Video Game Spotlight: Stardew Valley
Not Harvest Moon?! Blasphemy! No, no, dear reader, that is not the case. I adore all the farming simulators that encompass Harvest Moon, as well as the many DS+ versions and even spin-offs like Rune Factory. Regardless of the specific genre within a genre, my favorite video games to play are simulators, second only to whatever Kingdom Hearts is. As you can clearly see, I am not a gamer. At all. I am a wife who is learning, once again, how to game.
I played a lot of Harvest Moon when I was a teenager and kinda gave up video games when I went to college. After graduating, I slowly started to play again and to my surprise, a new farming simulator had been released for the XBox One. I initially, and stupidly, called Stardew Valley “Knock-Off Harvest Moon” when Alex first introduced it to me. The game came off as nothing more than a pixelated version of the other Nintendo game. However, after the first few in-game days of play, I realized I had judged too quickly. I could compare and contrast all day but here’s just a quick summary of the uniqueness you can find in this game:
- You can get married to both men and women
- Fishing is a challenge!
- There’s fantasy stuff like wizards, witches, and maybe? ALIENS?!
- You can choose your profession: farmer, rancher, cook, miner, etc!
Stardew Valley is a one-player, soon to add co-op, farming simulator that allows you to create your own character; who then grows crops, raises animals, and creates artisan goods to sell and help build his tiny farm. If you’re a homesteader, you might think it’s kinda silly that a game like this exists. But when you live in the city, mom and dad are working and can’t take you to the farm, and all you’ve ever known is cars, skyscrapers, and highways, these games are a breath a fresh air to a future farmer’s young, yearning heart. Stardew Valley goes beyond the virtual raising of animals and crops. Sure, like Harvest Moon you can fish, but Harvest Moon didn’t add a minigame to make a successful catch almost impossible to achieve at times. In Stardew Valley, upon snagging the fish, you must tap a button to line up your fishing bar over the MOVING fish. Good luck keeping up! Some fish, like the Legendary line, are almost impossible to catch unless you become a Master Fisher, which additionally takes practice and endless fishing trips for your character.
The creator and developer of this game, yes you read that right, only ONE person worked on this ENTIRE game! … Yeah, so that amazing guy, Concerned Ape? He thought what I thought: Harvest Moon needs more. Where’s the real mining? Fighting monsters? Updating equipment to crazy high levels of durability? Probs super frustrated, Concerned Ape took it upon himself to add these elements into his game. So instead of just digging in some cave in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, Stardew Valley has you traverse through a multi-level mine where you can dig up artifacts, mine ore, and fight monsters! You can even equip and upgrade your sword to take down the tougher beasts dwelling in the lower levels below. Gosh, this game is just too cool. Even Alex loves it… When he’s not too busy cussing out his Rainbow 6 game.
There’s so much gameplay on Youtube that it might be better for you to just do some research yourself, maybe play a little if you can. Also, this game is full of secret areas and items you can only get during certain times of the day, so don’t be afraid to peek at the spoilers if you’d like. Check it out and let me know what you think. As always, continue to be kind and tender to one another.
Image Credit: Concerned Ape