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Let's Build a Virtual Farm!
(xboxplay.games)

Stardew Valley, one of the most popular indie video games, was created by Eric Barone, who is also known as ConcernedApe. In late 2021, he announced that he would soon launch ConcernedApe’s Haunted Chocolatier, a new game that is still in development. Recent teaser images that he has uploaded on social media indicate that Haunted Chocolatier will be released next year, in 2023. How about taking a look at Stardew Valley, Eric Baron’s masterpiece, while waiting for Haunted Chocolatier?

Why Stardew Valley Is Such a Big Deal

Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-life role-playing video game available on personal computer (PC), console, and mobile platforms. The PC game can be purchased for ₩16,000, but it is sometimes sold at a discount of ₩9,600. Therefore, it is not burdensome for people who may want to try out a PC game for the first time. Eric Barone, the creator of Stardew Valley, was engaged in various creative activities, including painting and designing musical albums or games, since he was a college student. This became the base for developing Stardew Valley. The storyline of Stardew Valley focuses on the main character, or player, who manages a farm in Pelican Town and tries to revive the town’s old glory. The game uses an 8-bit pixel art style, which stirs up emotions of nostalgia, by reminding players of old classic games. In addition, Stardew Valley is famous for its calm, yet addictive and iconic songs, which have even been released as a soundtrack album. Through these attractive points, Stardew Valley has gained a lot of popularity — as soon as the game was released, it ranked in the top 10 on the Steam Charts.

Eric Barone, the Lead Developer of Stardew Valley (pcgamer.com)

At Stardew Valley…

Working in Pelican Town

The main activity in Stardew Valley is farm management. The game starts with players inheriting their grandfather’s old farm and beginning a new life. The player must plant crops every season, and the harvesting period follows the in-game time and seasons. Farm management includes ranching animals such as pigs, cows, and chickens. Their by-products, such as eggs and milk, are rated based on quality: the more outstanding your products are, the more income you earn. Players can make even more through cooking or manufacturing instead of selling raw materials. Another main activity of the game is fishing. Players can fish wherever and whenever as long as there is water. The fishes differ by location and time; the more expensive they are, the harder they are to catch. Other activities include mining minerals such as copper, gold, and silver, as well as fighting with monsters. Combat and mining consume player’s health points (HP) and energy; thus, players should be cautious of passing out or losing items in the process. Each activity requires skills such as farming, fishing, mining, and combat, and if players reach a certain level in a skill, they can choose a specific profession.

Animals in Stardew Valley (ign.com)

Living with the Villagers in Pelican Town

There are more than 30 villagers in Pelican Town, and players can form friendships with each of the villagers. Friendship points increase with each villager by talking to them once a day and giving them a gift that they either are neutral towards, like, or love. Meanwhile, friendship points decrease when you give a gift that the villager dislikes or through actions such as rummaging through garbage when villagers are close to the player. In addition, refusing to talk to a villager will cause a slight decrease in friendship points each day. As friendships deepen, the villagers’ dialogue lines become more affectionate, and cutscenes called “heart events” sometimes occur. Furthermore, villagers are more likely to send the player gifts through the mail, and marriage becomes a possible option. There are 12 marriage candidates in the village: six are men, and six are women. Marriage is possible regardless of the player or villager’s gender. Once the player marries a villager, they move into a farmhouse together. The spouse helps around the farm by making breakfast, feeding the animals, or watering crops. On the other hand, players may also experience special events called “festivals” in the game. There are more than two festivals held each season: such as the Egg Festival in spring; the Luau Festival, in which you can make potluck soup, in summer; the Stardew Valley Fair in autumn; and the Festival of Ice in winter. During these festivals, players can fully experience the Pelican Town life by actively interacting with the residents.

Feast of the Winter Star (ign.com)
Wedding Ceremony in Stardew Valley (stardewvalley.fandom.com)

Enjoying Stardew Valley in Diverse Ways

Barone created Stardew Valley using C#, a common programming language, making it easy for anyone to develop a modification (MOD). Even now, new MODs come out every day: players can enjoy Stardew Valley through new gaming methods and retextured files. The most typical MOD is a cheat mode that reinforces convenience by changing the difficulty level or facilitating the tools’ functions. Other MODs modify the villagers’ clothes, body types, portraits, and graphics or even add dialogue lines. However, frequent usage of MODs may result in a loss of the original purpose set by the creator; therefore, it is recommended to use MODs appropriately. On the other hand, to enjoy Stardew Valley to its fullest, you can try out the multiplayer game mode with your friends. Through this option, one to four players can play the game together by choosing to join the same town. Players share the same farmland and may also choose to pool their property or split it between each player. Each non-player character (NPC), or villager, can only be married to one player, and players can also marry each other. These options, in which players can enjoy the game in diverse ways, make Stardew Valley even more entertaining.

Multiplayer Game Mode (eurogamer.net)

정민주  sophiejmj@g.skku.edu

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