re-using one of the bachelorettes' children (so for example, Carter will inexplicably have a child with blond hair and purple eyes). Since this game re-uses the setting from A Wonderful Life, the child actually grows to become a teenager, and is more of a fleshed-out character than in other games, but unlike A Wonderful Life, all children have the same personality and a limited amount of dialogue, with no career system.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Golden Lumber is one of the four materials you can use for buildings (along with Grass, Normal Lumber, and Stone.) It is the most durable material you can use, however it has a huge price tag and you can only get the material from Gotz (who charges it 100,000G a piece ) or from Thomas' Winter Event (which only happens once an in-game year). Unless you make mountains of gold, you're better off using the more readily available Stone or Wood.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Having any or all of your buildings made with Golden Lumber. By the time you have acquired enough funds to build it, you may have buildings already made with plain Lumber or Stone. (The latter being more sturdy, while normal Lumber is weaker but cheaper.) That's if you don't decide to exploit the Disc-One Nuke or the Billion Gold Fish cheat.
    • Marrying any of the Special Bachelorettes counts too; they have more requirements that need to be fulfilled.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Any Harvest Sprites you find will be able to work on your farm. What they can do for you depends on the colour of their hat and jacket.
    • Red: They can gather eggs, milk and wool from your livestock to send to the shipping bin.
    • Orange: They can gather wood and stone for buildings.
    • Yellow: They care for your animals, increasing their affection.
    • Green: Harvest any grown crops and send them directly to the shipping bin.
    • Sky Blue: Water all crops where they're assigned to.
    • Indigo: They fish in any assigned area, sending the fish directly to the shipping bin.
    • Purple: They help recover stamina in areas you assign them to.
  • Burn the Witch!: A conversation between Witch Princess and Keira shows that the latter rallied a mob to get WP killed for being evil. In revenge, Witch Princess put her into a magical coma and locked her away in a mine.
  • Continuity Nod: In the Japanese version of DS, linking it with a copy of Game Boy Advance game Friends of Mineral Town that had previously linked with a copy of the GameCube Game A Wonderful Life will make the grave of your A Wonderful Life character appear, as the DS games are set in the same place of Forget-Me-Not Valley but 100 years in the future. The English version of DS/Cute instead makes the grave belong to your Mineral Town character... supporting the same conclusion as the AWL grave, as it indicates the Mineral Town characters that are visiting your DS town are from a later time period than the ones living in your FOMT town, while Thomas confirms there's a farmer currently living in Mineral Town in the DS tutorial sequence. This is possible in the glitched English version of HMDS, too. It's just a really bad idea.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • The Goddess (or Guts, if she hasn't been rescued yet) gives you congratulations for completing milestones. These include completing the Shipped Items, Fishing, and Mining lists, but they also include the repeated acts of shipping items, catching fish, and even taking steps, ranging from 10,000 to 10 billion for each one. Each time, the congratulator remarks that they have no reward for you, though if it's the Harvest Goddess, you do increase her affection.
    • DS Cute adds a tailoring shop where you can buy clothing and carpet/wallpaper combinations, with each being unlocked by raising your farm degree to a certain rank. The final interior design is unlocked at 200,000 farm degree points.
  • Denser and Wackier: Noticeably more humorous and silly than previous installments, including gratuitous Breaking the Fourth Wall and Flanderization.
  • Disc-One Nuke: DS has ridiculously exploitable mines. By using savescumming techniques, it's entirely possible to (on the first day of the game) get all of the cursed tools, any (or all) of the cursed accessories, and a huge amount of rare gemstones that can be sold for massive profit. By the end of the second game day, it's possible to have the legendary sword, several million G in the bank, and accessories that give you infinite working potential and twice as much time outdoors to work. And by abusing the Wonderfuls in the 4th mine to wish for multiplied shipping value (up to 5x) while shipping out 1 million G tickets, you can infinitely multiply your Gold without even resorting to any of the money-making glitches the game is notorious for. Generally players are expected to take several game years to get this sort of bankroll and equipment spread.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Harvest King banishing the Goddess and the sprites for being called a baldy.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The "Best Friends" is thinly veiled same gender marriage. The game also features several female characters wanting to go "play dates" at your house, despite both of you being grown women.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Natsume changed the characters' names to be identical to their predecessors. However they didn't remove the other references that make it clear that the game is a Stealth Sequel to AWL and FOMT:
    • Characters still refer back to their ancestors by name, resulting in bizarre-sounding dialogue like "Gustafa"note  saying "A man named Gustafa built this house. He's my ancestor. He liked to travel and lived his days in a tent."
