Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon is a refreshingly unique series which teaches players about farming and community values. Given the relaxed setting, it is actually quite surprising that so many people have played and enjoyed the series. Having played through many Harvest Moon games myself throughout the years, I shall write for you some thoughts on it and list the marriage candidates in order of personal preference. 

The basic story usually begins with inheriting a dilapidated farm in a country town. It is your job to restore and polish your farm so that it becomes a successful business. To do well in Harvest Moon, you will need patience, tolerance for repetitive work, and a desire to build something from the ground up with your own hands. 

You should generally start by clearing your field of weeds, rocks and tree stumps. You may want to keep the small rocks and use them as a fence. Then you can proceed to till your cleared land and plant crop seeds. When your crops have fully developed into fruit or vegetables, you can harvest and sell them for profit. It is recommended that you clear the land and perform daily chores after dark, so that you can spend the daytime building relationships with the local villagers.


After you’ve made some money from growing crops, you will be able to afford livestock. Chickens are very affordable, and you will be able to sell their eggs or hatch them into a large flock. Since you are able to pick chickens up to move them, they are also easy to keep. Cows and sheep require much more effort to move around if you choose to let them outside, but they will produce more expensive products. In some versions of Harvest Moon, raw animal products can be made into processed goods to be sold at higher prices. Examples if these include cheese, yoghurt, yarn and mayonnaise.


As your farm grows, you will be able to afford house upgrades and more furniture. If you are socialising well with the local residents, you will unlock many interesting events and ultimately choose a partner among several marriage candidates. The produce on your farm can also serve as gifts to the villagers, allowing you to deepen your friendship with them more quickly.

In some Harvest Moon titles, there is as point system to measure your overall success and happiness as a farmer. In others, the game either ends or continues after a set time frame.

*** Obligatory Possible Spoiler Warning ***

Harvest Moon (SNES)


The good old original SNES version, where in-game character portraits did not yet exist. Characters had much less depth back in the day, as there were no true heart events. And the only way to find out how much a girl liked you was to break into her room and count the hearts in her diary.



The blue-haired, straight-laced daughter of the Mayor. She plays the organ and is strongly devout. Maria can always be found in front of or inside the Church. She doesn’t seem to particularly care if you believe in God or not, as long as you respect religion and good values. Even so, Maria still prefers avid churchgoers and loves children.

Maria will run away from home to hide out at the carpenter’s shack. Actually, she just stands in a corner so you can immediately spot her and take her back.



The pink-haired daughter of the flower store owner. She is very fond of flowers and nature. Sometimes she refers to herself in the third person, so make of that what you will. 

One day, Nina goes to find a herb to cure her ill mother, but fails to return from the mountain. As it turns out, she is trapped in the cave and needs you to break some rocks with your hammer in order to free her. In addition, Nina will also ask you to pick her some nearby herbs. 



The short-haired brunette who is the daughter of the restaurant owner. Her father is that town drunk in the bar who can’t stop doing a jig. The livestock dealer is her uncle, and luckily she grew up to develop a love for animals rather than alcohol. She actually lives at the restaurant, and is fond of sweets and cooking.

Ellen keeps a bird named P-chan in a cage. One day P-chan will escape, only to be found sitting on a fence in the mountains. You will recapture the bird that night and return it to Ellen. 



The orange-haired daughter of the general store owner. She is an eccentric inventor, who enjoys seeing you turn on her machines. No euphemisms intended. Ann’s dialogue can be quite different to that of the other girls. She’s an unapologetic tomboy who thinks attending church is boring.

Ann will lose her weathercock. Again, no euphemism intended there. For some mysterious reason, you will find it in your henhouse and return it to Ann that day.



The blonde-haired girl who works at the bar. She is the most flirtatious and wears a revealing outfit. I mistook her for a pole dancer at first. Or maybe a stripper of the exotic tradition. In any case, Eve will tell you that your farm is haunted as part of her introduction. She will also force you to drink her homemade alcoholic concoctions. Since there are no character portraits in this game, Eve's personality places her last on the list.

Eve’s only relative is her grandfather, the hunter living on the mountain. At one point, he becomes trapped in the mountain cave and you will free him by breaking through some rocks with a hammer.

Friends of Mineral Town (GBA)


This generation of Harvest Moon is my favourite. The characters were all endearing and interesting to interact with, plus they gave us those much coveted character portraits. With different facial expressions, even! Mining and cooking were introduced, multiple heart events were fleshed out, the font was more readable, and you now had to compete against rivals for your girl. Oh, and all available marriage candidates now have a giant coloured heart meter across their chests. I think Mineral Town captured the essence of local community living the best, even if all the villagers go into all caps rage just because you leave a single piece of Golden Lumber outside.



