Game Obsession: Stardew Valley

Here’s a relatively-new series of posts that I’m hoping to start: talking about games I’m interested in or have been playing recently. Remember how this is called Books are Only the Beginning? Gaming has been a large part of my life for a very long time, so this is just another part of that “beginning” that I’ve got going on.

So here’s the real reason I’ve been suspiciously quiet and absent lately: The Steam Summer Sale. Last year, I reacquired my Steam account after it was stolen by Russian Hackers (really, though; I’m not lying, but all they bought was Ark: Survival Evolved, and DOTA. I only had one game on there). This year, I decided to finally get in on the Steam Summer Sale because there were a couple games up for grabs that Tony and I could play together.

Enter Stardew Valley.

If you’ve never heard of this game before, let me tell you: it’s incredibly addicting. (I accidentally got another friend hooked on it when I posted a picture on SnapChat, and he put like 6 hours into the game the first night.) Stardew Valley is like a mix between Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. You get to have your own farm, farm things, raise animals, plant flowers, interact with townspeople (and you get to marry some of them), and explore the mines to the north of the town. There’s so much to do in this game. I’ve put over 50 hours into the game and I’ve had it for just under three weeks so far. This is a game you can sit down and play for thirty minutes or thirty hours at a time.

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Some of the bachelors are really rude and misogynistic. Alex, for example, is your stereotypical jock, who says things like “I’d ask you to play catch if you weren’t a girl” and other wonderful things along those lines.

It’s a farming simulator at its core, but it expands into so much more than that. You can have relationships with the townspeople (there are twelve eligible bachelors/bachelorettes, and you can marry whichever gender you choose regardless of your own gender, which I thought was very nice); rebuild your grandfather’s farm to its former grand glory (which is the main goal of the game, but it can easily become the last thing you do if you get sidetracked); and you can rebuild the community center (which gives you access to other parts of the world). You can do all or none of these things. You can just kick around the world exploring if you want to. You’re not forced to become a farmer, but it’s the main option out there for gaining a ton of cash.

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Robin and her husband, Demetrius, are arguing over whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables. I told her it was a fruit. She was not pleased, but Demetrius was glad I sided with him.

You can also hoard thing. I love hoarding in video games. It’s really out of control. (And Skyrim? I’ve utilized the cheat for upgrading your carry weight so much I can carry whatever I want, and it’s madness.) You can hoard four types of each vegetable/fruit (because there are star ratings on each of them: regular, silver, gold, iridium), and there’s so many things to pick up and create throughout the game. I just finished building a keg to make pale ale so I can really boost my money making ability.

I’d give this game a solid Recommended rating, probably something close to 4 or 4.5 stars (out of 5). It’s not perfect, because there’s no quicksave feature (you have to go to bed each night to save, which advances to the next day). It’s easy to get caught up in the game and play for hours. It’s not truly an open sandbox game, but it’s close. You can do whatever you want with your farm, and live your life the way you want to. Nobody’s going to tell you no. (But they will judge you for digging through their trash can.)

All pictures throughout this article are screenshots I captured from the game. I’m proud of what I’ve done and even prouder that I figured out how to use Steam’s screenshot program.

Catch this game on Steam, because it’s playable on both Mac & PC. It’s relatively inexpensive, but if you want to wait for a sale, I wouldn’t blame you. I got it on sale for 50% off during the Steam Summer Sale.

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