Over the past year, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to try new things. Whether it was attempting to cook, writing poems or just finding a new TV show, I was able to find so many wonderful new interests to share. It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge fan of video games ever since my mom taught me how to play Frogger on the PS1, and quarantine was the perfect time to really dive into some new games. I was lost on where to start until one of my friends suggested I play Stardew Valley. I used to play Harvest Moon with my older sister growing up, and as soon as I found out that Stardew was inspired by that series, I knew I was going to be hooked (spoiler alert: I was right). If you’re looking for a game that allows you to get away from the stressful “city life,” this truly is the game for you.
The premise of this adorable game is that your character inherits a run-down farm from their grandfather who recently passed away, giving you the chance to leave your corporate job and start a new journey. When you arrive in Stardew Valley, it’s revealed that the town is incredibly close to being taken over by Joja, the mega-mart company of this universe. The responsibility of saving both the town and your grandfather’s farm now rests squarely on your pixelated shoulders. So, what are you going to do?
Stardew Valley is an open-ended game with a ton of room for exploration and decision making. You can choose to focus your farm on growing the most delicious fruits and vegetables, from pumpkins to strawberries. Another option is using the land to raise livestock such as cows, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and rabbits. There are mines in the mountains located north of your farm that allow you to mine for metals and ores that are bound to make you rich. There’s an endless variety of ways to profit, and the design of your farm is completely up to you.
This game isn’t just about the farming experience, however. It also provides the opportunity to form interesting relationships, both romantic and platonic, with the residents who live in Stardew Valley. You can choose to have your character get married to one of the nine eligible candidates, or just spend your time talking to the citizens and learning more about their complex histories and experiences. It’s easy to become very invested in the lives of the 16-bit villagers who are bound to capture your heart.
I truly cannot recommend this game enough. It’s a fun way to escape from the stress of reality and engage with such believable characters in a pleasant town. If you are anything like me and enjoy occasionally living in a fictional world, you’ve got to give Stardew Valley a try.