Popuri’s family runs the Poultry Farm, and she helps by watching over the chickens. She lives with her mother (Lillia) and older brother (Rick). Her father left to find a herb in order to cure Lillia of an illness, but never returned. Popuri’s character design is noticeably derived from Nina. Her overall personality is rather cheerful and optimistic. Popuri can be rather childish and act like a cry-baby to get her way, but I found this to be pleasantly entertaining. Occasionally she has arguments with Rick about the whereabouts and intentions of their missing father, much to Lillia’s despair. Popuri likes chocolate, egg recipes and girly items. Beware of Rick’s sister complex, as he may try to smother you in your sleep for getting too close to Popuri. 

I find Popuri to be the most attractive Mineral Town girl. She has the largest eyes and long, curled pink hair. I also like the design of her dress a lot more than the other outfits. Somehow, Popuri reminds me of a cotton candy rabbit.

Proposal: Wait one second! Let’s talk at your place!
Response: You really mean it?! I’m so happy! I’ve always wanted to wear a wedding dress!
Rejection: I just don’t feel that way about you. I like you as a friend, though!

Rival = Kai
Rejection: So you’re going through with the big gamble, eh? Good luck, you’ll need it!



Elli works as a nurse at the Clinic. She’s a no nonsense girl whose ambition is become a great nurse so that she can cure her grandmother’s legs. Her relatives in Mineral Town include her grandmother (Ellen) and younger brother (Stu). Elli mentions that her parents are no longer alive, and so she is left to raise Stu on her own. She likes milk and magic grasses. I can’t help but wonder if Ellen is the same character from the SNES version.

Elli is a dependable choice and has a simple magnetism. Her features and traditional outfit suit her well. She’s perhaps the most serious girl in Mineral Town and is experienced with many duties, after having raised her younger brother alone.

Proposal: I’m so nervous all the sudden… Let’s just go to your house, OK?
Response: I would be honoured!
Rejection: Sorry, but I can’t leave the Doctor’s side.

Rival = Doctor
Rejection: A Blue Feather… Anyone I know…? 



Mary runs the Library on her own, and is the daughter of Basil and Manna. Her father studies plants and the family is out at Mother’s Hill studying them every Monday. Manna is an accomplished cook who always talks about the time Basil chased a butterfly off a cliff. Hmm. Mary is a shy, quiet intellectual who reads books all the time. Not surprisingly, she aspires to be a novelist. Mary likes vegetables juices, grasses and poisonous mushrooms.

I wish someone put a bit more effort into Mary’s character design. If she had kept Maria’s blue hair, Mary might have stood out more amongst the other girls. But her appearance seems quite dull with the dark eyes, straight fringe, black hair and large spectacles. At least make the smart person’s looks equal to the others, Natsume.

Proposal: Huh? I can’t believe… Why don’t we talk at your house…?
Response: Ah… So this is what being proposed to feels like. I’d only ever read about it in books. Of course I’ll marry you!
Rejection: So this is a Blue Feather, huh? Aren’t they used for proposing?

Rival = Gray
Rejection: You don’t know me if you think I’ll like that! Well, maybe…
*This comment must have been put in on purpose. Now we know. Gray has boy love curiosity. This is not helped by the fact that he shares a room at the Inn with Cliff and Kai. @-@



The daughter of Doug, who owns the Inn. Her mother died some time ago, but Ann has grown up to be a cheerful girl nonetheless. She is very much like the Ann from the SNES version, except that she is no longer an inventor here. Ann is a tomboy in that she wears boyish clothes, eats too much, and doesn’t like perfume or dresses. Her hobby appears to be cleaning the house and then taking a hot bath afterwards. O-kay. The easiest gift to give her is probably Spa-boiled eggs, while buying meals at the Inn.

Ann is ranked fourth because of her unflattering overalls and hairstyle, mostly. She seems to enjoy household chores, but that’s about all the personality there is to her. Other than being overall nice, that is. 

Proposal: You mean…? Umm… Why don’t we just go to your house first?
Response: Yukiyo… Do you mean it…? I… I’m so happy! Of course I’ll marry you!
Rejection: Ha ha ha! What a funny joke! Now… Who do you really mean that for?

Rival = Cliff
Rejection: In the town where I grew up, we used a Blue Feather to propose as well!



The daughter of Jeff and Sasha, who run the Supermarket. She is Rick’s childhood friend, and was always able to beat the crap out of him in wrestling matches during their early days. Interestingly, Karen is a character designed to be the most physically attractive, just like Eve from the SNES version. She too has a price to pay for her apparent beauty. Karen has an almost rude attitude and is a serious alcoholic who can outdrink Duke at the bar. She is also an exceptionally appalling cook, to the point where anyone who eats her meals wind up in hospital. The easiest gift to give her is bamboo shoots, although she also clearly likes wine.

To me, Karen is the least attractive out of all the available Mineral Town girls, in both looks and personality. This has something to do with the ratios of her features. Karen’s face is too thin, her forehead is too elongated, and her hair doesn’t have enough volume. The different facial expression makes her look a lot better at the red heart level, but her neutral face just creeps me out.  