    • One change Natsume made to try and disguise the ancestor/descendant plotline unintentionally makes it more obvious: in the Japanese version, linking to a copy of Friends of Mineral Town that had previously linked to A Wonderful Life will make the grave of your Wonderful Life character appear. Natsume changed this so that instead, it's the grave of your Mineral Town character... so unless your Mineral Town character is somehow both alive and dead, the characters that visit Forget-Me-Not Valley are from a time period after Friends of Mineral Town.
    • In a similar vein, the event of Nina's death that occurs in A Wonderful Life is naturally spoiled in DS by the presence of their gravestone on the hill south of Vesta's Farm, where DS!Galen and Nina live from the start, since AWL!Galen moved his house there during the events of A Wonderful Life. Eventually DS!Nina is laid to rest there alongside her ancestor. But without the 100-years-later and ancestor/descendant plotline, the gravestone's existence becomes quite morbid since the character it's for is still alive, often standing right next to it.
    • May's Tailoring is a shop in DS Cute that sells clothing and wallpaper. Conversations with the owner, which are unlocked by buying more clothes or wallpaper, reveal that the store is in Mineral Town. While there is a May in Mineral Town, she's a small child in Friends of Mineral Town...and as you progress through the conversations, you eventually learn that the shopkeeper you're talking to in DS is May's grandson. This was left intact by Natsume, despite making it obvious that DS takes place a very long time after FoMT (and AWL, since those games are confirmed to take place concurrently).
  • Dub Name Change: In Japan the characters have different names from their original versions because they're supposed to be their descendants. Natsume streamlined this to resemble an Alternate Universe by giving them all their predecessors's names in the English game. but this causes some Dub Induced Plot Holes because other references weren't changed.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: There's an optional ending in DS involving bringing a level 100 poisonous mushroom to the Harvest Festival and putting it into the stew, thus killing off the entire valley and causing the credits to roll. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so difficult to grow such a mushroom in the first place.
  • Eyedscreen: Used extensively in cutscenes.
  • Flanderization: Most of the characters personalities were simplified from previous games, which means several were also flanderized. Popuri, for example, became even more immature than in (More) Friends of Mineral Town.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Nina's death is this, as it takes place during the Time Skip after your child has been born. Identical to what happened in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: DS has a bug where the game will sometimes save improperly, leading to the save becoming corrupt. It is far more common when using a sprite team (especially the fishing team, which is the source of a bug that can make you a billionaire in a night).
  • Gay Option: The first game in the series to have this option, though it's referred to as "Best Friends".note  You can't marry a male character after you've "befriended" a girl, and you raise a child together with your companion. Not helped by the fact that the whole thing is referred to as "marriage" anywhere but the best friends ceremony. Supposedly, the codes for these bachelorettes are directly ported from the boy version. This Best Friends option is only featured in the Japanese version of DS Cute and it's only for the Special Bachelorettes—you can't marry, say Nami or Maria.
  • Generation Xerox: Almost everyone. Seriously, this takes place one hundred years after A Wonderful Life and yet all the villagers have the same appearances, home decor, similar personalities, share improbable backstory details (such as Lumina being orphaned and raised by her grandmother, just like her AWL ancestor). And while the Japanese version at least made it clear the characters were distinct by giving them entirely different names, Natsume's translation created more confusion by giving the whole cast the same names as their ancestors while leaving dialogue that acknowledges the ancestor/descendant plotline intact.
  • Global Currency Exception:
    • The Sprite Casino has tokens you can wager and exchange for prizes, such as more profitable seeds and useful equipment.
