Living the Farming Life with Stardew Valley

It’s been at least a decade, possibly more, since I last played a Harvest Moon game that my sister owned. I can’t remember the exact game it was, nor the console it was on, but I recall it being pretty fun for what it was. I struggled with it, and only played it now and then, but it was enjoyable. I then started hearing about Stardew Valley, a “Harvest Moon Clone” that was on PC. It wasn’t expensive, so I dived in to see what it was like. Eight hours of play time later, and I had to jump off so my girlfriend could have a shot for herself.

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Stardew Valley is both exactly what I expected, and nothing what I expected. A farming RPG with similarities to Harvest Moon, it does require you to clean up a semi-abandoned property and start your career as a farmer. What’s different from my memories of that Harvest Moon game, is that you can level up statistics like farming, foraging and the like, fight monsters and there’s something…mysterious that’s going on in the valley. Not only that, but it just so happens to have an evil corporation trying to drive business from the locals.

These additional elements may be exactly what has gotten me hooked so far. Instead of spending every day cleaning out trees, rocks and weeds from my property, there’s a few different things I can do. After making sure my crops and animals are sorted, I could go explore the mines, I could look at the notice board in case a villager needs something in particular, I could do some fishing. There’s so much to do that fitting everything in can be tough on it’s own. There’s even an energy meter that limits you from just running around doing everything possible until it’s time to sleep.

It’s bizarre, but it’s calming. When hectic things are going on in real life, this is the type of game I can get relief from. It’s calming, and for some reason, I find that incredibly enjoyable, and I get excited when a new crop has finally grown and I can see how much money I can make from it.

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Different events even happen throughout the seasons, so it can be useful to plan ahead and see what’s coming up on the notice board. This can even help with making friends, and potentially a spouse with some of the single villagers. Random events also seem to happen, and there seems to be a lot more going on in this game than I ever remember in Harvest Moon. Of course, I won’t go into huge details here, because I’d like to keep it a bit of a surprise. All I will say is that, among the day to day activities I task myself with, there’s a few other events that seem to be going on beyond my control, but I’m eager to find out what actually is going on.

I’m enthralled, and I look forward to the times where I can play more. This all comes from only being in my first Summer in the game too, barely a month in the games time. There’s plenty more to do and see, with areas still blocked off and more animals and crops to find, grow and make profit from.

Compared to what I’ve been playing lately, Stardew Valley is the complete opposite, and that may be exactly what I need at this point in my life.

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