Proposal: Maybe we should go to your house for this conversation…?
Response: My mom used to tell me about her wedding, and I wondered when my own would come… I have no idea it would be you, though. Of course my answer is yes!
Rejection: I hope I haven’t misled you, but I only like you as a friend…

Rival = Rick
Rejection: Marriage, huh? That’s great! The farm should become even more fun, then!

Harvest Goddess


The Harvest Goddess is definitely the most beautiful marriage candidate in this game. The requirements are impossibly difficult though, and you would only dream of such sacrilege if mere mortals were simply below you. There actually isn’t any point in trying, because even if you do marry her, the Harvest Goddess just goes back to her magical duties anyway. Good luck.

Confessional: Wh-what!? You say you want to marry the Harvest Goddess!? That’s blasphemy!
So you want to marry the Harvest Goddess, do you? I’m sure she is very flattered by your attention. The Harvest Goddess has now forgiven you.

Proposal: I’ll marry you if you want, Yukiyo.

Rejection: Nope.
*The Harvest Goddess sure knows how to let a man down gently. Even if it is outright blasphemy.

Carter’s Comment: You are marrying the Harvest Goddess!! Congratulations!
*Carter feels the need to state the fact with two exclamation points. This is truly a big deal.

More Friends of Mineral Town (GBA)

This version is pretty much identical to the previous GBA title, except you can finally play it from a girl’s perspective. It’s my favourite Harvest Moon game to date. Some girly elements have been added to the normal farming setting, such as the ability to change outfits, a best friend slumber party, and the addition of seven rings to collect through events.


The apprentice blacksmith and Saibara’s grandson. Gray moved from the city to Mineral Town, and thus has a somewhat cynical and moody air about him. But Gray isn’t only just the awkward, quiet type – he’s unintentionally funny.

Constantly being yelled at by his grandfather for making sub-standard tools, Gray is like a repressed cat trying in vain to get his cranky owner to love him. At one point, Saibara himself describes Gray as ‘not very amiable’. He’s not exactly shy, but just more of a loner with few friends.

With the frequent criticism and nobody there to encourage Gray, his head is understandably filled with thoughts of quitting. But after a few words of praise, he’s right back to his blacksmithing training with the dream of surpassing Saibara. It’s just that easy for you to turn his bleak life around.

Gray’s conversation appears to differ more from the other guys. He tends to gives you direct compliments rather than general statements about how inspiring you are. Or I could be just delusional, since I’ve always chosen Gray over the other bachelors. In any case, my point is that he’s a great guy. And if you don’t marry him, I will.

There are many reasons for my biased Gray preference. Firstly, he’s a blacksmith and I am fond of jewellery. Secondly, I like Saibara’s character. I know many would label him as an evil old coot, but I see him as that lovable old grump who’s always scowling and yet has a heart of gold. You know, like that old man who is always yelling at those damn kids to get off his lawn, but then one day you catch him trimming your hedge in the early hours of the morning when nobody is looking. Thirdly, Gray is impressed by the most common of items. Aside from his favourite item, which is baked corn, giving him random pieces of copper will raise his affection the most. Even tree branches that you pick up off the dirt will please Gray. Tree branches, for Dragonite’s sake! However most importantly, Gray just amuses me to no end. Whether it is his disdain for Saibara’s training, awkward letter writing skills or impending bi-curiosity, he always has something more interesting to offer compared to the competition.

Incidentally, Gray’s UMA hat never comes off. Ever. It seems to be permanently surgically implanted onto his head. He even dyes it black for your wedding ceremony. Also, what does ‘UMA’ represent? The Japanese word for horse? Unlicensed Mobile Access? Unidentified Mystery Animal? Ugliest Man Alive? Unusually Mouldy Asparagus?

Oh, and Gray scoffs at your dog if you try to show it to him. Surely, this must mean Gray is a cat person. Implicit +10 points. 

Proposal: Wow, wow, wow! Wa...wait a minute. No… not here…
Response: I never dreamed that this would happen. Yes, I will marry you.
Rejection: Ah… We’re not that close to each other yet…

Rival = Mary

I almost feel bad for placing dibs on Gray because Mary reminds me slightly of myself. Almost. But I have a solution – ensure that the two never even meet. Don’t trigger Mary’s black heart event with Gray by only entering the Blacksmith Shop on Mondays and Thursdays, or not at all. After you have Gray at a purple heart or higher, it’s safe to enter the Shop again at any time. Mary will no longer be a threat to you, and Gray will never visit the library to see her. Muahahaha.

Rejection: Congratulations! You should really keep that fresh for the important girl, though!
*Encouraging same gender relations since Friends of Mineral Town.


Cliff left his home town to strike it out on his own, only to return later to find that his mother had died and his sister had disappeared somewhere. This automatically makes me set his theme song to ‘Tragedy’ by the Bee Gees, even though I should know better by now. Anyhow, Cliff now spends his time at the Church, regretting his past decisions and sulking in general. Carter describes him as ‘shy, hard for him to open up to people and make friends’. Cliff is the awkward, quiet and painfully shy type. And by that, I mean he is too petrified to even stay in the same room as you alone.

