“Dumping huge quantities of homemade starfruit wine on the market”

Watching cheaters prosper in STARDEW VALLEY



The funny thing about my job is that I spend as much time watching other people play games as I do actually playing them myself. This is true at home as well, and I’ve written before about watching my family play Stardew Valley while I am forced to look things up in the game’s wiki, doling out advice about how much wood it takes to upgrade your farmhouse and which ax you need to clear big logs like some sort of small-town Socrates.

Pelican Town and its inhabitant­s have become popular again after a fallow period, but this time it’s different.

The reason: cheats and mods.

Stardew Valley is an extremely pliable game, and the modding engine SMAPI is easy to install. From there, it’s just a case of firing up the Vortex Mod Manager from Nexus Mods and installing what takes your fancy, such as the CJB Cheats Menu mod from CJBok and Pathoschil­d.

As a result, I’ve watched Stardew Valley become an obsession again. I’ve seen farmers acquire millions in gold in the spring of the first year, get married to people they just met, complete the community center before lunch, stop time, warp around the map and obtain a statue that spits out iridium bars. There have been long discussion­s about who’s best to marry, which are the most lucrative fish to put in ponds and whether you have to wait for a quest to drop before you can retrieve Mayor Lewis’ underpants from Marnie’s bedroom, and why they might be there.


But the thing about cheats is they ruin games. They strip them of their challenge, and even if you think a game is too hard before you start cheating, you’ll come out the other side thinking it’s too easy, that you’ve seen all it has to offer, and looking for something new. Games reveal their secrets at a measured pace, building on that first harvest of parsnips in the spring until eventually you’re dumping huge quantities of homemade star fruit wine on the market three years later.

It reminds me of the time I breezed through Wing Commander by typing WC Origin -k at the DOS prompt for invincibil­ity and the ability to destroy any ship with a keypress. It was the only way I was going to see the end of the game, as I was trying to play a space shooter with a mouse and keyboard rather than the joystick it wanted, but if I’d ever managed to take down the Kilrathi myself I’d have had a feeling of accomplish­ment that I lost through cheating. And it’s a bitterswee­t feeling to see the same thing happening all over again.

 ?? ?? TOP: It’s a beautiful day in the village, and you are a horrible goat
TOP: It’s a beautiful day in the village, and you are a horrible goat
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