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"Can you learn to live off the land and turn these overgrown fields into a thriving home?"

If you're reading this, you must be in dire need of a change.

The same thing happened to me, long ago. I'd lost sight of what mattered most in life... real connections with other people and nature. So I dropped everything and moved to the place I truly belong...
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Stardew Valley is a Farm Life Sim for the PC, designed and programmed (in C#) with original pixel art and music by Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone, and published by Chucklefish Games. An acknowledged inspiration for the game is Story of Seasons, and as a result it feels and plays a lot like it, though it also has some additional gameplay elements like a crafting system and co-op play. The combat elements also give it a hint of Rune Factory, which has both farming and combat as well.

The story starts with the Player Character's grandfather dying. They've left them an envelope and advised they wait to open it until they are at their most depressed... Skipping to XX years later, sitting alone in your work cubicle at the Joja Corporation, you have indeed sunk into a deep depression, feeling as if your life has become meaningless routine. You open the envelope and discover that you've been left a plot of land and a run-down old farm in Pelican Town in Stardew Valley. There's also a vast network of caves nearby, where players can go spelunking and fighting monsters in search of loot and artifacts, similar to Harvest Moon DS.

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But even now you can't get away from the Joja Corporation, as the town has recently opened a new JojaMart, and it has already begun threatening local businesses, polluting the area, vying for more land, crushing spirits and probably performing satanic rituals too. You can side with the town and revitalise the economy, making friends and giving gifts, or you can side with Joja, focus on money, and redevelop the town at the price of other local businesses' success.

The game started development in 2012, was officially Greenlit on Steam on May 16, 2013, and was fully released on February 26th, 2016.

You can buy it for Windows/Mac/Linux on Steam or on GOG.com. Since its initial release, the game has gone Multi-Platform; the PlayStation 4 version of the game was released on December 13, 2016, in North America and December 14 in Europe, while the Xbox One version was released worldwide on December 14, 2016, and the Nintendo Switch port was released worldwide on October 5, 2017. Lastly, the Playstation Vita port was released worldwide on May 22, 2018. An iOS version of the game was released on mobile devices on October 24, 2018, followed by an Android version on March 13, 2019.

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This game provides examples of:

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  • 3/4 View: Since the game graphically resembles many from the 16-bit era, it should come as no surprise that it uses this perspective.
  • Aborted Arc: Several of the bachelor and bachelorette storylines never get full resolution if you don't romance or marry them— Leah's relationship with her ex, Kel and Harvey's fear of flying are probably the standouts, but Sebastian's troubled relationship with his parents, Maru's robot-building efforts, and Shane's ongoing struggle with depression and alcoholism likewise never get total closure.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: On top of the compressed timeframe for growing and seasons, the game has a few other breaks from real life farming in the name of reducing player frustration.
    • When you purchase a plant that needs to be grown on a trellis (such as hops or grapes), they come with the trellis.
    • If you marry someone and they move in with you, they will be able to harvest and water plants you accidentally trapped with trellises. The Junimos from the Junimo Hut can also harvest trapped plants.
    • Cranberries do not have to be wet-harvested, they're only dry-harvested.
    • Pests are pretty uncommon. The few that the game has show up all have ways of blocking them or dealing with them.
    • You don't have to worry about anything you harvest spoiling or suffering from some abiotic pests like in real life. You can store fruits, veggies, fish, etc. for years, and they will never go bad.
    • Milk and egg producing animals are capable of breeding despite the apparent lack of any male of their species.
    • The Greenhouse can simultaneously grow plants from every season despite the vastly different growing conditions most plants require which prevent them growing at the same time.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • The traveling merchant can sell rare and exotic items, including some very hard-to-find crops, furniture and seeds. However, the prices vary wildly, and can be outrageously expensive compared to their value. The prices also start increasing the further along you get.
    • While JojaMart claims to have low prices, everything there is always more expensive than the mom-and-pop store in town.
  • Adorkable: Maru is a nerdy science fanatic who squeals with glee when you ask her to marry you.
  • Adult Fear: For a relatively cutesy-looking Harvest Moon/Rune Factory expy, Stardew Valley's inhabitants have some pretty mature issues to deal with:
    • Your protagonist was trapped in the horror and isolation of the Joja Corporation's cubicle rat race, with no way out until their late-Grandfather's farm gave them an escape. Shane is trapped in a similar path as a shelf-monkey in the aisles of Joja-Mart, and he's falling apart from alcoholism to deal with his depression, causing both Marnie and Jas to worry a lot for him.
    • Jas, as an orphan, only has Shane and Marnie to be her family, and is sometimes neglected due to their worklife and personal issues. She has some serious worries about Shane's depression, and has witnessed his drunken ranting at least once, which has traumatized her.
    • Several villagers are dealing with very mundane and real personal issues, from family tensions to worries about their future.
    • Leah left the city for the country because she was escaping an abusive ex who didn't support her dream to be an artist.
    • Lewis refuses to make his relationship with Marnie public because he says it would affect his authority as Mayor - even though there's nothing scandalous about it and they're both mature adults. Instead, he strings her along, keeping their affair a secret and depriving her of the companionship she really wants.
    • Sebastian and Alex have father issues, while Penny despairs over her mother's alcoholism and being stuck living in a trailer.
    • Penny has self-esteem issues from living in a trailer with her alcoholic mother, and their relationship has gotten soured by the closure of the town bus, which left Pam jobless.
    • Kent is shown to have PTSD after returning to the Valley from his stint in the Army. While it's clear that he and Jodi care for each other, there is some tension in that he has difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life after his stint as a POW, while she has some regrets about getting married and becoming a mother too early in her life.
  • Aerith and Bob: The auto-name generator for animals. While most names generated appear totally alien and random, it is capable of generating perfectly normal names like Jack once in a while.
  • Affably Evil: Much like the real-life corporations it was based on, JojaCorp is perfectly nice and friendly as it angles to take control of Stardew Valley's natural resources and put local stores out of business. Morris seems particularly eager to get the farmer to join them.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: The geodes you can dig up somehow contain perfectly cut and polished gems.
  • Ambiguously Evil: JojaCorp is hinted to be polluting Stardew Valley and is portrayed as soul crushing to work for, but is otherwise very fill-in-the-blank when it comes to everything else. Aside from it being left to the imagination what siding with them would entail in the long run, just the nature of the company itself is ambiguous. It's presumably a top tier soda producer like Coke/Pepsi, but it's also a big box chain and internet provider. In the opening scene it looks like any white collar environment — allowing the player to fill in just about anything that applies to them.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing some events can result in hats, which are aesthetic. One example is winning the Easter egg hunt.
  • An Economy Is You: Justified, since you're running an actual farm. Since JojaMart moved into town, it's damaged the local economy. NPCs go in and out of the local shops and will comment on them, and you can examine items on shelves. Shane works at the JojaMart. If you repair the Community Center, people will add it to their routines.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating:
    • Completing some events (like reaching certain museum checkpoints) may result in furniture rewards for your home, whose sole purpose is aesthetic.
    • Completing all of the bundles for each room of the Community Center not only lets the spirits there restore the room to its former glory, but also gives you the base reward (like fixing bridges to certain areas) and in the center of the main room a star is put on a plaque that holds up to six. Completing all six rooms restores the Community Center to its former glory and help Pierre Win Back the Crowd to run Morris and the JojaMart group out of Stardew Valley. invoked
  • Alternative Calendar: The game is split into four 28-day (4-week) seasons, resulting in a 112-day year.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Accidentally put something in your sell box that you didn't mean to? You can take the last thing you sold right back out for no cost. The only time the items are actually sold is when you go to sleep at the end of the day.
    • The Travelling Merchant might charge through the nose (see Adam Smith Hates Your Guts), but some of the stuff she sells would otherwise be extremely hard to get hold of, which can make the community center less of a hair-pulling experience to complete.
    • The in-game TV show Living Off The Land can and will provide tips to players, including time-frames for catching certain fish and optimal times to plant certain crops.
    • The Scythe and Weapons don't harm crops, meaning the player won't accidentally cut down a crop still needed. The scythe only cuts down dead crops, and harvesting crops that require the use of the scythe get harvested through pressing the pick-up button instead of the use-item button. This is especially helpful on the Monster farm, where monsters spawn at night and might need to be fought off.
    • The Statue of Perfection gives the player 2-8 Iridium ores per day, cutting out the need to farm it at the bottom of the mine or Skull Cavern.
    • Grandpa's assessment of your work was originally a one-time deal, meaning failure was permanent and the rewards were lost. This was eventually changed in a patch so that by paying the shrine a Diamond, you could have a reassessment.
    • Your friendship rating with another villager stops decaying after you max it out, meaning that you don't have to continue flinging gifts their way to maintain that elusive rating.
