Where to begin with Stardew Valley, I’m pretty sure you have heard of this game by now. But if you haven’t Stardew Valley is a game similar to Harvest Moon by developer ConcernedApe and published by Chucklefish Games. The game is great, but what truly astounds me is the fact that the game was made by one person. All the art assets, all the game mechanics, and story, that’s an incredible feat. After playing Stardew for about 5 hours, it became clear to me there was a reason this game has sold over 1,000,000 copies. The game has something that so many other games are missing now days,…Stardew Valley has heart.
When you start up the game and go through the intro, and receive your farm, it almost feels like a homecoming, like the game is saying welcome back. For me, it dredged up memories of being young and experiencing new ideas, and concepts for the first time. The game has been an emotional journey for me from the start. After a bit of exploring, I decided I wanted to start farming. I picked up some seeds from the shop in town and went back to the farm. I then realized that I would need to clear out some rocks and trees before I could begin. I then proceeded to clear out rocks, trees, bushes, and after a couple of in game days, I had a good amount of land cleared, ready to farm. So, I planted my seeds and left them to grow. I then went to meet the local fisherman. …That’s when I found out the game isn’t very forgiving.
When I met the local fisherman, he gave me a fishing pole…well, I didn’t have enough room in my inventory, so the fishing pole disappeared forever! After I realized what had happened I knew I was going to have to save up some in game currency to purchase a new pole. When I checked the price of a pole my jaw about hit my keyboard. A new pole was something like 1,500g, to give you an idea of how hard it was to get currency at the time, I had been playing for about a hour, and I only had 500g. So, I thought it was going to take forever, but after a few days of tending to my crops, they finally came in, and I made almost exactly 1,000g. I had enough to buy my pole!
After I purchased the pole, I chose to neglect my crops for a few days to try out Stardew’s fishing mini-game, which I’d heard so much about. The fishing mini-game is a lot of fun, it can range from pretty easy to incredibly hard. I started making a decent amount of money from fishing, and it was around then that the game’s Spring-time Dance happened. I decided to attend the dance with my character, what I didn’t know was how that dance was going to thoroughly surprise me…
I went to the dance after talking to a few townsfolk, some had suggested that I should ask someone to dance. I started off with one of the girls from town I had given a few gifts to, after she turned me down, I made my way around the dance, asking everyone I saw. I was turned down by all the other townspeople. I was then forced to watch the rest of the town have fun, as I stood there and watched. I don’t know why, but this really stood out to me. I couldn’t get over the fact that the game made me stand there and watch as others enjoyed themselves. I can recall seeing anything like that in video games in recent memory.
That’s where the true beauty lies in Stardew Valley. The way it manipulates your emotions and pulls at your heartstrings in such an endearing way. For me, the game grounds the player in a reality where you’re not the hero. In fact you’re just some guy living in a town, trying to make a friend go to a dance with you, and I love that narrative. It makes the town feel more real, more personal. What did you think of Stardew Valley? Did you love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments below!