Stardew Valley has been one of the most stress-relieving games I have ever played.
Published February 26, 2016 by game developer Eric Barone, Stardew Valley is a pixelated farming simulator in which the player inherits their grandfather’s old farmland. The player can do whatever they like with their new property, all while interacting with the natives of the local town and the many mysterious and lively locations that dot the landscape.
Flash-forward to me on July 3, 2021, buying the game when it went on sale on Steam. I had been dealing with burnout in several facets of my life; it sapped away at both my interest in the activities I usually enjoyed and my motivation to do anything. So, I decided to give it a try.
Everything changed when I picked up Stardew Valley. With its bright colors, atmospheric music and intriguing stories, I was immediately drawn into my quaint new life as a farmer. The more I played, the more I could feel myself relax and forget about the stresses of life. I could replace the pressures of my obligations with thoughts of gardening and my anxieties with debating whether to give someone a homemade meal or a gemstone.
In time, I started to feel the burnout fade away, being replaced by a reinvigorated sense of self and a newfound appreciation of the little things in life. It was just what I needed, and it could not have come sooner.
In a time where each day feels just as chaotic as the newest games dominating the market, Stardew Valley stands out as a pleasant retreat from the hustle and bustle of life and the frenzy of the latest gaming trends. With over 55 hours already sunk into the game – and more to follow, most likely – I cannot wait to see what happens next, both on the farm on my desktop and in life.