Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Remake Doesn’t Look Strange Enough Yet

Image: XSEED / Nintendo Life

Soapbox features allow our individual contributors and contributors to have their say on hot topics and random stuff they’ve been chewing on.. Today, Kate is unimpressed by what she saw in The Story of the Seasons: A Wonderful Life…

My very first Harvest Moon game was A Wonderful Life on the GameCube and I’m lucky because it’s one of the best. I’m not just saying this because I’m essentially a donut nerd filled with delicious nostalgic jam, but because it was real. strange the game. There were characters who died. It had a full life cycle where you could live 30 years and then pass your farm to your child. There’s a talking plant, a yeti, and a mysterious homeless man who occasionally steals from your farm unless you teach your dog to drive him away.

is not Only strange game in the history of the series. Harvest Moon DS was full of weird stuff, like a mermaid who lived in a mad scientist’s basement, or the fact that you have to kill your own animals in order to marry a Witch Princess. In Friends of Mineral Town, you can marry a pond monster. Even as recently as “Trio of Cities”, there was an option to marry Wufio, the big dog mascot, and at one point, you’re informed that there isn’t really anyone. inside suit, and in fact he is a man cursed by a forest spirit.

In later games, this signature oddity has gradually faded away. Pioneers of Olive Town, the latest game, is full of pretty boring normal people, and while you can dress up as a cat or a buffalo every day if you want, it’s about as much fun as it gets.

Unfortunately, Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life seems to be heading in the same direction, which is taking the train to Normie Town. We haven’t seen much of the game yet, it’s true, but we’ve been treated to a lot of character redesigns, and… well, they speak for themselves, really:

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Cody/Gordy redesign – Image: XSEED / Nintendo Life
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Gustava/Gustava redesign – Image: XSEED / Nintendo Life

To address a potential elephant in the room: Cody (now called Gordy) was in desperate need of a redesign as his original design was pretty indifferent to race. But they went in the exact opposite direction, turning him from a muscular, punk-like guy into someone who looks like he’ll sulk if you beat him at a football game.

And Gustafa? He used to be a weird, spiky hippie in frighteningly opaque sunglasses. Now he looks like an oat milk latte, John Lennon’s version, with no fashion sense. At least the glasses are still unnerving, just cult leader style, not “guy who grows his own mushrooms, if you know what I mean.”

Don’t get me wrong, these character designs aren’t that bad in and of themselves. But compared to the originals, they seem so sanitized and the same. The characters don’t have the cartoonish, memorable personalities that were in the original GameCube, and while they’re a lot more realistic now, they’re also a bit more harmless. boring.

Image: XSEED / Nintendo Life

But I think it’s Nami who breaks my heart the most. In the original game, she is a quiet, reserved tomboy who leaves town at the end of her freshman year unless you marry her. She is difficult to win over because she is independent and aloof, and because she is closed in on herself; but that’s one of the reasons why I love her so much. The other bachelors, Celia and Muffy (now called Cecilia and Molly), are friendly and warm to you from the start, but Nami is her own person and, unlike the other two girls, she is not particularly feminine in her presentation, preferring to wear envelopes and flannel.

In the remake, she’s still quite gender ambiguous, which I appreciate, but now she’s wearing makeup. It seems silly to be sad and it doesn’t seem to matter much. Of course, androgynous and disguised people can use cosmetics; I do all the time! But this thin line of pale pink lip gloss is more than it looks.

Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons have always been slow when it comes to progressive additions to their games and are always dragging their feet to admit it. may be you can play as a girl may be You can marry a person of the same gender. Back in the early 2000s, Nami – an androgynous character who doesn’t particularly care for the player, lives on her own schedule, and doesn’t want to open up to anyone – felt special, especially among the more typical bachelors.

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Nami so unimpressed baby… Image: XSEED / Nintendo Life

It’s probably not that surprising to hear that a lot of the people who enjoy farming games and life simulations are homosexual women like me, and even though I very I doubt Nami (or Celia or Muffy) was ever meant for this demographic, however they have their fans in the queer community, and Nami is – even coincidentally – a queer-encoded character. LGBTQ+ gamers have always found ways to find their own stories in games, even though they have to play straight again and again, and marrying Nami was one of those ways.

Look, for the record, I went after Celia because I was a child and she was the easiest to care for, but Nami felt like the epitome of what a woman could be – a performance I hadn’t seen anywhere else.

Perhaps Nami’s boyishness was part of why A Wonderful Life was so weird. At the time it seemed like Harvest Moon wasn’t afraid to be a little different because it was in a category of its own. It didn’t compete with anything or compete for new players with some shiny new feature. He wasn’t afraid to have characters that might not have been typical. For players like me, it was strange what we were, and strange was what we wanted.

But when one door closes, another opens. For the first time in the history of Harvest Moon, players will be able to choose the “non-binary” gender of their protagonist, as confirmed by XSEED themselves. As well as you can marry anyone, which means gay marriage is possible again. So I can forgive them for giving Nami lip gloss, and I can even forgive them for turning Gustafa into a tiresome hipster, because player representation is the kind of progress that really matters.

Besides, to be completely honest… Nami is still hot.

Do you agree with us that the character redesign in The Wonderful Life is a bit boring? Are you still going to marry Nami? Let us know in the comments!

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