    • In order to bypass the NPC Roadblock in a late-game quest, the player needs to give the NPC Void Mayonnaise. The item can be gotten the long way around, which requires a Void Egg from either a Random Event or paying the only merchant who sells it 5000g... or Void Mayonnaise can simply be directly fished from the area's surrounding waters.
    • Originally, to grow crops, the player had to apply fertilizer to a tile and sow the seed on top, a problem for many first-time players who had just planted their crops. The 1.1 update adds the ability to apply fertilizer after the seed had been sown.
    • Any NPC that accidentally blocks the player's path can be walked through by running against the NPC for a few seconds so long as they aren't programmed to intentionally be an NPC Roadblock.
    • In the fishing game at the Stardew Valley Fair, the game doesn't end when time runs out if you're in the middle of catching a fish. It's only when the catching mini-game is finished that the game actually stops and your score is assessed.
    • The 1.3 update added secret notes, which practically outright state what items various characters like or love the most, addressing a major concern that knowing what gifts to give people was essentially an exercise in frustration trying to find out using trial-and-error or just giving up and looking on the wiki.
    • The Mines elevator allows the player to head directly to the level range they're interested in which makes farming a specific type of ore or monster much easier.
  • Art Evolution: The character portraits have gone through many, many changes across the game's many updates, largely starting as a quite crude and flat looking, and gradually becoming more polished and detailed. In many cases, a character's basic design has been drastically changed over time - notable examples include Maru, Shane, Leah, and Penny.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Just like the farming sims it takes from, all your poultry livestock is female and lays eggs, which can be incubated to hatch into chicks with no rooster in sight. Can double as an accidental reference when the "all females, yet can reproduce" situation also applies to dinosaurs.
    • Lightning hitting fruit trees on your farm temporarily turns them into coal trees.
  • Ascended Glitch: Prior to patch 1.06, there was a glitch/developer oversight in which Abigail would appreciatively ask "how did you know I was hungry?" when given any item that she likes, non-food items included. In the updated spouse dialogue in patch 1.06, Abigail was given a new line where she asks you to bring her back something tasty if you're going in the mines.
  • Automaton Horses: The horse you get if you build a stable might as well be a bicycle. Doesn't need feeding, grooming or resting, can turn on a dime, and can run at full speed indefinitely. Is also completely loyal and will remain in the same spot where you left it (in case you decide to take a brief trip to the desert over the day), but will trot back to the stable if you go home and go to bed without bringing it back.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Hops converted into Pale Ale has a similar profitability to Starfruit Wine with less upfront cost and is actually more profitable long-term in the Greenhouse than any other crop. However Hops use a trellis which limits crop placement and require far more micromanagement due to their daily harvest and short brewing times. Most players will instead stick with the simpler and less labor-intensive wine crops.
    • Hatching a Dinosaur Egg in your coop to raise your own dinosaur is awesome but the dinosaur itself is underwhelming. It eats as much as the other coop animals but only produces one egg per week which sells far much less than a chicken's constant egg production. Even converting the egg into mayonnaise won't help as it is standard mayonnaise which mostly sells for less than the egg itself.
  • Baleful Polymorph: It's possible to permanently get rid of your children by turning them into doves using dark magic.
  • Beary Friendly: After 1.3 adds secret notes, one comes from a bear asking for maple syrup. Should you bring it for him, he thanks you and gives you Bear's Knowledge, which triples the selling price of Salmonberries and Blackberries.
  • Behind the Black: The Halloween maze features a path to the golden pumpkin that would be easily visible in-universe, but is obscured by bushes to the player. The hidden path is only somewhat difficult to find because you're looking from a top down view.
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • All buildings are bigger on the inside - both the buildings and expansions you can buy and every house in town. Even Linus' tent is slightly bigger inside. Perhaps that's part of the magic of Stardew Valley? No wonder JojaMart came to town.
    • Want to create a distillery farm? You can now almost double your output by putting your kegs inside sheds, thereby making more room for crops. (Barns are even bigger for the footprint, but many players dislike the layout required to maximise, and it takes both time and a lot of materials to get them.)
  • Black and Gray Morality: The conflict between small businessman Pierre and corporate Mouth of Sauron Morris looks like a classic case of David vs. Goliath, but the more you talk to Pierre and his family the more it becomes clear he's Not So Different. Talk to him enough and you'll find out the only major difference between them is that Morris is in a much better position to act on his beliefs than Pierre is. Also, Pierre is not personally a Jerkass (at least not intentionally) while Morris is.
  • Black Comedy Burst: The game has a cheery and relaxed atmosphere where it's impossible to kill your animals (but if you don't feed them and pet them they won't produce food), but in the intro at the soul crushing Joja Corp. there's both one employee who appears to be chugging prescription pills and the skeleton of another employee lying in a cubicle.
    • At the Stardew Valley Fair in the fall, the strength game's lowest possible score is "George's knee".
  • Bonus Dungeon: While completing the regular mines isn't necessary either, reaching the bottom earns you the key to the Skull Cavern, a much harder version of the mines that is totally randomly generated (in contrast with the mines, where the monsters and drops are randomly generated, but each floor's layout stays the same) and has no bottom.
  • Boring, but Practical: Chickens and Cows, the first animals unlocked for Coops and Barns, also offer some of the best utility. Eggs are used in a number of dishes and mayonnaise is a good gift for most of the town. Milk can be converted into cheese, an efficient food for recovering health and energy without losing any food buffs.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • If you sell out the community center to JojaMart and buy every available upgrade, Morris gives you a vending machine that produces Joja Cola. Not really all that useful, since everyone in town but one person hates the soda, it doesn't even restore that much energy, and sells for cheap. Also, you'll miss out on the other smaller rewards the completing the bundles would give you, and the "Friendship" reward that boosts all of your affection rating with every villager by two hearts becomes unavailable. But hey, free soda!
    • The secret buildings. If you complete the quest for the wizard to enter the witch's hut, he unlocks several buildings you can place on your farm. These buildings might be nominally useful if they didn't cost so much money and resources to create. The warp pillars for the mountains and the beach each cost one million gold in addition to the other resources needed to craft them. And while instantaneous warping is nice, it's to pass over a minor inconvenience, and it's possible to create Totems that do the same thing which can be used anywhere.
    • The Golden Clock is the most "bragging rights" of these buildings. In addition to requiring the Double Unlock by first completing a quest for the wizard, it's the most expensive thing in the game at ten million gold, and the only thing it does is stop debris from appearing on your farm. By the time you can earn that much money, debris is a pitiful concern.
    • Completing a Secret Note challenge to reach floor 100 of the Skull Cavern earns you a maximum health boost from Mr. Qi. If you're good enough to clear a hundred floors in the game's hardest dungeon all in one sitting, you definitely don't need a health boost.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: In-Universe:
    • Choosing to take up a JojaMart Membership will see to the destruction of the Community Center and replace the bundles system, where you bring various items to the spirits inhabiting the place, with directly paying money to get the same rewards. This inevitably results in a farm that revolves almost entirely around making money. It's a lot easier, and a lot more expensive. Naturally, this is thematically and mechanically discouraged, as Joja effectively serves as the underlying antagonist to the game and losing the Community Center will lock you out of a lot of potential rewards.
    • The staircase item is also this. It allows you to descend one floor in the mines, at the cost of 99 stone. Theoretically, you could store up masses of stone in advance, build dozens of staircases, and bypass the mines completely.
    • At the Stardew Valley Fair, if you don't feel like playing lots of mini-games or didn't get enough star points for your grange display, you can just buy star points at 50 gold per point.
  • Brick Joke: During the Stardew Valley Fair, Willy will comment that Mayor Lewis doesn't seem to like fish. Sure enough, during the Festival of Ice, while he's judging the ice fishing competition, Mayor Lewis gags at the smell of the fish.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • Get out of the rat race and go live a simple life in the country. Rediscover the things that matter, like love, friendship, and connections with nature. And make a million gold, because that's the biggest single part of your grandfather's evaluation.
    • Big Predatory Business is bad, mmkay? Except that Joja gets results, and working with them is a faster, smoother and easier way to restore the town than trying to fix up an old community center that nobody in the town really cares about anymore. And if you work with Joja, you can get that million gold much quicker and spend the rest of your time exploring, making friends and getting married. Grandpa can still give you the highest evaluation if you do this. While he likes it if you do restore the community center, he ultimately cares more about results. The more you know Pierre, the more you realise he's almost exactly like Joja Mart. He even mentions creating new holidays to drive sales.
  • Broken Bridge: Sometimes literally:
    • The bus to the desert area is out of service until you complete certain Community Center objectives.
    • Likewise, the bridge to the quarry is repaired through the Community Center.
    • The short bridge on the beach can be repaired simply by finding enough wood.
  • Call to Agriculture: The game opens with the player quitting their dreadful desk job at Jojacorp and moving to the farm their grandfather left them.
  • Capitalism Is Bad:
    • The closest thing Stardew Valley has to a driving antagonist is a Expy of Walmart which greedily extracts natural resources from the valley and dumps polluting waste back in, over-works the locals into exhaustion and depression, attempts to drive local mom-and-pop stores out of business with underhanded business tactics and generally just strangles the community spirit.
