An Interesting Take On Stardew Valley’s Philosophy

An Interesting Take On Stardew Valley’s Philosophy
Image: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a massive phenomenon that still encapsulates some people’s lives. And for everyone who’s enjoyed or played a little bit of Stardew Valley, here’s a short video into the game’s structure and its insight on real life that’s well worth watching.

Philosophy of Stardew Valley is an interesting video that’s been out for a while, but nobody really seems to have discovered it yet. It seems like it was made by someone who wanted to do more essay-ish content on YouTube, but their initial efforts never had much success, so they abandoned the project. Which is a shame, really, because their view on Stardew Valley‘s philosophy and the social makeup of the game’s environment are a fun watch.

If you’ve played Stardew Valley, you’ll know the slice-of-life simulator begins with you abandoning your corporate monotony to escape to the farm. But as Historiosophy points out, this hits on a deeper point that really hits home as to probably why so many people enjoy Stardew Valley so much. Corporate structures alienate people from themselves, because their roles become repetitive functions that don’t involve or require any identity whatsoever. You’re replaceable, and your innate qualities make no difference to the role you do, and what you do makes no difference to the joint survival of the group (or corporation) as a whole.

Which, fundamentally, goes against why humans combined together to form groups and societies in the first place. Stardew Valley mimics that in a way, creating a society where every individual is needed to help the entire town thrive. You’re a character that’s no longer alienated: you have an identity, a purpose, the source of sustenance for a social group that keeps them alive.

But that also has a fascinating impact by proxy — because as you build those connections, you’re also alienating yourself from your own life via the time spent in-game.

It’s a really gentle, softly spoken video, that’s neither preachy or patronising. It’s a real shame that the creator of this channel never made any videos after Stardew Valley. Still, it’s a great, relatively short way of looking at the impact of Stardew Valley and a different way of looking at the impact games (or art, or games as art) have on our lives. As they note, the power of video games is also an inherent contradiction that amplifies the medium’s message.

I wonder what the creator thinks about Stardew Valley now, what they think about Animal Crossing‘s society and its complex interactions. And I wonder if they still play games today.

Comments

  • I don’t think it actually is doing much alienation of my IRL connections. I’ve discussed the game plenty with family, friends, even kids as we navigate the Wikis and discuss approaches to the game and the game itself (and what it’s based on in real life). I’ve used it and similar games to teach young kids the benefits and joys of reading etc, and largely have never had any issues in that regard.

    I strongly suspect that social isolation occurs because some people can’t share their interests with the people around them and have meaningful conversations about their interests without being demeaning. Then, when they get ignored, they learn to stop sharing their hobbies with others and maybe that’s something that needs to be addressed by society beyond games when it comes to socialisation.

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