Just about every player loves Cliff, at least to some extent. Because has that forlorn, depressed, lost puppy trait which makes girls shriek with delight. It’s up to you to save him from a life as a wandering bum, so be charitable. Cliff likes mostly homemade food, except for Buckwheat. His favourite things are curry bread or curry rice. But you need a kitchen to make those, so you’ll just have to stuff him full of bread, chocolate and wild grapes while you wait.

In the beginning Cliff is easily the most depressed person in town, and if you don’t tell him about the Winery job on Fall 14 he will leave Mineral Town forever. You can’t trigger his Blue Heart event until after you tell him about the Winery job, although I have heard that there is a glitch in the game which allows you to do so on the afternoon of Fall 14. Cliff is the only one who will accept the job. If you tell Gray about the Winery job, he will tell you that if he ever got a job somewhere else, his grandpa would ‘tan his hide’. Heh heh.

Anyway, after he begins working at the Winery and you befriend him, he stops being depressed. And starts to get really… cheerful. The lost puppy trait recedes and he just becomes a regular nice guy. At some point he will pass out on a snowy day in Rose Square, where you can watch him being dragged around the Clinic by Elli if there are no spare beds.

Personally, I never really went for Cliff because I found him too depressing in the beginning, and then later too jolly. I also have no interest in wine or alcohol of any kind, and I thought his long hair was odd. Cliff is arguably the nicest husband of them all though, and will tell you that you’re inspiring and a hard worker. He is one of the more difficult bachelors to marry, because to proceed you must first trigger the Winery event.

Proposal: …Well, let’s go to your place… Come on…
Response: Ah… I’m kind of in shock… I mean, it’s a good shock. Yes, I’d be honoured to marry you.
Rejection: … I… I’m happy to know to know you like me… but… Sorry.

Rival = Ann

They don’t seem like such a good match to me, Cliff thinks of Ann as his sister and laments that she doesn’t act like a girl. He doesn’t even decide on his own to propose to her, I blame Duke for planting the idea in his head. Steal him away and he’ll probably be happier with you instead of Ann. Well, so long as your cooking skill is at least on par with hers.

Rejection: Does that mean what I think it means? Congratulations! I’m sure she’s waiting for you!
*Uh, maybe this was a typo? Then again, Harvest Moon does sort of promote girl to girl relations.



Yup, he’s a doctor. We don’t find out his actual name until Harvest Moon (DS), so for now he’s just ‘Doctor’. He’s likely to be over a decade older than you, serious, and always concerned about health and the nutritional value of food. Obviously, Doctor works at the Clinic, which is where you’ll end up if you overwork and collapse.

Doctor mentions that he regrets rebelling against his parents in his youth, who were also doctors. They didn’t spend enough time with him, but now that he is also a doctor, he seems to understand them much better. I’m not sure if that was an excuse for sloppy parenting, or if that’s just how raising a child works in the grand circle of doctors. If you befriend the Doctor, he’ll think of you as the only one who understands him before beginning to wonder what he means to you. Is it just me, or has the word ‘Doctor’ lost all meaning to me now?

Apparently the Doctor is one of the easiest and most popular bachelors to marry. He likes edibles which are plentiful, such as milk, healthy foods and medicinal grasses. But I have to warn you, be careful not to neglect him after marriage. Because if his heart level drops, he’ll turn quite nasty. The dear Doctor is much more spiteful than the other husbands would become in the same situation. And damn, is he scary. If you keep him happy though, you’ll be fine.

I’m not particularly fond of Doctor because all he usually ever talks about is health and food. Your character is only 16-17 years old in Harvest Moon, and the Doctor is 28 or something. Yes, love knows no boundaries and so forth, but the substantial age gap isn’t really my cup of tea. And I’m pretty sure the Doctor is prohibited from having this sort of relationship with his patients anyway. 

Proposal: Hold on… Ah… Let’s go to your place and talk about it.
Response: I can’t believe it… You and a guy like me… Yes, I will marry you.
Rejection: I didn’t know you thought of me that way… I’m really sorry, but I only think of you as a friend.

Rival = Elli

Elli and the Doctor make a lot of sense together. If you ever see the final rival event between Doctor and Elli, it’s the best proposal event you’re going to get out of all the guys. The Doctor will appropriately ask Elli to marry him on the Beach at night. Unfortunately, this is the only suitable proposal you will see coming from anyone in Mineral Town.

Rejection: You look nervous. Relax!



Kai is a seasonal traveller who arrives in Mineral Town every Summer to run the Beach House. Most of the men in Mineral town seem to dislike him, especially Rick (who despises him). However, Gray seems to get along with him. And the girls simply adore him, apparently. It must be the tan… or that purple pheromone-drenched bandanna. Despite his fatal allure, he gets no customers at his food shop, except you. He travels so he doesn’t have to see his parents, who were dream-squashers that didn’t support his decision to become a chef. 