    • Even the local mom and pop business does things like constantly pressure you for seeds.
  • Charged Attack: Non-combat version. Several tools, when upgraded, use the "hold" type charge, which will increase the AOE, decreasing both stamina and time usage to achieve a particular goal. For example, charging the gardening hoe once will create 3 tiles of furrow instead of one. Note that the how high a tool can be charged is based on how upgraded the tool is, maxing out at the fourth charge level.
  • The City:
    • Zuzu City, located on the other side of the desert outside Stardew Valley. Many characters are either from the city or express a desire to leave the Valley to go and live there. The skyline of the city is visible from atop the summit of the mountain, and you can even visit the city (along with many of the other villagers) when Sam's band gets a gig there or when Shane has tickets to a Tunnelers game.
    • The player character is from The City, but it's unclear as to whether this is Zuzu City specifically or just a generic large city.
  • Chilly Reception: The small town is wary of newcomers, and characters like Shane, Sebastian, George, and Linus will be particularly stand-offish and hostile until you raise their heart level. Even the friendlier sorts aren't particularly inclined to chat for long at first, and you'll probably be spending the first Flower Dance observing, as you're not close enough to anyone to participate. Later in the game, if you get married, the Mayor will admit he had concerns as to whether you'd ever fit in. The only characters that seem to be instantly friendly are Robin and Pierre. Y'know, people that live from selling you their products/services.
  • Commonplace Rare: The only way to get a tea set is by gift during the Feast of the Winter Star, on one day of the entire in-game year. Any adult other than Clint, Evelyn, Marnie, Robin, or Willy may give you a tea set, but even if your secret gift-giver isn't one of these townspeople, there's still no guarantee that they'll give you a tea set.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Available since 1.3, players can connect via LAN or the internet. The amount of cabins available dictates how many players can join, with the maximum of 3 extra cabins; Robin can build more cabins if the host provides the money and materials.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Stardew Hero Trophy, which can only be obtained by completing every bundle in the community center. While it looks pretty, it doesn't do anything even nominally useful.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Pelican Town and its surroundings look bright and cheerful, the inhabitants are friendly and the music is peaceful and idyllic. Dig deeper though and you'll find that it's not all sunshine and lollipops: firstly, the country you're in is at war with another nation and when Kent returns in year 2 you find he seems to be suffering from PTSD; Penny lives with her alcoholic mom in a trailer; Shane also has a drinking problem due to being miserable working at a dead end job and attempted suicide; Alex lives with his grandparents because his parents died (and his father hated him); Linus lives in a crappy tent and has to rummage in trash cans to find food to get by; and finally Sebastian in contrast hates his sister because he thinks (not wrongly) his father is giving her preferential treatment. For those unaware it can be quite different from the casual farming game they expected.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Although the Yoba faith is clearly pagan, the aesthetic of the Yoba chapel in Pierre's shop draws heavily from Christianity. Bonus points for having a symbol that is similar to a cross with a couple bends.
  • Dating Sim: There are twelve eligible bachelors and bachelorettes - six male and six female - who can be wooed and married by the player character(s).
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Some NPCs are placed in unreachable locations for some of the town festivals (such as the Wizard and Linus at the Spirit's Eve maze), but nevertheless have unique dialogue about the situation if the player manages to somehow reach them anyway.
    • Similarly, the caged skeletons and penned animals that show up during certain festivals can be talked to if a player no-clips past the fences. (They just say "Hi.")
    • The mine carts, which are repaired as the reward for completing the boiler room bundles (or paying 15,000 gold) can access the quarry if the player has completed the crafts room bundles. If the player hasn't, the mine carts can go to the mines, the town, and the bus stop, but the quarry will remain locked until the player has completed all of the craft room bundles and repaired the bridge.
    • You can display any item on the Grange at the Stardew Valley Fair, including objective-based ones. Such as the Mayor's shorts. Starting in Version 1.1, the Mayor gets offended, bans you from competing, and offers you 750 stars as hush money to take it down, and Marnie gets flustered when she realizes what that "strange purple cabbage" is.
    • An Anti-Frustration Feature allows the player to push past characters that may be in the way. Attempting to push the desert casino bouncer out of the way will result in him not budging and saying "Nice try."
    • Trying to use the out-of-bounds bug to reach the casino staircase results in the bouncer catching you, throwing you out, yelling "you little punk!" and hitting you with a Mega Bomb. He does the same thing if you try using a mod to warp into the Casino before you've unlocked it.
    • Using a pile of staircases to complete the 100-level quest in Skull Cavern gets you a reprimand that you were supposed to do it the hard way... but he'll give you the reward anyway, for having the chutzpah to cheat. If you do the quest fairly, your benefactor is sincerely impressed and remarks that he expected you to cheat.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: A few of the marriage candidates (particularly Haley, Penny, and Sam) have ten-heart scenes that suggest more than just cuddling was going on between them and the main character. In the 10-heart scene with Emily, your camping trip is interrupted by a bear, forcing you to hide with Emily in the tent. Then you realize the second sleeping bag is still outside, so you have to share one. Then the tent shakes before Fade to Black.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Fishing Minigame earns a lot of complaints from players for being hard, but if you get the hang of it early on, it'll be the bulk of your income for the early game, giving you the funds you need to get the farm up and running.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Fishing is a great source of early game money when the player can't afford to expand their farm. By spending the entire day fishing it's possible to rake in more than $100,000 in the first Spring which can then be invested in the farm.
    • Fishing also offers a chance at catching the mid-game weapons Neptune's Glaive and Broken Trident. They do more damage than anything the player can obtain in the Mines until Floor 60.
    • Salmonberries are the perfect early game food for recovering energy. While they don't provide much energy individually, during Salmonberry Season a diligent player can gather hundreds of the fruit. This should tide a player over until they can get a more reliable source of food.
    • Abusing Staircases to complete the Mines early will net the player the best boots in the game and the fifth strongest sword. These make farming for copper in the early game much easier.
  • Double Unlock: Earning achievements unlocks different hats...which you can buy from the hat-selling mouse in the forest.
  • Dramatic Irony: A player who chats to everyone can become aware of relationship dynamics that the people in that relationship aren't aware of. As a result, the player listens to characters make assumptions that the MC knows are wrong. However, in most cases, you have no option to correct mistaken assumptions or help characters reconcile.
  • Dummied Out:
    • A whole slew of weapons—some the Weapons of Choice of bachelor(ette)s—are in the game's code.
    • The original character sprites from the beta are still in the game files. Haley's shows up during part of her 8 heart event, but the rest cannot be accessed without hacks or mods.
    • A glitchy unused mountain summit area can be found north of the railroad if you use an out of bounds glitch. Early screenshots showed part the intended path there from the railroad. Once you get there, you're stuck, so be sure to bring along a warp totem or return scepter.
      • There is, however, a mod that fixes the bugs and restores it as fully functional and accessible area in the game.
    • Files exist for an item called the "Jukebox Ring"; the description indicates that it would play a random assortment of music from the game when you equipped it.
    • Unused sprites for Linus show him as a young man in a suit. These could have been from a cut heart event flashback showing his old life and why he left it behind.
  • Dumpster Dive:
    • Rummaging through the bins won't endear you to anyone who sees you do it, but the trash you find can be reprocessed, and once in a while you discover something nice that's been carelessly thrown out.
    • Linus's first Heart event involves discovering him rummaging through George's garbage, claiming he doesn't want the food to go to waste. After agreeing to leave George's trash alone he proceeds to go after the Saloon's trash instead.
  • Dungeon Bypass: One of the craftable items is a stairway which you can place in a dungeon to immediately move to the next floor. In the Skull Cavern, there are also shafts you can jump into to descend multiple floors at once, but will also cause you to lose health.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Pelican Town really is as neighborly and wholesome as it appears, with nothing in the way of skeletons in the closet...at least, on a community level. In private, each family is a mini-Crapsaccharine World to themselves. The dysfunction is less dramatic than usual, but it's still present. For example:
    • Jodi's family consists of two playful but generally decent and well-behaved boys who care about each other immensely, and their doting mother. However, their father is away fighting a war in Year One, and returns a Shell-Shocked Veteran in Year Two. And the doting mother regrets marrying so young and is either constantly complaining about the housework, or fantasizing about living on her own, without a family.
    • Robin and Demetrius are Sickeningly Sweethearts who are thriving in their chosen fields. They have a sweet-natured prodigy daughter and a perfect life... if you ignore the isolated and depressed Emo Teen in the basement. Which is exactly what Demetrius does (unless when he scolds Sebastian for harmless fun such as his snow-goon). Sebastian mentions multiple times that Demetrius doesn't like him and that he feels like Maru is the preferred child of both Robin and Demetrius and despises her for that. Meanwhile, Maru wonders why her half-brother avoids her. ConcernedApe has also claimed to be considering making Robin a possible love interest, which would require the player to break up her marriage.
