We’re living in the new golden age of gaming with a gluttony of options and nowhere near enough time to play everything great. Some games click with the zeitgeist and it feels like everyone is playing them, but Stardew Valley fell somewhere beneath that.
Sure it was an incredible indie smash hit and most gamers are familiar with it, but the few million sold only reflects a very small percentage of the playing population. Now that it’s been released on consoles and gamers are playing catchup with their backlogs, it’s Stardew Valley’s time to shine.
I’ve already seen a few of my favorite journalists admitting to their full-on farming addiction gained over the holidays. Once they’ve finished scrambling to cover everything relevant for GOTY discussions, they can take a short holiday break and play a game simply for the fun of it, and that’s exactly where Stardew excels. Meditating over crops, caves, and relationships is a wonderful way to unwind and I predict it could reach a bigger audience looking back to see what they missed.
That’s wishful thinking of course, as most games sell the majority of their units within the first month of release. Indie titles can have a different trajectory if they eventually catch fire through word of mouth, but Stardew started very strong.
2017 is also front loaded with some huge releases that could easily swallow up any spare attention. Resident Evil 7 is January’s hot topic; a return to form after several mediocre entries in the franchise. February is loaded like we haven’t seen in years.
Horizon: Zero Dawn (Feb 28th) is a behemoth action RPG you’d usually see in the fall. A potential fatigue of endless sequels and reboots could work in its favor. I’m incredibly curious to see what Guerilla Games can do once free from a lifetime of Killzone.
Stardew Valley has plenty of competition but its slow-burn style could creep up on another large group of gamers in between the biggies, especially with a controller and a couch.
Have you played it yet?