Kai is the outgoing and ‘charming’ type. He kind of reminds me of that sleazy dude you see hanging out at bars, who always wears sunglasses and has ten intoxicated floozies hanging off his arms all at once. Of course, Kai’s not nearly as bad as all that, because Natsume apparently has some respect for Harvest Moon’s impressionable young audience. 

When you reach the purple heart level with Kai, he will ask you to eat with him at the Inn. Note that this type of ‘date’ doesn’t come about for most of the other bachelors until the orange heart event or similar. This appears to be Natsume’s subtle way of showing us that Kai is a womanizer. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Kai though, he can be a nice guy and he’s not a bad husband choice either. You just have to steal him from Popuri. 

He is only available in Summer, hence it will take you a long time to marry him. Kai is a pineapple fanatic and enjoys being showered with girly gifts such as dresses, jewellery and perfume. You can’t be invited by Kai for the Starry Night Festival or see him during Spring Thanksgiving either. He will send you compensation cookies in the mail if he likes you enough. I once teleported Kai back to Mineral Town for the Spring Thanksgiving Festival using the mystical power of Codebreaker. His response to being given illicit cookies was: ‘Why am I here?’ Well played, Natsume. Touché.

Befriend Kai and he will tell you that he is thinking about staying in Mineral Town to be with you. If you do marry him, he will stay in Mineral Town with you and open his shop in all seasons. Yes, you still have to pay him for the food. Which sucks. Everything about Kai is simply wrong for me, so I never go near him if I can avoid it. So no Kai for me, thanks.

Proposal: Wow, wow, wow! Wait a minute. Let’s go to your place.
Response: Ah… You’re not kidding, are you? Wow, that’s a… Sure, yeah, why not!
Rejection: … I’m sorry, but I can’t think of you like that right now.

Rival = Popuri

Kai and Popuri seem mismatched. She’s a dedicated chicken farmer while he’s some sort of flirty pirate chef. Lillia forced the idea onto Kai, so they do run into marriage problems. Popuri will also leave town with Kai and only return in the Summer, which will make Rick mighty unhappy. At some point Popuri will ask Kai for an expensive necklace, and he will tell her ‘NO!’ But then Popuri will put on her puppy eyes face to make Kai feel guilty enough to buy it for her. He will then complain about living with Popuri… but then turn around to say that she’s the only one who understands him. Huh.

Rejection: You’re sweet, but you should really give this to someone you want to marry.



Rick helps run the Poultry Farm. His mother is Lillia and his younger sister is Popuri. His father left to find a herb to heal the ailing Lillia, but never came back. Rick has since taken over as the man of the house, and is very family oriented. He is also very controlling when it comes to Popuri, because he has a sister complex. Rick wears oversized glasses and is often labelled as a nerd, although he is just obsessive about chickens.

Rick loves chicken farming and eggs. He acts very caring towards his family, but can sometimes be found sitting in front of the fireplace plotting to destroy Kai. In his spare time he hangs out with his childhood friend, Karen. Every morning they will sit together on a bench outside the supermarket for all to see, while at night they will drink themselves silly at the bar.
Rick’s most favourite item is a Spa-boiled egg, which it is the easiest cooked gift to acquire in your first year without a kitchen. It is very easy to trigger his heart events if you know when they will occur. In addition, it is effortless to avoid triggering Karen’s rival heart events. I had difficulty triggering them even when I was trying to. If you befriend Rick, he will tell you how inspiring you are and that you’re the first person he has felt this way about.

There is something about Rick that is… amiss. He hates Kai a little too much, and he finds things funny that are not supposed to be funny. It could just be his appearance, but to me he looks a lot like the mug shot of some molester you see on police flyers. Rick just doesn’t seem to have the look or demeanour of a sincere guy. This coupled with his sister complex makes him extremely unappealing to me.

When you propose, Rick almost dies from simultaneously suffering both a seizure and cardiac arrest. He will also still go to the Inn to drink booze with Karen after you marry him, and does not arrive home until 11 PM. Rick doesn’t interact with your chickens either, despite his supposed passion for them. Damn him.

Proposal: Ah… Can we go to your place? I’ll be embarrassed if someone sees us. Let’s go.
Response: …Really? I didn’t think I’d be the one to receive it. My answer is YES.
Rejection: … Sorry. I’m happy to know that you like me. But I only think of you as a friend.

Rival = Karen

Rick and Karen are childhood sweethearts, but something doesn’t seem right with them as a couple. Karen is an alcoholic and a terrible cook, but a nice enough person. Mostly. These two are my least favourite Mineral Town characters so perhaps it’s only fair that they end up with each other. Rick and Karen will only marry after Kai marries Popuri. Karen will then replace Popuri and help out at the Poultry Farm.

Rejection: So you’ve finally decided to get married, huh? Good for you!

Warning: The following ‘bachelors’ are crap. You are strongly advised to choose from the original five listed above.