    • Pierre's got as traditional a nuclear family as you can get, and their store is the center of life in Pelican Town with the only apparent downside being Caroline occassionally complaining that he spends events with selling things. If only he could be sure that his daughter is biologically his...
    • Despite being the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits of the Pelican Town families, Marnie, Jas and Shane all love and care about each other. However, Marnie's affair with Lewis dominates her life, and Shane's working and drinking himself to death, which is why poor Jas is so self-sufficient.
    • Evelyn, George and Alex are a sweet set of grandparents with their grandchild and each of them is clearly very proud and happy to be part of this family. Yet George complains especially in summer that is disability makes it impossible for him to play with Alex, and Evelyn suffers from George's bad health as well as the loss of her daughter. And Alex has to deal with his deceased mom and drunk/abusive, absent father...

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  • Easter Egg: The opening screen contains a few whimsical clickables, and the game itself contains obscure Easter Eggs that require very specific conditions to unlock.
    • There are three interactive boxes that are partially hidden around Pelican Town that reward the player with unique statues if they are given certain items. Before the 1.1 update added a hint in the library, the only way to even know the existence of these Easter Eggs was through trial-and-error. It didn't help that there's a fourth box that doesn't interact with any (known) item.
    • There is a furniture item that can only be gotten on the last day of a month, at exactly 12:00 PM, by interacting with a specific nondescript bush.
    • The Strange Capsule and Owl Statue items can theoretically spawn in-game as a Random Event. However, the odds are so unlikely that the conditions for the items to spawn naturally are essentially zero.
    • Inputting "ConcernedApe" or anything with "Stardew" in it will generate unique (albeit slightly bugged) Stardrop messages.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Buying the Joja Mart membership and changing the community center into a warehouse may make upgrading it more straightforward, but all you get after completing it is a Joja cola vending machine. One that's no different from the one at the Saloon. You also don't get the prizes for completing individual bundles, and the "friendship" bonus you'd get from completing the bulletin board is locked out.
  • Elemental Crafting:
    • Most of the tools (axe, pickaxe, hoe, and watering can) start with a generic variant of an unspecified material, and can later be upgraded to copper, steel, gold, and finally to iridium. Each upgrade makes them stronger or cover a larger area.
    • Fishing poles go through bamboo, fiberglass, and iridium, gaining the ability to apply bait and tackle on the way.
    • Weapons avert the trope, however, as the materials they're made out of are all over the place, from more common metals like iron and steel to less common materials like insect parts and bone.
  • The Empire: The Gotoro Empire, currently at war with the Ferngill Republic in which the game is set. According to Kent, who was their POW, they really are just as vile as propaganda would make them out to be; otherwise, the conflict with the Empire is entirely offscreen and there's a deliberate ambiguity as to what they're really like.
  • Endless Game: You can't get a Game Over in Stardew Valley. The worst that happens is running out of health or energy costs you some money and some items, but even that can be recovered from. Theoretically, you can keep playing the game for decades (both in-universe and in real life), and it will never reach an end point.
  • Everyone Is Bi: The player character(s) can get together with any of the twelve eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, regardless of the sex of either partner. However, all of the bachelors and bachelorettes seem to default to "straight" (each of them tends to be shipped with an opposite-sex counterpart), and if you pursue a same-sex relationship with any of them, several will note that they've never felt this way about another guy/girl before. Leah is the one exception: depending on your player's gender, she can be seen as either straight or gay, because Kel, her ex, is always the same gender as the player.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: The player character has a distinct tendency to walk in on revealing moments.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Several reactions to receiving gifts imply that the recipient intends to eat them, which makes sense if their particular Likes/Dislikes are food, but they also say the same line for anything else, edible or not. Abagail is the standout example for (apparently) eating Ametheyst and Quartz, but you can get some unintentionally amusing responses, like Kent claiming he was fed explosive ammo as a P.O.W. or Harvey claiming he may be allergic to ancient fossils and statues.
  • Fanservice: The bath house. Described by ConcernedApe as such: "Fun setting for events, place to relax, and an excuse to see characters in their bathing suits."
  • Fetch Quest: Some of the notices on the notice board by Pierre's shop have an NPC needing a certain item within at latest two days. Doing these can give you favor with that NPC.
  • Fictional Sport: Gridball, which so strongly resembles American football (also known as gridiron football) that it might as well just be an alternate name for it. Zuzu City has a professional gridball team, the Tunnelers, and several of the NPCs are fans. Alex even dreams of playing for them someday, and if you get close enough to Shane, he'll take you to a Tunnelers game. (They apparently aren't very popular, since a guy working a minimum-wage job was able to get two front-row tickets and the stadium is half-empty.)
  • Fishing for Sole: Anything from trash bags to unopened cans of JojaCola (which is in-game categorized as trash). Oddly enough, they still use up bait.
  • Fishing Minigame: After responding to the fish tug, the minigame is then pulled up. In a sense, the player has to play an endurance 2D version of Missile Lock-On with a tug-o-war style progression. While the lock is maintained, the player gradually gets closer to catching the fish while lessening the fish's escape progression. On the other hand, failing to maintain it will not only hurt the player's progression, but also increases the fish's escape progression. Random treasure may also be included and will only be gotten if both the treasure and fish are caught. There are two proper minigames of the sort during two of the festivals, but you don't get to keep the fish.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a line of dialogue from Jodi in which she warns you that if you're not careful, all traces of your old lifestyle will be wiped away once you get married. In the original version of the game, this happens to several of the love interests if you marry them, including her own son, Sam (who loses all interest in his music), and Sebastian (who decides that his beloved motorbike is too dangerous for a family man to have around). In contrast, Abigail seems to take the opportunity to realize her dream of being an adventurer; she will randomly mention on some mornings that she went adventuring for a bit, and will give you some monster drops. She will also occasionally give you bombs and buffing food to help your adventuring along. The 1.1 update has alleviated some of this. For example, a married Sebastian has apparently changed his mind about his motorbike, as he now keeps it in your shared backyard and can be seen working on it from time to time and Sam's private room contains his keyboard.
  • From My Own Personal Garden: You can give produce as gifts or as your contribution to the Luau. Of course, as you're a farmer, this is completely justified and not a sign of any kind of villainy. Pierre can also claim this when reselling your stuff.
  • From New York to Nowhere: The Player Character is from The City, but after suffering at a soul-sucking desk job, they decide to leave everything behind to take over their grandpa's old farm.
  • From Stray to Pet: Your pet is a stray found by Marnie. She'll ask if you want to adopt them.
  • Funny Background Event: In Sam's eight-heart event, his band finally gets a gig in Zuzu City, and he takes everyone he knows to see him perform. During the concert, Linus can be seen investigating a nearby dumpster.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The Playstation 4 Pro can be corrupted if it's put into sleep mode while running the game. Notable in that it's only the Pro - the vanilla and Slim versions don't suffer from this. Turns out this was Sony's fault and was addressed in a system update.
    • In all versions of the game, there is a bug where if you buy an item from any shop with a full inventory, you cannot place the bought item in your inventory. You also can't empty anything from your inventory. There is no way to cancel or refund this transaction. Doing this leaves you with no way to get out of the shop menu except for closing the game, which means that you lose the current day's progress and have to start the day over again.
    • In a strange, inexplicable bug that even the creator of the game is having difficulty finding the cause of, Pam can randomly disappear from the game. Not only does this mean that the player will not be able to befriend her, it also means that, if she disappears before the player restores the bus to the Calico Desert, they will be completely unable to go there. This prevents the player from ever being able to meet Sandy, get to the Casino, find desert-exclusive collectibles, and explore the Skull Cavern.
  • Game Gourmet: Basically, all your crops are edible. Food available ranges from types of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, flowers, fish and animal products. There are also a variety of processed goods, like beverages, mayonnaise, cheese, as well as a range of cooked goods.
  • Game Mod: A number of mods have been made since the release of the game, ranging from making fishing easier/harder to pet replacements to more music to redone character portraits to the inevitable nude mods.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Despite the player being repeatedly informed that JojaMart's "low prices" are threatening to drive Pierre out of business, JojaMart's items are all more expensive than Pierre's store (presumably for balance purposes, since JojaMart, unlike Pierre's, is open from 9 AM to 11 PM 7 days a week). Even if the player purchases the Joja Membership, prices simply become the same. However, in a cutscene we learn that Joja can afford to do things like give away 50% discount vouchers right in Pierre's shop. This could be explained as the things you aren't shopping for being much cheaper, however.
    • Earlier versions of the game had it so that if the player causes the JojaMart to shut down by restoring the Community Center, Shane would still go to "work" there every day. This issue was fixed in a patch.
