Warning, rant ahead!
My very first Harvest Moon game was A Wonderful Life for the GameCube that I bought about 7 years ago. I saw it at the store, and thought the cover looked cute. I read the back, and saw that you could farm and get married as well. Cool, I thought, and bought it. That was my introduction to the Harvest Moon franchise.
As I found out, farming was actually boring, but I really enjoyed the interaction with the NPCs. I also enjoyed wooing the girls, especially Nami, who was the cool redheaded chick that didn’t like flowers. I enjoyed the game so much, I even based my username off of one of the girls in it, which was Celia (which became Celianna). While the farming part was boring (this is a flaw in AWL though, not HM in general), I didn’t mind this as I walked around, doing whatever the hell I wanted.
Oh, and I loved that Darryl, the crazy scientist guy would come visit me on my farm, or as he says ‘studying cows’. Rudy and Flora were pretty fun to talk to, and oh man, how I wish I could marry Lumina (which they made an option in the special edition)!
I never once thought to myself that it was odd for me to play a game that was directed towards guys, and you could only court girls. It didn’t bother me, and frankly, I never gave it much thought.
I realized I enjoyed playing games with romance in it, and began searching for games, that were available to me as well as in English, that had romance in it. I didn’t find more than a text game called The PK Girl (which was still awesome, by the way, you can download it here.), and some random visual novel game about a guy meeting up a woman in a park, or something, I forgot.
As I played these, I started to notice there was a huge lack of romancing available in games (that were in English) … but even more so – all of this was marketed towards guys. If you wanted to date some guys instead, there was absolutely no game to turn to.
And I thought: how is it possible that there were no romance games marketed towards girls? Especially when they make up the majority of fanfiction writers who write under the category of romance, draw the most fanart of their preferred fancouple, go crazy over Harvest Moon since it’s the only English game readily available that has some romance in it, and in general, discuss romance quite a lot on the internet.
So then how did this huge market get ignored? Girls don’t play games? Don’t make me laugh. But that’s what the companies think, that there is no market for romance games directed towards girls, some don’t even considers girls to be a market at all.
In Japan of course, there is an abundance of visual novels that involve dating. Most of them are marketed towards boys, as always, but at least there are options for girls out there. But none of those ever see the daylight out of Japan, and they go largely unnoticed because of that. That’s why Harvest Moon is so popular with girls; they want a romance game that is in English, and Harvest Moon was the only one that offered this.
There are some companies that are slowly starting to pay attention to girls, as witnessed with Princess Debut which got translated to English. There was also Sprung which was a crappy DS game, but featured some nice animation.
Nevertheless, I, as a girl gamer myself who wanted to play an English romance game that for once was not a BxG game, but a GxB, was underwhelmed by the lack of options.
So I decided to make one myself, out of frustration that there was nothing available to me, and because I thought I could actually pull this off and ‘show them’ that there is a huge market for girls like me.
And there is! All you have to do is look over at the Lemmasoft forums, and see that the majority are girls who want to play girl dating boy games, and they are taking control of the lack of these games in their own hands; out of sheer desperation we are making our own games because there is nothing to turn towards. This ends up with a bunch of random games where the overall quality is usually poor, or worse, the game will never even get finished.
There is a market for us out there, and that is why Tailor Tales will forever stay a dating game for girls, made by a girl. We’ve got nowhere else to turn towards, so don’t ask me if I can add a male main character to the game, as well as female bachelors.