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Video Game Publication Project: I’m in Over My Head

Posted on Jan 1, 2017

What started out as an overzealous goal of creating a full publication of 19 video games, has turned into a nightmare of epic proportions. While this project will go on no matter what, I’m starting to rethink how I’ll be compiling a full book of video game guides.

My favorite video game series’ are Harvest Moon, and Rune Factory. During the holiday season, I reminisced about my younger years, and how I’d spent many elementary school Christmas breaks, locked in my room, writing, drawing, or just being generally creative. Memory recalls a full 10 days or so, where I sat at the old computer in my room, and pounded out a 40 page story. These were some of the most proud memories of my life, and to my friends who were wondering, yes, this is precisely why I never left the house to come and hang out with any of you.

Fast-forward into adulthood, and I’d begun taking notes while gaming, starting in my early twenties. The only recreational thing that I love more than video games, is compiling data, and so I found myself keeping my own notes from in-game findings, rather than consulting the copious amounts of online walkthroughs and guides. Enter November of 2016, when Natsume released it’s second installment of Harvest Moon being strictly under their belt, after the divorce from Marvelous Entertainment: Harvest Moon Skytree Village. Since the first day I’d started playing, I was compiling data like a crazy person (can see the results here, not 100% of the game data): jengrayson.com/walkthroughs/harvest-moon-skytree-village-guide

Within this game there are 27 primary crops and flower seeds that can be grown, and many, given they’re planted at the right soil type and elevation, can blossom into over 140 different crops, from mutations. After I’d unlocked the seeds for over 100 total crops, it made me think about how nice it would be to have an actual physical copy of the book in front of me, instead of running to my online spreadsheets every 20 minutes.

During the Christmas season this year, that’s when it hit me, to start crafting a full publication, in order to have all of these wonderful game notes in one place. Given the copyright laws, this book will be printed for only myself, and not sold or redistributed. Excited, I started with the project, after outlining all of my favorites that I’d want to include in the final book:

  1. SNES: Harvest Moon
  2. GBA: Harvest Moon: Friends/More Friends of Mineral Town
  3. GC: Harvest Moon: A/Another Wonderful Life
  4. GC: Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
  5. DS: Harvest Moon: DS/DS Cute
  6. DS: Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness; Sunshine Islands
  7. Wii: Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility; Animal Parade
  8. DS: Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar
  9. DS/3DS: Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns
  10. 3DS: Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
  11. 3DS: Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley
  12. 3DS: Story of Seasons
  13. 3DS: Harvest Moon: Skytree Village
  14. DS: Rune Factory
  15. DS: Rune Factory 2
  16. DS: Rune Factory 3
  17. 3DS: Rune Factory 4
  18. Wii: Rune Factory: Frontier
  19. Wii: Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny

With having experience laying out publication material, I have the software to create a full guide book, and I started with referencing a game guide for Animal Crossing: New Leaf, by Prima Games, as a general note for how a published guide should look. Their guide is just a shade over 500 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″ in size, and super beautiful. So after I’d gotten my general bases covered, the real work began.

It’s been just a few short weeks, and I’ve managed to include quite detailed information for the first two games on my list — and the nightmare begins. Harvest Moon for SNES, and Friends/More Friends of Mineral Town total a whopping 88 pages. Before working on the third section for HM: A/Another Wonderful Life, I decided to create a quick run-down of the sections that I wanted to include for this title, along with the estimated page numbers. If I’m articulate, and not too wordy, I may be able to squeak this section through in approximately 45 pages.

So far, that’s 3 game sections out of 19, and the book is up to an estimated 133 pages. It’s quite clear to me at this point that if I do information on all of the games already decided upon, this is not going to fit into a single publication. After some fast page estimates, the reality is that the final project might look like an estimated +900 pages — in appearance, it would be like if the Sears WishBook had a baby with a phone book.

Aside from having use as a bludgeoning object, that’s far too large in one single book, as far as I’m concerned. The past three hours have been spent on appropriately dividing the game titles into sections, where two books will be born. As much as I enjoy hand-cramps, handling books, it’s just not realistic to cram everything into a single publication.

The new books shall include:

  1. All Harvest Moon Handheld Games – 9 Titles – Estimated 455 Pages
  2. All Console Harvest Moon Games, Plus 6 Rune Factory Titles – 10 Titles – Estimated 450 Pages

This, I believe I can live with. My next portion of the project will be splitting up the file that I’ve been working in, to accommodate the decision. While this makes me feel a little better, something has become quite apparent to me by this point: I’ll be finished when I’m dead.