Last week I signed off asking you to leave me with some of your favorite comfort reads; this week, I’d like to switch tracks a little and talk about my favorite day-wasting comfort game: Stardew Valley. Although, is a day really wasted if you had fun, and accomplished exactly what you intended to accomplish: spending dawn to way-past-dusk living out your fantasy of an idyllic, friendly, rural community and a quiet, cozy farm?
Stardew Valley was developed by one man, Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone, over the course of four years and was released in 2016 with help from the publisher Chucklefish. You can design and grow your own plot of land, get to know the townsfolk, and participate in the local celebrations. It’s a pretty well-known game by now, so I’m not going to describe it to death, but I do want to use it as an example of a comfort game.
There’s a certain amount of stigma against spending too much time on games, particularly as an adult. While other forms of comfort entertainment, such as reading, are considered acceptable, games are often spoken of as frivolous or as time-wasters, even among those who enjoy them.
Stardew Valley is something I’ve been playing on and off for years now, and it’s always the game that I return to when I’m not sure what to play next or when I need a do-nothing day. I have spent entire days off (give or take a little laundry) playing this game, and intentionally so. It’s alright to carve that time out of your day or that day out of your week to have fun and de-stress in the way that works best for you. At the end of a long week in a world that’s constantly falling off the rails, Stardew Valley’s music, its art style, and its characters are all comfortable and familiar to me, and ultimately that’s what a comfort game should be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be soft and peaceful, but it’s something that gives you a sense of ease, of coming home, something that you can get lost in for a day. Time spent on fun is not time wasted.
So what are your comfort games? What games keep you coming back? Let me know in the comments below!