IRL Update #3

I apologize for the lack of posts this week. I was on vacation for a few days in the mountains,

IMG_20160627_155547112_HDR.jpg

and then I came back to a very hectic week and ended up missing Thursday too. I try to keep one or two completed posts ahead for times like this but that’s been getting tougher lately. You may see some shorter posts this summer as I try to fit virtual farming in with my real-life responsibilities.

The very busy last couple of weeks have paid off though: the older of my two children is now potty-trained! Before her second birthday, too – I’m so proud, and it is SO nice to be back to only having one kid in diapers. Sorry if that’s TMI for you non-parents out there!

Let’s change the subject to something slightly more farming-related: I now have more tomatoes than I know what to do with! Here’s a photo from a week or two ago:

IMG_20160615_174913301_HDR.jpg

Since then almost every one of those has ripened to a nice juicy red. They’re pretty tasty!

The current plan is to slice them up for burgers on the 4th of July (we have lots of people coming over). If there’s still a ton left after that, I’d love to make them into gazpacho!

IRL Update #1

Planted a couple tomato plants today. These aren’t available in my game yet (maybe a summer crop?), but they were on sale for 99 cents and the garden bed was empty so why not?


Occasionally I will post short updates in this category about things I do In Real Life that might be indirectly related to Stardew Valley. If you want to see only the in-game day-by-day posts, you can bookmark that category using this link.

Reason Four: The Theme of Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is about getting away from the hustle & bustle of modern living to settle down to a quiet life in the country.

It’s about figuring out what’s really important and pursuing it, looking at each day as the start of a new adventure.

It’s about getting back to nature and forming real connections with people (ironic since it’s a game you play by yourself? Well, multiplayer is coming!). That’s why I’m doing a “blind run”, not looking anything up. The sense of discovery, learning about a new place and new people over time, is a huge draw of the game.

I don’t want to go through the whole game over the course of a few weeks. I think that playing at such a slow pace, taking one day at a time and writing about it, fits into the themes of the game perfectly.

Oh, that reminds me, if you’d like to check out an excellent Let’s Play style blog on another game, you should read Living in Oblivion by Christopher Livingston, in which he chronicles the life of an NPC in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I’m aiming for a similar sort of feel with this blog.

Next post will be Day Zero of the playthrough! I’ll show character creation and the prologue of Stardew Valley.

Reason Three: Seasons in Sync

Lots of games that have seasons run into this problem where it could be 100 degrees outside in July but it’s a cold bleak winter in the game world.

Not that this is a big issue or anything – games are all about imagination and suspending disbelief to visit strange or impossible places.

That being said, this slow playthrough I’m planning affords the unique opportunity to have the game world reflect the real world.

My character will wake up on the first day of Summer just like I do on June 20th.

I don’t know what fictional holidays exist in the game, but let’s say it has its version of Easter or Halloween or Christmas – those will all take place around the same time as their counterparts.

I might plant some vegetables in my own backyard while Karl (oh by the way, my character’s name will be Karl) plants the same ones on the farm.

And because I won’t know what happens next (in the game or in real life), I’ll be able to see both my year and Karl’s year unfold concurrently, with whatever parallels may or may not come out of that.

Reason Two: Lack of Similar Content

If you’re familiar with the Let’s Play format, you know that these days they primarily exist on YouTube as videos with voice commentary.

Before YouTube was big and desktop recording software was easy to obtain & use, most LPs were written, with a series of screenshots accompanying the text. These were mostly posted on various gaming forums (for example at Something Awful).

Both of these formats have their pros & cons. An FPS or action game is probably better suited to video, while something like a turn-based strategy game or an RPG with grinding or farming elements (heh) is great for screenshots because you can pick out the important stuff without it getting too repetitive.

Another reason people may look for screenshot LPs is because reading an article is more accessible than watching a video. A written post can condense a long gameplay session down to a three-minute read. Videos have a set length (many are longer than your average break at work) and usually require sound. Some people have YouTube blocked at work; others are on mobile and don’t have the bandwidth or want to use the data.

I enjoy reading & watching LPs of games I’m playing, so shortly after Stardew Valley came out I started searching for some good ones. If you google it, you’ll notice that all of the top results are videos. I was surprised that a game that seems particularly suited to text/screenshot LPs didn’t have any.

Later, by refining the search a bit, at the time of this writing it appeared that one person was doing one (at the aforementioned Something Awful forum), but their stated goals were pretty different from what I was looking for.

So, I decided to make one. I liked the idea of a one-day-per-day playthrough, but then I realized the first day of Spring was only a week and a half away, so why not a “real-time seasons” playthrough? The timing seemed perfect, and I hadn’t seen it mentioned elsewhere, and so I came over to WordPress and this blog was born.