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YMMV / Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

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  • Adaptation Displacement: In most regions, the GBA games are more well-known than the Playstation originals.
  • Awesome Music: Back To Nature and Friends Of Mineral Town were praised for their music, including the buoyant town theme and the seasonal tracks, especially the delightful spring track (which becomes even more glorious after the serious and severe winter track). In DS you can buy records of some of the tracks from the games, including season tracks, and play them at your leisure.
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  • Breather Boss: Out of all the bachelorettes, Elli is the easiest to court. She gets high affection from any flowers which are available to forage in Spring, Summer and Fall. In addition, unlike Karen, Popuri, Mary and Ann's daily routine, Elli's daily routine is to remain strictly at her house or the hospital, except on Wednesdays when she visits the Supermarket. This makes her very easily accessible for the player.
  • Contested Sequel:
    • The topic of whether the 64 roles or Back to Nature ones are better is highly controversial. This largely comes down to what characterizations and roles the fan prefers.
    • Back to Nature versus its sprite remake Friends of Mineral Town. The argument usually comes dwn to which the player played first.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • Tell a casual Western Harvest Moon fan that the videogames were created by Victor/Marvelous. You'll be surprise by how many of them would say "no, it's made by Natsume". This created confusion upon Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town's announcement.
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    • That Back to Nature and Friends of Mineral Town are identical. Friends of Mineral Town both added and removed many things from its 3D counterpart.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • In fan-works, it is not uncommon to see characters such as Ann, Rick, or Kai being depicted badly to give way for their respective romantic rival (either Player Character Pete or Claire or just a self-insert OC).
    • Due to the popularity of Claire/Gray, Mary has a mixed reception. It's not uncommon for her to be depicted negatively (or just outright ignored).
    • Duke sometimes falls victim to this, no thanks to Manna being arguably the most popular non bachelorrete woman who is adored by male players in the fandom, and some of them think that Manna deserves better husband, which means literally anyone other than Duke (and Barley and Saibara, of course).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Many female players were disappointed that Pastor Carter was not a bachelor. Especially compared to the secret bachelors mentioned below.
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    • Among the bachelors, Gray and Cliff seems to be the most popular bachelors according to Gamefaq's poll. Gray, Cliff, and the Doctor also get the most fanworks, though that doesn't mean Kai doesn't get a lot either.
    • Among the bachelorettes, Elli is the most popular bachelorette in the game according to Gamefaq's poll. Karen and Elli receive the most fanworks as well.
    • Manna is arguably the most popular non-bachelorrete woman in the game, despite (or probably because of) her Motor Mouth, though her youthful looks surely helps. Vocal Minority of male players in the fandom even claimed that Manna is more attractive than five available bachelorretes and were disappointed that Manna is married.
  • Flat Character:
    • Played straight for Doctor from Back to Nature. He was a flat character with no back-story or personality. It doesn't help that the only events that features him is his rival events, which doesn't even tell us much about him. Fortunately, this is averted in the GBA games and the Back to Nature for Girls game where he is more expressive, and they added several random events that explain his back-story and reason of becoming a doctor.
    • Greg the Fisherman, Kano the Photographer and Louis. See They Wasted A Perfectly Good Character.
    • Basil. Played straight in the Back to Nature games where the only thing we know about him is that he is Mary's father and Anna's husband. He is ever only seen with his family or by himself. In addition, no random events even featured him. Averted in the FOMT and "MFOMT'' game where he was given several random events that focuses entirely on him.
  • Foe Yay: Whenever you talk to Rick, the topic inevitably shifts to Kai. He seems to hate that guy with a passion.
  • Fridge Horror: In MFoMT, since Claire bought the farm from a newspaper ad, it implies that Jack (for one reason or another) never took over the farm (which is a Fridge Tearjerker for the old man).
  • Funny Moments:
    • The drink off between Duke and Karen in Friends of Mineral Town, especially the aftermath with Manna berating Duke. You have to get Karen at green heart for it, but it's totally worth it.
    • Marrying the kappa in More Friends of Mineral Town. Your character just acts so confused through the whole thing every time he shows up to talk to you, especially when he drops the bombshell that you're pregnant with his child, and then he vanishes just as abruptly as he came.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The animal exchange cheat. You can easily duplicate your animals by simply trading one animal back and forth with three save files. To do this cheat, have three save files. Two save files for your first game file (A & B), and one for the second game file (C). Trade all the animals you want to duplicate from game file A to game file C. Then trade all the animals you just got from game file C to save file B (which should be the same saves as game file A). Now you have just duplicated your animals.
