Stardew Valley is the sweetest farming game around. Crafted with pretty pixel art, this country-life RPG allows you to build the farm of your dreams, as humble or as flashy as you please. The game is praised for being calming and peaceful (and it is), with a warm atmosphere and the pleasure of literally reaping what you sow.
But behind this sunny veneer is a town wracked with dark secrets. Behind the smiles of the colorful townsfolk are mysteries that paint quite a different picture of the sweet little town. We’ve compiled a list of these secrets for you to explore. But be warned: there are (obviously) spoilers ahead.
10. Shane Is Severely Depressed
When players first talk to Shane, they might dismiss him as rude and standoffish. I know I did. But if you persevere, his walls begin to crumble, revealing the reason behind his behavior.
In his first heart event he opens up, saying he feels "stuck in some miserable abyss" and he "can’t even see the light of day." It goes deeper at four hearts; the player finds him passed out in a mess of empty beer cans, where he even references suicide. While it’s never explicitly stated that he suffers from depression, it’s pretty clear this is the case. Don’t worry, though, in later cutscenes he agrees to get help – but what a harsh dose of reality.
9. Pam Is An Alcoholic (Who Never Recovers)
Pam can be found in the Stardrop Saloon every single night, sometimes saying little, and sometimes nothing at all (because she’s that drunk). She makes a mess of the trailer she shares with Penny, leaving her to clean it up herself. Her drinking problem got so bad that she stopped paying her tab, and poor Gus, struggling financially, felt unable to confront her about it.
Not only that, but beer, mead, and pale ale are beloved gifts by Pam, so any unknowing player would gift her these items to gain friendship points, only to realize they’re enabling her destructive behavior. Yikes.
8. Clint Is Doomed To Be Lonely Forever
Clint is another regular of the Stardrop Saloon. Often making remarks that indicate he’s lonely, he sits alone for the entire night. He actually has feelings for Emily, which you may find when snooping through his room by an unsent letter to her. In it, he says he’s "too shy" and will never have the courage to tell her.
What’s more – if you marry Emily in the game, he never finds anyone else, nor do they get together if you marry someone else. He’s doomed to be alone, never moving on, and forever lamenting his lack of courage and lost chance at love.
7. Alex Has A Tragic Past
Alex may seem like a typical arrogant jock, but underneath all that muscle is a deeply insecure boy with a horribly sad past. During his four-heart event, Alex tells the player the real reason he lives with his grandparents. His dad was abusive, spending half the time absent, and the other half drinking and calling Alex "worthless." Then his mom got sick and passed away, leaving him alone with his grandparents.
The worst part? Alex is still affected by his dad’s cruel words. In his five-heart event, he explicitly calls himself "worthless." It’s heartbreaking.
6. The Wizard Cheated On His Ex… And Had A Daughter
Everyone seems amicable in Pelican Town, but the Wizard is at the core of some serious family drama. In the Dark Talisman quest, he asks you to retrieve magic ink from the dwelling of his ex-wife who just happens to be the Witch. He says he made a "mistake" that made her so angry, she turned green and flew over the town leaving curses everywhere.
But here’s the real kicker: in random dialogue, he may tell you that he suspects someone in the town is his daughter… Oh! I think we know what this "mistake" was now! But who is his daughter?
5. Abigail Could Be The Wizard’s Lost Daughter
Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here. Caroline tells the player in casual dialogue that she used to visit the Wizard, and asks not to tell Pierre because he’ll be jealous. I’m seeing a red flag here. What’s worse is that Pierre himself says he suspects Abigail isn’t his!
If you marry Abigail, she may reference her hair, saying she hasn’t dyed it in ages, yet it’s stayed purple. Could this be some magic that also made the Wizard’s hair purple? Or is it simply a joke about unchanging character appearances? Some fans think it’s a red herring.
Jas is another contender due to her purple hair, and even Caroline herself has been suspected. We may never know!
4. Pierre’s Marriage Is Falling Apart
If his livelihood being threatened by JojaMart and the questionable status of his family wasn’t enough, Pierre may be having marital problems. Suspecting your daughter isn’t yours has got to put some strain on the marriage. Well, perhaps to deal with these struggles, Pierre has a dirty secret of his own... In his six-heart event, you find what is referred to as his "secret stash," hidden behind the bookshelf in his bedroom. He catches you snooping, and asks you not to tell anyone. It’s unclear what this stash is – rude magazines, some kind of paraphernalia? Either way, suffice to say there is indeed trouble in paradise.
3. George Had A Terrible Accident
George is yet another resident with more struggles behind the scenes. Initially shown as a grumpy old codger in a wheelchair, he only seems to have sour things to say. After getting to know him a little better, you’ll find out why: he’ll tell you that he had an accident working in a coal mine 30 years ago. He slipped when setting off dynamite, and was never able to walk again. On top of that, his daughter is dead, and now he’s looking after his grandson. Does this game ever let up with the sad backstories?
2. A Dark Existential Message
Your character starts off working a soulless job in the Joja Corporation, and the farm supposedly saves you from the "burden of modern life." But even in Stardew Valley, the talons of capitalism sink in.
The clinical JojaMart offers discounts that threaten Pierre’s small store, and depending on player choice, can even take over the community center. Plus, we spend hours growing our farms to make money to fund more farm stuff, to make more money. Perhaps the game is really trying to tell us that greed is inevitable and inescapable. When you look at it like that, it’s pretty depressing.
1. Getting Married Ruins Your Spouse’s Life
On the farm, having a spouse can be very helpful for you; they can water crops, feed animals, repair fences, and prepare meals, but what’s in it for them?
The richness of this game comes from the characters and their dreams; Sebastian wants to leave town to live in the big city, and Leah dreams of being a professional sculptor. But if you marry your sweetheart, their progression ends there. Leah doesn’t really sculpt anymore, Sebastian never leaves town, and Sam loses interest in his band. They’re stuck in a monotonous marriage, giving up their dreams to make you breakfast. I bet you feel bad now, don’t you?