Harvester was developed in 1996 by DigiFX Interactive and saw much controversy around its launch. Alongside Phantasmagoria, released a year prior, it utilised digitised graphics and sprites, leading to the majority of the game looking much more realistic than its counterparts, such as Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, which used more cartoonish and stylised graphics. This highly amped up the controversy due to Harvester’s themes, with over-the-top violence and gore being incredibly prominent. Despite all of this, it has been relatively lost to time, most likely due to the much more successful Phantasmagoria. While Harvester has somewhat grown in popularity over the past few years due to being played by big creators, such as Jerma985 and Game Grumps, it is still a relatively unknown title within many circles.
Harvester follows Steve Mason, a teenager who awoke in a strange town called Harvest, with no memory of his past or even who he is. His supposed family are incredibly strange: his Mother baking cookies constantly, his younger brother is obsessed with a hyper-violent show, and his Dad is locked away due to an illness, yet you are forbidden to see him. Nobody believes him to be truly amnesiac, with everyone stating, “you always were a kidder, Steve”, no matter how hard he pushes to be believed. As he steps out to explore the town, he finds everyone seems to essentially be an incredibly overblown stereotype, similar to the kind seen in old American sitcoms. Over the next few days, increasingly strange events occur within the town as Steve tries to figure out what is going on and why he’s lost his memory.
The gameplay is the primary point of contention for most people, as many of the puzzles — the main part of the gameplay — are incredibly obscure and oftentimes don’t make sense. And on top of this, the game has occasional “combat” sections, which control terribly and are overall relatively pointless. Despite all of this, Harvester is incredibly charming and is truly a product of its time. Much of the gore and violence is incredibly cheesy, and the story never stops poking fun at itself and the world it’s set in. On top of this all, it’s just an incredibly bizarre experience, the twists and events that occur over the game are completely and utterly unpredictable, which adds a lot to the experience.
Despite the fact that Harvester is quite obviously not the greatest point-and-click title, nor was it even the best at its time, it’s an incredibly unique relic of a bygone era and is more than worth checking out for people with an interest in bizarre horror experiences.