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Tear Jerker / Stardew Valley

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  • The intro. Oh grandpa, don't leave me! But Grandpa is dying, and it's clear that he loves you with all his heart. The music is simple, but still very sweet.
  • The people living in Stardew Valley have their share of problems:
    • Penny struggles to take care of herself and her negligent, alcoholic mother.
    • Alex's mother is dead and his father was abusive.
    • George and Evelyn saw their daughter endure a horrible marriage and die young. They keep the last letter she wrote them in their bedroom.
    • George was paralyzed in a mining accident— he can't even play catch with his grandson due to being wheelchair-bound.
    • Sebastian has depression and social anxiety, and feels isolated in his own family.
    • Shane has been driven into hopelessness and cynicism by his job at JojaMart to the point of drinking himself senseless and pondering suicide.
    • Leah was a struggling artist whose partner pushed her to give up her dream.
    • Jas is an orphan, and her godfather Shane's self-destructive tendencies are pretty traumatic for her.
    • Jodi feels trapped in her role as housewife and Kent has PTSD from his experiences in the war.
    • Marnie would like to properly date Lewis, but he's nervous about losing his position as mayor, leaving her lonely and depressed.
    • Linus has isolated himself from the other citizens and is extremely defensive against you when he isn't begging you to not destroy his tent. The event where he goes through the other's garbage, only to be almost chased away cements how poorly he lives.
    • No amount of financial success is enough to make Pierre happy, and he questions his own character from time to time because of this. Whether or not him neglecting his family in the process affects this at all is never mentioned.
  • Leo's backstory. He was on a ship when a storm claimed the ship and his parents, while Leo is washed up on an island and raised by birds. To cope, he insists that it's All Just a Dream and he's always lived there.
  • Birdie, a woman living on Ginger Island, is a widow of a pirate who was shipwrecked. A quest involving her has her ask for a keepsake of her late husband. The Fetch Quest starts with a photograph that she found of a soldier, who turns out to be one of Kent's comrades whose life was lost in the war.

    Heart Events 
  • Alex confiding in Dusty:
    Alex: You might be the only one around here who understands me. No one else has seen the kind of stuff you and I have.
  • The following event if you continue pursuing your friendship with Alex leads you to the beach, where he's crying. You discover that he's holding on to a music box, which is the only thing he has left from his deceased mother. As he lets it play, you're treated to an ethereal image of his mother holding a baby Alex.
  • Shane hanging out on the dock near his aunt's house. Even more so since this is the first time he says anything to you that isn't "Why are you talking to me?"
    • The 1.1 update added additional events. He recovers, but talking a falling-down drunk Shane out of throwing himself off a cliff is pretty heart-wrenching.
    • If the player has direct or indirect experience with depression and/or alcoholism, Shane's entire storyline is... very real, and very personal. He lashes out, he pushes away friends and family who want to help him, he gives up on trying to improve his situation because it's hopeless anyway, and he just keeps digging himself deeper into booze, debt, and self-loathing.
  • One of the events added in 1.1 is a rather bleak scene which sees Marnie finding him passed out drunk in his room. She enlists your help in bringing him around, which involves dumping the contents of your watering can over his head (and provides a bit of light relief given his cartoonish reaction), but then the mood becomes serious again. Marnie gently prompts Shane to consider the future, asking what his overall plan which Shane replies that he hopes that he won't be around long enough to need a long-term plan. As if that weren't bad enough, he hasn't noticed that Jas has wandered into the room— you know, the little girl who lost her mother and father and now only has Shane and Marnie to count on? Whose guardian has just stated his intention to die and leave her behind again? She bursts into tears and flees, leaving a remorseful Shane to slump to his knees in despair as the player looks on, uncomfortable at being caught in the situation. What's worse is the implication that this is a relatively regular thing that happens, as Marnie doesn't seem even shocked or scared at Shane's condition... Just let that sink in.
  • With 1.1, Emily also became romanceable. Y'know, that same girl that Clint has been pining for? Getting Emily to 8 hearts will have Clint walk in on her making advances on you (or at least that's how he reads it), and being understandably dejected. Ouch.
    • Imagine how he feels about this if you also befriended him beforehand, and even helped him ask her out to a carnival!
    • Conversely, if you see this event before befriending Clint, you'll be locked out of the heart event where you help him ask her out. Apparently, even if you go no further with Emily, Clint has given up on her.
  • Out of all the Ten Heart events, where your Romantic Interest confesses to you how strongly they feel, Penny's is the only one you can royally mess up.
  • Sebastian is very quietly depressed and anxious around people, except for two friends, and he usually hangs out in a grand total of TWO places (besides the lake and railroad right next to his house). Once you start getting him out of his shell and up to a certain amount of hearts, he mentions that he normally feels anxious around people, but not around you. If you decide to get married to him, he THEN mentions that he felt like he never belonged in his own home.
  • Abigail's 14-heart event is a little melancholy. She saves you from a monster that ambushes you on the path just north of the farm, but feels guilty about having to take a life to save that of her spouse. Abigail convinces you to at least give it a proper burial, and a small monument to the slain monster appears on the north road. Examining it produces a message that might just leave you feeling a little guilty for all the monsters YOU'VE slain playing the game.
    Abigail took a life to save mine... I'll never forget that.

