Playing the (Harvest Moon) Field

harvestmoonmfmt.jpg Leigh Alexander of the Aberrant Gamer/Sexy Videogameland/Worlds In Motion is a woman after my own heart, and her latest AG column is on one of my favourite games, Harvest Moon. What does your HM mate selection say about you? Rather, does playing the field - or not - reflect on you, or on media more generally? Having spent many an hour, especially while jet lagged, flinging chickens, petting cows, and building up the farm empire of my dreams, that whole marriage thing is usually the last thing I get around to - I'd rather have sheep producing golden fleece and a prize-winning horse. So, I tend to pick the potential spouses that look most low-maintenance, being a little too lazy to play the field - but Alexander throws herself into the task of wooing virtual women (or men) with aplomb:

I positively adored the semi-juvenile, vaguely temperamental mermaid who'd been living in the bathtub of a nerdy scientist. After receiving a letter in a bottle from her mother under the sea, she returned there, but I visited her once a week at midnight on the shoreline. It was so romantic, I bucked up and gave her the Blue Feather that signified a proposal.

But she's a mermaid. She needs water. I found myself, after our wedding ceremony, with a very sweet little wife who lives, round the clock, in the duck pond outside my house ...

Even worse, after realizing the mermaid was exotic enough to capture my attention and yet too exotic to settle down with (I confess, I've heard real men describe some girls in similar terms), I turned my attention to the quiet, sweet and domestic little farm girl. Her health is frail, and she likes to stay home and cook delicious vegetables. I could picture her shuffling peacefully around my kitchen. I ought to be ashamed of myself.

It's an interesting piece on one of my most adored games. I'd certainly never really thought about the whole wooing-proposal-marriage process in a more reflective manner (it seems easy enough to say 'I'm not crazy about mermaids, pink hair, or consumptive farm girls. Who's left?'). Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some chickens to fling.

Playing The Field [GameSetWatch]


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