If you’re a gamer like me, you have your own unique standards that you use when evaluating a game. For me its the whole package. But above all, the plot, the aesthetic, and the soundtrack. There are so many video game classics with amazing soundtracks: Legend of Zelda, every Final Fantasy, Halo 3, just to name a few. Although there are many amazing video game soundtracks, its not like I’d ever listen to them other than while playing the game.
When I got Stardew Valley I was surprised to find that the game included a soundtrack. I’ve never purchased a video game that came with a soundtrack, I thought it was quite strange. I also was not too keen on playing the game as it was taking it back to the old school 8bit style. Not that I have anything against this choice, I just made the assumption that the game would be a very simplistic version of other games like Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing. I was so wrong, it was a unique combination of the two. After 10 minutes of playing this RPG, I realized its depth and was amazed at its detail, all the way down to the music. Indie games are special in that they put the time and effort into details like these, and these skills are beautifully highlighted in this game.
At the beginning of the game you inherit your grandfather’s farm. You are entrusted with his legacy. Where you go from there is your choice, the game has endless possibilities and opportunities. Its addicting. I think that what makes it most addicting is the music that keeps you going. Each unique track creates soundscapes that perfectly compliment the aesthetic. At one point I was totally immersed and forgot the game was 8bit. After playing the game for so long I realized why one would want to own a soundtrack. Each song is unique with its own flavor of synths and drum kits; above all they are deeply relaxing.
The general musical theme of the spring months are bright banjos and guitars. The summer is tropical and hazy. The fall has warm synths with hints of a cold brightness that follows. Winter is by far my favorite season of music. It’s melancholy ethereal synths perfectly compliment the magic of a white winter.
But my favorite song on the whole entire album is the 2:05 minute track, “Spirit’s Eve Festival.” If you’re not into video game music thats fine, but just give this track a shot, you won’t be disappointed. The track plays while you are in town for the festival having a fun ghoulish time playing games while skeletons walk around in a large cage. The song’s syncopated synths are so dark, I would want to sample this song if I were a producer for sure.
Eric Barone, under the alias of Concerned Ape, created everything. The music, art, programming, and design. Not only did he do all these things, but he was teaching himself to do all of these things while making the game. Four years later it released on February 16, 2016 and sold one million copies in only two months. I am blown away that one man could develop this game.
I personally don’t listen to video game music other than when I’m playing the game. But when I’m feeling own I throw on Stardew Valley while I’m drinking my coffee, and feel a bit better.
Listen to “Spirit’s Eve Festival,” on YouTube.
Listen to the album on Spotify.
“ConcernedApe.” Stardew Valley, Concerned Ape , stardewvalley.net/presskit/sheet.php?p=Stardew%2BValley.