Words On Wednesday

2016-12-07 Starting Minecraft

For so long, I hated on Minecraft as a pointless game. I thought of people who obsessed over it as simple-minded, lacking the palate to appreciate the finer intricacies of better games. And now I’ve begun playing it.

I blame Philbington for this change of heart. He talks about it enough that I finally became curious enough to try it for myself. What with discussing different mod packs, the variations between Java and console versions, and how your own play style dictates what you make of Minecraft, I was intrigued. Maybe I was wrong about the game. I had admittedly never played it before, only seen and heard about it from other people. What’s the harm in just trying it out?

Now, I certainly didn’t pay for a copy of my own. With the public library holding a few copies on PS4, I decided to check it out to see what all the fuss was about. And even with a few weeks under my belt, I still don’t play on purchasing a copy of the game. If I want to play it, I can just check it out for free. No sense buying it when my tax dollars give me access to it already.

After picking it up from the library, I immediately got flak from several people. People who, like me, considered Minecraft a simpleton’s toy that doesn’t deserve anywhere near the praise and obsession that so many players have for it. I was even mildly disappointed in myself. Surely, my tastes in video games were far superior than that of the average Minecraft player.

So I popped the disc into my PS4, installed the updates, and booted it up. My first step was to play around with the tutorial to figure out what to do and how to do it. I spent a few minutes learning the controls, and how the mining and crafting systems worked. Though I wasn’t really having fun, I wasn’t having not-fun, either. It was just… an experience.

Once I had played enough to get the basics, I made a world of my own. Not usually one to have things handed to me, I wanted to figure some stuff out on my own. It couldn’t be that hard to get a small settlement started and survive for a few days, at least. I created this world and threw myself into it headfirst.

Knowing the importance of a good shelter for success in Minecraft, I immediately punched a tree and created a crafting table and picaxe to burrow my way into a nearby mountainside. I set up a little base and began crafting all the essentials I would need. Using the PSN trophy list as a sort of guide for my activities, I started to develop some of the basic skills to thrive in the game.

Over the first couple of days, I explored more and more of the game mechanics. I dug down into the core of the mountain in which I had made my home. As I sank deeper into the soil, I found more and more materials with which to craft items and tools. Instead of digging and replacing bits of dirt to get in and out of my home, I made an actual door. I planted some crops to ensure I had a reliable food source in loaves of bread. I was bent on ensuring my ability to survive.

As I got a grip on how the game worked, my home became both more efficient and more protected. I used bones to tame a pack of wolves, stationing them around my front door. Instead of throwing seeds around a nearby pond at random, I created an infinite water source and fenced off a 9×9 patch of land to grow my wheat. For wool, eggs, and meat, I began herding local livestock into a pen and breeding them. I was genuinely creating a productive settlement.

Back and forth, I would switch between strip mining deep under the mountain, and harvesting or breeding up on the surface. Whenever I came across a mechanic that I didn’t understand or an item that I didn’t know what to do with, I would text Philbington and anxiously await his expert reply.

During my first week, there were certainly a few setbacks. I had quite a few creepers destroy terrain around my camp, and even take out some of the fencing for my wheat farm and livestock pen. However, I dealt with these adversaries and rebuilt where necessary. I even once had a witch spawn and nearly kill me. I was brought down to a half heart of health, before I slept through the night and healed up in the morning. Getting so caught up in strip mining, I reached the point of starvation without any food, and had to rush up to my main dwelling to grab some sustenance out of my wooden chest.

All in all, I think my first week in the game went pretty well. Sure, I wasn’t as skilled as the streamers who play Minecraft for a living, but I was happy with what I had accomplished. And surprisingly enough, I was having a lot of fun doing it.

I’ll certainly continue playing Minecraft for the next little while. I can’t see myself playing it for years like some people do, but it could be entertaining to play for a few weeks. The platinum trophy looks relatively easy to acquire, and can at least serve as direction while I’m playing. Instead of just wandering around, looking for something to do, I’ve got a clear indication of what else is required for “completion.”

As I continue playing, I will be uploading videos to a playlist on my YouTube channel. Feel free to watch me fail, and laugh at how little progress I make day to day. I haven’t yet died, but I know that I will before I stop playing. If you just want to see what trophies I have or haven’t gotten yet, I try to update my PSN profile every now and then.

I have to admit, I was wrong about Minecraft. It genuinely is a pretty fun game. Not something I could see obsessing about, but certainly worth playing. There’s something therapeutic about being able to mine for materials and turn them into something useful. I wouldn’t say that Minecraft is the game for everyone, in every circumstance, but there is a time and a place for it.

Meta:

Words: 1082 | Characters: 5913 | Sentences: 64

Paragraphs: 15 | Reading Level: 11-12th Grade

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