Thanks to our video games editor and fellow senior contributor Renee Lopez, I have become fully obsessed with life in Stardew Valley. This farming simulator has eaten up more hours in my life over the last few weeks than I would rather like to admit. When life is a bit stressful, or I am just looking for a comfy cozy game, I boot it up and allow the beautiful colors and music to drift me away. But it wasn’t as relaxing in the very beginning. This simple farming simulator has so much to offer and in the beginning, I felt lost in how to progress through the game. So I started a checklist of sorts to help guide me through the first few hours. I decided to share the list for those looking for a bit of guidance in this beautiful world.

If you haven’t experienced the gem that is Stardew Valley, it is available on PC through Steam, PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch.

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Tending to Crops

Stardew Valley is a farming simulator where the player leaves their stressful job in the city to take over their grandpa’s farm. So it seems pretty self-explanatory that you will be able to farm within the game. But in reality, you don’t even have to farm that in order to have fun in the game or be successful. I, however, absolutely love this task. I wake up every morning and head out to tend to my crops. It is one task that I complete every day in-game. It is so satisfying when you finally can pick your crops and make some money off of them.


I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of fishing in Stardew Valley when I first started. It took me quite a bit of time to really master adjusting the green bar so the fish didn’t get away. But once I did, my whole game changed. Not only was this another way I could make money in-game to fund my farming adventures, but I was also able to make a ton of the dishes I had been putting off. I actually started enjoying fishing so much, and I found myself opening the game just to tend my crops and spend the rest of my day fishing for multiple in-game days in a row.

Romance Your Friends

I knew before I started my playthrough that I could romance the townsfolk around me. What I didn’t expect was to experience such compelling story arcs that would, at times, have me crying, laughing, or even just so awestruck that I needed a moment to breakdown what just happened. The level of character story found within Stardew Valley rivals some of my favorite AAA games. And gaining friendship and ultimately romance with everyone isn’t an easy task either. I make it a point to try and visit and talk with everyone at least every day or every other day and provide gifts when I have them. Unlocking everyone’s storylines is so satisfying and worth the hard work.

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Stardew Valley: Shane and Charlie

Shane is a softy at heart, and he loves his Charlie. (ConcernedApe/Cucklefish)

Cave Diving

Early on in Stardew Valley, you get a quest to explore the mines to the north-east of Pelican Town. These mines seem to go down forever with rocks, gems and resources for the taking. That is if you get to protect yourself against the slimes, flying bugs and terrifying creatures that call this place home. This mine is so much fun to explore! I don’t even need most of the materials I pull out of there, it is just so much fun running around killing cave monsters. I wasn’t expecting to find this kind of action in a farming sim, but now that I know it is here, I can’t stop talking about it!

Foraging and Exploring

One of my favorite things to do in-game is to explore the Pelican Town and forage. Each season brings its own fun things to find within the world that can either be gifted, used in projects, or sold. When I’m not tending to my crops, exploring the cave, or fishing, I find myself walking around just looking for stuff to pick up. Some of these items can just be sold, but you find something really worth its weight in gold every once and a while. Also, don’t forget to shake those trashcans! What’s that phrase? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Fixing the Community Center

The thing that keeps me occupied the most in Stardew Valley is a mix of everything above. But really, all of those go to a greater goal – fixing up the community center. I spend most of my days gathering or crafting items to donate to the community center. Completing bundles unlocks rewards like seeds and special plants to use within different seasons. When you complete rooms, it unlocks new zones within Pelican Town to explore. Each new zone provides additional resources like rocks you can break or a secret forest with hardwood galore! The sooner you can get the community center up and running, the better!


This article was originally published on 3/2/21

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