Catharsis Factor: Hate a certain character? Give him or her an item they dislike. Even better if you hate a certain rival in the game. You have the power to shape their life into a life of misery and loneliness.
In a meta sense, in all of the Harvest Moon games (notably the later ones where random events are limited or removed entirely), making friends with any of the villagers who aren't the bachelor/bachelorettes or rivals are meaningless.
Certain crops yield more gold and are more productive than other crops that are available in the same season (e.g. In Back To Nature, potatoes yield more gold and take only 2 days longer than turnips to grow).
Tell a casual western Harvest Moon fan that the videogames were created by Victor/Marvelous. You'll be surprised by how many of them say "No, it's made by Natsume". This has caused some troubles after the split between Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons occurred.
"Jack" is ubiquitous in the fandom but has never been officially used. The character usually called "Jack" is canonically called "Pete". "Jack" is a Fan Nickname that stems from the SNES game featuring a beanstalk.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: There are crops that yield a higher profit than the others each season, as well as "money tricks". Complacent gamers have no qualms about 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.
Skye in DSCute 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. No 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 (Tale of 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 Tale of Two Towns, though. But since she is a priestess, no child! (Something that Lara from Rune Factory Frontier does opposite.) Hopefully you'll respect her decision at least.
Wizard from Animal Parade certainly seems to be one of the most popular bachelors with the fandom, along with Gill, Chase and Luke.
Reception for Marian has been overwhelmingly positive for being exceptionally beautiful (despite being a man) and for being a canon gay character that's been handled tastefully. The fact that it's extremely common to find someone mistake him for female, and then be shocked to find out his real gender, certainly adds to his memorability.
Eda, the old lady who helps train you into a farmer. Her cheekiness, Granny Classic appearance and nature, and Friendly Enemy status note She and three other farmers serve as your rivals for extra land make her one of the most recognized characters in the game.
Klaus and Reager are usually at the top of popularity polls or people's top choices for SoS bachelors.
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. Sometimes justified, in that what the person likes correlates to foods or materials useful for their highly specialized jobs. Still doesn't explain why Rick and Popuri, who own a chicken ranch, are most easily wooed with eggs.
Fandom Rivalry: With Spiritual SuccessorStardew Valley. Unusually, it's mostly onesided. Most Harvest Moon fans enjoy (or are at least neutral to) Stardew, however Stardew fans have been known to be negative towards Harvest Moon (especially since many haven't played Harvest Moon, as Stardew Valley has been released on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox while Harvest Moon is a predominantly Nintendo focused series). This in turn causes Harvest Moon fans to backlash against Stardew Valley. Though this may eventually ease up, due to the Nintendo Switch version of Stardew.
Fan-Preferred Couple: This started to pop up in the DS/Wii era. Prior to that before fans tended to be spread evenly through the bachelors and bachelorettes. Such examples are: 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), Lillian x Cam (Two Towns), and Klaus x Iris (Story of Seasons (2014)).
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, GB games), "Tony" (Save The Homeland) "Tito" or "Adam" (Magical Melody).
Nina in A(nother) Wonderful Life is the same pink-haired character from previous games.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Japan isn't fond of the rival marriage system, which is why several games lack rivals. The English-speaking fandom, however, is overall very fond of the rival system and wishes it was in more games.
The weeds, in a way; it's impossible to get rid of them completely.
In Harvest Moon 3, 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.
Good Bad Bugs: The series is infamous for them, often related to Natsume's translation.
DS has several pointless glitches (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, strangely, 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.
In Harvest Moon 3 there's a shipping glitch, where if you have two different types of items, and you had more of one than the other then you could ship more of the thing you had less of. So if you had 16 turnips, but one gold egg, then by this glitch you could ship 15 golden eggs.
Giving the Harvest Goddess a gift she likes on her birthday in A New Beginning has the code for a portrait change in the text box instead of an actual message.
Harvest Moon 64 had one of these, up to and including the fact that Natsume spelled their own name wrong on the title screen. The game's dialogue also isn't translated in a fluent manner and the grammar is sometimes off.
The names of the Harvest Moon DS characters were changed to match their original names, since the Japanese ones had new names for plot related reasons. This however caused a few small plot-holes.
The general consensus are that the game started becoming really good with Harvest Moon 64, with its deep characterizations, rivals, and interactive festivals.
Some says it started in Back To Nature with the number of different collections (e.g. Beauty Stars, Cooking Recipes, House Extensions and Legendary Fishes) and unlockable contents (e.g. Special crops).
Ash in Tale of 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...
Gray doesn't exactly turn down Pete if shown the Blue Feather in Friends of Mineral Town.
The Wonderful Life games gave smaller seasons, long days that run the risk of getting boring, love interests with no rivals and are much quicker to woo, a much smaller town, a huge rucksack, and in general it is very simplified compared to other HM games. Though, as 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.
There's one where it shows a cat, two dogs, a horse, a cow, a sheep, and a chicken. Those memes usually talk about the ridiculousness of some things of the game. For example, a meme like this might talk about how you can walk into a house with three people and only find one bed.
