This weekly is having a bit of a low-road/low-hanging fruit streak, but we could all use a break from just about everything right? Right. So, come on down to Jefferson's land of smooth sailing and conflict free delight. If it gets too vanilla, footnotes with drinking suggestions have been provided.
Let's talk about the somewhat surprising work-life lessons found encapsulated in this adorable video game your humble blogger is quite fond of. Stardew Valley is a game that I'm told is a 'spiritual successor' to the ever-popular Nintendo property Harvest Moon. It was made by solo developer Concernedape in what was presumably a mind-numbingly arduous process.
His hard work paid off* and we get to reap** the benefits of his endlessly entertaining game about owning your own farm in a magic valley.The game has a lot to share with its lucky players, but the focus here is the extremely valuable lessons the average participant can extract in regards to work ethic.***
Here are the 5 evergreen lessons on work ethic found in Stardew Valley.
1. Patience Pays
In Stardew, the great villain your sod-laden hero is struggling against is time. Everyday you must struggle to get as much as you can done in order to fulfill your own need for progress. However, the game also subtly trains in the power of patience.
Think the fish aren't biting fast enough? Don't worry they will and your own skill at catching them will grow too. Think those bouncing barrels bursting with jam and pickles take too long? They'll be done before you know it.
If you focus your attention where work and good can actually be done, instead of watching every second tick away in agony, you'll find the time flying by.
2. Chip Chip Away
Almost nothing the player does in Stardew is completed in a single sitting. Every crop, every craft, every trip to the mines is all part of some larger goal. The goals only get bigger the further down the rabbit hole one goes.
BUT, there is payoff and it can often mimic that satisfied feeling of success that one gets from real life goal completion. It trains the brain to think in the right work ethic pattern.
3. It Never Hurts to Save a Sample of Your Work
Stardew teaches the player, oftentimes the hard way on the first go, that later on they might need the things they could sell now. Do you want to sell all your pumpkins as soon as their ripe or do you need to put a few in a bin just in case there is a market shortage you can exploit down the road? In the real world, this translates to saving a collectable so it can accrue value, or just diversifying your efforts so all the eggs aren't in one basket.****
4. Friendship and Kindness pay in the Long Run
Oooooh, wrong gif.***** Let's try again:
Inappropriately tragic gifs aside, Stardew doesn't seek to crush your soul, but rather to encourage and reward friendly interaction with your community. All the people in the town of Stardew Valley have heart meters that the player can fill in order make them closer friends. As the meter fills, the recipient of your affection****** will send you gifts, and give you advice and cooking recipes.
This system ensures that you do not focus solely on enriching yourself, but also on making the world around you better.
5. Go to Bed
In Stardew, the name of the game is the energy you have and how you spend it. That meter runs out, and you will pay for it with exhaustion(slower playing speed.) Make a habit of going to bed past midnight? Less energy to get through the next day. Now, in any other age of humanity this would be the last lesson that needed reiteration. Here in the age of digital distraction*******, encouraging and training in a system that triggers the "Gee I should go to bed" instinct deserves praise.
It is not a soporific game to be sure, but it a least plants the seed of good habits in one's well tilled brain.
*There's a theme here, take a drink.
** For farm puns, take two drinks.
***For stuffed theses, take 3 drinks but don't swallow until the third is in your mouth.
**** Farm based idioms mean start the game from the top of the article again.
*****If you get these gifs I don't have to tell you to drink; you already do.
****** Not the sheep! Take a drink and be ashamed of yourself.
******* Doesn't Stardew count as one of those distractions.....? TAKE A DRINK