    • Regardless of your spouse's supposed intelligence, due to their A.I. Roulette nature when they "help" out on the farm, they are all apparently incapable of understanding how a sprinkler works (they water the plants next to them anyway) or that your upgraded barn/coop has an automated feeding system (claiming they've fed the animals). Justifiable to a degree for Haley, but not for the rest of them. Especially Shane has no excuses, considering he lived on Marnie's farm until marriage and was raising chickens of his own while doing so.
    • Both Sam's eight-heart event and Shane's ten-heart event make use of the bus, even if it hasn't been repaired yet through the Community Center.
  • Gathering Steam:
    • Plants that grow multiple crops without the need to replant them are this. Like every plant they need to grow to their full size first. But then they regrow their crops every couple of days, until they die at the end of their season (unless planted in a greenhouse, which makes them regrow forever, or if they are fruit trees that only become inactive out of season).
    • Fruit trees produce crops with increasing quality the older the tree is. Bringing one up to iridium quality requires three in-game years.
    • When a new animal is born, or bought from Marnie, it first needs to grow up before it can produce its goods. Increasing friendship with the animal, which takes several weeks, also improves the quality of the good and adjusts drops for some animals.
      • Cows, goats, and chickens upgrade their products to Large versions which are worth more and the only way to produce gold cheese and mayonnaise.
      • Rabbits and ducks increase the chance of them dropping their more valuable rare item, rabbit's feet and feathers, instead of their standard drop.
      • Sheep can be sheared more frequently as friendship increases, going from once every three days to daily.
  • Gay Option: Rectifying a common criticism of the Harvest Moon games, same-sex relationships (and marriages) are entirely possible.
  • Global Currency Exception: Instead of gold, the Fall Festival Fair stall requires you to use tickets, and the casino requires Qi tokens.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • Inverted. A compendium of items will slowly become unlocked as you sell the item in question. Which you first need to collect/catch.
    • Played straight with the "Rarecrows", 8 collectible scarecrows available to unlock or purchase from certain events.
    • Played literally straight with the fish (you need to actually catch them in order for them to show up on the collections screen; finding them elsewhere such as picking up shells on the beach don't count) and the artifacts (which also need to be donated to the museum). Completing either awards you a Stardrop.
  • Guide Dang It!: A whole lot of basic but convenient functions are never explained.
    • Upgraded watering cans and hoes can be used to affect larger areas: copper affects 1x3 squares, steel is 1x5, gold is 3x3 and iridium is 6x3.
    • Holding the Shift key while right-clicking on an item modifies how much of an item is selected. For an item in the inventory/chest, half of the items are taken. For an item in a shop, the item is purchased five at a time.
  • Great Offscreen War:
    • The Dwarves and Shadow People have only recently ended the Elemental War, a thousand year long conflict which has left both sides bitter. Based on the conversation between Krobus and the Dwarf, the Shadow People launched the first attack in response to the Dwarves forcing them out of their homeland.
    • Stardew Valley is located in the Ferngilly Republic which is currently at war with the Gotoro Empire across the sea. It is mostly mentioned in passing with the most direct references being related to Kent, a soldier who spent time as a prisoner of war.
  • Green Aesop: There's a heavy vibe about pollution caused by big corporations, and sustainable farming. There's pretty much nothing on your farm that can't be used for something else, and you can even build a recycling machine that processes fished-up trash into useful materials.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: After the player is married, a spouse has a small chance to get jealous if you give a gift to another bachelor/ette, which lowers their affection rating for the player character—though the 1.1 update changed it so that your spouse will never get jealous if you give another villager a gift on their birthday.
  • Harmless Electrocution: In Maru's eight-heart event, the player will be shocked with electricity from one of her experiments. Though Maru has to apply some burn cream, the player is otherwise unharmed.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: During character creation, players can name their PC, farm, and favorite thing. In addition, each new farm animal can also be named by the player, and you get to name your pet when Marnie shows up with it.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Going to bed for the day will restore your health and energy, and will save the game. Collapsing from exhaustion will have one of the town members find you and bring you home at the cost of medical fees and some of your items.
  • Hidden Depths: The people of Pelican Town have more to them than initial first impressions might lend you to believe. The main way to really discover this is through raising your affection with them, although you can also raid their bookshelves for some hints on their major life issues once you get them to two hearts.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: In practically every cutscene where you have the choice to lie or tell someone else to lie, the person being lied to will see through it and lose respect as a result. Conversely, owning up to your/their deeds will turn out for the best, as the other person appreciates the honesty and is willing to forgive simple accidents. In the cases where it is better to hide the truth, it's generally because you're doing it to allow someone else to save face, rather than lying on your own behalf.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Low on health/stamina? No problem, just scarf down on food, like several freshly-caught fish, so you can go fishing again.
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: In a relationship event with Haley, she's having trouble opening a jar. As your character walks in, she asks for your help. You manage to open the jar, impressing her. (Your character can do it regardless of gender.)
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Lava Katana, which can be purchased at the Adventurer's Guild after reaching the bottom level of the mines. It's considerably more powerful than nearly every other weapon in the game—the next-strongest sword does about half as much damage on average—although slightly less powerful than the Galaxy Sword.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Galaxy Sword, and the hammer and dagger variants that go on sale after you find it. Requires you to use the rarest drop in the game in a Prismatic Shard, along with several other rare drops to be able to read an old inscription to get a clue to what do with it once you have it.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Ten in-game minutes for every six real-time seconds (approximately 100:1 time compression). Originally this was ten game minutes for every five real-time seconds (120:1 time compression) but it was slowed down after the Chucklefish pre-release stream due to widespread complaints about the pace being too rushed.
  • Item Crafting: Collecting material allows you to craft items to use around your farm, such as fences.
  • It's Up to You: While some things happen by themselves, most of the outcome is determined by the farmer. For example, the taste of the Luau's communal soup is solely based on what ingredient the farmer puts into it (being bland if none was added.)
  • Just Train Wrong:
    • Railroad companies usually don't run passenger trains mixed in with freight trains. And if they did, they would try to group them together and not have passenger coaches placed randomly between freight cars like you see in the game.
    • One of the sound effects for a train passing by the valley is a diesel air horn, but you only ever see steam trains.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: In a metaphorical sense, this can become a huge hassle when trying to befriend certain townspeople. Some of them have schedules that will keep them in their rooms for most or all of the day, making them hard to find in order to befriend, and since you can't go in their rooms without befriending them first... Elliott and Sebastian are the most notorious for this.
  • Last Lousy Point: Completing the museum collection (donate 95 items) and obtaining every stardrop which requires completing said collection, on account of half the items you need to donate being entirely up to RNG whether you get it or not.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: A lot of them in regards to the NPCs. Pelican Town is very private and close-knit, and many characters won't tell you basic information about themselves (like Leah being a sculptor or Elliot being a writer) until you build a friendship with them, but it's hard to discuss the game in any detail without mentioning such things.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: The lava lake on floor 100 of the mines kind of has this look to it. You can even fish in it!
  • Lethal Lava Land: More for aesthetics than actual mechanics, but floors 80 and lower of the mine apply, complete with Convection Schmonvection and a literal lake of lava.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Befriending the local NPCs can net nice goodies, like new crafting recipes or goods. Certain quests also win favor with them, like getting a certain item within a time limit.
  • Life Meter: The horizontal health meter is a green bar that decreases with damage taken, and usually only appears in areas where you can take damage.
  • The Lost Woods: The Secret Woods, an area to the west of the player's farm. It's the only viable place to gather hardwood if you don't have a Forest Farm, and it also has slimes to fight, rare foraging items, and a mysterious statue searching for the "perfect sweetness".
  • Luck Stat: This stat is randomly generated at the beginning of each day, viewable from the fortune telling channel. It affects certain aspects of the game, like the drop of rate of mine ladders. This can also be temporarily modified by certain items like cooked meals.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: One of the fisherman stories in the library ends with the revelation that Gordy was Tex's father all along.
    *Dramatic Music as the curtains fall*

    M-Z 
  • Mage Tower: The Wizard lives in a tower in the western part of Cindersap Forest.
  • Mana Meter: The more general Energy, instead of Mana. It, like the Life Meter, is also a vertical green bar. It decreases with tool use, consumption of energy lowering foods, and other things. It is restored mainly through food and the Spa. In multiplayer, a character can also regain energy by laying in their bed.
  • Money Multiplier:
    • The quality of a good will increase its value. While mostly random, there are ways to increase the chance of getting a good quality item, like using fertilizer (crops) or casting the line further away from any landmass (fish).
    • The processed version of something sells for more then the basic version (mayo sells for more than eggs, cheese sells for more than milk, etc), encouraging you to craft processing machines for your farm (though some are given as rewards for completing bundles).
    • Casks increase the quality and thus price of cheese and alcohol over time. Otherwise there is no way to produce alcohol with any star or cheese above a gold quality.
    • Skills act as multipliers in two manners. First, higher levels of Farming, Foraging, and Fishing increase the chance of getting quality crops, foraged items, and fish respectively. Using food items to increase the level adds to this. Second, several of the Profession choices at Level 5 and 10 of skills offer a flat increase to the sale value of items.
