By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief
I usually write these Lettitors by trying to relate them to the paper, or at the very least to one of the soon-to-be-published articles that caught my eye during my Sunday night edits.
That plan is now entirely off the table. Here’s why.
All that my life has been this past weekend can fit snugly within the screen of a Nintendo Switch. I discovered Stardew Valley after stumbling upon it in the online shop, and, as I could swear that I’d maybe heard something good about it in a YouTube video and, oh, what the hell, it’s only $15, I decided to download it.
Flash-forward two days, and here I am, anxiously typing this Lettitor as fast as my fingers will possibly allow me so I can get back to harvesting, fishing, mining, wooing, and generally living my virtual farmer’s life.
I get it, it sounds kind of silly, and I would have been saying the exact same thing three days ago.
I’ve never played Harvest Moon (a game that I hear is similar in design and goal) and usually stick to the shoot-bad-guys-in-the-face games—which could be why, once I finally got started on this time-suck of a conquest, Stardew Valley seriously surprised me.
There’s no big goal, or final boss you need to beat. This is no Breath of the Wild where “Destroy Ganon” constantly looms over your head, urging you ever onwards.
This game is literally just about being a farmer in a small town, the people who live there, and all the things you can do—or choose not to do, because it really is entirely up to you.
I think that’s what hooked me so hard over the past two days (in which I’ve marathoned through half the first in-game “year”); just the idea that the day, which is roughly 15 minutes real-world time, can be spent doing any number of things.
That choice, to me, is a valuable one. Recently graduated and launched into a nine-to-five (which I actually enjoy, by the way) has unveiled a very real picture of why games like this can offer something of an escape—a world where everything is relatively simple, where spending every other day fishing is very much in the cards, and where it’s encouraged to lose yourself in an honest day of hard labour.
If you can call “pressing A to swing an axe” hard labour, that is.