Stardew Valley gained a cult following and commercial success by providing players with a relaxing, structured, zen-like experience: making it as a farmer in a small village. In a world dominated by high-octane, action-packed games, Stardew Valley’s chores and routines are calming, entrancing, and enjoyable for many players. And among those players who love the game is an actual farmer.
That’s right, Tim from northern California is a farmer, and he uses a game about farming to relax and distract himself while farming. He posted a picture recently on the Stardew Valley subreddit showing him planting a field in the game while driving a tractor that’s planting a field in real life. It’s all very meta. Don’t worry about him being distracted driving while playing games–the tractors are GPS-guided and only have to drive in long, straight lines.
Tim isn’t a necessarily fan of farming games in general; rather, Stardew Valley provides a particular sort of relaxation for him. “Stardew Valley is more like relaxing and tinkering in my backyard garden than actual work, so it still has that escapism factor to me that something like Farming Simulator doesn’t have,” he told Kotaku. He previously played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but more-or-less endless games like Stardew Valley and Minecraft have lately occupied most of his time.
Stardew Valley may not fully capture the difficulties or nuances of farming, but Tim did say that it conveys the feeling of rural life pretty well. “My town has a lot of crumbling buildings like the community center,” he said, “and unfortunately we don’t have any junimos [forest spirits] capable of magically making everyone happier and fixing everything.”
Be sure to check out Kotaku’s story for more about Tim’s life. In other news, Nintendo recently revealed that Stardew Valley is among the top ten best-selling indie games on Switch. In addition, there’s still a multiplayer mode for the game in the works–and a beta should be coming soon to PC.