Here we are, then – character creation. Here’s Default Johnson. If you can’t be bothered making a character, well, then Default Johnson is here for you. I won’t be going with Default Johnson, though. I have ten minutes to kill, so I might as well put a bit of effort into it.
Meet Atomic Jane, farmer to be. Packing blue anime hair and some kind of black, gilded coat, she’s sure to be good at farming. Not because of any natural talent – she’s just a collection of pixels, stupid – but because I’ll be controlling her.
There are five farms that you can choose from – standard, riverland, forest, hilltop, and wilderness. They all come with their various advantages and disadvantages, but you can honestly pick any of them and be just fine. It’s small things. For example, on the riverland farm, fish are more abundant.
I went for the forest farm, though. The only reason I pumped for this one is because I’ve never played on this map before, so it’ll be a new experience for me. Well, newish. I can’t imagine it’s massively different from the other ones, it’ll just give me a specific advantage when it comes to wood. (ha)
The game opens grimly, with your Grandpa muttering his last words to you as he lies on his deathbed. His last gift to you is apparently this envelope, the contents of which are a complete mystery. Well, let’s open her up and take a look-
Oh, Grandpa. You are a tease.
But I already feel crushed by the burden of modern life, Grandpa. Seriously, I am well and truly sick of it. I know that Atomic Jane is a blank slate, and I can’t really draw any comparison from her to my own miserable life, but …
Oh. Atomic Jane works where I work, pretty much. Forget about what I just said about not being able to draw a comparison, then. The only difference is that Jane has a cubicle. I don’t even have that. I’m lucky if I get to work on the same computer every day, honestly. I wish I did have a cubicle, because then it’d at least afford me a bit of privacy. I could scratch my ass or pick my nose without the whole floor looking over at me.
And I could fall asleep at my desk, too. Or probably get away with a ten minute nap, like Atomic Jane is doing here.
This might be off topic, but I really think that minimum wage office workers should have an allocated nap time. Twenty minutes in the middle of the day. Grab a pillow and have a sleep at your desk. It’d do wonders for productivity, I’m telling you.
As for you, Jane, I think it’s time to get that letter out.
It’s my own farm! In Stardew Valley! Because of course it is. What else would it be?
Imagine holding onto this letter for ‘XX’ years. Not only holding onto it – but going so far as to take it to work with you. I’d open it as soon as good ol’ Grandpa croaked. I wouldn’t be able to handle the suspense.
After what could be a short bus ride or a long one, we arrive at the valley of star dew, or, as the locals like to call it, Stardew Valley. We’re greeted off the bus immediately by Robin, who’s the town’s carpenter. She gives us a cheery little welcome, and then leads us over to our farm.
Atomic Jane doesn’t look particularly happy to see it, though.
That’s right, Atomic Jane. Keep your tits on, it’s fine. I’ve got the steering wheel here anyway, and I know exactly what I’m doing, good soil or no good soil.
Ol’ Mayor Lewis is chilling out in my house, and busts out for a surprise hello with his big old head. Well, not exactly a surprise. He was tidying up in there, and he’d probably just finished.
Robin and Lewis banter for a bit about my house being a piece of shit. Atomic Jane lets it go over her head. She’s still shocked from seeing all of those weeds. At this point, she just wants to go to bed. Mayor Lewis must be able to tell that she’s feeling a bit awkward, because he gets himself out of there pretty quickly.
I’ll probably introduce myself to a few of them, Lewis, but I don’t think I’ll have time to say hello to everyone.
Back off, Lewis. I said I probably would.
Anyway. After some sleep, it’s time for the first day to start proper. Like most days in Stardew Valley, you wake up in your house bright and early at 6AM, ready to start a new day.
A humble home, but a pleasant one. I like the topiary and the leaf wallpaper, and the little bonsai on the table. I’m feeling the forest before I even step outside, honestly.
On my person, I have my essential tools. An axe, for cutting wood. A hoe, for tilling the ground. A watering can for, well, watering. A pick for mining, and a scythe for scything. What else could a junior farmer possibly need?
Oh, right. Seeds, of course. It’s a good job that Mayor Lewis is here to cover us from this little blunder that we made. Anyway, no more tarrying in here. It’s time to get outside and do some work.
The first thing I do is to cut down a couple of nearby trees. Why? Wood. We need to collect fifty wood today so that we can make a chest, because our inventory space right now is pathetic. We only have twelve slots, and half of them are full already.
After cutting down two trees, I don’t have quite enough wood, but I figure that clearing out all this crap right in front of my house should bring me up to fifty wood. I take care of all the rocks and branches to begin with, dispatching them with hammer and axe.
I also cut this section of grass right here, as well as the smaller one on the left. You don’t want to cut too much of this down if you can help it – later on, you can build a building called a silo. No, not the kind that they fire missiles out of – one of those big towers that you seen on farms. Providing that you have a silo, cutting down this grass will give you valuable wheat, which you can use to feed your livestock.
Since this little bit of tall grass is right on my front porch, though, I just decided to have done with it. There’ll be plenty more on the rest of the farm, and right now, I need the space.
And here is the space. It’s not much, and we’re not going to focus on making it pretty right now. All we want is a simple area to plop down a basic plot into. Since we have that simple area now, we’re gonna get our hoe out and start smashing.
Here’s our simple little 5×3 plot. Atomic Jane is watering our freshly planted parsnip seeds. I think she enjoyed this part, though that might’ve just been me projecting myself onto her.
