I spent a week fighting off what I understand to be the flu, and then another couple of days tangling with a separate, stomach virus of some kind. It’s a miserable way to spend a couple of weeks, and my writing here suffered (as did my dissertation and professional obligations), but my farm in Stardew Valley thrives from all the attention I’ve been giving it. (I’ve also been playing Factorio and Undertale, more on those soon.)
In playing the game a lot more, I’ve begun to see more of the blemishes and cracks that come with a single-dev title. Given my prior, glowing adoration of it, I feel it’s only fair to air out some of the hitches in the experience. Nothing I’m going to say here should detract from the understanding that Stardew Valley is a gloriously delightful title, mind you, but there’s lessons to be learned here as well.
Continue reading Stardew Valley: Good As Chicken Noodle Soup
A month ago if you’d said to me, “Will, what you need is a jRPG/Dating Sim/Farming game,” I would’ve asked you how much you’ve had to drink. Then a friend sent me the game as a gift on Steam. The next half a week is little more than a frenzied blur of planting crops, fishing my head off, and desperately trying to remember the upcoming birthdays of virtual friends – all while keeping track of upgrade schedules and the ever-growing list of morning chores my farm was accruing.
Stardew Valley’s genius isn’t merely the way it delivers a broad array of gameplay that offers to scratch any number of itches one might have. Rather, Eric Barone’s ability to pack so many different threads into a game – and make them all behave well together – truly shines by cramming over two dozen charming, human stories into the same box. Continue reading Stardew Valley: Stories With A Human Touch