    • Also joked about on the "TV 3 Shopping" station: If they're not selling real items you can use, they're selling items specifically for Harvest Sprites, which use the Sprite currency, Korobos. The sprite who runs the station says, "If you use a different currency, sorry."
  • Gotta Catch Them All: There are one-hundred and one Harvest Sprites that needs to be rescued. However you only need to find sixty of them to free the Harvest Goddess (whom you need to save if you plan on getting married.)
  • Hide Your Lesbians: In the Japanese version of Cute, you can become "best friends" with any of the Special bachelorettes. It's marriage in all but name, and even that's wishy-washy (for example, proposing to Leia has her describe it as a proposal and outright say "Let's get married"). You can also become mothers when the Harvest King gifts you a child. The English version of Cute removed the feature, but you can still go through everything but the marriage. You can still see the Heart Events and end up with awfully flirty dialogue that leaves the woman blushing, but you can't "best friend" them.
  • Identical Grandson: If we hadn't told you that this game was set a hundred years after A Wonderful Life, you would believe that this was merely a remake of the game, not helped that Natsume used the exact same names for every one of the characters. The differences are so slight in appearance that it's easy to assume they're the exact same characters if none of them told you; you have to look really closely to see the new generation has some slight differences. note 
  • Money Sink: There are many absurdly expensive items, buildings, and accessories that you can purchase... with very little difficulty, as it's even more absurdly easy to gain Gold in this title.
    • Waking up on the first day of the season with at least 900 million Gold to your name will trigger a cutscene where you can purchase a tiny private island from Thomas for that exact amount of money, which you can access via the boat docked at the western edge of the beach. You'll need to buy the island to complete your fishing list, as there are unique species of fish in the Island waters. What's more, you can hire Gotz to build a vacation home on the island— even a grass home costs over a million G, but for full extravagance, you can construct a villa out of Golden Lumber for 300 million Gold. There's no real benefit to having the vacation home, other than bragging rights.
    • The Godhand and Miracle Glove become available for sale at the Sprite Casino after buying the Red Cloak. They each cost 100 million Medals— either you must get very lucky with the casino games, or fork over a cool 1 billion Gold to buy them. Their utility matches their exorbitant price— Godhand allows you to pick up anything outside using the map screen, and the Miracle Glove when equipped lets you ship anything you throw.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: It is possible to end your game early through these means:
    • In the introduction, you can refuse to call off your dog when he attacks Thomas. Then it suddenly fades to white, then cue credits.
    • Marrying a Mineral Town girl will end your game as it is implied you moved to Mineral Town with her. However in DS Cute this no longer applies as the Mineral Town boy of your choosing moves in with you instead.
    • In ''DS Cute',' by repeatedly talking to the unseen shopkeeper at May's Tailoring will eventually make him propose to you if you're unmarried. Accepting his proposal causes a game over.
    • Growing a Level 100 Poison Toadstool, then submitting it to the Harvest Festival, will cause you to poison everyone in town including yourself.
  • Old Save Bonus: Bonus content is unlocked by connecting them to the GBA games: the characters who live in Mineral Town will come to stay at the Inn weekly, unlocking them as romance options and allowing for new cutscenes where they interact with the DS cast.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • One event in Cute has your friend, Mimi, telling you how she envies you. She married for convenience, whereas you married for love. She wishes she had as nice and romantic a man as your husband. What's so odd about that? She decides to rectify this by announcing that she's going to have an affair with your husband. Your character performs the Heroic Mime equivalent of giving her three "Oh-no-you-di'—n't!" snaps, and she tries to cover herself by claiming she was joking. And this isn't the only adultery joke in the game, oddly...
    • In the Japanese version of Cute, there is a Gay Option with the sneakily-named "Best Friends System", which allows the female protagonist to court the four "special" girls from HMDS (Harvest Goddess, Witch Princess, Leia, and Keira), have— not a wedding, of course— but a "Best Friends Ceremony", and after a while of being the very best of friends, the Harvest King blesses the two of you with a child. While Natsume removed the ability to "best friend" these girls in the English version, their romantic lines and heart events are kept intact and they still have Love Points for you.