    • Pineapples, the highest-selling crop in the game. Each pineapple sells for a whopping 500 gold, and they are renewable. However, they take three whole weeks to grow and a further six days to regrow after being harvested once, effectively limiting you to at most two harvests per Summer, though they are still valuable enough to be worthwhile - a single bag of seeds will produce up to 9000 gold in harvests.
    • Possibly more game breaking than pineapples are sweet potatoes. The seeds are fairly cheap, they take just six days to grow, sell for 120 gold each, and are renewable, regrowing every three days. If you plant them at the very beginning of Fall, you can get up to nine harvests from a single plant note . It's not terribly uncommon to sell several hundred to over a thousand sweet potatoes in a single season if you plant them en masse.
    • The hothouse in BTN, though not as game-breaking as in Harvest Moon 64, still fits the role well in Back to Nature. Just like in 64, you can grow any crop inside, no matter what the season (even winter). You can easily maximize your profits by growing high value crops, such as pineapples or sweet potatoes. However, it does have one glaring drawback - if a blizzard or a hurricane strikes, there is a small chance that it may be destroyed, forcing you to cough up another 30,000 gold and 580 lumber to rebuild it. Sadly, the hothouse is not available in the GBA remakes.
    • Using an emulator and a lot of patience, you can get absurdly rich really quickly after you start your game. Basically every first five days of the new year, you can play a Harvest Goddess game where the items you will get depends on how many correct guesses you attained but the most sought of them involve either the Fish Fossil(5000g) or the Treasure Chest(10000g) at 60 to 69 wins or 70 to 79 wins respectively. Under a normal GBA device, you probably wouldn't be able reach such high amount of win and since the numbers are completely chosen at random, you can't save scum and rechoose the correct answer. However, with an emulator, you can save your current state and load to the state you previously saved in so if you pick a wrong answer, simply rewind to the previous state and choose the correct number until you get around 75 wins before purposely losing to get your prize. If you do this 5 times per day and repeat 3 days over, then you will get 200,000g just in the span of four days, enough to buy anything that you normally would never bought within the first year.
    • In GBA remakes:
      • The Cursed Tools. These can be found in certain levels of Winter Mine once all your tools are upgraded to Mystrile. They are powerful tools compared to Mystrile levels, for example the Cursed Hoe can dig up to 36 squares at one swing when Mystrile hoe can only dig up to 6. However, these tools are.. you know, cursed, once equipped you cannot simply unequip it and the only way to do so is to have Carter remove it when he is the confession room, and these tools drains lots of stamina upon usage. On good side, these Cursed tools can be turned into Blessed tools which can be used normally while retaining their power. Blessing the cursed tool can be done in various ways.
      • The Mythic Stones. These black branch-like ores appears in Spring Mines at deeper levels after you obtained all Cursed tools and have them blessed. These ores are used to upgrade your tool to the most powerful tool in game, the Mythic Tool. For example, the Mythic hoe which can dig up to 90 squares in one swing. However, using Mythic tools at maximum drains lots of stamina so it is advised to get Power Berries as many as possible before getting your hands on these tools.
      • The Teleport Stone. As its name implies, it allows the player to teleport to any location in the Mineral Town including the Winter Mine that is normally accessible only during winter. It is the best item one could find in the mines, however unlocking it requires certain conditions and once those are met, it can be found in the deepest part of Spring Mine, at level 255.
      • And finally in MFoMT only, Won's Apple Game. One can win a certain white flower from his game. Offer this flower the Harvest Goddess once per day and after the 10th offer, she will give you a blue flower. This can be sold to Won up to 1 million gold.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: For much of the early 2000s, Back to Nature was practically synonymous with the word "video game" in Indonesia. It was so popular that the country's fans produced a Fan Translation and even a number of ridiculous hacked versions or sprite edits. The game still maintains a dedicated following in Indonesia to this day. This is in no small part thanks to Nintendo 64 practical non-existence in Indonesian gaming market (In fact, Nintendo home consoles between NES and Wii were practically non-existent in Indonesia, with ownership limited to extremely few gamers/collectors), so many people don't even aware to the existence of original 64 version.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Gray has a line in Friends of Mineral Town where he mentions being happy to receive whatever the player gives him. This, combined with his awkwardness when shown a Blue Feather, makes him seem like he has a crush on Pete.
  • Iron Woobie: Gotz can come off as just a short-tempered introvert. However, after finding out that the reason he acts like this is due to him losing both his wife and daughter in a storm makes you want to give the poor man a hug.
