New difficulty mod in Stardew Valley will purge your saves if you use a guide

It’s another case of life imitating art in the games industry.

A great number of us have played games in extra-difficult modes (or in the case of Kingdom Hearts, Proud Mode) to challenge ourselves. Now, a Stardew Valley player has created a “hardcore” option for the otherwise chill game, one that will delete the save files of any player who uses a guide while playing the game on PC.

According to GamesRadar, software engineer Sylvie Nightshade created the high difficulty mod on June 21 after reading an article published the day before on the satirical website Hard Drive, the gaming version of The Onion. The article in question joked about a “hardcore mode” in Stardew Valley that will delete players’ hard grown farms if they dare read the wiki at any point during gameplay. That same day, Nightshade quote-tweeted the article on X with the link to the mod in GitHub announcing that she turned the joke into reality.

The mod works by scanning the title of every window or tab that is open while Stardew Valley is running. If any window title includes “Stardew Valley Wiki” in the title, it erases everything the player has worked hard to achieve, forcing them to start from square one without using the guide. Nightshade even updated the mod so that it not only deletes the player’s save file but also closes the browser window the wiki was found in “just to add insult to injury.”

Hardcore mode being programmed into Stardew Valley is another case of life imitating art after Hello Kitty Island Adventure launched on Apple Arcade 17 years after it was mentioned as a joke in the South Park episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft.” Here’s a tip: If you play Stardew Valley on hardcore mode on your computer but use the guide on your phone, you should be safe.