    Other Events and Dialogue 
  • Once you've gotten Shane to warm up to you, his dialogue goes from being rude to home-hittingly depressing, especially for those who work minimum-wage full-time jobs:
    Shane: What's the point of living if all you do is work?
  • Think you're doing Shane a favor by shutting down Joja Mart? Nope, he ends up unemployed and starts going to the bar at 3 in the afternoon instead, grumbling about how it's even worse not to be able to support his family at all.
  • At higher friendship ratings, one of Harvey's dialogue options is to tell you how terrible it feels to lose a patient who trusted you with their life. Harvey has, at some point, lost a patient. Think about that next time you get KO'd by monsters in a dungeon and wake up in the clinic. One wonders if perhaps the patient in question was Alex's mother...
  • Spouse dialogue when your relationship is suffering:
    Abigail: I wonder if I could've done better... I was very good friends with Sebastian before we met. He was probably the one...
    Leah: I used to be your sweetie... now you only seem to put up with me when I make a hot dinner.
    Sebastian: This place is starting to feel like a tomb.
    Shane: Farm-life is actually really boring. What am I doing here?
  • Worse for Shane, a loveless marriage causes him to relapse into alcoholism and depression. In one line he is drunk; in others he expresses that he can barely find motivation to get out of bed.
  • Your grandpa's evaluation at the end of Year 2 is definitely a big cross between this and Heartwarming. The ghost of your beloved Grandpa comes to you, with the same lullaby tune playing in the background. The best evaluation he gives has him cheerfully saying that you've put his soul to rest by improving his farm. Even the worst evaluation has him saying that while you haven't done much to improve the farm, what matters to him most is that you're happy. It's hard not to shed Tears of Joy during this scene.
  • Once your affection with Krobus is high enough, he apologizes if the other Shadows in the mine attack you. He explains that they've learned to fear humans as a result of too many unpleasant encounters. It's the next line that hits really hard if you have killed Shadow People before:
    Krobus: You haven't... slain any of my friends, have you?
  • As of the 1.3.x update, if you decide to romance all of the bachelors or bachelorettes up to ten hearts at the same time, you will receive a cutscene in which the bachelors/bachelorettes call you out for dating around, before they all agree to dump you. After this, they will refuse to talk to you for a while. Some of their comments are utterly heartbreaking.
    Harvey: [Player Name]... I thought you wanted to get married and start a family with me... What did I do wrong?
    Shane: The last shred of hope I had left is completely destroyed... Thanks, [Player Name], are you happy now?
    Leah: I... I thought you were different than other men/women...
    Emily: Th... That night in the tent... you whispered such sweet things to me in the dark... Now I have to face each day knowing it was all a lie.
  • If you give Kent a gift he doesn't like, he'll tell you that during his time as a Gotoro P.O.W., it was one of the items that his captors would give him. Good job, you not only disappointed him, you set off his PTSD!
  • Your spouse's reaction to getting divorced. They have no say in the matter whatsoever - you simply sign some papers in Lewis' house any time you wish - and the day after, they and all of their items are immediately moved out, your heart meter with them resets to zero, they will refuse gifts, and they will sadly reject your company if you try to talk to them.
    Emily: You broke my heart... I just can't talk to you anymore...
  • After building a house for Pam and Penny and getting the former to nine hearts, you go inside to find Pam setting up a Sign of the Vessel. She tells you that she's always felt that her problems were money-related, but even after getting a new house she still hasn't cut back on drinking, and got the Sign with the hopes that Yoba would help her. Watching her break down in tears and frustration with herself is hard to watch without shedding a tear. You can also tell her that Yoba isn't real, to which she responds by yelling at you to get out.