A blue feather is used in many of the games as a proposal gift (akin to an engagement ring). As a result, amongst gamers it gets referenced a lot and many people discuss wanting to propose (or be proposed to) with one in real life.
Mis-blamed: A lot of people mistake Natsume as being the developers of the games, when in reality they are only the localization company for the Americas; Marvelous are the devs. Thus errors and glitches in gameplay that aren't related to Natsume (such as the mailbox being locked in a lot of games) are from Marvelous but get Mis-blamed to Natsume. It can be unclear who caused what sometimes, though, as some glitches appear in the North American versions that aren't in the original Japanese.
Fans of the older Harvest Moon games claim that Victor Interactive Software made the Harvest Moon game right, before it merged with Pack-In-Video Co. to become Marvelous Entertainment.
Many fans feel that the series began slumping after Wada left and Hashimoto took over.
Quicksand Box: Experienced Harvest Moon players will likely have an idea and clear goals in mind when they first start a game, but for a neophyte, the complete freedom and lack of concrete goals can be easily overwhelming. Grand Bazaar seems to be an intentional attempt to avert this trope.
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 Dark Horse) 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. Almost all of the bachelorettes act pretty catty when the player discourages them from confessing, but they're really just hated because they marry the most popular guys in the game, similar to poor Sabrina from IoH.
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.
Michelle in A New Beginning because of her third and final heart events revealing she doesn't love you at all. She just considers you a sucker that's willing to give her free stuff. Though due to it only being able to be seen if you start dating her, the hate is mostly from people who either dated her thinking she was the best bachelorette or people that read her event details on a website.
Seem to pop up with regularity in the DS games, including the cooking mechanics in IoH and 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.
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 DS (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.
Ironically, the whole marriage thing in Harvest Moon 3. People have asked, even after this game came out, to be able to marry the other main character. In this game it's the only character available for marriage. People didn't want the wife to work while pregnant. Play as a boy and the girl won't work for 60 days. Play as a girl and you can't even play past marriage, since the game ends when you do get hitched.
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 they lack rival couples, A New Beginning, Tale of Two Towns, and Story of Seasons (2014) are 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.
In A[nother] Wonderful Life, if you haven't proposed to a girl by the end of the year, the game will simply throw you at the character with the highest affection when the time comes, and hit you with a Non-Standard Game Over if you balk. In other games, there's frequently little to nothing stopping you from marrying girls the moment you get their affection high enough, which means they'll agree to marry you even if that's really the first they've heard of your feelings for them. However, this is averted for Nami, who initially marries you for a more political reason if you don't propose to her.note She wants to stay in Forget-Me-Not Valley, but she's out of money and can no longer stay at the inn, making her only option to go back home and live with her drunken father. Marrying you means she would be able to stay there and prevents any unfortunate implications that an unwed woman staying at an unwed man's house may cause.
The latter point is especially egregious in Grand Bazaar, where the dialogue of the marriage candidates only changes when they're inside their houses/bedrooms, during certain times of the day. It only really changes until after marriage. Chances are, you might not notice it, which leads to this trope.
It's better executed in Animal Parade: 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!
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, and Story of Seasons (2014), you must officially "commit" to a bachelor/bachelorette before you can see their later heart events and propose. Unlike in Tale of Two Towns, both bachelors and bachelorettes will eventually confess to you and propose if you don't take the initiative.
In Harvest Moon 3, you can only marry Pete or Sara, the other protagonist that you didn't choose. What's even worse is that their personality isn't all that deep and if you get married while playing as Sara the game ends. At least you don't really have to think about the decision!
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.). Sunshine Islands adjusted some of these mechanics and was better received for it.
In general, fans don't take well to the system in newer games like Tale of Two Towns, A New Beginning, and Story of Seasons (2014) in which the time passes exact seconds, catching bugs and the quality rank of the items you pick up.
The art style has changed quite a lot over the course of the series. Just compare the bachelorettes and bachelors between the early 2000 titles and early 2010 titles. Some fans say the series is just adapting to the newer styles in Japanese anime and games while others think they're intentionally pandering to people who prefer bishonen and bishojo characters. The art style and character designs in newer titles is a source of debate— with older fans often preferring the cuter, less flashy designs while newer fans preferring the newer designs.
Values Dissonance: As the series has gotten more bishoujo, some of the bachelors and bachelorettes (like Luna or Fritz) have looked a bit too young. This squicks out many western fans but cute, Older Than They Look characters are popular in Japanese games.
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.
Marla the mermaid from Harvest Moon 3. She once had a lover, named Rocky, who had a twin brother named Ricky. Ricky was envious and loved Marla too, so he basically kills Rocky because of this. Marla doesn't know this and waits for her lover. She's so lonely that she sends bottles out to sea on the slim chance that someone will find them, let alone send back messages that she may never find. Her whole story is pretty easy to miss too, meaning that she'll probably never meet anyone new if you don't find her.
An Iron Woobie example. 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.