Stardew Valley has quickly become one of the most talked about interdependent games of 2016. It is a simple game, but it is crammed full of amazing content and engaging systems which help keep the sense of progression consistent throughout. During my measly twelve hours so far, I've made some shocking discoveries about myself and the nature of how I play games. I've reflected on these tidbits of virtuous knowledge and discovered that I was actually learning some important life skills. These are the seven most impactful lessons I've learned with Stardew Valley so far.
Hard work pays off
The most inspiring part of Stardew Valley is the story of its creation. Every aspect of the game, visuals, coding, music, design, etc. was created by one person. ONE PERSON! Eric Barone, a.k.a. ConcernedApe, started work on Stardew Valley in 2012 after failing to find work out of college. Four years later, Stardew Valley releases on Steam, and Eric finds himself a millionaire with all the time he could ask for to further develop Stardew Valley or pursue a new project.
Stardew Valley itself is a practice in patience and hard work. Nothing feels quite as good as seeing your farm grow as you continue to pour love and care into each of your crops. It may feel like a chore list at times, but finishing those tasks feels good and makes Stardew Valley worth the time it takes to play.
Spending a little bit today can yield great rewards tomorrow
We've all heard that you have to spend money to make some money. Stardew Valley helped me understand just how true this advice is. At the end of each season, my wallet would be full of gold, and I would hesitate to spend much on next season's crop. However, I remembered that the more crops I have, the more gold I'll generate over time. Each season my farm would continue to grow. One should never spend money without reason, but spending a little bit more might be the difference in good rewards and GREAT rewards!
It's about the journey, not the destination
I started playing Stardew Valley with an end goal in mind. I was going to make the most productive farm I could, maximize my crop output, and truly master the game's mechanics. However, after I dove into the charming world of Stardew Valley, I quickly realized that the best part of this game was building up to that dream farm. If i simply rushed straight to the end goal, I would have missed all the fun events and people along the way. I stopped to consider if I was doing the same in my day to day life, and I realized that life is far more than working towards a singular goal at the fastest pace possible. I should focus less on my next steps and reflect on the amazing life I have.
Get rid of what you don't need
Humans love to hoard things. We acquire stuff and cling to it like it's our lifeblood. I see this most in myself when I play games like Stardew Valley and Minecraft. However, I had to become comfortable letting go of things I didn't need so I can generate the gold needed to grow the farm. Everything we own is temporary, and Stardew Valley helped me understand just how unimportant stuff is compared to sharing memories with friends.
Things (and people) change over time
Change is inevitable. Everything changes, and our human nature tells us to resist change. The old phrase, "don't fix what isn't broken" reflects the idea behind this nature. Change makes everyone uncomfortable to a certain extent. Stardew Valley taught me to let go of my fear and embrace change as a new opportunity. Each season in Stardew Valley lasts 28 days, and at the end of the season all your crops die. That's right, every crop dies when the seasons change. This loss sounds horrible when spoken out loud, but the changing of the seasons brings new crops, new events, and new opportunities for your farm to grow. Change shouldn't be something we fear. We should instead embrace change as an opportunity to experience something new!
Stuff is just stuff, it won't be here forever
This one might depend on the type of person you are. However, many individuals out there love their things. We each have our own space we customize and call our own. We fill it with things that are important to us or that make if feel comfortable. We are always told that this stuff is temporary, and that we shouldn't cling to it. Stardew Valley teaches this in a very real and relatable way. There are dozens of items in Stardew Valley, but very few of them need to be held onto. There is a collection meta game through the mysterious Community Center, but once you save something to your collection, you don't have to worry about hoarding it anymore. This freedom of ownership helped me understand that there are others out there who would make better use of the things, "I might use one day."
There's never just one way to do things
Everyone has some kind of routine to their life. We find the most effective way to start and end each day. We stick to these patterns because we, as humans, love patterns. Stardew Valley is a game that encourages experimentation. Each season has its own bundle of pros and cons, and its up to the player to build a system that will make them feel good about the growth of their farm. What works in the Spring might not yield results during the Fall. Experimentation is key as the farm grows larger, and harvests become more bountiful. We think the way that we've always done things is the best, but when we let go of predispositions, we open our mind to endless possibilities to grow and learn something new!