Eric Barone is the creator and lead developer of Stardew Valley, the indie farming and life sim RPG that’s enchanted millions around the world. He’s a 32-year old game developer based in Seattle, Washington, who grew up in a semi-rural area of the Pacific Northwest with dreams of one day being a musician.
A digital meditation on what’s truly important in life, Stardew Valley resonates with themes of joy, magic and connection. This interview, undertaken on Friday, March 20, 2020, began with a single question on the theme of communicating, encouraging and sharing happiness.
Jeffery Klaehn: La dolce vita. How is “the sweet life” or “the good life” represented within Stardew Valley, and what does it mean for you? Is it the same as success, or different?
Eric Barone: For me, a good life involves self-actualization (finding my own purpose and fulfilling it), contributing positively to others (family, friends, community), and feeling like I’m part of something important that is bigger than myself. I guess I’d call achieving those things “success”!
JK: Stardew Valley released to universal critical acclaim in 2016 and since then you’ve continuously given players free content updates, providing new content and features, improvements and experiences. Why has this been important for you?
Eric Barone: I am very grateful that I’m able to make a career of this, but I’d say the most meaningful thing to me is that people love the game and are finding happiness, peace and magic in it. I've always wanted to capture a special magic with Stardew Valley. Read the rest