    • In Cute, if you are married and Rock isn't, you can see an event with Rock asking you if you would like to hang out with him at the beach. When he realizes that you and him are the only two on the beach, he begins to get a few ideas...and quickly decides against the hangout since he doesn't want your husband angry at him for the rumors about you having an affair that could get around, considering he's "cursed with this reputation of being the ultimate ladies' man". He instead just tells you to go home, with your character remarking "...Well, that was strange...". The original Japanese version of the event takes it a step further. He is excited to finally hang out until he finally realizes how it looks, and says “It kinda feels like we’re having an affair…”. He wants nothing to do with anything even resembling infidelity and angrily sends you home, where the protagonist instead remarks to herself “…I wish we could’ve had some fun…”.
    • The idea that you can impregnate Leia is just so ridiculous that the developers couldn't resist making Dr. Hardy lampshade it.
      Dr. Hardy: (to Leia) So you're a mermaid, huh?...Well, never mind.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Flora, Carter, and Griffin are now marriage candidates.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: In the Japanese version Cute, Claire or Pony can end up with a girl instead, but as "Best Friends", even though you still have to propose, you still need the two-person bed in your house, and you eventually adopt a child.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Some Mineral Town and Forget-me-not Valley characters are cousins in this game, like Karen and Celia.
  • Retro Universe: Despite being set a hundred years after A Wonderful Life and Friends of Mineral Town, there is very little change, other than buying a DVD player from Van. Even the DVD player itself might count as the prequel games seem to take place in contemporary times.
  • RPG Elements: The games go surprisingly "RPG-y." The mines are filled up with monsters you have to fight with your tools—there are even "bosses" on some levels—and there's one tool, a Legendary Sword, which exists specifically so you can fight monsters. The same games also have a "Doghouse Battle" mini-game, where you participate in strange fights against the other townspeople in RPG-style.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: The case in DS Cute where you can play as Claire or Pony.
  • Schmuck Bait: If the The Three Little Pigs told you anything, it's that you should never make a building out of straw. While it's the cheapest material, it will collapse on a rainy day.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Taught by Experience: In the introduction, Thomas evades your player's attack after insulting your farm mentioning he gotten wise since his encounter with Claire in More Friends of Mineral Town
  • Time Skip:
    • The game begins a whole century after AWL. Strangely, a lot of the characters seem way too similar to their ancestors, complete with matching names.
    • The game also skips about 3 years ahead after your child is born, so it's a walking, talking, gift-taking toddler you can interact with. Then it happens again twice when your child grows up, concluding at a teenager.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Zigzagged in the intro sequence. Thomas, the mayor, greets you before the game starts proper. You can either return the greeting, or tell him to go away. Returning the greeting leads to him openly insulting your farm (despite having just started out), which your character will take very poorly. In retaliation, the PC will swing every gardening instrument he has at Thomas, who dodges every blow and accidentally backs into your now-pissed-off dog. At this point, you have the choice to call off your dog and save the mayor or let your dog have him. Doing the latter will end your game right then and there. If you just tell him to fuck off, he'll do precisely that, and you don't have to go through any of this.
    • If you befriend the yeti Mukumuku and give him a Poison Mushroom, there will be a cutscene where he'll get very sick and be taken to Dr. Hardy. At the good doctor's home, he will then scold you for giving the poor animal something dangerous and send you away to think about what you did.
    • At the Harvest Festival, you can donate a Poison Mushroom and cause everyone to get sick. Courting the Witch Princess involves poisoning the town in this fashion for five years. And if you have the patience to cultivate a level 100 Poison Mushroom, the poisoning will be fatal.
    • You can mass-kill your livestock and poultry by building an animal barn out of fodder and herding all of them inside, with rainy weather making their deaths more likely. The game tracks how many animals you've killed, and killing at least 50 of them is a requirement to woo the Witch Princess.note 

Alternative Title(s): Harvest Moon DS Cute