After many, many months of my partner, Clarice, asking me to get into Stardew Valley, I finally decided to take the plunge and embark on our very own co-operative farming adventure…
…Now, I should probably preface this by saying that I had nearly entirely sworn off of games like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon – They all had far too much management, the progression always seemed a bit muddled, and everything just fell down to ‘make this all bigger’… But in a bizarre twist, somehow, Stardew Valley has become my go-to title on the Nintendo Switch, taking over my Warframe addiction and even outshining other games that I have yet to play in my huge backlog… Why is this?
As bizarre as this sounds, I think it all comes back to Minecraft.
Now hear me out for a minute here; despite me swearing off of ‘farming-sim’ like games, I love to progress in a decent Minecraft server, even to this day – Creating a homestead I’m proud of, operating mines and building elaborate Redstone contraptions was always a big draw for me, as that sense of progression was much more than a new tile or a new sprite – They were tangible objects that I could interact with, show off, and be proud of – Things to say ‘hey, I did that’!
Somehow, in some way, Stardew Valley encapsulates that very feeling to a T – I can’t stop playing through day after day with my partner, building up our farm, growing new crops and delving deeper into the mines to uncover new loot; it just feels so rewarding seeing a full field of crops over a week, and to sell them all for an absolutely huge profit to blow on our new tools, that new sprinkler, or a new animal; this stuff is addicting.
Stardew Valley helps to push this feeling further with it’s charming art style (Albeit slightly limited), and fun, quirky characters alongside clear and understandable progression; even as a newcomer into the game, I can’t understand why anyone would demolish the Community Center in favour of a JojaMart membership; I just don’t have the heart for it! It’s getting so addictive that it’s nearly at the point where I’m considering finding, or even making, Stardew Valley-inspired mods for Minecraft just to try and take this experience further, and make it even more enjoyable – In just shy of a week I’ve already clocked in nearly 30 hours alongside a few other games I’ve been playing, which simply shows how this game has me by the kahunas…
But it doesn’t end there – See, I think if I went into Stardew Valley alone, all by my lonesome, I would have absolutely hated it, but by having my partner along for the ride in local co-op, the game just seems to open up far more – Progression is smoother, events are funner, discoveries are that much more exciting and we can build our plans together and exact them how we want to; if I was on my own, I know I’d focus purely on profit rather than filling the Community Center or making the townspeople happy, but by having another person there, the dynamic of the game, and it’s charm, really shines through. The portability of Stardew Valley is also another massive plus point in it’s favour, being able to do a day or two’s farming whilst out at a local cafe, on the bus, or even at night when resting in bed; it just makes the whole experience that more accessible and enjoyable.
I’m extremely excited for what the future holds for Stardew Valley, wether that be a sequel, an expansion, new content or hell, even something totally different – All I really want to say is thank you. Thank you ConcernedApe, or rather Eric Barone, for reigniting that passion inside of me for farming aspects in videogames. It was something I don’t think I ever realised that I had even lost in the first place, but now that it’s back, all feels well.