    • Bear's Knowledge triples the sell value of Blackberries and Salmonberries, making the raw fruit worth as much as the wine. Similarly Spring Onion Mastery increases the sell value of the item by five times.
    • Planting flowers next to bee houses causes the honey produced to have a higher sale value based on the type of flower. The value of the honey can increase enough that it's worth more raw than processed into mead.
  • Money Sink: The two Obelisks from the Wizard's Tower each coast one million gold while the Gold Clock costs ten million. Krobus also sells a Return Scepter for two million gold.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the end of year 2, your grandfather evaluates your work on your farm, and it can be surprisingly dark and harsh depending on how much or how little work you've done. In an interview with PC Gamer, the developer admitted outright that the harshness of the evaluation clashed too much with the game's overall relaxed, casual tone, and he changed it with the patch 1.05 update.
  • More Friends, More Benefits: Increasing relationships with the locals will result in them sending you gifts and recipes in the mail.
  • My Local: The Stardrop Saloon, which includes an arcade "for the youth to hang out". The arcade features multiple playable minigames.
  • Nerf: The 1.1 patch reduced the value of several crops, and of artisan goods across the board. Cranberries in particular were pounded with the nerf bat until only a reddish-purple goop remained, becoming less than half as profitable as they were pre-patch.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Consuming a stardrop will permanently increase the size of the player's energy bar.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: If players pick the wilderness farm, monsters will spawn at night. You can also toggle monster spawns at the farm if you offer a strange bun at one of the Witch's Shrines.
  • No Bisexuals:
    • Downplayed. All non-marriage characters only display interest in members of the opposite sex, and every Ship Tease pairing is male/female (Sebastian/Abigail, Alex/Haley, Lewis/Marnie, etc). However, a player is free to romance any of the bachelor/ettes that they choose, regardless of gender.
    • Subverted with Leah if you're playing as a female farmer, as her ex Kel will always be the same gender as the player.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Zigzagged.
    • Skill points play the trope straight. After increasing a skill stat to a certain level, even if you never do that activity for the rest of the game, the stat doesn't go down or make you lose any levels.
    • Averted with friendship. It'll decrease at a rate of two points a day if you don't talk to someone.note  However, this stops once a player reaches max friendship with someone, which is either eight or ten hearts, depending on if the player character is married. The exception to the max friendship rule is a player's spouse. If a player doesn't talk to their spouse, their friendship goes down by twenty points a day, and it never stops decreasing as long as the player continues to ignore them.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Combat is one of the five categories with experience-based skill levels. The others are Farming, Mining, Fishing, and Foraging.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: You can play the game for as many in-game years as you desire, but Vincent, Jas and any children the player character gets will not grow up.
  • Not So Different: The more you know Pierre, the more you realize he's very much like Morris and JojaMart are with his pressuring you to buy more seeds, sucking up to the governor to get a tax cut, and wanting to make more holidays because holidays are good for business.
    • Maru and Sebastian are both intelligent and nerdy with STEM related hobbies. Maru loves astronomy and biology, can build intelligent robots, and works in healthcare. Sebastian is a computer programmer and has enough mechanical knowledge to maintain a motorcycle. It's surprising they don't get along better but a big part of that is Maru wishes Sebastian was less aloof around her while Sebastian mistakenly believes Maru dislikes him.
  • NPC Scheduling: Characters go about their business irrespective of what the player character does. While it does make the town feel more alive, it can be annoying when you need to buy something and that NPC shopkeeper is spending the day at the doctor or taking an exercise class.
  • Only One Name: Everyone in the game, with three exceptions: M. Rasmodius, although everyone (including the game itself) just calls him "Wizard" anyway; George (Penny calls him Mr. Mullner); and Evelyn (a note in Penny's handwriting calls her Granny Mullner). Most of these names are first names, with one exception: the mysterious Mr. Qi.
  • Palette Swap: Levels 41-80 and 81-120 of the mine are the same layout as levels 1-40, just swapped with an ice and a fire aesthetic, respectively.
  • Parental Abandonment: Functional nuclear families are a surprising rarity in Pelican Town. Among the characters who still live at home with their families, the following have one or more absent parents:
    • Sebastian's biological father is no longer a part of his life, and his fate is never mentioned by any character, not even Sebastian himself (who's too busy dwelling on how much his step-father, Demetrius, doesn't seem to like him).
    • Alex is an orphan; his abusive father abandoned him and his mother, and then his mother died. He lives with his maternal grandparents.
    • Penny's father left her and Pam to fend for themselves when she was a girl. Pam, meanwhile, is a drunk who doesn't seem to notice how much her drinking affects Penny's life.
    • Haley and Emily's parents are world travelers, leaving their two daughters to look after the house in their absence. They never appear in the game, not even at their daughter's wedding should the player marry either of them.
    • Sam and Vincent at first play this straight, because their father Kent is away serving in the military. However, he returns at the beginning of the second year, though he's clearly not the same man he was when he left.
    • Jas' parents were friends of Shane's, but they both died tragically, leading him to take her in; she lives with him and her "Aunt" Marnie.
    • Maru and Abigail are the only characters to avert this, as they live with their two parents from the outset of the game, unless and until you marry them. However, it is often hinted that Pierre is not Abigail's biological father, and is possibly the product of Caroline's dalliance with the Wizard. If true, that would make Maru the only character who lives with both of her biological parents in a stable relationship.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Before the 1.1 update, several key items could only be found once and were unrecoverable.
      • The Mermaid's Pendant could be bought only once, and if it was destroyed somehow before the player used it, the player would be locked out of marriage.
      • The Galaxy Sword could only be created once, and losing it meant the player lost the (then) best weapon in the game.
    • Sam's three-heart event can only be triggered during the first year, since his father Kent comes home in the second.
    • Rarecrows can be blown up from bombs, without any means of replacing them. All the more reason to keep bombs off the farming grounds!
    • Clint's six-heart event will be lost if the player did Emily's eight heart event first, or if Emily married the player.
  • Predatory Business: Joja Corporation's JojaMart retail chain is obviously a pastiche of Walmart, and they even have a flagship product called "Joja Cola". Their business moved into Pelican Town in the hopes of driving Pierre's shop out of business and turning the Community Center into a warehouse. Hell, before the PC quits their job there, the skeleton of a former employee nobody's bothered to do anything about can be seen a couple cubicles in front of theirs. One almost has to wonder if Morris meant it literally when he said "I'm done for" after the community center was fixed up and he realized he lost the battle for the town.
  • Purple Is Powerful:
    • The most powerful tier of items are purple. The best tools are Iridium tools, the best quality is Iridium quality, and the best weapons are the purple Galaxy weapons.
    • And the Wizard, who seems to be fairly adept at magic, has purple hair and clothes.
    • Also, the most valuable mushroom is the Purple Mushroom. Eating a Purple Mushroom of Iridium (purple) quality gives more energy than any prepared meal, and is in fact one of the most nutritious objects in the game.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Dwarven artifacts appear to be computers, still powered and active (but impossible to use for anything). You find them inside geodes. That is to say, they've been lying in the ground long enough to be encased in geological structures, and the battery's still good.
  • Random Event: There is a wide range of semi-random events that can occur. Some occur on dates randomly determined when a save file is first generated while others occur if certain conditions are met.
    • A crop fairy can visit the farm at night and cause all planted crops within a set area to instantly reach maturity.
    • A meteor can crash into the farm, destroying anything it lands on and requiring a gold pickaxe to harvest.
    • A UFO can visit the farm, leaving a capsule behind. This requires a set of randomly selected squares in the farm be empty or the visit does not occur.
    • An owl statue can appear on the farm. This has the same requirement as the UFO visit.
    • When the player has a coop or slime hutch the Witch has a chance of cursing it at night. This causes a Void Egg to appear in the coop or turns all slimes in the hutch black.
  • Randomly Generated Levels:
    • The cave system, which is divided into "floors" (you must find the way down to the next level in order to proceed). This is in contrast to the static overworld map, including the farm. However, ConcernedApe moved away from pure procedural generation for the caves/mines, instead designing "some things" by hand.
    • This is even more so the case in the Skull Cavern. In the regular mines, where there is still a sense of randomness in the enemies and items that spawn, as well as when the ladders show up, those mines have a set layout for each level and it ends at level 120. In the Skull Cavern, however, the level layouts are completely randomized and you can go down well past level 120.
  • Rare Candy: The Stardrop fruits permanently increase your maximum energy. They're quite rare, generally presented as rewards for accomplishing difficult tasks like catching one of every fish or getting to the highest possible relationship value with your spouse.
  • Reality Ensues: Any character with an addiction, long-term trauma, or mental health issues will not magically lose it because of The Power of Love or The Power of Friendship.
