To me, one of the most important things in life is finding a happy place. Something you can always turn to when the crazy, chaotic world outside starts to wear you down and make you feel unhappy. I've had many happy places over the years, some actual location, and some found in video games. This year, I was able to add another happy place to the list, Stardew Valley.
It's no secret that 2016 has been an... interesting year. For months, we mourned the death of a gorilla turned meme, witnessed the train wreck that was the presidential election, and, for a time, had to worry about roaming killer clowns. In a much more personal scope, though, it's been a year of highs and lows for me. Forgetting about the stress I had from the stupidity of 2016, I was given a better, and much harder, position at work, moved to a new area, and tried my best to parent a 4 year old. Being stressed out is basically a part of my life at this point.
That's what makes Stardew Valley so special though. Beyond it being one of the most relaxing games I've ever played, I have complete control over what I do. I wake up and have a plethora of options on how to spend my day, and what I end up doing is completely my choice. It gives me a sense of control and structure that I will probably never experience in my actual life, and it's such a welcome stress reliever. Sure, the moment I turn the game off my problems come flooding back ( Note: I complain, but my life could be a lot rougher so I'm thankful for what I have and where I'm at in life), but when I'm in that beautiful valley I feel at peace.
This wouldn't mean much if the game itself wasn't too great, but I'm pleased to say Stardew Valley is one of the best games I've played... well ever. It takes everything fantastic from the Harvest Moon series ( a series very near and dear to my heart) and turns the dial up to 11. Farming, raising livestock, mining, fishing, everything that I love from that series is present and it's amazing.
In the end, when I think of a video game I'm thankful for this year, it always comes back to Stardew Valley. Beyond being a game I would call perfect for me, it helped me survive this year, through all the shit it would throw at me. I could always come home, toss open my laptop and escape into a world that wasn't so full of anger and hatred. Sure, it's just a game, but anything that helps me feel at peace is something I appreciate. And I appreciate the hell out of Stardew Valley.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.