Stardew Valley is a simulation role-playing video game developed by Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone. It was released for Microsoft Windows in February 2016, and later for macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android. Players take the role of a character who takes over their deceased grandfather’s dilapidated farm in a place known as Stardew Valley. The game is open-ended, allowing players to take on activities such as growing crops, raising livestock, crafting goods, mining for ores, selling produce, and socializing with the townspeople, including marriage and having children. It also allows up to three other players to play together online.
Barone developed the game by himself over four years. He was heavily inspired by the Harvest Moon video game series, with additions to address some of the shortcomings of those games. He used it as an exercise to improve his own programming and game design skills. British studio Chucklefish approached Barone midway through development with the offer to publish the game, allowing him to focus more on completing it. Stardew Valley was both a critical and commercial success, selling over 10 million copies by 2020.
Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game primarily inspired by the Harvest Moon video game series. At the start of the game, players create their character, who becomes the recipient of a plot of land and a small house once owned by their grandfather in a small town called Pelican Town. Players may select from several different farm map types, each having benefits and drawbacks. The farm plot is initially overrun with boulders, trees, stumps, and weeds, and players must work to clear them in order to restart the farm, tending to crops and livestock so as to generate revenue and further expand the farm’s buildings and facilities.
Players may also interact with non-player characters (NPC) that inhabit the town, including engaging in relationships with them; this can culminate in marriage, which results in the NPC helping the player’s character to tend the farm. Players can also engage in fishing, cooking, and crafting, and also explore procedurally-generated caves with materials and ores to mine or creatures to combat. Players can take on various quests to earn additional money, or work at completing specific collections of materials (called “bundles”) to restore the town’s Community Center. Completing bundles rewards players with various items, including seeds and tools. Completing multiple bundles grants players access to new areas and game mechanics, such as a desert. All of these activities must be metered against the character’s current health and exhaustion level, and the game’s internal clock. The game uses a simplified calendar, each year having four 28-day months that represent each season, and this determines which crops can be grown and which activities can be beneficial. Later in the game, players can restore a greenhouse which is able to grow any crop regardless of the season.