“Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-life RPG,” according to Stardew Valley Wiki Fandom website. Released in February of 2016, and developed, maintained, and updated mainly by its creator Eric Barone, aka CocernedApe, the game has continued to grow in popularity since its release and over 10 million copies of the game were sold by 2020. It is currently available to be purchased on Steam, and versions of the game are also available for services such as PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox.
Barone graduated with a degree in computer science from the University of Washington Tacoma. He was inspired to design the game mainly because of the game series Harvest Moon, but he was also inspired by games such as Animal Crossing, Rune Factory, Minecraft, and Terraria. His main reason for creating the game was because Harvest Moon games never quite lived up to his expectations so he set out to make a game that did, while incorporating details from other games to create what has become Stardew Valley.
The game begins with your character moving to Stardew Valley to take over your grandfather’s farm after his unfortunate passing because you are tired of life in the city. Armed with basic tools, you begin working on your farm. You have the ability to cultivate plants, raise animals, fish, mine, scavenge, cook, craft items and fight monsters — as well as befriend, marry and even have children with the NPCs (non-player characters).
“I thoroughly enjoy playing it, it’s very relaxing and calming but also stressful (fishing can get tricky). There is so much backstory to this game that there is always something new to do. I love it so much,” said ABAC student, Kami Fuller.
Among the NPCs within the game, one of the more mysterious ones is the Wizard. After being given the job of renovating the Community Center by the mayor, you meet the Wizard after receiving a strange letter from him inviting you to his home south of yoru farm. When you visit him, he gives you a strange potion that gives you the ability to speak to the Junimo — the strange apple-shaped creatures inhabiting the rundown Community Center.
The Junimo promise to help you restore the Community Center, but only after you bring them certain items, such as fish, seasonal produce, animal products, etc.
Another ABAC student said, “Stardew Valley is a great game; it’s very relaxing and easy-paced. Perfect for ag students to relieve stress.”