“I live for petty pas­sive ag­gres­sion”

The odd magic of rou­tine in Sta rdew Val­ley

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com­pleted Ti­tan­fall2 over I the Christ­mas break, and I found it stress­ful. The de­mands of Res­pawn’s mech shooter – that you sit up for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time, and pay at­ten­tion to what’s hap­pen­ing on screen – left me look­ing for lighter fare.

StardewVal­ley’s sense of rou­tine and grindy har­vest­ing of re­sources for cash is the op­po­site of the sort of game I’d nor­mally play. You wake up ev­ery morn­ing, check the TV for the weather fore­cast, and check the for­tune teller to see if any­thing de­cent will hap­pen to you. Then you go farm un­til you’re sleepy, and hope you find a geode – ba­si­cally a trea­sure egg – to crack open and sell the con­tents of. There’s more go­ing on in the town, but this rep­e­ti­tious labour is the thing I find the most com­pelling for some rea­son.

farm labourer

The sense of rou­tine is oddly re­as­sur­ing. I as­sumed the rea­son mil­lions got into

StardewVal­ley was the farm­ing man­age­ment side of things or the neat pixel art, but for me the ap­peal is get­ting up ev­ery day and do­ing the same thing. I chop down the long grass, bash through the rogue logs and shat­ter stone with no in­ten­tion of ever im­prov­ing the slightly crappy farm I’ve in­her­ited. I’m rais­ing funds by putting the stuff I col­lect in the box ev­ery day, but what am I go­ing to do with the cash? I quite like my farm look­ing crap. Per­haps the other vil­lagers will judge me? I hope they do. I live for petty pas­sive ag­gres­sion.

I spend one day go­ing into town just to see what’s around. Ev­ery­thing in Pierre’s is over­priced, in my opin­ion, but hey, he’s got a busi­ness to run. I speak to one girl in the shop, Abi­gail, who seems very nice. Sec­onds later, how­ever, as I de­cide to in­ves­ti­gate the bins out­side, she catches me and freaks out. Jeez, so judge­men­tal. I de­cide to work out the shame by smash­ing some rocks be­fore go­ing to bed at 4pm be­cause I got tired quickly.

If I ac­tu­ally owned a farm, this is what my day would be. Wan­der­ing aim­lessly around shops, sham­ing my­self in front of some­one I’ve just met, then only man­ag­ing two hours of phys­i­cal labour be­fore need­ing 12 hours of sleep to re­cover.

I look for­ward to wak­ing and find­ing more ways to em­bar­rass my­self.

Cheer up, Lewis, at least we’re all on the prop­erty lad­der.

I bet he does.

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