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A look back on Harvest Moon, the unlikely console farming simulator

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Long, long before there was FarmVille, there was Harvest Moon, which overcame a troubled development and skepticism of its appeal to become an enduring series, mostly on Nintendo platforms. Did You Know Gaming presents a comprehensive history of the origins of the series and what Yasuhiro Wada strove to create back in 1996.

Wada wished to create a nonviolent role-playing game that reminded him of childhood memories of the countryside, and felt that despite giving players approximations of real-world chores, he still could find a level of engagement that kept them interested and involved.

Evidently he did, as Harvest Moon's format spawned 17 successors, three of them on PlayStation platforms. Harvest Moon 64, launched in 1999, is said to be the closest to what Wada envisioned when he began the series.

Did You Know Gaming's retrospective covers Harvest Moon's development history in addition to some of its well known exploits, regional variations, and features.

The latest game in the series, Harvest Moon 3D: Linking the New World, released at the end of February in Japan. There is no word yet on any western localization.

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