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Ushi No Tane

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The Ushi No Tane websites specialize in information, FAQs, and guides about the Nintendo console versions of the Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and Legend of the River King video games. These game genres are created and published in Japan by Marvelous (JP). In other regions, you'll find Natsume, XSeed Games/Marvelous (USA), Marvelous (EU), and Rising Star involved in the series' release.

The latest version of the mainstream farming series that have been released in various regions of the world are:

The latest version of River King, in all regions of the world, is River King: Mystic Valley (JP 2007, NA 2008, EU 2009).

Since 2000, Ushi no Tane has been run by a grouchy old lady who happens to be fond of video game agriculture along with two feline helpers: Intern Captain Bootu and Intern Hondo Mewnaka. The website is not officially affiliated, sponsored, endorsed, or employed by the developers of Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, or River King. This is simply a fan site.

Latest Farming Video Game News

My Time in Disney Dreamlight Valley, Tokyo Game Show '22, and Kickstarter Updates | Posted at 04:10 PM 09 September 2022

Happy Farm'n Friday! We have a fall windstorm blowing through this weekend. No rain, just wind. Because it's so dry outside, some areas will most likely have their electricity disabled while the winds are blowing through. My neighborhood didn't receive a warning alert (our powerlines are underground), but my office coworkers to the west were put on notice that they could intentionally lose power until Sunday. Though there aren't any fires nearby, there is still a smell of smoke in the area from wildfires to the east. It's stinky outside, for sure.

These red-flag precautions are being triggered to prevent wildfires caused by downed powerlines. Two years ago, several wildfires grew massive because of a September windstorm; some got too close to heavily-populated areas before experienced fire crews got control of the flames. Afterward, a Public Safety Power Shutoff system was developed to try and prevent future fire craziness. Now that it's being put to use, hopefully, it has a positive effect on preventing wildfires.

DDV EA Release

Disney and Gameloft's entry into the farm/life simulation genre, Disney's Dreamlight Valley was released in Early Access this week. Accessing this game requires the purchase of a Founder's Pack, costing between $30 and $70. The game will be free-to-play after the game exits Early Access. DDV also has cloud saves to support cross-play between platforms in the future except for those playing on PlayStation due to Sony restrictions.

DDV starts out like a typical farming game. The protagonist wants to live a new life away from the city, so they head out to a quaint little place to escape it all. Taking a nap in a magical meadow transports them through their dream and into the ruins of Dreamlight Valley, where everything is made of Dreamlight magic. Wizard Merlin, from The Sword in the Stone animated movie, requests the player to help them clear the nasty Night Thorns that have taken over the village. He also asks for assistance restoring their lost memories and finding out what happened to their former ruler, who mysteriously disappeared right before the thorns took over the castle and town.

A player's actions are restricted by the amount of energy (e.g., stamina) they have. This energy is used to clear Night Thorns, break rocks, dig holes, and so on. Once this energy is used up, the protagonist can't do anything until they rest inside the house or eat food. During Early Access, going inside the house instantly restores stamina back to full, though that might not be the case once the game is fully released.

The game runs on a real-day cycle. It's morning in-game when it is morning in real-time. Likewise, the game's sky is dark when it is dark outside. Some players have responded that they can only play at night after work, meaning their game always has a dark sky. Gameloft recommends that players not change the clock on their platform-of-choice to time skip several hours, causing unintended bugs in the game. There are also weather changes such as rain.

Gardening (aka "farming") is done by digging a hole, planting a seed, and then watering. Crops won't grow unless they're watered, of course! The speed at which crops grow is based on real-time minutes; for example, Lettuce only takes 3 minutes to mature. Sometimes when harvesting, a plant will give off a golden glow, allowing for multiple harvests. You can plant seeds anywhere that you can dig a hole. Later in the game, the Pixar character Wall-E will manage a garden for players to harvest crops.

You can raise friendship with characters by giving them gifts. When interacting with someone to hand them a present, you'll see their favorite gift preferences on-screen, labeled "Favorite Things of the Day." Giving a person their favorite gift option they want that day will give bonus friendship beyond a normal friendship boost. Each level raised will provide rewards such as Star Coins (an in-game currency), furniture, and wearable items. They also have roles that improve as they level up, gaining skills in gardening, fishing, mining, foraging, or digging. These roles are used when the Disney character "Hang Out" and follow the player around the valley.

There are also timed in-game events asking players to complete tasks to earn event tokens, which can then be exchanged for more rewards. These event rewards are tiered; for example, if you want a special t-shirt located in reward tier 7, you first have to earn and spend enough event tokens to earn rewards from tier 1 through tier 6. A "premium" path during the event lets players speed through the token-awarding tasks faster. Special rewards can only be unlocked via this "premium" path. Accessing the "premium" timed-event path requires spending in-game Moonstone currency. Moonstones can be earned for free by playing the game or can be purchased with real money. The use of Moonstones will NOT be necessary for playing the base game. It is just for unlocking cosmetic goodies. So players who must collect-them-all when it comes to in-game rewards will most likely be spending real money to obtain all normal-tier and premium-tier rewards before the event expires.

One aspect I've been enjoying is the conversation choices when talking to villagers. There's typically a positive, neutral, and negative response in conversations; each has a unique response from the person being talked to. I've enjoyed telling Scrooge McDuck how I'm all-in trying to earn more money (he responded that there's only room for 1 pool-size pile of cash in the valley) or telling Mickey Mouse that having a stove in his pocket is really weird rather than telling him how helpful it was. The response doesn't impact their friendship, so be as negative as you want! Mwa ha ha...

Basically, the game is a lot of interactions that lead to quests, along with daily tasks and town cleanup. You may enjoy this game if you like running around and completing missions from Disney characters. DDV has regularly been compared to Animal Crossing, but I would describe that it's more like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp than the main console game. Pocket Camp has a similar timed event system as DDV, gardens with real-time plant growth, rewards based on friendship levels with villagers, decorating the "town" (or campsite, as it is called in Pocket Camp), fishing, customizing outfits, and completing missions, but with a real-money overlay that the standard Animal Crossing game does not have.

Tokyo Game Show 2022

After a 2-year pause, the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is back this year, taking place from September 15 until September 18. A few farming games will be there on the show floor:

Kickstarter Updates

The farm-on-a-monster's-back farming game The Wandering Village will launch on Steam Early Access next week on September 14. Those who crowdfunded the game with Early Access will receive their Steam keys on that day.

Blog farming game Ova Magica now plans to have their closed backer preview available in Quarter 4 2022. Developer ClaudiaTheDev wanted to add more content to the game before releasing it for specific backers to playtest.

Until next time!

(Huzzah, a plumber will connect the new sink next week! No more garden hose dish rinser!)

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