How Stardew Valley Raised the Bar for Every Indie Game
Stardew Valley. For those who don’t know, I would describe this game as a mixture between Animal Crossing, Farming Simulator, and The Legend of Zelda, in the absolute best way possible. And the beauty of this game was all achieved by one guy, Eric Marone. Under the alias, ConcernedApe, he produced the smash hit Stardew Valley. Now the title has sold over 15 million copies across all platforms, and it is still one of the best selling games on the Nintendo Switch today, having came out for the console in October 2017.
The reason for the game’s success? Endless fun, at your own pace, and the perfect combination of gameplay from countless different games to create the timeless masterpiece. Marone employs the use of relationship-building, farming, and a simple four season layout split into 28 days each to allow pure fun and gameplay to last hours on end.
I have been playing for about three years now, shortly after the game was released on mobile. Then I got it for my Mac, and then my Switch. Every time I return to the game I go through a hyper-fixation period similar to that of what is happening now… Just last Monday, on Labor day, I played the game for seven hours straight.
I say all of that to say that if you have yet to play the game, go give it a download either on your favorite console, PC, or your iPhone or Android device.
What makes Stardew so revolutionary, however, is the pure value you get out of the game. At just $15 USD on all consoles and PC, and $7.99 on mobiles, the potential 100+ hours of enjoyable gameplay make this game one of the absolute best for value I have ever seen. And the way that Marone set this game up, you will not be getting bored anytime soon.
Not only are content updates still being introduced to provide updates for late-game players, but the procedurally-generated caves, random weather, and seasonal events keep me and the millions of other players coming back for more.
Not to mention that the entire game being created by one guy, even the soundtrack, just practically makes a joke out of some of the games being produced by big production companies like EA or Bethesda. And as I said in the title, new games in this genre are going to have to step up their game if they want to even call themselves an indie game in the same category as Stardew.
Eric Marone deserves all the praise in the world for the masterpiece he tirelessly crafted all by himself. Not only does it scare the big production companies to finally worry more about storylines and gameplay rather than graphics or earnings, but it encourages all the potential future ConcernedApe’s to code their own game, how they have always dreamed.