I really didn't know much about Stardew Valley before I started playing it. I'd never really played much Harvest Moon or the like either, as I'd never really seen the appeal of giving over your free time to cultivating the perfect crop of turnips. But Stardew Valley, at least, is a lot more than that. There's combat, supernatural conspiracy, and even a chance to get hitched and hear the pitter patter of tiny feet around the farm. Every couple dreams of owning a chicken coop, right?
It's like having one last short to get your head straight before you leave the bar, or necking an espresso to bring you down as you head up for bed. It makes no sense, and it makes you feel horrible. Stardew Valley is a PC game that repeatedly needles you about how detached you are from the natural world and how soul-voiding it is to live your life through a screen. "There will come a time when you feel crushed by modern life and your bright spirit will fade before a growing emptiness," says your bed-ridden grandad, stretching his hand towards you with a serious-looking envelope. Cut to: your character, skivvying miserably at a computer for the oppressively cheerful Joja corporation. Cut to: my heart withering in ashy despair as I realise I too am hunched over a screen.