The joy of a game that just… keeps… going
Some of my all-time favorite games have the same thing in common: no matter how much time I sink into them, it feels like there’s always a chance I’ll discover something new, either organically on my own, or in an off-the-cuff community discussion. These games are very clearly finite, but they have this ethereal “Today I Learned” quality to them. One of the best examples, for me anyway, is Stardew Valley — this game has leeegs.
Case in point, Reddit user the_changinator shared their latest find “after four playthroughs” and “over 500 hours of gameplay” in Stardew Valley: the Auto-Petter.
While you’d normally want to pet your animals to form a closer bond with them (and because they’re just plain cute), overworked or overwhelmed farmers can use the Auto-Petter in coops and barns to at least keep their critters feeling “content.” Who knew?
I never found this invention, and I’m certain plenty of you could say the same.
The Auto-Petter first appeared in the now-pretty-legendary 1.5 update, and it’s tied to the conniving JojaMart questline — kind of. That’s arguably the “easy” way of getting the tool. You can outright buy it for 50,000g after finishing the Joja Community Development Form. Or, if you’re not a corpo, you can try your luck at finding an Auto-Petter in a chest in the Skull Cavern. I haven’t done the Joja quest and I never will. It’s not worth the guilt!
(If you’re determined to go the luck-based route, here’s a helpful guide.)
On a wholesome note, the Auto-Petter isn’t meant as a total replacement for hand-petting animals in Stardew Valley to raise their mood and friendship levels; for the best results, you’ll want to bond with your flock as well. I doubt I’ll ever get this tool, and that’s neat. Knowing it even exists as a possibility makes me appreciate this game even more.
I wish more games had this community spirit
Given the gradual nature of Stardew Valley, I feel like these tidbits are cyclical — folks find something cool, share it, and move on, only for the next wave of players to repeat the same cycle of tip-sharing down the line. It’s a hell of a way for a video game to stay relevant long after its original release and content updates have come to an end. I super admire games that can maintain a lively and welcoming vibe in which new players don’t feel closed off from asking questions and sharing well-meaning fluff. I live for the fluff!
There are surely ways to build a game that encourages this communal behavior from the ground up — but I feel like the best ones just seem to snowball as fans keep the conversation going out of continued passion. Even if you’re done actively playing a game, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to stop talking or reading about it. That’s why we’re here.