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“Man, Farming is Dangerous” – Sakurai’s Famitsu Column, Vol. 548

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Man, Farming is Dangerous Vol. 548

 

 

The 2017 download rankings on the Nintendo Switch, for Japan and abroad, were recently released.

 

Outside of Japan, games like Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe… did not take the number one spot. Minecraft… didn’t get it either. Somehow, it was Stardew Valley!! Minecraft, which was number one in Japan, came in at number two. What the heck is going on. I can’t believe it.

 

Stardew Valley is an indie game about farm life. By and large, it’s along the same lines as Story of Seasons (formerly Harvest Moon in the West). There have been quite a few stories about indie games selling well on Switch, even compared to their releases on PC, so for it to be number one it must be a huge hit.

 

Awhile back, I bought Stardew Valley on Steam before there was a Japanese translation, and to be honest, I stopped playing during the early stages. It felt like a game one could get hooked on, but the pace was slow, the stamina system keeps you from working as much as you want, and my efforts didn’t yield much reward. I was also busy during that time period, but I had a suspicion that I was misunderstanding how to play, so the game was put on hold.

 

However, when I bought the game on the Switch and gave it another try… My points of contention when playing the PC version were actually the system, not misunderstanding how to play. The inconveniences shifted and I was completely hooked. This game is so hard to stop playing! The Switch and the light gameplay go so well together and I’m itching to play it.

 

Like farming games on smart devices, the game is light and quick so the Switch is a great way to play it. Things like watering and fertilizing don’t require much work, and harvesting can be done with a flick.

 

The pace of Stardew Valley is definitely different than other modern games. You slowly water plants one plot at a time, your stamina gauge quickly depletes, and it takes 15 leisurely swings of an axe to chop down a tree.

 

Speaking of the pace though, there is a sense of liberation when you start to get powered up. You get a real sense of speed once you’re able to buy a stable and ride horses. You’ll also be watering plants with a sprinkler and crafting tools with enhanced capabilities. If the game started with these conveniences, then it would diminish that feeling which acquiring these capabilities provides.

 

This is a game about cultivating and gathering resources, combining them, and crafting things. There isn’t a manual so it has a pretty severe learning curve while fumbling around at the beginning, but if you can ride the wave you won’t be able to stop. Things you want to do start popping up one after another.

 

Farming games are really that interesting! But Monster Hunter: World is getting released next week (at the time of writing) so this is no time to get hooked! I think the first farming game I played was Daichikun Crisis, and since that time I’ve thought, “Man, farming is dangerous.” It takes some time for these types of games to get up and running, but when they do, they really take off… I think that is the core nature of farming and resource cultivating games.

 

If you sleep a day will pass. That is to say, If you water your farm and immediately go to sleep, time will pass and crops will grow but you won’t have to wait. Though, there are a lot of players that don’t play like that who try to cram as much stuff into a day as their stamina gauge will allow. It can be played at a relaxed pace or like a time attack mode. I think Stardew Valley balances that well. But with that being said, man, farming is dangerous.

one comment
  1. “Outside of Japan, games like Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe… did not take the number one spot. Minecraft… didn’t get it either. Somehow, it was Stardew Valley!! Minecraft, which was number one in Japan, came in at number two. What the heck is going on. I can’t believe it.”

    Oh look at that, more people downloaded a $20 game more than they downloaded a larger $60 game that you can also purchase in stores. Yeah, I’m not sure why that is either.