Won is a wandering merchant, who is totally obsessed with making money. He will cheat you by trying to sell you ‘special’ apples and a vase. You must buy the vase for 5000 G from him and experience his three fake ‘heart events’ in order to marry him. It is suggested that you pretend to befriend Won with gold ore until you can sell him stuff, so then you can exploit him until he dies.

If you marry him, he will refuse to give you a discount at his store and will often refer to money in your conversations with him. He really is a very greedy man, and I suggest you look elsewhere for a husband. Unless you have a fetish for strangely dressed male gold-diggers. On the other hand, if you really want to marry one of the alternate bachelors… Sadly, Won is the better of the three you can choose from.

Your only rival for him is money. Your money, which he probably loves more than you. Oh, Won had a thing for Karen in a triggered event, and he actually let her take home one item for free. For free. Evidently, he must think that Karen is much more attractive than you. He won’t even give you a discount as his wife. The cheap bastard.

The only things that ever cross his mind are money, apples and Karen’s beauty. Seriously. I don’t even know the reason for his existence as a bachelor in this game.

Rejection: Oh my, you’re persistent. If you fail, I’ll buy it from you. Don’t worry and challenge.


Har de har har... This really wasn’t funny.

It’s a hateful, cucumber obsessed amphibian. I don’t know where this Kappa stole that toddler from, but there is no way that it could have naturally conceived any viable offspring with a human. I can’t help but think that whoever was responsible for this atrocity needed professional aid. Does anyone at Natsume still understand universal female preferences at all? Please don’t marry it. I will point and scream in terror at anyone who chooses to marry the Kappa because they have fallen madly in love with it.

Proposal: ….. Okay, I’ll marry you. Don’t come back.
Carter’s Comment: Who’d have thought you can marry the kappa? It’s just cool.
*Carter’s ‘cool’ remark is the sole reason why any sane person would genuinely want to wed the Kappa.



Take an egg, dress it up in a purple pimp suit, complete with a matching top hat and blonde toupee. For the finishing touches, garnish with a monocle and giant fish lips to create the most horrifying thing to ever roam Mineral Town. What’s that? This monstrosity is available as a spouse? Thank the almighty Harvest Goddess that it’s only allowed through the town gates once a year.

To marry this morbidly obese individual, you must cook all 108 dishes and win the Cooking Festival in all five themes. Which means you can’t marry him until at least your fifth year… sixth year if you didn’t cheat to get the kitchen in your first year. One thing’s for sure - if he tripped and fell on you, his flab would be the last thing you would ever see. Your only rival for him is food.

If you listen really carefully, you can actually hear my fingertips screaming as I hit the B button every Cooking Festival.

Proposal: Let’s go to your house so that no one can interrupt us.
Response: If you choose me, yes.

Harvest Moon (DS)


The DS version of Harvest Moon adds even more items to an entirely new location in Forget-Me-Not Valley. There is now the option to choose which materials you would like to build your animal barns and house upgrades with, as well as being able to select where to build such constructions on your land. Crops now have levels to indicate their quality, which in turn affects the value of cooked items. Mining is more exciting than ever with the addition of cursed accessories and Wonderfuls. You can also unlock the original characters from Mineral Town by inserting a copy of the previous GBA cartridges, but if you marry one of the visiting girls, your game will end. By the way, Natsume was too lazy to put in any wedding outfits in these versions.

The typical spelling mistakes and glitches are still present, with some even preventing players from fulfilling the marriage requirements for the Harvest Goddess and Witch Princess. But I think the biggest letdown for the DS generation are the new characters. They just don’t have that original country-style charm. And most of them look pretty weird, too. It’s as if someone couldn’t settle on one art style and developed all the character designs for several different games. The bottom line is this: Almost all the Valley residents are visually challenging. And I don’t like that sort of thing.



A mysterious princess who slumbers on the 255th level of the second mine. She is not an easy girl to meet or please, as you must fall deep into the mines and defeat a room full of dark creatures to even reach her chamber. Keria enjoys gifts of rare mined minerals, or her all-time favourite item, the pretentious Golden Lumber. She absolutely hates Rice Balls and dislikes being shown your pets. 

Keria cannot speak and communicates only in writing. It is later revealed that it was the Witch Princess who sealed her away in the mine long ago and forgot to reverse the spell. This suggests that Keria is probably both ageless and immortal.

There are several underlying reasons which compelled me to list Keria as my first preference. Firstly, Keria seems to be living a cursed existence being confined underground, with nothing to even eat or drink. Her chamber is completely bare, except for the bed she sleeps in. 

Secondly, Keria eerily reminds me the most of myself out of all the Harvest Moon characters. She sleeps all day, likes gemstones, and has very little contact with the outside world. Leaving her all alone down in that mine to starve would be like giving up on myself… Somehow. 

Lastly, Keria is the only girl who will forever suffer a meaningless existence if she remains trapped in the mine. Everyone else either has somewhere to go, something to do, or alternative suitors. In addition, you can easily go and see all the other characters, while going to visit Keria in the mine requires substantial time and effort each time. 

