You may have looked at this title and immediately thought of some free app that you download on your phone where you wait a certain amount of time for your crops to grow. But no, I am talking about something far better. Sure, the kind that I am thinking of require money, but it is definitely worth the $15-$20 that they usually cost.
You may be wondering about what kind of farming games I mean, so I created a short list of them.
- Stardew Valley
- Harvest Moon
- Story of Seasons (Same as Harvest Moon, but I won’t go into detail here)
It all started when I saw Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns at a GameStop when I was about 12 and decided to get it. I was instantly hooked. Not only did I get to build up my farm, but there was also a story. Not only was I building my dream farm, but I was also reuniting two towns in the process.
Something that also drew me in further was the people you interacted with in the game. As years progress your interactions with the people evolved into deeper relationships. There were also cuties to romance, but that is beside the point. Each person had their own backstory and unique personality, so you really felt immersed in the experience.
Now, this addiction led me to discover Stardew Valley, which is so far my all time favorite farm game to play. It has everything that I loved about the Harvest Moon games, but there was more to it that put it at the top of my list.
Not only is there the awesome ability to farm on every space of land, but there is also so much more to do than just farm. You could spend a day or two fishing if you wanted to (just make sure to water your crops so they continue to grow) and you would make a lot of money to use for your virtual farm. You could also forage, which can supply you with interesting items and get you some extra virtual cash.
Another amazing thing that I love about Stardew Valley is the ability to mine and upgrade your tools. With mining came monsters that inhabited the mines, which added combat to a seemingly peaceful farm game. It added more to do than just farm. I now have more to occupy myself with, which is a good and bad thing. Good because I don’t think I will ever be able to get bored of this game, but bad because now I am getting sucked deeper into the game.
I realize that I have already mentioned this specific aspect, but I would like to go into more detail about it. This aspect is relationships. It doesn’t apply to just the romantic ones, but also to the friendships that grow as you talk to the people for a longer period of time. The friendship doesn’t just happen immediately like it does in Sims and you can’t just spam the person with gifts until all of the hearts are filled up. You need to be patient and take time, which compels me to continue playing in order to unlock events and certain dialogue with each person. I believe that this enhances my experience in the game and is another reason why I love these types of games.
There is also something that makes them so much better than the free farm games you get on your phone. That something is the passage of time. On some free farm game, you would have to wait a number of real minutes or hours in order to harvest something or unlock a vital part of the game, but that isn’t the case in the ones I like to play. In Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, it is just a matter of what pace you play at.
But this is also something that can be perceived as bad; the passage of time. You can spend days on your little farm — even years — and not even realize that you just spent 12 hours in the real world. It’s like time doesn’t even exist when you start playing. That is until you hit pause and realize that you just wasted a lot of time that could have probably been used toward practical things.
The last thing I want to talk about is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I play Stardew Valley. After a year in the game passes, I see the progress that I have made: the saplings I planted that year prior are now grown into something amazing, and the money I invested into this virtual farm has now tripled. Even though none of this will ever have an impact on my real life, it still feels like I did something great. Sure, I am probably wasting my time playing these games, but that won’t stop me from spending an entire day on my Xbox.
Overall there is so much that I love about these kinds of games that I could probably write a book about it. Everything about it is wonderful and there is something so calming about listening to 8-bit game music while I plant fake seeds into the fake soil.
Feel free to comment on what you love about farm games, or if you have something to add. I would love to read them!
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