Steam’s latest wild, unstoppable hit is undeniably Stardew Valley, an indie creation with obvious inspiration taken from the Harvest Moon series. You know the drill by now: inherit a farm, tend to it daily, get to know the other villagers and attempt to coerce one of them into marriage. It’s been a while, however, since Natsume has released a proper Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley was only too happy to take the fanbase’s money.
Stardew Valley was created by one man, Eric Barone, over the course of four years. It was released just two weeks ago and has already sold nearly half a million copies. Judging by the sales patterms of past Steam hits, the game is destined for the top of the charts in 2016. Stardew Valley’s community of fans is something to behold — the new subreddit boasts 23,000 subscribers, and if anyone admits they couldn’t afford the game (which is $14.99) and pirated it instead, another fan will often offer to buy a copy for them. “I’m super happy about it,” says Barone, “and I’m blown away by the reaction, but I’m surprised too.”
Given the sheer number of games that are published on Steam every day and become lost in the crowd, it’s encouraging to hear life was a meritocracy for at least one of us. Eric Barone’s Stardew Valley is now the gaming community’s latest cult sensation. Maybe this distraction will finally make people shut up about Undertale, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.