Most people play farming simulator Stardew Valley to wind down or relax, because it’s not inherently an action-packed game. It’s the sort of game where an exciting turn of events includes figuring out that your beau will love you if you gift them an egg. Sure, some people play to min-max their yields, but even so, it’s hard to imagine this is the sort of thing that could be shoutcasted. Right?
And yet, today Twitch is hosting an esports event where players are competing against one another in Stardew Valley. The goal is to collect the most gold or bundles before the end of the game. Accomplishing that requires the typical Stardew Valley gameplay we all know and love — farming, fishing, foraging, spelunking, and so on. But there are also multiple commentators who hype up the action as it unfolds. It’s surreal to watch, and a testament to the ways players can expand the ways we consume and enjoy games.
The event is happening today to celebrate the third anniversary of Stardew Valley’s release. Even the creator, Eric Barone, was invited onto the stream to give fans a quick note — and I think he speaks for everyone when he said that Stardew Valley esports is “frankly is not something I ever expected to see.”