  • Memetic Mutation: Popuri reacts positively to being given weeds. This has led to a fandom joke that she's a stoner.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In universe, everyone especially Barley (except for May) treats Joanna's decision of abandoning her own daughter, May, as this.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Karen's singing in the Music Festival in Harvest Moon Back to Nature.
    • The sound of throwing a crop or foraged items into the Shipping Bin.
    • Your character and your childhood friend singing together in the opening flashback. Even more so in the good ending, when another flashback reveals that your wife was that childhood friend.
  • Narm Charm: It's actually a combination of Narm and Cliché Storm. Lillia's unknown illness (which leads to fatigue and will make her unable to walk soon) is supposed to make us sympathize with her. However, her illness is just so ridiculous and over the top. We were told by the villagers that the illness is so bad that her husband had to leave town to look for a cure. The thing is they've never show us the bad effect of her illness. In fact, most people probably doesn't know she has an illness unless they pay attention to some character's specific dialogues.
  • No Ending: Subverted. The game does have an ending with credits at the end of your third year (both bad and good ending), but you are given a choice to continue on if you get the good ending.
  • Polished Port: Harvest Moon: Boys and Girls, The PSP port of both Harvest Moon: Back to Nature and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature for Girls, was actually really well made. Marvelous cleverly addressed the lack of L2 and R2 button, and they even fixed up some glitches from the PS1 games, such as the time freeze glitch.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Several fans, especially the newer fans, didn't like that the base gift giving affection won't decrease after the first gift. Therefore, as an example, every gifts you give in the same day would always be, for instance, worth 100 points. People stated that it made the game too easy.
    • Fishing. It takes a long time to fish. There's a high chance you only fish out garbage. In addition, you have to hold down the Square button the entire time which prevents you from doing other activities while fishing.
    • Hurricanes in the Summer and blizzards in the Winter. When a storm is brewing, you are stuck inside your house, and the storm can destroy many things on your farm, ranging from crops and fences to your entire Hothouse. Worse yet, because you can't go outside, you also cannot tend to your animals, meaning they lose affection - dramatically more so if they were outside in the fields.
  • Sequel Displacement: Marvelous all but booted 64 out of canon. Practically every cameo and reference to Karen, Popuri, Ann, and the other characters are their FOMT/BtN incarnations. Fans are much, much more acquainted with those games.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • Mostly averted. Despite Harvest Moon Back to Nature using the same characters from Harvest Moon 64, and changed their pairing around, the fans are civil about it. It probably helps since Harvest Moon Back to Nature made it clear that even though the characters look the same, they are completely different individuals.
    • It's rare but you will see fans arguing couples, such as Popuri/Kai vs Popuri/Gray vs Karen/Kai (with the latter two being from 64). It mostly comes down to "Which ships fit better?"
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Many of Rick's random events involves him getting insulted or undermined by Popuri, Kai, Karen or Lillia. For instance, in one of his early rival events in Back to Nature, he gets into an argument with Karen, which ends up with her calling him a "cad" in disgust after he insults her and tells her to go out with Kai.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • In the girl version of Harvest Moon Back to Nature the morning of the Goddess Festival, Gotz will stop by your farm. He will give you the Goddess dress that use to belong to his wife who had died in a storm. What makes this even more sad is that the dress was going to pass down to Gotz's daughter who had also died in the storm.
    • In one event in Harvest Moon Back to Nature, if you head to the mountain in Winter, you'll get caught in the middle of a storm. Gotz will then rescue and scold you. If you talk to him again after that, he'll reveal the fate of his wife and daughter.
    • All events that focuses on May are extremely sad. One event had her feeling lonely. Another had her running away from the ranch to wait at the beach for her mother who never came back for her.
    • In one event on the fifth day of Fall, you'll receive a letter stating that the Inn is closing early. If you go to the top of the mountain that evening, you'll see Doug the Innkeeper alone at the top. He reveals that his wife passed away on that day many years ago, and that every year he mourns her at the top of the mountain.
    • In Harvest Moon Back to Nature if you becomes good friend with Kai, there will be one scene where he tells you that you are his only true guy friend since all the other guys in the town hates him for petty reasons. You really want to give the poor guy a hug.
