Minecraft is not a game for me, but I am impressed at the kind of experience it can provide. Not only did my lego-mad friend build a house with a waterfall/waterslide on the roof, but he also went for a very real-feeling explore which he writes about below. “Real feeling” is indeed the power of Minecraft, I think. Unlike the Sims or other things, there’s very few trackers for success. No goals, no points, just stay alive, and add value that you see fit. And since the “from behind” view doesn’t work well, it’s all first-person. Add the mad, nigh-infinite discovery of an open-world without the roleplaying of being in the Old West or Thedas or Skyrim, and it feels soul-crushingly real, in both senses. In the sense that it is incredibly immersive, and in the sense that it is as philosophical self-defining as our own world.
And as such, perhaps best left to those who appreciate the journey as much as the results…
(In this quote, Tom and Miranda are his kids, who like to watch him play various games)
So, on the assumption that we’re going to ditch the current map, I decided to have a bit of an adventure. Miranda and Tom wanted to watch, so I set off east with some tools, stone and my bed. I found the desert, then the sea, then turned aside to find some huge overhanging caves. After three nights of making myself a small cabin each sunset to sleep in I stumbled upon some Jungle ruins, some kind of Incan style structure full of traps, red stone, gems and gold. I sacked, um, archaeologically investigated the place and stayed there that night, and then determined to head back home. Then I got hopelessly lost. I’d left my bed somewhere so I had to take out some sheep, much to Tom’s distress (for the rest of the game I was vegetarian, mostly). I wandered for several days, with Miranda getting very anxious each time the night approached, but I always managed to put together a simple shelter. But I had absolutely no idea where I was. Then eventually I stumbled over a fortified village. I was near starving due to Tom’s aversion to slaughter, but luckily one of the villagers was willing to trade 9 cooked chickens for one of the gems I’d found. Another villagers said if I had 7 gems he’d give me the eye of Ender, (I only had 2). I spent the night with these lovely people and set off in the morning with renewed determination. I decided to try to find the X,Y co-ordinates 0,0. Then, after a day, I realised that Y was height and I should be looking for the X,Z co-ordinates 0,0. I thought that might be our initial spawn point. Turns out it wasn’t, but it did happen to be pretty much the exact spot of one of my little huts! I felt like Arthur Dent. That put me less than a day from home, which I did in double time, bringing back the spoils of travel, including cocoa beans (which I used to make chocolate biscuits).