Wednesday, April 25, 2012

40 days and 40 nights in Minecraft

They say "addictive" like it's a good thing...

There are two types of people in the world: Those who play Minecraft and those who don’t.

Just kidding, there are tons of types of people in the world. Way more than I can list here.

So, if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to lately, I kind of fell down the Minecraft rabbit hole. I know, that’s no excuse for disappearing for almost a month and a half, but it’s what happened. At the very least I got some neat experiences out of the ordeal.

There are some of you who haven’t played Minecraft and don’t understand what the deal is all about. To be entirely honest, I don’t fully understand it either. There’s something about Minecraft that is beyond comprehension, a sort of mystical quality that makes it appealing in spite of itself.

In my opinion, Minecraft barely qualifies as a game. Oh, sure, it has a lot of the pieces that games are made from. It’s got health, crafting, monsters, objectives, but all those seem almost… unnecessary. It’s closer to a large sandbox, with unlimited freedom, but even that’s not quite right. It’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, slain by an Enderman.

Minecraft has two modes: creative and survival. Creative mode is what a lot of those really neat things you might have seen on YouTube were built in. You have unlimited materials, can destroy blocks instantly, you can fly, and so on. It’s geared entirely to let the only limit to what you make be your imagination. Survival is the opposite. You start with nothing, you take damage, hostile monsters spawn at night and try to kill you, and the whole game is built around finding materials and eventually completing the game-y type objectives given on the pause menu.

Personally, the only time I use creative mode is when I’m sketching out plans for a large or difficult building or contraption. It doesn’t hold much appeal for me otherwise. Where I really get sucked in is Survival Multiplayer (SMP).

It’s exactly what it sounds like: survival mode, with multiplayer. SMP is cool because the objective shifts from completing the game objectives (and maybe building something cool while doing it) to making large-scale projects that are really cool. Sure, you can still travel to The End and slay the Enderdragon, but once one person on the server has done that it’s pretty much over, and the game becomes entirely what you make of it.

The Vergecraft Super-Pyramid, Oceana

While I had my own projects that I was working on, the bulk of the people on the server I play on were working on this. It’s a giant glass and stone pyramid that goes from sea level (65) all the way up to the height limit (256). With a base nearly 400 blocks wide, the pyramid is a massive structure, visible from an extreme distance, and has taken teams of workers several weeks to reach the stage it’s at now. At the time of this writing, it’s still not finished, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

It’s things like this that really make Minecraft incredible. Collaboration. Teamwork. Finding a vein of diamonds. I’m not going to touch the stuff again if I can avoid it, since it definitely is more addictive than lemonade, but it’s certainly an experience that you won’t get elsewhere.

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