  • That One Achievement: Collecting all the Legendary Fishes can be extremely difficult if you don't have lightning speed reaction. Even if you do, you might end up catching some garbage or other fishes. In addition, it doesn't help that some Legendary Fish, like the Angler, can only be caught in Winter around certain time (8pm - 11pm). This can make things extremely difficult and aggravating as it is possible that you don't even get a bite when you're fishing between those times.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The Opening Day swimming contest in the Summer. To win you have to carefully balance yourself between swimming and taking breaths, which can be painfully difficult no matter what your approach. If your stamina ever runs out, you have effectively no chance of winning. Expect to do a lot of Save Scumming if you plan on trying to win this festival.
    • The Local Horse Race in the Spring also qualifies if you enter your own horse, for similar reasons as the Swimming Contest. Fortunately, it's not as frustrating as the swimming contest, but if you haven't been riding your horse a lot leading up to the race, it'll be pretty hard to win.
    • The Tomato Festival can be this as well, if you don't know the right strategy. Even then it can end up being a Luck-Based Mission, depending on who you're up against and how long your teammates survive.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Rick. Many find his overzealous protectiveness towards Popuri and his uncalled antagonism against Kai very obnoxious. His nerdy appearance, which makes him look decidedly less attractive than most of the other normal bachelors doesn't help his case either. More damningly, he is paired up with Karen, who is arguably the hardest bachelorette to court.
    • The "secret" bachelors (consisting of Gourmet, Won, and Kappa) from More Friends of Mineral Town receive a lot of flak for not being attractive enough to the player despite the difficulty to actually woo them. Won gets this the least though, since he's considered more handsome.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Louis. He lives with Gotz and appears to be very good friends with him. According to Gotz, Louis helped him out when his wife and daughter died. However, we never get a cutscene with them interacting, or know anything else about him, besides his fascination with bees and that he also lost a daughter like Gotz did. In fact, he attends almost none of the festivals, except the Chicken Festival. His only purpose in the game is really just to increase the sale price of your honey.
    • Greg. A character who lives with Zack which may mean he's close to Zack. However, Zack never mentions him, and he never appears in events or festivals. The only thing we know about him is that he loves fishes. His only purpose in the game is to give you both the Fishing Rod and Fishing Pole.
    • Kano. He lives with Mayor Thomas and appears to be very close to him. In addition, it's also hinted that he helps Mayor Thomas manage the town. However, that's all we got from him. We never get to see how he helps the mayor run the town or anything.
    • Aja. Throughout the game, she was constantly mentioned by Manna, Mayor Thomas, Harris, Duke and Cliff. She was even once mentioned in the television. If you become close friend with Harris, he would tell you that he is waiting for her to come back. Furthermore, there was one cutscene where Manna hinted that Aja might come back to Mineral Town. However, she never returned in the end.
    • Joanna. The mother of May and the daughter of Barley. Majority of May's events and several of Barley's dialogue talks about how much May misses her mother, and is waiting for Joanna to come back for her. It would definitely be interesting to see May's and Barley's interaction with Joanna. However, she never came back.
  • The Woobie:
    • Cliff. The poor guy is shy, and is afraid to get close to people. He misses his family but can't return back to them for some dark reasons. One cutscene had him reminiscing about his family in the snow, and then fainting.
    • May. Usually cheery and sweet, but this poor girl was abandoned by her mother at a very young age. She misses her everyday, and wishes that she'll come back to get her. In fact, one scene had her running away from the ranch only to be found at the beach waiting for her mother. Her mother never came back for her, but at least she became friends with Stu.
    • Jeff, the supermarket owner, is one of the more extreme examples. Given his kind-hearted nature, he is very prone to being taken advantage of. His family has been driven into debt as a result of Duke and other customers repeatedly buying items from him on credit without paying. Because Jeff never finds it in himself to object to it, he ends up as the subject of heavy criticism from his wife Sasha and daughter Karen for being such a pushover. It has driven him into a near-constant state of depression to the point that he even gets stomachaches from it, causing him to spend most of his days off recovering at the Clinic.
    • Not as extreme as the above examples, but Harris is kind of a woobie. He is in love with Aja (daughter of Manna and Duke), but due to Aja's fight with Duke, she left for the city leaving Harris behind. Years later, he still hasn't gotten over her.
  • Toy Ship: May and Stu. All the random events that occurs in the first year slowly build them up to eventually hanging out together regularly.
  • Ugly Cute: Kappa.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Although, not as dark as it predecessors, such as Harvest Moon 64, this game does contains several dark themes, such as child abandonment, death, depression and characters having suicidal tendencies.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: In the PS game. Karen and Rick's second rival event had them arguing about Kai. The argument ended with Rick insulting Karen's integrity by telling her to go with Kai. This results in Karen getting emotionally hurt and calling him a "cad". Why would she actually want a guy like that?

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