Experience the classic GBA game all over again… in The Sims 4!
Does anyone remember Harvest Moon? The adorable farming game series where you could find a spouse and raise a family all while building up a successful farm? No, I’m not talking about Stardew Valley. I’m talking about the series that inspired Stardew Valley. Specifically, I’m talking about Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, originally released on the Gameboy Advance back in 2003. It’s since been remade on the Nintendo Switch and PC as Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town.
I’ve loved Harvest Moon since its inception back in the 1990s. I’ve grown up with the series and then made the switch to Story of Seasons after Harvest Moon’s developer split from its North American producer to continue the series under a new name. Friends of Mineral Town was always one of my favourite titles but like with a lot of my other favourite games, I find myself wishing for more freedom. More customisation, more choices when it comes to marriage candidates, just more ways to live my farm life the way I want.
That’s when I usually decide to recreate my favourite games in The Sims. Sometimes, I even make new saves and write challenges to go along with them. Like now!
If you’ve ever wanted to turn The Sims 4 into a Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons game, then oh boy! This challenge is for you!
Move into the empty, run-down farm in Mineral Town and turn it into a thriving, profitable farm with a fully cleared out field, a minimum of 5 animals (or 1 cow, 1 llama, 8 chickens if you are playing with Cottage Living), and an upgraded house with a full kitchen and two bedrooms. Marry someone from Mineral Town and have at least one child.
- Download and install my CC-free Mineral Town save. If you are playing on console, all the builds and characters are also in my Gallery to place in Newcrest individually. My ID is SnarkyWitch.
- Cats and Dogs OR Cottage Living (you don’t need both, just one or the other) are required to play the challenge. All other packs are optional; however, the builds do use content from quite a few packs. You may replace any missing content in the save with stuff you do own.
- Load up the Mineral Town save and create one starting Sim and either one dog or one cat to start with. Your Sim and pet can have any appearance, traits, voice, walk style, and gender settings you like. Your Sim’s gender identity will not limit your spouse selection or prevent you from completing the challenge. You may not use the CAS stories to pre-assign skills, money, or careers.
- Use the cheat “freerealestate on” to purchase the Mineral Town Farm. Then use the cheat “money 1500” to lower your starting funds to 1,500 simoleons.
- You will need to either put market tables with seeds at the Supermarket or turn the Supermarket into a retail lot owned by Jeff and Sasha. You can move/change anything you like in the Supermarket to make it functional for customers but don’t delete the seed packets (you may move them around; I think I used debug cheats to place them in straight lines which may not be good for retail functionality). Your Sim will need them for the challenge.
- No cheats except when the challenge tells you to use cheats.
- Your farmer cannot have a job, but can register as a self-employed farmer. All their income must be from their farm. They cannot play the Lottery.
- You cannot hire any NPCs. No maids, nannies, food delivery, caterers, gardeners, butlers, or repair technicians. This challenge is all about doing the hard work yourself.
- You cannot replace broken stuff. You must repair it yourself.
- You cannot purchase seeds from planter boxes or the build/buy menu. You must go to the Supermarket to purchase what’s in stock.
- You cannot build a greenhouse or shelter your crops. You must plan out your fields according to the season and work with the weather.
- You may not use the auto-feeding dishes or auto-cleaning litter boxes for your animals. You must feed and clean up after your animals yourself every day.
- If you own Eco Lifestyle, you may use dew collectors, wind turbines, solar panels, and other eco-friendly objects to create a green farm.
- If you own Cottage Living, you’ll be playing with slightly different rules; instead of owning 5 cats/dogs painted to look like farm animals, you must own a minimum of 1 cow, 1 llama, and 8 chickens to satisfy the animal requirement.
- Mods like KawaiiStacie’s My First Farm Animal, icemunmun’s chicken coop, and the increase household limit function in MCCC are allowed, but optional. They’re not required for the challenge.
Reviving Your Farm
- When you first arrive at the farm, you’ll see an overgrown field full of weeds, stumps, and rocks. You may delete all the weeds right away on your first day to make room for crops, but stumps cannot be deleted until your farmer reaches 3 Handiness skill and rocks cannot be deleted until your farmer reaches 4 Handiness skill.
- The chicken coop and barn you start out with is just barely suitable to house animals and there is no fenced-in outdoor area for them to roam around in. You will need to upgrade the chicken coop to have enough pet dishes, litter boxes and beds for every small bird you own and they must have a fenced in area outdoors near the coop with toys, a scratching post, and a cat tower. The barn must be upgraded to have enough pet dishes and beds for every large farm animal you own and they must have a fenced-in outdoor grassy area near the barn with toys and obstacle course equipment. If playing with Cottage Living, you may replace the default coop and barn with the Cottage Living coops and barns but all animals must still have a fenced in area to roam around and be kept happy and healthy.
- It’s up to you whether you want to remove crops that are out of season and replant them the following year or whether you want to let them stay dormant. Both offer pros and cons. You can keep fertilizing the same crops to increase their quality over time (and their profitability), but having so many dormant plants in your field takes up valuable space you could use for crops that are in season and producing goods. You may plant and sell overgrown crops if you own Cottage Living.
- You will need a minimum of 5 animals on your farm before you can get married. They can be any combination of cats/dogs that have been painted to look like farm animals. Cows, horses, chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, any livestock you can find in the Gallery, you can have on your farm. If you own Cottage Living, you need 1 cow, 1 llama, and 8 chickens instead.