    • Shane's room once married suggests that his struggle with alcoholism and depression is ongoing. Yes, he loves you, but unfortunately, that is not going to erase his years of dependency or the poor mental health that's contributed to it.
    • The restoration of Pam's bus driving job sees her move into Functional Addict territory, but it won't stop her being at the bar every night (even when her job is as a driver!) or mend her relationship with Penny.
    • Kent's PTSD is not going to go away. You can smooth over a serious misunderstanding with his wife, and you can befriend him, but he still wanders the town lost and out of place, and his relationship with his kids doesn't see much improvement.
    • You can't fix Sebastian's estrangement from Maru and Demetrius (although his relationship with Robin will improve if he marries and moves out). He'll also struggle to kick his smoking habit, although he seems to be at least partially successful in this respect.
    • Linus claims he goes through garbage because he doesn't want food to go to waste, but Gus is more realistic about the situation, clarifying that he does it because he can't afford food.
    • If you complete every bundle in the Community Center, the JojaMart will shut down, and Morris and his plans for the town are both done for, causing JojaMart to leave Pelican Town. Great, right? Not entirely, since it means that the townspeople who worked there are now out of a job. Shane is particularly unhappy about the situation, since it was the only job he could get, and he now can't support his family at all, making his depression even worse.
  • Really Gets Around: As of 1.3, if you get ten hearts of friendship with every bachelor or bachelorette in the game but have yet to marry, the town will take note of this and perceive the player as this. And the next time you visit Emily and Haley's house or Gus' restaurant, all of the bachelor/ettes will confront you. Normally this ends very poorly for the player, and everyone will be angry with them for at least a week. However, if they have the Lucky Rabbit's Foot in their inventory at the time of being caught, instead of a hostile confrontation, the respective group greets the player with open arms, either gossiping or playing pool without a hint of resent.
  • Refining Resources: Certain raw items can be refined into other items, in particular, ore to ingots. As of 1.1, Alcohol and Cheese can be refined further through ageing in casks. Note that some crafting recipes still require the raw ingredient.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Giving someone a bouquet at 8 hearts officially makes you a couple. Even if you do this with multiple characters in one playthrough, which will get you called out.
  • Relationship Values:
    • For almost all NPCs, regardless of their marriage-eligibility status. Bachelors and bachelorettes have eight "hearts" of affection that can be increased to ten if the player undergoes a Relationship Upgrade with them. Everyone who can't be romanced can reach ten hearts by default. The player's spouse has their maximum affection rating increased to twelve hearts. The only regularly-recurring NPCs who can't be made friends with are Morris (because he's the villain of the story) and the two men who work in the Adventurer's Guild.
    • There also exist less nuanced relationship systems with the animals the player can adopt and raise; both livestock and pets (with five and four hearts to fill, respectively). The former determines how high-quality the goods they produce (such as eggs and milk) are, while the latter has no in-game benefit except for potentially boosting Grandpa's evaluation score if you care for your pet enough but is a great source of Video Game Caring Potential.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: Say what you like about their methods, there's no denying that Joja gets things done. JojaMart is open 14 hours a day, without taking a day off like Pierre does, and if you buy a membership, their Community Development Program is significantly faster, smoother and easier than restoring the Community Center, requiring a fairly trivial amount of gold to completely rebuild the town. You miss out on the bundle rewards, of course, but you can always make those yourself.
  • Reset Button: Can be Invoked by making use of Dark Shrines in a Witch's Hut to pay to either reset a bad friendship or relationship, even including a divorced spouse (making them forget everything about you) or permanently get rid of you children (by Baleful Polymorph), callous though it may be.
  • The Republic: The game is set in the Ferngill Republic, which is mentioned most often in contrast to the opposing Gotoro Empire; the two countries are actually at war.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay:
    • Figuring out when and where to catch certain fish - some tips are given in-game by a TV show, but they're not comprehensive or often repeated.
    • Gift-giving. Each character has only a few "loved" gifts, which are often rare and/or expensive, and outside of a few specific hints from characters the only way to find out whether they love a specific gift is to use it up and give it to them. Add to this the fact that you can only give them a gift two times per game week and if you get it wrong you can even lose hearts with them, figuring out gifts without using a guide can get quite frustrating. Even the few "universal" loves tend to have exceptions (e.g. everyone loves Prismatic Shards except Haley, who hates them). The one exception to this is the Mermaid's Pearl, since everyone loves it, but you'll only ever get one, and the only thing in the game that tells you how to get it may never show up.
  • Rescue Romance: Even given the Reality Ensues exceptions above, many of the romances have an element of this, particularly the ones where someone has a strained home life (where moving in with you alleviates the problem and gives them their own space) or feels unloved and neglected (in which case marrying you gives them the affection and security they craved). Penny, Sebastian, Alex, Shane and (to a lesser extent) Abigail all have shades of the rescue romance.
  • Save-Game Limits: With the exception of the iOS version, which supports saving at nearly any time, you only save when you go to bed, which takes you to the next day. The closest the game offers to a suspend save is auto-pausing whenever you un-focus the game.
  • Saving the Orphanage: The Pelican Town Community Center is rundown and Lewis is almost ready to sell the land to Jojamart, who will tear the building down and replace it with a warehouse. Completing "bundles" for the juminos inside the Center restores the building and saves it from destruction.
  • Schizo Tech: The eponymous Stardew Valley has a very strange level of technology, featuring a couple of cars but no major roads, a modern gym and hot springs, internet access, and high-tech tools, but monster hunting is done with swords and slingshots, and nobody appears to have ever heard of a tractor. Sprinklers are advanced tech that has to be unlocked, everything else on your farm is done with hand tools, and your starting gear is roughly Stone Age. On the other hand, an Iridium Axe is undoubtedly better than a modern chainsaw for cutting down trees.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The idea of the casino is to get some tokens and gamble enough to purchase stuff at the shop. Or you can just spend the gold to buy enough tokens outright to buy what you want.
  • Scripted Event:
    • The various Heart events are triggered by the player reaching a certain relationship with a villager and then going to a location when certain conditions are met.
    • At the end of Spring Year 1 an earthquake occurs which opens the path to the spa and train tracks.
    • On the first day of Year 2 Kent returns to Stardew Valley and becomes a regular NPC.
    • The prices of construction materials sold by Robin and Clint permanently increase on the first day of Year 2.
  • Sequence Breaking: You can make use of getting gifts from villagers with friendly relations to get ahead in developing the Community Center. Most notably, Emily's Raw Wool presents, which can help immensely in getting the Greenhouse within Year 1.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A couple of the player character's shirt choices are clearly references to Link's attire (one based on Ocarina of Time, and one based on a A Link to the Past).
    • Abigail has posters of Crono and Ecco the Dolphin in her bedroom.
    • At the Fall Village Fair, there is a test-your-strength minigame which nets you one single Star.
    • One of the 8 special scarecrows is Turnip Head from Howl's Moving Castle.
    • One of the mine monsters is a tiny ball of soot who jumps around and squeaks. Usually travels in packs.
    • The Broken CD: "It's a JojaNet 2.0 Trial CD. They must've made a billion of these things." Anyone who's lived in the US in the 90s will likely remember the sheer volume of trial CDs they received in the mail.
    • Sebastian has a poster of the player's avatar from the early Harvest Moon titles.
    • The way the Juminos put up the stars on the wall in the Community Center is reminiscent of the Star Piece screen in Super Mario RPG complete with the star spinning sideways and going up from the bottom and the Jumino in a similar Item Get! pose to Mario. Eventually you will have six stars in a hexagonal layout, with the exception of the seventh star in the center in SMRPG.
    • A randomized name for your pet is Kupo.
    • One of the wallpapers you can put on your walls has some very Minecraft-esque dirt-and-grass block terrain.
    • If Abigail is your wife and you name your daughter Cirilla, she'll mention having a dream of your child growing up to be a monster hunter.
  • Ship Tease: Each of the bachelors and bachelorettes has a character of the opposite sex who they get a varying degree of Ship Tease with; the pairings being Abigail and Sebastian, Penny and Sam, Haley and Alex, Maru and Harvey, Leah and Elliot, and Emily and Shane. None of the pairs except Abigail/Sebastian and Haley/Alex have an unambiguous romantic air to them, though, and there's no Matchmaker Quest for the player to engage in, either.
  • Show, Don't Tell: You can learn a lot about the townspeople from their environment and routines, especially once they trust you enough to let you into their bedroom and you can inspect some of their belongings.
  • Shown Their Work: The women's locker room in the spa has a pad and tampon dispenser. (Though the game doesn't specify whether it is perpetually empty with a nonfunctional coin slot, which would be the true mark of accuracy.)
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sebastian and Maru fit the dynamic perfectly. Even their interests correspond; both are into technology, but Maru prefers robotics and Sebastian prefers software development.
  • Side-Effects Include...: A poster you can read in Harvey's clinic describes a drug with an array of hilarious side effects. Whenever he talks to you he gives you health advice - in the summer he tells you to put on sunscreen.
