Cheats In Single-Player Games Actually Make Them More Playable
When you talk about cheating in a game, it can cause such an eruption of moral discourse, but what if it could actually help people get more out of their plays?
I’m not talking about competitive games or anything that would affect anyone else's gaming experience. Let's talk about single-player, offline-based games. To help me with my argument, let's use a beloved one - Stardew Valley.
What is Stardew Valley?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, it's an 'open-ended country life RPG' where you inherit your grandfather's farm after leaving the big city. Your goal is to help the community thrive again, and you can fish, mine for gems, travel to islands, and even deserts. Of course, the big pull is farming until your heart’s content.
The game is a masterpiece, and is exceptional in delivering a truly collectable world that can provide players with 100s of hours of gameplay.
While the initial playthrough of Stardew Valley can provide enjoyment, avid players will know the title is very… repetitive. In true gaming fashion, if you want to open up everything Stardew Valley has to offer, you've got to be prepared to grind.
This can prove tiresome after months of playing the same quests, storylines and gameplay just to open up one minute more of dialogue from a character or build a cinema for the community - as I personally found to be the case after playing for over 120 hours.
What is the Stardew Valley Glitch?
As someone with ADHD, I hyper-focus my way through life - but if something loses my focus, even for a second, it's done in my head and I can’t come back. Stardew Valley and I went through this exact motion, meaning I swiftly moved on to every other farming simulation/RPG I could find in the Nintendo eshop.
It wasn't until someone told me that there was a glitch in the game that made it so I could 'duplicate every item' that curiosity caught me and threw me back to Pelican Town almost 18 months after I had put it down 'for good'.
From there, I duplicated every item I could. I spawned hundreds of golden pumpkins, prismatic shards, and treasure chests. I amassed fortunes of over 20 million in less than a week of in-game play. Finally, I visited the Wizard and happily shopped from his impossible shopping cart where I added obelisks and Junimos to my little farm. The opportunities of opening up a previously shut-off world were infinitely endless. That single glitch reignited my passion for Stardew once again.
I now didn't have to worry about money, so I spent days editing my farm to look as beautiful as I could get it. I fished for days on end, and when the Ginger Island update came (and removed my favourite new glitch), I was able to spend as much time as I liked exploring the island without feeling the guilt of forgetting my crops or animals.
Does the Stardew Valley duplication glitch still exist?
But my enjoyment was short-lived, as ConcernedApe patched the glitch and many others that fans had found. The game overlord made it so that if you wanted to alter the game, it could only be done via PC mods. I get it, that’s never how the developers intended Stardew to be played. Cheating was wrong, but having the duplication allowed me to explore so many new aspects of the game that I never would have without it.
I had ditched Stardew the second I got bored the first time around, whereas using the 'cheat' opened up a whole new experience for me in the game - hooking me right back in. I'm not much of a PC player, so mods were always out of the question, and it devastated me that I could no longer sit for hours on my Switch Lite and explore the world of Stardew Valley.
I wish my brain would allow me to continue with games I love and search them for years, but unfortunately, it doesn't. I long for the day that developers truly understand that not all gamers have the same brain wiring and that their art could be appreciated in other ways if they added a few little... tools into their games here and there.
Should developers include cheats in their games?
After all, look at all the people who discovered they wanted to be interior designers after using 'motherlode' on The Sims. Cheats have helped us define our own gameplay and unlock areas we likely never would have, so they should be something developers consider adding on their own terms into titles. Especially if the game has a collectors element to it all.
'Normal' players who don't want to cheat can come and go as they please without it affecting the way they consume the game. For those of us who would love to complete a title but don’t have the brain capacity, can finally enjoy 100% of a game, instead of just 30%.