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Video Game. 2016. Eric Barone
A wish-fulfillment farm / life sim, in a contemporary JRPG world.
Stardew Valley, or at least a most of Stardew Valley, is the work of a single, uncompromising person pursuing an idiosyncratic vision. Eric Barone worked for four years as the only developer, artist, and writer. Stardew Valley’s aesthetic is contained and cosy, but the scope of the work is massive - not just the programming, but the many tiny surprises and interlocking vignettes, the mini-games and secrets and moments in the game.
The development of Stardew Valley is itself a fantasy - each day, over years, applying yourself to a work of self expression that in the end is embraced and beloved by a community. In practice, the gameplay in Stardew Valley is unrelated to actual farming. Just so, what Barone has done is a fluke; it is impossible.