Given all of this, I will mention that marrying Keria takes a lot of conviction. I recommend it only to those who have access to a cheat device. Specifically, having unlimited Gold will make courting Keria much less taxing.



Revamped Popuri is even cuter in the DS versions. She now manages all the poultry store’s phone orders, much to Rick’s astonishment. Popuri may be childish and bad at cooking, but she is still the most attractive normal Harvest Moon girl in my eyes. In this generation, she even outranks the Harvest Goddess in overall appeal. And may the Harvest Goddess smite my character down if I’m wrong. 

Harvest Goddess


The Harvest Goddess is still beautiful in this version, but her chibified revamp has brought her mystical appeal down to mortal levels.  She’s about as difficult to marry as before, and can be summoned by throwing an offering into the spring. In this version, her heart events indicate that she behaves much like a normal human. The Harvest Goddess feels stressed over her work, has a rivalry with the Witch Princess, and even gets criticism from her boss.


Celia is a genuine, hard working girl with simple tastes. Like Marlin, she’s a bit sickly at times, but that doesn’t stop her from helping Vesta run the vegetable farm. I originally set Celia as my first Valley girl choice, but ended up caving in to rescue Keria instead.


Muffy is the token flirtatious blonde of this game. She’s certainly much more appealing than Karen, although her easy attitude is a bit off-putting. This time, Muffy really is the prettiest normal Valley girl if you’re judging on looks alone. Interestingly, she lives and works at the Bar with Griffin. Alone.



A mermaid who washes up on the beach after a storm. She is rescued by Daryl (the mad scientist) and lives in his basement bathtub. Leia has a rather positive attitude given her circumstances. She’s a good choice provided that you don’t mind interspecies relationships. If you marry her, she will reside in your duck pond.



Elli looks quite similar to as she did back in the GBA generations. She’s still wearing the same traditional outfit and has the same ambition to become a great nurse like before.



Revamped Karen is a lot more attractive than her old Mineral Town artwork. Aside from her regular facial expression being too chubby, Karen’s looks now have the means to compensate for some of her faults. She visits the Valley to see Celia, who is apparently her cousin.



Ann is looking better in this remake, although she’s still wearing her tomboyish overalls. She is overall helpful and good at cooking like she was in the previous games. In this version, Ann actually manages to get herself into a bar fight with Muffy over you.



Lumina lives in a luxurious mansion and is often found playing the piano. She is rather ladylike and is very interested in your DVD player. I find her personality pleasant, but Lumina is quite plain looking compared to the other candidates. 

Witch Princess


This is the result of Natsume’s attempt at creating a ‘bad’ girl. The Witch Princess utters two recurring statements which establish this, and they are:

1. Whatever!
2. Marriage is so lame.

She is very anti-Harvest Goddess and is constantly messing up her own spells, slaughtering innocent Harvest Sprites in the crossfire. On most days she just stands around in her voodoo shack, boiling her cauldron and chanting gibberish. For some unexplained reason, the Witch Princess also fears peaches.

Her looks remind me far too much of Hermione, and you don’t even want to get me started on my pathological aversion to anything Harry Potter.



Nami is a lonely traveller who rents a room at the Inn. She comes across as a bit standoffish, and is slightly conflicted. And by that, I mean she likes most grape items but absolutely loathes grape jam. Nami’s short hair is the main reason why she’s so low on the list, as I think it makes her resemble a man.



Flora is an archaeologist who likes to dig around in the mines. She’s not good at cooking, except for Curry dishes. Unfortunately for her, Carter is the only one in the Valley who hates Curry. To me, Flora looks like she’s middle-aged. It must be due to the combination of her clothes and glasses. 



Ah, poor Mary. I think she looks significantly worse in this version than she did back in Mineral Town. Her eyes are even smaller and her fringe has gotten straighter. She is still interested in plants and aspires to be a novelist, though.

Harvest Moon Cute (DS)

Again, the female perspective of the previous DS title. Interestingly, in the Japanese version you were allowed to have a girl as your ‘best friend’ instead of marrying a husband. I suppose this feature raised too many eyebrows for the English speaking audience, and so it was later removed. The girly best friend system would have been the only reason a straight guy chose to play the Cute version. Because as we have all realised, it’s just not right to court men if you’re a straight guy. 

Just like the male version, you can unlock the original Mineral Town characters and new events in this game. However, unlike the last game, your game does not end if you choose to marry a Mineral Town boy. A different Mineral Town character will visit the Valley every day of the week. Due to this, their personalities are less distinct in the DS games, and it takes forever to increase their heart points. 

My biggest complaint of all for this particular game concerns the available bachelors. It makes me wonder if the good people at Natsume still know anything at all about what a suitable attractive male looks like. Well, at least there’s Skye, but even he looks rather foxy. There’s not even one decent male candidate living in the Valley who isn’t unsightly.  



