Weekly enthusiasms

A weekly review of something I love.

Stardew Valley!

Image: Florida Memory  via Flickr  

Image: Florida Memory via Flickr 

The amount of evil we're forced to confront on a daily basis is completely unbearable. Of course, I don't actually recommend ignoring it entirely—show up! Help where you can! And also never let any of these soulless fucks enjoy another minute of peace for as long as they live!—but at a certain point, it's overwhelming and we all need a respite if we're lucky enough to be able to afford one. 

Enter STARDEW VALLEY. For the unfamiliar: It's a PC and console video game, which I guess the especially video game-literate among us would call "sandbox-style" play. You have a farm, and that's pretty much it—you can do whatever the fuck you want from there. How freeing! Or stress-inducing! I guess it depends on how you feel about making your way in an unfamiliar landscape with little oversight and no restrictions except for your bank account and time.

There are a number of side quests that you can play or ignore, but the thrust of the game is you vs. JojaMart, the Amazon stand-in. You defeat JojaMart by diligently farming and collecting items to donate to some well-meaning aliens (yes) and showing the people of Stardew Valley they matter by giving them gifts they often hate (jerks) and fixing all the broken stuff around town that apparently no one else is able to fix, even though some of them are scientists and construction workers. (N.B. you can also just say "fuck it" and sign up for a JojaMart membership, which makes the game easier, if you are mean or lazy.) 

If you ever played Harvest Moon, well, Stardew Valley is for all intents and purposes the same. (Farmville, since it had both an extremely annoying social component and was a pay-to-win exists in its own "remember when we thought this was the worst thing about Facebook?" universe, as far as I'm concerned, even though it is a farming game.) You get a little money to start, you grow some things that you have to take care of, you sell those things to earn more money, ad infinitum. I just built a mayonnaise machine I can put eggs in!!! It is not that exciting. But it is soothing to waste some of your time doing something that approximates productivity. And, in the end, nice to believe that good wins out, as long as you try.