And, voila. Chest goes down here. The layout of the farm is going to change as the seasons go on, but I like to put chests down in a place where they’ll live permanently, because breaking them makes all the contents spill out onto the floor, so you have to arse around picking up all your loose items. Next to the shipping bin is a good shout.
After this, we don’t really have any of the usual activities to engage in. Normally, we’d either go fishing or mining, but we haven’t unlocked either of these activities yet. So, we’ll do what everyone should do on their first day – take a trip to the village, say hello to a few people, and gather some crap to sell to Pierre for some more seeds. Pierre being our resident shopkeeper. Don’t worry, we’ll meet him soon. Before then, though, we’re going to head to the forest area near the village to, as I said, gather.
On the way there, we bump into a few people. The first is Sam, one of the bachelors in the village. If we chose to, we could pursue a relationship with him and ultimately marry him. I don’t think we will, though. Sam is a nice enough guy, but he looks a little too much like Zell from Final Fantasy 8 for my taste.
Then, we meet Leah. Like Sam, she’s potentially partner material. Can’t rule her out or rule her in right now, though. Let’s see how things develop. At least she seems nice enough, and is a touch more welcoming than Sam.
One person who was less than cordial was Haley, though. She seemed nice enough at first, even if she was a little disinterested in me.
Then, she gives us the double slam down, knocking Atomic Jane’s fancy coat and her face down into the ground. What a lovely welcome. Thanks, Haley!
Haley is a candidate for marriage, too. But let’s pretend that she isn’t.
While I’m scurrying around the lake down here looking for dandelions and horseradish and whatnot, I bump into Jas, one of the forever children of the village. You can be friends with her, but you can’t marry her. For obvious reasons, really.
We spot Haley taking some pictures by the river. I ignore her. I only took a screenshot here so you could see everything that I’d found – which wasn’t much. You can do a lot better than this, honestly. If I were to do a retake, I’d do all of the planting and chest making last, so that I could find every herb in every corner of the village to sell to Pierre. I only really got to look around the forest area for goodies, when we could’ve gone to the mountain and the beach, too, had I managed my time a little better.
We meet Jodi, who almost says something similar to Haley. Fortunately, Jodi is an adult, so she has something called a filter. Unfortunately, though, she’s not available for marriage – she’s already married to someone else, someone who we won’t meet for a while yet.
We also bump into Caroline, who is again, married. This time to a character we’re about to meet – good ol’ Pierre, the shopkeep. Also, she manages to not insult us, which is a plus.
And here’s the general store, named as such because it sells general objects, many of which are essential to us making a profit on the farm. For example, this is where you’ll buy your seeds the majority of the time, as well as other goodies, like fertiliser, and backpack upgrades.
I forgot to actually talk to Pierre, but that didn’t matter. We sold all of the junk that we’d collected, which gave us another 260g, on top of the 500 that we already had. With this, I bought 15 potato seeds. For my money, potatoes are the best crop that you can grow during the first Spring. There’s another crop that’s better, but we don’t have access to it yet. So, potatoes it is. We will be growing a few other bits here and there this season for reasons that I won’t explain just yet.
I didn’t sell the spring onion that I’d picked up, though. They’re good for restoring stamina. As a matter of fact, I bet we’ll need to eat it this evening so that we can hoe and water the ground that we’ll need for these potatoes.
After grabbing my seeds, I headed up to the mountains to go and see what else I could find. I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t find much. Did say hello to a couple more people, though, and took in an interesting sight.
First of all, we bumped into Robin again, the sassy carpenter from yesterday. She was just milling around inside of her house, lamenting how hard it is to make individual introductions to about twenty people.
Then, we bumped into her husband, Demetrius. Demetrius is a pretty swell guy. He’s your resident scientist and father, as he so helpfully points out. Father of who, exactly? You’ll find out later.
This is where the entrance of the mine is. Unfortunately, it’s being blocked by a huge rock. This’ll be taken care of shortly, thanks to the bloke diligently whacking away at it. Which is good, because we really need to get in that mine and get some progress in it.
We headed down to the beach, but there wasn’t much action down there. Atomic Jane found a clam and a mussel. And that was it, really. Better than a kick in the teeth, I suppose.
I took the long route back to the farm, cutting through the forest again to try and find any goodies I missed. I did manage to find a stray horseradish, so there’s that, I suppose. With very little energy, I ate my spring onion, sold the crap that was cluttering up my pockets, and set to work on making myself another 15×3 grid, hoping that I had enough stamina to make it to the end.
The screenshot might be dark, but if you squint, you can see that we accomplished it! With only a sliver of energy left, too. Nice. We had just enough to take us over – if I’d have had to water another tile or two, I’d have definitely gone overencumbered and been on half stamina tomorrow.
Unsurprisingly, our gathering gains a level, giving us access to useless wild seeds, and to the mostly useless field snack. Ah, well. It is only level one, after all.
We rake in a rather pitiful profit of 300g, which we’ll use to buy more potato seeds with tomorrow. Oh, and speaking of tomorrow – we’ll unlock fishing, too, so there’ll be plenty to get our teeth stuck into.
Until then, I’ll see you next time.
The Stardew Valley Diary is a work in progress. I’ll be updating it at least three times a week – for now – and I’m planning to do it every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – so if you enjoyed this, please check back on those days. If you’re a social media person, you can follow me on Twitter, where I only really post updates to the website. Promise I won’t spam your feed with political nonsense or anything. Just warm, fresh, gaming goodness.