Games like Stardew Valley prove that we are in the golden age of gaming

I tend to be pretty negative in my articles about video games, usually because those comments cover big publishers or the games they bring up. If those articles were the only thing you had to keep going on, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I’m some kind of perpetual pessimist who doesn’t really enjoy games despite the fact that he writes about them for a living. Conversely, I think we’re actually in the middle of a golden age of games, even though the big publishers and their AAA games have very little to do with it.

You just need to look at the successful indie scene to see what I’m talking about. On a computer, which is a more open platform than consoles like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch, anyone can create and publish their own game these days. While this means that there is a huge amount of garbage on shop windows like Steam, it also means that there is an almost endless amount of games worth both your time and money, made by people who are gamers themselves and want to be part of the communities they create.

While there are many games I could cite as proof of my claim, Stardew Valley is perhaps the most relevant example here in late 2020. As something of a holiday surprise, developer Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone delivered an update to the content of version 1.5 of the game on December 21, delivering what he says is Stardew Valleyis the biggest update so far.

Barone left this update as a complete surprise – he hadn’t previously announced a release date, and just the day before the release he was teasing the new features in version 1.5 as if the upgrade was still around for a while. He also did not charge anything for this update, nor did he charge anything Stardew Valleyupdates over the years. Everyone was free for everything, although they obviously undertook a significant job as they all added large samples of new content to the game.

Barone could easily charge for these updates as a DLC, because it is a simple truth that other developers and publishers charged money for a DLC that adds far less and people were happy to pay for it. Despite this, Stardew Valley has cost $ 14.99 its entire existence on Steam. It never cost more than to be fulfilled Stardew Valley experience, and that’s quite impressive at an age when major publishers are raising retail game prices to $ 70 while pretending not to make excessive fists on predatory prey boxes and microtransactions.

But let me suggest it Stardew Valley is special just because it offers a lot of content at a great price it doesn’t tell the whole story and it doesn’t do either Barone or his justice in the game. Stardew Valley is mostly a standalone show, as Barone, to my knowledge, independently developed the entire base game and called on the help of Chucklefish Games to help localize, develop multiple players after launch, and console connections after the finished game is delivered.

When I say it’s a standalone show, I don’t just mean that Barone was into pixeling, music, writing, and coding it all on his own (even though he did just that). It is also active in Stardew Valley community, and you can see it regularly on both Reddit and Twitter by offering technical support to people who have problems with the game. When Stardew Valley the first time I started it, I remember contacting him personally because I thought my save file was corrupted – not only did he contact me quickly, but he offered to fix the save file (in my case, the save file was actually well and I was just a panicked user after the crash).

As far as I can see, Stardew Valley is a passionate project for the Barons in every sense, and that is exactly what makes it so good. Although I’m sure of it Stardew Valley more than he pays Barone’s bills today, I don’t think the game started out in hopes of getting rich. Instead, I think he succeeded because it’s a game he wanted to play himself – a stark contrast from the executives of big companies who view games only as a means by which they can make as much money as possible.

Barone is a perfect example of the kind of developer that the gaming industry needs, and if you visit it Stardew Valley subreddit, you will see a legion of players singing his praises at every opportunity. The amazing thing is that Barone is not alone in the indie space of the game. There are many more indie developers who make games because they love games and who truly want to connect with their players because of a shared love of video games.

I can count half a dozen of them without even looking at my Steam library: Re-Logic with Terraria; A subset of the game with FTL: Faster than light i Into the Breach; Supergiant games with Had,, Bastion, i Transistor; Ludeon Studios sa RimWorld; Wube software with Factorio; and Team Cherry sa A hollow knight. All of these developers are obviously in a race because they love video games, and that’s a wonderful thing to see.

Obviously I’m not saying that developers working in massive studios don’t like games, but there is a certain authenticity that the corporate world takes away from game development. With all of the above studies, game makers communicate to some extent directly with their users, collect feedback, and work in the community to improve their games. You don’t have that same kind of personal connection in massive publishing houses, where PR teams and press releases have separated the executives who are shooting from the public. Of course, you may be able to search for an individual developer on Twitter, but chances are they don’t have the power to implement changes to their games in the same way that these independent developers do.

In a world where corporate greed poisons so many industries, it’s so encouraging to see developers like Barone and Re-Logic and Subset offering so much value to the people who play their games. The number of developers like the ones I listed in this article will only grow as access to the platform and tools for developers become more accessible.

In fact, I’m confident to say that in the coming decades, the best gaming experiences will increasingly come from indie developers who are first-time players like all of us, moving to make the game they’ve always wanted to play on their own. We’re really in the golden age of games right now, you just need to know where to look for evidence of that.