Stardew Valley has taken over my life, and I love it – Reader’s Feature

Stardew Valley – the perfect way to relax (pic: 505 Games)

A reader explains how they learnt to appreciate Stardew Valley and how, as a keyworker, it’s helped them to relax during the pandemic.

Over the past month, I have been playing the absolutely charming, farming/mining and life simulation game, Stardew Valley. Other readers may have already played it but I strongly advise everyone to buy it if they can.

I initially purchased it last year during the PlayStation summer sale, for a very reasonable £8, but sadly never got into it. I admit that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to games that need a little bit of time and thought invested in them at the beginning, preferring a quick tutorial and then straight into the action. Little did I realise how it would come to dominate my spare time and life in general.

As you’ve mentioned in your glowing reviews, it’s somewhat similar to Harvest Moon. The initial advice to plough fields, plant crops and raise animals, in addition to walking about the small village and making friends, may seem very daunting at first. That is probably what put me off initially.

A month ago, I decided to attempt to clear my backlog of downloaded titles on the hard drive when I thought I’d give Stardew Valley a proper go.

With all the coronavirus worries around the world, and that I’ve had to go to work due to being a key worker, I found it to be a beautiful distraction to the stress and distresses of work.

I rush home now every day and try to squeeze a few minutes here and there, tending to my crops and mining for jewels. I suppose I could say I’m addicted to it now, as I also spend 15 minutes before heading out to work in the morning to see what the following day’s weather will be like in the game; so I can plan what to plant and when to buy gifts for birthdays.

Due to family and work commitments, it can normally be difficult to spend time in story driven games at my age but I’ve found that you could complete a day in the game over a real time of 30 minutes. That’s a good bite-sized way to make progress in the game.

My only gripe with playing on a PlayStation 4 is that although you can also download it on a PS Vita, there is unfortunately no cross-save function, and therefore you can’t pick up on a handheld device after you’ve saved the game at home.

Other than that, if anyone is thinking about moving to Stardew Valley, please do. It’s available on most formats including Apple and Android, and there’s been consistent updates and support from the developer.

In these troubled times, it’s nice to fall back into a game which doesn’t stress you further, or make you buy microtransactions or downloadable content. The only tense situations I’d have to say are fighting the little monsters in the deeper levels of the local mine. Even then, when you lose all your energy, you are amusingly brought back to the surface by a villager, brushed down and told to be a little more careful in the future. It always brings a smile to my face.

I’m now writing this during my lunch break, and next I’ll be flicking through my little notebook to see what jewels I’ve collected and what seeds to plant for this season. Thanks to Stardew Valley, I’ll also be checking the real-world weather to see if I need to water my garden plants tomorrow. An example of a virtual game improving real life in a practical way. Pure bliss and happiness!

By reader Zeeshan Shafiq

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email and follow us on Twitter.

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