I’ve been slowly replaying “Harvest Moon: Magical Melody,” and if you follow me on Tumblr, you might notice that I’m a pretty big fan of farming-related games such as “Stardew Valley,” “Rune Factory” and “Harvest Moon.” It’s been a while since I played “Harvest Moon: Magical Melody,” so I was pleasantly surprised when, picking up the game, I realized a game mechanic that brings quite a wholesome message; that people’s shared experiences are a gift. This game mechanic is none other than musical notes you gain throughout the game.
In “Harvest Moon: Magical Melody,” your main mission is to collect at least fifty musical notes to revive the Harvest Goddess, who turned to stone (you only need fifty to complete the main story, but collecting all one-hundred fully completes the game). How you do this is through doing actions such as leveling up your friendship and/or romance with people to certain heart levels, or doing simple actions a certain number of times (planting a tree for the first time, for instance, procures a music note). When you gain the note, you often get a message along with it that expresses gratitude for this action, because it contributes to your personal growth or benefits others in some way, making note of the bonds you share with your actions and with the people around you. Attending festivals for the first time, such as the Egg Festival, also gains you a note, even if you seemingly don’t do much during then except for talking to people about celebrating Eggs and such, and that is mainly due to it being social and also being a time of gratefulness. However, in order for specific festivals to occur, you have to contribute a specific item needed for the festival by the day before, or else the festival gets cancelled (such as submitting an Egg to the Egg Festival, for example) and you won’t get the note.
Another possibility in the game is that you, the player, marries one of the bachelorettes (or bachelors, if you’re playing the GameCube version as a female farmer and not the Wii version where it exclusively has a male farmer for the player character) later in the game and start a happy family with them at some point. Yes, that also brings music notes for your wedding and your child being born.
As I continued playing the game and gaining notes after achieving more and more little missions and raising heart levels, I soon realized that a lot of how you gain the music notes is through shared experiences such as these festivals and other experiences. Each of the statements or commentary accompanying each of the appearing notes expresses gratitude for all of these new experiences you gain, because you, the player, are actively contributing to your own personal care, the care of your farm, and (most of the time) caring for others. Not only do your efforts to make festivals and relationships blossom help yourself get all the fun music notes to create instruments needed to turn the Harvest Goddess back to normal, but you’re actively helping to create a stronger, happier community in the process. You, the player, create shared experiences with others that make everyone’s life a little happier and better, one step at a time.
Looking back on the commentary the Harvest Goddess had, prior to turning to stone in the beginning cutscenes of the game, she commented that people forgot how to care for each other, which was the major reason why she turned to stone. Because people forgot how to care for each other, they lost their Harvest Goddess and became more fractured as a community. It’s through your own efforts in the game that you make that community get back together again, and ultimately help get the Goddess back to normal. As a bonus: Once the Harvest Goddess returns to her normal self, she will help the player by refilling all their stamina for free if you visit her at the Goddess Pond. There are no limits to how many times a player can do this in a day, so this stamina recharge is endlessly available! Your efforts to awaken her end up also helping you just as much in the long run, which is super-beneficial when you want to do multiple things in a day but don’t have the stamina for all of it, helping people included.
Ultimately, the message of “Harvest Moon: Magical Melody” is that though there may no Harvest Goddesses in your life (or maybe there is, who knows?), what matters most is that you are grateful for what experiences you have and that you do your best to make the world a better place; whether it be befriending a neighbour or your first child being born, it’s up to you to put in the effort to do good things. Not only will it help you, but it also help others and bring forth a wonderful life. As I pick up the game to play again, I’ll be grateful for that message of gratitude it brings to all its players.
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