the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘video games’ Category

I’ve barely been getting any reading done. Ok, that’s not exactly true, as I finished the fourth book in Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun,  I’m about halfway through a new anthology from Subterranean Press, and I’m about 50 pages into a new space opera novel from Tim Pratt.   But that hour every evening that I’d usually be reading?  I’ve been spending it playing Stardew Valley.

 

the simplest description of Stardew Valley is that it is a farming simulation game.  You can roll your eyes, it’s OK.   In the short introduction, you are a burned out corporate employee, and then you inherit your grandfather’s farm.  You move to the farm, which includes some cleared property, some woods, and a small cabin. A few people who live in the town come by to say hi, you’re given some basic tools, you are given a “quest” to introduce yourself to as many people in the town as possible,  and then the game starts.

 

Stardew Valley is a sandbox, and every decision is the right decision.

 

Want to grow a ton of corn?  go for it.

Want to chop down some trees as use the wood to build a bigger house? go for it.

Want to grow mushrooms and make your living off of foraging? go for it.

Want to befriend the dwarf who lives in the mountain and mine for minerals?  go for it.

Want to raise animals and make artisan cheese? You can do that too.

Not my farm. this is a random image from online.

All of those are correct answers, because every way to play Stardew Valley is the right way.  The designer of the game built in seasons, and seasonal changes to the landscape. Certain crops only grow in summer or fall, there is different fish in the river and ocean at different times of year, acorns and hazelnuts are plentiful in the fall, but maple seeds are more plentiful in spring. You can make things, upgrade things, buy and sell things, befriend people if you want to, tap for maple syrup, raise farm animals, stay in the woods if you feel like doing that.  In the fall, you can just watch the trees sway in the wind and the leaves blow across the screen, and watch the squirrels and birds if you feel like it.  Every so often there is a community event that you can participate in.

there is no wrong way to play Stardew Valley.

And right now, I need something in my life that is un-screw-up-able.  I need something where whatever decision I make is a good decision.  I need something where if I just stand around and enjoy nature, that the game will tell me that was an OK use of my time.   I’m sure there are players who play Stardew Valley with the goals of having the most lucrative farm, the biggest house, the most animals, the most friends, etc, and that is also the right way to play the game!  because every and any way you want to play this game is the right way.

I did fix this bridge.

the hours i play Stardew Valley are judgement free hours.   It’s the perfect remedy to the real world, to the news, to politicians bickering, to everything.

 

so, if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been quieter than usual, less social than usual, it’s a combination of me telling the world to fuck off, and the therapy that is Stardew Valley.

 

and in case anyone is wondering:

  • I have a very small farm, mostly vegetables.  I make pickles and jam out of most of them.
  • I decided early on that I wanted to live off the land. I do a lot of foraging. I have a mushroom cave, I’m slowly getting better at fishing, and I forage a lot of nuts, acorns, berries, mushrooms, plums, and other wild foods.
  • I love having a pet cat.
  • One of my favorite activities is doing a loop of the town, foraging whatever I find, and saying hi to people

I love how immersive this game is. Summer feels like summer. Autumn feels like autumn.  the kids in the town aren’t interested in talking with me unless I give them ice cream.  The ocean is peaceful.  People are at peace with each other.

 

it’s winter!

 

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.