- You cannot add new animals to your farm directly from the Gallery for free. To “purchase” new animals for your farm, you must add them either to the Poultry Farm or Yodel Ranch, then transfer the animal to your farm using the split and merge tool in Manage Worlds. When you do this, transfer the appropriate household funds to the Poultry Farm or Yodel Ranch as your payment for the animal.
*** Chickens and other small birds – 1,000 each
*** Sheep, pigs, goats, and other medium sized livestock – 2,000 each
*** Cows, horses, and other large livestock – 3,000 each
*** Exotic animals (llamas, alpacas, emus, ostriches, etc) – 4,000 each
If you own Cottage Living, you can just purchase the chickens and barn animals from their shelters as normal.
- If you’ve purchased a male and a female of an animal, you may also breed them yourself on your farm to save money. You may only breed animals of the same type (a hen and a rooster, a cow and a bull, a mare and a stallion, etc) so even if both animals are “dogs” or “cats,” they must still be the same type of livestock in order to breed. No breeding a cow with a horse or a chicken with a duck, for example.
- There are two ways you can make money off of animals. 1) Using the My First Farm Animal mod to have them produce milk, eggs, and wool. 2) Breeding and selling animals for profit. With Cottage Living, you may sell the milk, eggs, wool, and any other products made from your animals’ byproducts.
- If your animals get sick, you must take them to the vet and pay for the most expensive treatment. If you cannot pay for the most expensive treatment, you fail the challenge. If you own Cottage Living, you fail the challenge if any of your animals leave due to neglect. Animals that die of old age do not count against you.
- If any of your cats/dogs get taken away for neglect, you fail the challenge. Runaway cats/dogs do not count for this. Animals that die from old age don’t count, either.
- You are not limited to the marriage candidates from the original game. You may marry anyone in town who catches your fancy, but they must be a Mineral Town character. You cannot marry a townie or a Sim you created yourself.
- You can marry anyone of either gender, regardless of your farmer’s gender.
- You cannot get married until the following requirements have been met:
1) Your home has been upgraded to have a full kitchen and a bedroom with a double bed.
2) Your field has been fully cleared of weeds, stumps, and rocks.
3) You own a minimum of 5 animals and your coop/barn have been upgraded to accommodate all of them as well as fenced-in outdoor areas for them as outlined in the Reviving Your Farm section.
4) You are dating the person you want to marry and have maxed out romance and friendship with them.
5) You have maxed out friendship with all of your future spouse’s family members (or closest friends if they have no family).
6) You have gone on a minimum of 4 gold level dates with the person you want to marry.
7) You have received a blessing from the Harvest Goddess. To do this, simply become friends with her and give her a hug. If she casts a positive spell on you, this will also satisfy this requirement. If you choose to marry the Harvest Goddess, you must get a blessing from Kappa, instead.
- Your spouse can have a job and can help you on your farm and around the house.
- You cannot divorce your spouse during the challenge but once you’ve finished the challenge, feel free to cause all the marital drama you want.
- If your spouse dies, you must remarry and satisfy all the marriage requirements over again for the new spouse. You must have a child with the new spouse and raise him/her to the child age, even if you already have a child with your previous spouse.
- You must have at least one child with your spouse to complete the challenge. If you have twins or triplets, all the rules in this section apply to all children. You cannot cheat to reduce the number of children you’re having! You get what you get!
- You cannot have a child until you are married and have upgraded your house again to add a second bedroom.
- You can have a child either through Try for Baby or adoption. Adopted children must be adopted as babies.
- Your child must age up naturally. No shortening the lifespan or manually aging them up when they get annoying.
- To finish the challenge, you must successfully raise your child from a baby to a child.
- Your child can help you feed and care for the animals when they become school-aged.
- If your child is taken away by social services for any reason (either poor grades or neglect), you fail the challenge.
- If your child dies, you must have another child.
Completing the Challenge
You are officially finished the challenge when:
- Your field is cleared of all weeds, stumps, and rocks.
- You own a minimum of 5 healthy animals. (Or 1 cow, 1 llama, and 8 chickens if you own Cottage Living)
- Your chicken coop has enough litter boxes, beds, and pet dishes for each small animal you own and you have a fenced-in outdoor area for your small animals with toys, a scratching post, and a cat tower. This is not needed for Cottage Living animals.
- Your barn has enough beds and pet dishes for each large animal you own and you have a fenced-in outdoor area for your large animals with toys, grass, and obstacle course pieces. This is not needed for Cottage Living animals but they do need a fenced in area and to be kept fed and happy.
- Your house has been upgraded to have a full kitchen and two bedrooms, one with a double bed.
- You are married.
- You have at least one school-aged child with your current spouse.
Failing the Challenge
You fail the challenge if:
- Your farmer dies.
- Any of your animals are taken away due to neglect.
- Any Cottage Living animals leave due to neglect.
- You cannot pay for the expensive treatment for a sick animal.
- Any of your children are taken away due to neglect or poor grades.
- You break a challenge rule and cheat or do things before you’re allowed to.
I will not answer questions about whether you’re allowed to do this or that in the challenge or questions asking me to update for new packs. It’s your game and I’m not the challenge police. Just use your best judgement and have fun! I won’t be updating the challenge unless I feel there’s been enough significant additions to the game that would drastically affect this challenge.
This challenge was created before the remake came out so all builds and characters are based on their original designs from Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town on the GBA.