Not actual entries, but pictures which I achieved in-game, and an explanation of why this is one of the most groundbreaking games I’ve played.
Apart from one day (#18), I did enough interesting things to warrant a special picture for every entry. I apologise about not having an image for day 21, I forgot to photograph it and, sitting here typing, I don’t feel like hauling my stuff out for one shot (if memory serves, it was of the aunty giving Boku a bottle-cap for answering the dinner quiz correctly).
I clocked just over 20 hours and it was a great experience – one which has satiated my need to play the series, probably forever.
There were happy times, sad times, and a lot of fun. I also missed out on things, like watering grandpa’s garden and shearing the sheep. But I did find every bottle cap littering the countryside, and I caught every insect. I also caught the biggest fish in the river, which we had for dinner on the first birthday of my little cousin. Boku also showed remorse at releasing the bear cub after others commented on its mysterious disappearance.
A lot of people also moved away from the area, including Michi and the old grandmother near the lake. So too did the birds eventually leave, all five of them, after I’d spent the month diligently looking after them.
The ending was particularly poignant, since it has Boku speaking as an adult on the farm in the future, with his father (or maybe uncle) beside him, and his own son enjoying a holiday there.
As a whole Boku no Natsuyasumi is a tremendous almost-coming-of-age tale, recounting a period in one’s life before the innocence was lost. I also like the fact that this instalment is set prior to the big videogame boom in Japan – I can only assume that Boku in 1985 would have spent a lot of time playing on his Famicom.
To summarise, this is another game which makes me glad I bought a PS3. It’s an example of diversity in a medium stagnant with recycled action games. Some might feel a need to justify their playing of this, and I was a little saddened when reading Playongo’s review that he had to re-affirm that he played action games such as Halo just like the rest of us. He does state he likes it because it's refreshing, but liking Boku no Natsuyasumi shouldn't come with justification of who you are or what you like.
I’d like to think that anyone who reads this blog is comfortable enough with themselves to admit that hey, a game where I’m on a summer holiday is cool. For all the posturing that the industry does about trying to convey deep stories, and breaking away from the action game mentality (I’m thinking of David Cage’s verbiage and Heavy Rain), most games still fall into the realm of protagonist VERSUS antagonist, and Heavy Rain is no different from Gear Wars in that respect. In almost every game I see today there are the (sometimes ambiguously) defined good and bad, and there’s conflict between them. It’s such an overused archetype.
Boku no Natsuyasumi I would argue is a landmark, breakthrough game, in that it moves away from conventional ideas of game design to create something genuinely new. It stands alongside games such as Aquanaut’s Holiday, Harvest Moon, The Sims and Flower. It also has a touching, sweet little story which is subtly put across and is something everyone can relate to. It transcends the cultural boundaries of its setting.