Revamped Gray is hotter than ever with his snazzy new bangs and all. He has also been changed from a blonde to a brunette, which kind of goes with his outfit and colour scheme better. I don’t even care that the UMA hat never comes off anymore.

*Gray’s disregard for dogs has been taken out in this revamped version. What a crying shame.

Doctor Trent


With his real name finally being revealed as Trent, the good doctor is back with a vengeance. Reborn Doctor Trent is looking far more superior than he did in previous games. He now seems 10 years younger and resembles some sort of dreamy pop idol or something. So good is his transformation that he is right up there with Gray, rivalling him as the most attractive Harvest Moon bachelor. Doctor Trent’s name feels out of place though. I think he looks more like a Doctor Ray. Or maybe even a Doctor Edward.



This is the only aesthetically pleasing choice available in Harvest Moon Cute, if you are unable to unlock the original Mineral Town boys. Skye is a mysterious phantom thief who visits the Valley to steal random things from the villagers. He aspires to be a curry chef and has the supernatural ability to paralyse women using nothing but his raw bishonen pheromones. So forgive Skye for wearing a leopard print jacket and being a criminal mastermind, because he has a Chick Beam.



Oh, Cliff. What have they done to you? Rather than looking shy, the new Cliff always seems to look miffed instead. His revamped face is a tad too chubby, and there’s hardly any of that famed lost puppy quality of his left. For shame. He’s still number three on the list, though.



Revamped Kai looks a lot more like the tanned womaniser he was intended to be. His blush face expression makes him seem like he’s licking a knife or something, though.



For some reason, Marlin reminds me of Elvis. Or maybe that main guy from Grease. Even though he looks perfectly healthy, apparently Marlin has weak genes, making him sickly. He does not like this.



Rock is a tanned, blonde, useless bum. And he wears a tacky gold medallion! What more could the masses want? He’s also quite sleazy and indecisive when it comes to girls. But seriously, Rock sickens me. Even if he is the second most normal looking one out of the regular Valley bachelors.



Rick’s appearance has improved with the revamp, but he’s still a nerdy chicken farmer. He also wants Kai dead and has that same sister complex as always. Yeah. You have to be pretty unappealing to be ranked below Rock. There’s just something unwholesome about that white headband, I think.


This is a bearded man, wearing everlasting black eyeglasses and a green pixy hat with a flower in it. He is a pro-peace hippie who likes music, flowers and poetry. Furthermore, he lives in a yurt. Gustafa is one those people who you look at… and then just have nothing to say.



An old man who thinks only of unearthing old relics. He’s sort of a picky fusspot. The main reasons why he doesn’t tie for last place are because he gives you access to the mines and you can see his eyes slightly better.  



I’m not sure if Griffin is actually older than Carter, but he is apparently super old. Old enough to be your father… or maybe even grandfather. I’m not that keen on dogs, but isn’t Griffin a bloodhound? Even though Griffin has quite a decent personality, I simply cannot get past an old man who resembles a bloodhound. It’s kind of where I draw the bottom line. The line that represents rock bottom. My condolences to Griffin fans everywhere, if they exist.

Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness (DS)

This is the point where it all starts to spiral downhill. I’ve never been a fan of the 3D style of world simulation, and that’s the direction the new Harvest Moon games seem to be heading in. In addition, the controls are irritating when left to a stylus and diagonal field of view. 

The character designs are steadily getting worse, and there are so many half-hearted islanders thrown into this game, it’s not even funny. Yet again, you’d be lucky to find a single appealing male character to set your sights on here, although at least it’s not nearly as bad as the options we had in Forget-Me-Not Valley.

Considering the above issues with the later DS releases, I’m only going to list the most appealing character choice from the perspective of a female character. The available bachelorettes seem to be a lot more visually striking than their male counterparts. Conversely, when it comes to the later bachelors, I’d say you would only seriously consider the top two ranked guys. The rest of them often aren’t even fit to compete.



Basically, he’s Cliff. Only with bleached hair, a badass attitude and smexy instead of painfully shy. And dressed in a cowboy outfit. Yeehaw.

Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands (DS)

Almost the same game as the one before it, only with the addition of two new suitors and a few minor extra features. To it's credit, the two new marriage candidates are by far the best looking of them all.


A rich, debonair, pretty boy. And he rides around on a fancy white horse. These factors alone are sufficient enough to shoot him up to the number one ranking. His actual name is William Terry Louis Andrew Carrick Jonathan Dredge Hams Reading Roger Southwark Alwick Plymouth Junior Regison III. Mmm, ham.

Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar (DS)


You're now in Zephr Town, where you can directly serve customers by running your own bazaar stall. While this is pretty exciting at first, it does start to get strenuous. At some juncture, you will come to the realisation that the whole thing is pointless if you can just sell your produce directly to a vendor.


A refined, dependable, bookish tutor who raised his younger brother alone. And he likes cats. Sold! I don’t even mind that his favourite item is Herbal Perfume, or if he’s terrified of Cheesecake.

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