I’ve never played Stardew Valley, but the Festival of Seasons concert won me over

I have a confession to make: I’m not a fan of life sim games at all. I appreciate that people enjoy them, but they are not my thing, especially when they involve tending to gardens, farms and other forms of property.

All this is to explain why I have never played Stardew Valley. While I always admired from afar What solo developer Eric “concerned copy” Barone Finished with the game, I’ve never had a desire to jump in myself.

At least, not until this past weekend. After receiving a complimentary ticket from Canadian presenter Kashamara Productions, I attended SOHO Live’s Stardew Valley: Festival of Seasons concert in Toronto. I honestly did not know what to expect, because how little I knew about the game itself.

To my surprise, I found the whole experience absolutely delightful.

That all started with the presentation. Been in some Game Final Fantasy And Kingdom Hearts concerts over the years, as well as last month’s Sonic Symphony, I was anticipating an orchestra of dozens of people performing Barone’s music for the game along with an HD video presentation of Stardew Valley Game. But that’s not what Festival of Seasons is at all, and it’s all the better for it.

Altogether there were maybe 12 musicians on stage, including the pianist on the side, and no screen could be found. Initially, I was at least hoping for the latter so I could see more tightly edited footage that would maybe help me learn more about the game. For example, the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concerts basically offer “greatest hits” sizz reels of moments from each featured game, which, alongside the live orchestra, proves to be an engaging form of storytelling.

But I quickly came to appreciate how the comparatively quaint and understated nature of Festival of Seasons was remarkably effective in its own way. As the title suggests, the structure of the concert is divided into four seasons and associated songs, with the transition between each marked by ambient lighting and the conductor’s reference-filled interstitial commentary. (Thus, people do not like a character named Pierre.) But otherwise, the music was left to speak for itself, and I found that surprisingly meditative.

Without gameplay footage to paint any of these scenes, I started to develop a greater appreciation for how the music himself Tell a story. I imagined that I was a newcomer to the titular valley, just like the hundreds of people around me once were, and what the experience could be. In a sense, I was using my own makeshift mental character creator, rather than the in-game one. And from there, the setlist helped color in the journey.

The opening warm and soothing spring tunes, like “It’s a Big World Outside,” helped evoke the excitement of starting a new chapter in this city and all the sense of potential that entails. When the clear “Dance of the Moonlight Jellies” came on and the crowd around me jumped up with joy, I could picture my workman planking down after a long day and taking in a stunning nighttime show. During the eclectic medley of various character songs, I wondered what kind of colorful people I would meet while performing my day-to-day farm work, be it the mayor, general store owner or my neighbor.

And when the show closed with “A Golden Star Is Born,” I found myself surprisingly despondent. From what I understand now, that’s what happens when you build a community center, and even then I certainly had that feeling. The whole piece captured the feelings of coming together and finding your people, creating that soothing sense of accomplishment after a long journey.

Through all this, I began to really understand why so many people around me were getting so emotional, like the girl next to me who tearfully said “I’m up” at the end. In the same vein as a live Distant Worlds performance of “Aerith’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VII Can reduce me to tears, I began to better understand why people have such strong reactions. I saw that Stardew Valley In general it was about each person’s individual journey with the game – how they spent their days, what profession they took up, who they ended up marrying.

This is a testament not only to Barone’s incredible music, but the power of the gaming medium as a whole. Which every player has experienced with Stardew Valley is completely unique, and this was brought to the concert. Even with my ignorance to the game itself, I felt All this through the music.

And after all this, I absolutely now want to check out Stardew Valley. The timing couldn’t be better either, given this week’s launch of the highly-anticipated big 1.6 update. What I saw at the Festival of Seasons concert was honestly quite magical, and I’m excited to see more of that in the game itself.

If you need me, I’ll be in Pelican Town.

The Festival of Seasons is now touring worldwide. In Canada, the concert will continue to play in Ottawa (March 23), Vancouver (March 27), Edmonton (March 28) and Montreal (May 5), although tickets are now sold out in all these cities.

More information can be found here.

It is worth noting that Kashamara Productions is also helping to present these Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Concert that will be played in Toronto on September 19th and 20th (tickets go live on March 22nd at 10:00) and Montreal on November 29th (tickets are now live).

Image credit: SOHO Live

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