  • Sinister Surveillance: During the opening cinematic the Joja Corporation cubicles each have a camera observing the employee.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The game subverts the usual mechanics associated with this world, but floors 40-79 of the mine apply.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography: The mine applies this, starting with generic caves for the first floor or so, leading into jungle, leading into ice caves, and ending with lava caves. The desert caves, bizarrely enough, are the hardest of all, but come in a completely different cave.
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: The Player Character starts off working at Joja Corporation, which is seen as monotonous and depressing when they were working prior to moving to Pelican Town in Stardew Valley.
  • Sprint Shoes:
    • The horse is thirty percent faster than your normal running speed, but it requires you to build a stable on your farm before you can use it.
    • There are several food items that can temporarily increase your character's movement speed, such as coffee. Under this effect, you move about twenty percent faster.
  • Steam Never Dies: A part of Stardew Valley's Schizo Tech. The trains that pass by are always pulled by steam locomotives.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • "The world-class science team at Joja Headquarters have determined that 'Joja Bluu' does not cause a significant erosion of the stomach lining."
    • Joja also claims that their digging operations are completely legal.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: You'll have to do this for Shane in his six-heart event, when he contemplates throwing himself off a cliff while in an alcohol-driven depressive low. Regardless of whether or not you succeed, he'll thankfully pass out before anything bad happens, after which you take him to Harvey's to get his stomach pumped.
  • Taught by Television: The PC can learn new cooking recipes from the cooking channel. In addition, the player can occasionally also get helpful Tips-of-the-Day hints, like when and where to catch a certain kind of fish.
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: One of these appears among the attractions in the Stardew Valley Fair during the fall season. Instead of a hammer, a pickaxe is used. Perfectly timing the bar with the top of the meter nets one star token.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: In the grand tradition of the genre. The whole of Stardew Valley - let alone Pelican Town - has about three dozen souls all told. It's a wonder JojaMart even bothered to set up shop here with such a tiny potential market to exploit.note 
  • Too Awesome to Use: Life Elixirs, by merit of requiring one of each uncommon mushroom to craft. This includes the Purple Mushroom, which you aren't likely to get a ready supply of until later in the game and mines (or via the farm cave with the mushroom option, or the forest farm map in autumn).
  • Translation Convention: The Dwarf only speaks Dwarvish, but their dialogue will show up in English once you acquire a translation book.
  • Treasure Room:
    • Downplayed. At certain mine checkpoint levels, there may be exactly one treasure chest that contains a lootable item of varying usefulness. In addition, some mine levels (usually found right before a checkpoint level) will have an area with a large number of breakable treasure chests. However, the usefulness of these items may vary.
    • Each day, one floor between 80 and 120 in the mines spawns a large number of rare mushrooms.
    • In the version 1.3 Skull Caverns, you'll randomly come across rooms with a treasure chest in them. These chests can give out various seed packets, food items, useful farming devices, valuable items (such as iridium bars and slime eggs), and even red and blue cowboy hats that can't be obtained anywhere else.
  • Unwinnable: Subverted. Normally, it's impossible to drop your tools on the ground or delete them. However, if you somehow manage to accomplish this, a brand-new replacement of said tool at it's base form will appear in your inventory the following day, with a letter from Mayor Lewis saying someone found your tools and put them in the lost-and-found bin. If you lose the starting sword this way and haven't unlocked the Adventurers' Guild (where the weapon store is), your scythe, axe, and pick can all be used as weapons, though slower and less powerful (and the axe and pick incur energy costs to swing).
  • Useless Useful Spell: All weapon types have a special secondary attack with a cooldown, and all of them are considered less effective than just swinging the weapon.
  • Vague Age: No character is given an explicit age in the story, a deliberate design choice by ConcernedApe to help players make their own subjective interpretations of characters, events, and relationships. This is especially true of the bachelors and bachelorettes: many seem to be fresh out of high school or the equivalent (Alex, Haley, Maru, and Penny in particular) whereas others are clearly meant to be somewhat older (Elliott, Leah, and Harvey in particular). ConcernedApe has said that all the characters are "legal" and that he envisions most of the younger bachelor(ette)s to be around 20 years old.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: As you befriend characters, you help make positive changes in their lives. Many players also opt to "rescue" the characters they feel the most sympathy for via marriage, such as marrying Penny to save her from her unhealthy relationship with her mother. Alternately, a great number of people romance and marry Sebastian, who barely HAS a relationship with his whole family as The Unfavorite.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can do some pretty horrible things to the characters that play on their worst fears and insecurities, such as calling Alex "worthless" (shortly after he's revealed to you that his abusive father hurled that specific insult at him on a regular basis).
    • The 1.1 update adds a few more callous ways to interact with other characters. You are free to divorce and marry all the eligible villagers if you so choose to. And while they will hold a grudge against you after you divorce them, you can activate a a dark shrine in the Witch's hut to erase their memories, causing them to forget that you were ever involved with them and letting you start fresh. And by offering a Prismatic Shard to another dark shrine you can turn your children into doves, permanently removing them from your life.
    • On top of all of the above, you can even romance Emily in the update, after pushing Clint to ask her out!
    • You can also anger people by using the slingshot on them, or building things in their walking paths.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: There are several things you can do which cause people to lose friendship points with the farmer.
    • Shooting people with a slingshot causes a drop in friendship, since they'll be annoyed with you.
    • Rejecting Penny's Anguished Declaration of Love in her ten-heart event causes her to lose 1,500 points of affection for the player (a full six hearts) and prevents the player from romancing her. Saying you don't like kids in her eight-heart event causes the same large affection drop.
    • Selling the community center out to JojaMart replaces the items you need to bring to the community center with money. However, the player can no longer earn the smaller rewards from completing bundles, and the "Friendship" bonus that would have increased everyone's friendship with the player by 500 points will no longer be available.
  • Video Game Time: The compressed time ratio means that getting from your house to the mountains can take an hour, which seems reasonable if you were to interpret the overworld map as not to scale. But then there's the matter of taking 10 in-game minutes just to get from your bed in an upgraded house to the front door.
  • Walking Spoiler: Krobus and the Dwarf might count. Seeing as they're meant to be secret characters that even have their own secret shops, simply mentioning their names can prove to be a spoiler.
  • Warp Whistle: Once unlocked, the mine cart can be used to quickly travel around. Similarly, various craftable one-time-use totems can be used to travel to a certain location, depending on which totem was used.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • If you hit any of the townspeople with your slingshot, your relationship will drop with them and they will call you out on it if you talk to them afterward.
    • As of the multiplayer update, it is no longer possible to date all of the eligible bachelors/bachelorettes at once without them calling you out on it. If you do this, you can trigger a cutscene where they all vow to "give you the cold shoulder". Should you be doing this and talk to Welwick at the fair, she'll also mention it.
  • White Collar Worker: You begin the game as this, an overworked, under-appreciated cubicle monkey at (where else?) the Joja Corporation. Your decision to give it all up and seek a new destiny on your grandfather's old farm is how it all begins.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Once you restore the Community Center Morris charges in and complains sales are plummeting. Pierre takes this moment to rally the townsfolk against JojaMart, and it's said Morris and the JojaMart cronies aren't seen again. Either Pierre can Win Back the Crowd by reminding them of their community leading to a JojaMart boycott with "let's be reasonable," or he can use Good Old Fisticuffs against Morris with "let's settle it the old fashioned way" and get Cool Shades after knocking out Morris.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Gameplay is open-ended, with no requirements put upon the player(s) to complete any story objectives (not even the main Joja Co. storyline). In fact, it can take several in game years to complete the main storyline, so that player is all but encouraged to take things at their own pace. The only thing that has a "time limit", so to speak, is the evaluation that your Grandpa gives you at the end of Year 2, but as of patch 1.05, you can get re-evaluated at any time afterwards at the cost of a diamond.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Due to the way the Fishing Minigame works, it's occasionally possible to reel in a fish (and even get a perfect catch) by not doing anything at all after you've cast the line.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Which is why we need to preserve it from the ruthless forces of capitalism so we can all enjoy it with the people close to us.
  • You Mean "Xmas": The Egg Festival, Spirit's Eve, and the Feast of the Winter Star are analogous to Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving/Christmas respectively.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • It is greatly implied that Caroline cheated on Pierre with the Wizard, and that Abigail might not actually be Pierre's daughter. It also used to be that, if you gave a bachelor/bachelorette a gift while married, your spouse had a fairly high chance of getting jealous. ConcernedApe would later patch in a fix to where this wouldn't happen as long as you gave the bachelor/bachelorette a gift on their birthday.
    • As of the multiplayer update, the bachelors/bachelorettes will react accordingly if you try to date all of them at once.
    • In co-op, bachelors/bachelorettes can date multiple players, i.e. more than one player can present a bouquet to them, and they'll accept.
  • Violation of Common Sense: You can refill watering cans at any water source...including the ocean.


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