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May 21, 2019
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Video: The making of the original SNES Harvest Moon

[Note: To access chapter selection and to toggle Japanese or English audio, check out the video on the GDC Vault website]
March 22, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

March 22, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff
More: Console/PC, Design, Production, Video, GDC

Yasuhiro Wada discusses the intimate details behind creating the original Harvest Moon for the Super Nintendo, sharing his inspiration for its design and the issues that almost ended its development, in this free lecture from GDC 2012.

Courtesy of the GDC Vault, this video shares Wada's story about growing up on the countryside and having something to prove when he moved to the big city and landed his first game dev job. He knew he had to come up with a game different than his predecessors', which were very competitive and combative.

His idea was Harvest Moon, a game that allowed players to experience the farm lifestyle in non-combative, non-competitive gameplay. At that time, Wada was hooked on horse training game Derby Stallion and decided to swap out that setting to a farm, where players raised livestock and grew crops.

Early on, the game hit a problem with a huge frame rate drop, due to all of the on-screen objects. But that problem proved trivial when, six months into development, the developer Wada worked for went under. However, the game eventually released, and word-of-mouth propelled sales beyond 100,000, a solid foundation for the ongoing series that is now over 15 years old.

The session is available in English and Japanese here.

Session Name: Classic Game Postmortem: Harvest Moon

Speaker(s): Yasuhiro Wada

Company Name(s): Toy Box, Inc.

Track / Format: Game Design

Overview:Since the creation of the first installment over fifteen years ago, Harvest Moon has enchanted people all over the world with its rewarding gameplay and charming art style. The Harvest Moon series has made waves for portraying peaceful rural life in a video game world and in recent years, has inspired numerous social networking games centered around farming. Yasuhiro Wada, who produced and helped design and direct Harvest Moon, will touch on the ideas that gave birth to the series, the many successes and failures that can occur in developing and producing a video game franchise, and offer insight into the business aspects behind the series' growth.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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