When it comes to simulation games, how far do you get in the game before inevitably starting over?
Business simulators tend to have some sort of goal or endpoint, even if the game is able to be played past that endpoint. Game Dev Tycoon, for example, tallies your score traditionally at the end of 35 game years. However, most of the simulations we enjoy playing can go on for as many in-game years as you’d like.
Take Stardew Valley. While the game has the spirit of the player’s grandfather return to “evaluate” your farm at the end of the second year, it doesn’t have any consequence on how you play the game. Sprucing up your farm can take about a good year, depending on how your goals. There’s your farm layout, relationship goals, the mining, raising animals, maxing out your house upgrades, etc. There’s tons of content in Stardew Valley, but even a game as big and popular as it needs an update once in a while.
ConcernedApe, the developer of the game, released the latest update with even more content within the past couple of months. New quests for the villagers, a couple of more relationship events for your house-spouse, and new areas to explore are included.
When it comes to games, I love exploration. When it was revealed that there was a new area included with the latest Stardew Valley update, I booted up one of my longest files to see what needed to be done in order to reach Ginger Island.
Despite the update having been released for the Nintendo Switch back in early February, I have yet to reach Ginger Island.
To reach Ginger Island, one of the materials needed is battery packs. Battery packs, if not occasionally gifted by a couple of villagers, are obtained after a thunderstorm if one of your lightning rods is struck.
My file was in the middle of Winter. Thunderstorms don’t trigger in Winter.
I figured it wasn’t too big of a deal and used the rest of the Winter season to get reacclimated with my farm and figure out the other aspects of the update. Plenty of new aspects about Pelican Town were added for me to explore. I used this time to figure out the Easter eggs, play some local co-op with Rachel, partake in the newer quests for machines, and be delighted with the cosmetic updates, among everything else.
At this time, I’m back in the Spring and realized that I’m in Year 4. This is probably the longest I’ve played the same file for any farming or life simulation game. Generally, I pause around Year 3, having discovered the majority of what the games have to offer, minus the marriage options as those tend to be my least favorite aspects of these games.
This time around, I’m content to keep going.
My farm is fairly self-sufficient, I actually don’t mind being married in Stardew Valley and even finally agreed to have a kid, and I’m still busy enough with quests to keep me entertained while I wait for that one last battery pack.
Granted, there are still a few things I would like to see for future Stardew Valley updates. Dialogue changes for your spouse’s family after your marriage would be great. My farmer’s husband is Sebastian, making Robin my mother-in-law. She still talks to me as if I’m just a friend from town, reminding me of that during the Feast of the Winter Star — she invited me to sit at her family table if I didn’t have any other place to sit.
…Aren’t we family, Robin? I literally just gave you a grandson the previous night (we will not speak of the fact that said grandson has been left alone in his crib at home, swaddled like a green bean, while we are enjoying the festival).
Updates for Stardew Valley are fantastic in allowing the farmer to continue to grow, but I would also love to see the valley around us grow as well. Give us more dialogue with the villagers that reference the passage of time. Let me play matchmaker with the other bachelors and bachelorettes. Vincent and Jas should grow a little, giving us some teenage drama in Pelican Town.
Of course, the updates for Stardew Valley are amazing and I can’t begin to imagine all of the hard work ConcernedApe puts into his game. Freshening the game up so players and fans alike are still delighted with the game after all these years is no small feat!
Are you enjoying Stardew Valley’s update? How long do you typically play a simulation game? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!