Minecraft: Three Months Later

Three months ago I wrote an article on Minecraft. I wrote this article not long after I had started playing (and got hooked on) the game and needed somewhere to gush before I exploded with adoration for Notch’s marvellous creation. Now it’s February, and I’m still playing it often – almost every day in fact – so I thought I’d do a follow-up article on how Minecraft now rules my life.

Perhaps it’s because the game is still being developed as I’m playing it, so new content is constantly being released. Perhaps it’s simply because of the core principle behind the game but it doesn’t seem to be getting old. Normally with a game I really like, I play it so much that within a few weeks I get bored because I’ve shoved so many hours down its throat that it’s choking and crying, saying it has nothing left to give. Weird imagery aside, this has happened with every game I’ve ever loved: LittleBigPlanet, the Assassin’s Creed series (every one of them), Red Faction Guerrilla, Front Mission 3, Shadow of the Colossus, Civilization IV, and so on.

However, I’ve been playing Minecraft for three and a half months now and I’ve been putting hours into it every week, often every day, yet I still haven’t ran out of steam. In fact, I haven’t even run out of ideas for what to do next.

When I turned Assassin’s Creed 2 on I didn’t necessarily have any ideas for what I was going to do once I’d finished the main storyline. Usually, I just ran around and stuck various weaponry inside various guards. I once spent 6 hours starting fights with guards whilst using none of my own weapons; just going at it with fists and relieving them of their weaponry. Even in LittleBigPlanet’s Create mode I would load the game and start messing around before I thought of something to actually build.

However, with Minecraft I’m constantly thinking of ideas for what I’m going to do next. I bought a server in January and I visit it practically every day. I’ve installed mods, invited various friends to visit, and generally built my arse off. Currently I’m half way through converting an entire mountain into a castle, which isn’t anywhere near finished because I keep getting distracted by other projects. At the ‘top floor’ it opens onto a courtyard of sorts made of cobblestone, where there are wheat and sugar cane farms of my own design and a huge, four story darkroom trap tower that is so huge I built a water ladder up the side for getting up to the top when I finally add the fifth floor.

All this stemmed from my first build – a room in the side of the previously mentioned mountain with a balcony outside and a spiral mine that extends down to bedrock. I followed this up with a tree farm at ground level inside the mountain, with a tiny garden surrounded by diagonally placed cacti (you can’t place a cacti directly next to a block, not even other cacti) that was, in effect, a surprisingly effective trap. It’s directly below the balcony, so I can just stand on the edge and various hostile mobs will see me, walk towards me and into the cacti until they’re killed – dropping some nice loot for me to collect (they’re not very smart).

Where the spiral mine hits bedrock, it opens out into a small room with three doorways. One of them leads to another tree farm, because you can never have enough wood (that’s what she said?) and the others lead off to two different branch mines – one is mine, one is my girlfriend’s. She did a lot of mining and found about four times the amount of diamond I did, before getting bored of branch mining and hollowing the whole branch mine out so it’s now a huge room that extends off into the fog if you have your draw distance on normal. This huge room has a doorway in one wall that goes into a less clear cut room where I decided to play with some TNT. It went surprisingly well (and even got me some diamond).

All this from a single room in the side of a mountain, with a red and white ‘tiled’ floor made of wool and a balcony. Looking at the darkroom trap, four floors in pitch black with water channels heading towards the middle which drops enemies into the drowning trap located in the bottom room made almost entirely out of glass, each floor took almost 1000 cobblestone to build, if not more, and took my girlfriend and I an hour to do.

After all this I went and wandered off into the wilderness one night and started a new building and branch mine quite a ways away from the darkroom castle. Even now I’m planning a minecart system (one of the few Minecraft staples that I haven’t tried yet). I’ve decided on a booster, where it’s going to go, and also that I have to level an entire mountain to achieve this. It will take hours and no doubt I’ll enjoy every second of it, but I need more iron first.

All this time passed without us even noticing or, perhaps more crucially, even caring. Now even when we’re not playing we’re more than likely doing something involving it. We’ve watched Let’s Plays – a series of entertaining game playthrough videos – from the beginning and have seen every single one of Avidya’s, Yogscast and SeaNanners videos, as well as being half way through GuudeBoulderfist’s. We’ve even read PC Gamer’s The Minecraft Experiment. Right now I’m finding it difficult to tear myself away from the Minecraft Subreddit and Minecraft videos on YouTube. It’s difficult for me to not be looking at new plugins that I could install on the server.

I’m even experiencing an urge to branch mine, which should be the dullest thing you could possibly spend large amounts of time doing; yet the excitement and chance of finding diamonds, a cavern, or even immolating myself in lava keeps me going. I could stop, but I’d be lying if I said I wanted to. What if I stop just short of some diamond and never find out? That would be tragic. I’d never find out how tragic it would be, but it would be tragic nonetheless.

Look, I might be rambling and gushing here, and if you haven’t played Minecraft or studied it like I have you might not know what a darkroom or lava trap is. You might not quite understand mobs or how they spawn. You might not even care about any of this but I do and I can’t get it out of my head. That, right there, is what I want from a game. I want a game that is so good, so open-ended, and so simple that it takes over my life completely. Suddenly I dream in blocks and think ‘creeper’ when I hear hissing sounds, seeing vulnerabilities in real structures and have the split-second, utterly irrational (but completely understandable to like-minded Minecrafters) fear of mobs spawning when I turn real life lights off.

All of this came from a single day when I saw the word ‘minecraft’ somewhere and Googled it. I played Classic, enjoyed it, and bought Alpha. I played Alpha and then didn’t play for a week because I wanted to build things and I was disappointed it was so different when I first tried playing. Then I sat down, played, and found the game I genuinely consider my favourite game of all time.

And it isn’t even finished yet.

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24 Comments

  1. I’m loving minecraft so far, playing on redacted’s server; Valhalla at the moment. Great game, have you tried using a custom terrain generator on your server yet, it yeilds some very pleasing results.
    http://nirrius.com/images/news_posts/valhalla_screenshot_1.png
    http://nirrius.com/images/news_posts/valhalla_screenshot_2.png

  2. Love Minecraft, have some pics on my facebook page. I haven’t been spending much time on it recently due to exams and the like, but God help my summer. All that time is probably going to be consumed by this game, as sad as that is :P

  3. i’d love to see this on consoles as a downloadable.

    • a knockoff version is being made for xbox i seem to remember

  4. Am i the only one who has noticed that the page is a bit [email protected]_O

    I say that Minecraft is the PC version of LBP but with blocks. I wonder if anyone has recreated FF in Minecraft. Damm now i want it.

  5. I absolutely love it so far, I’ve only been playing it a couple of days and I’m finding it so much fun.

    It would be great if we could get a TSA server up

    • Yes, that would be a great idea, multiplayer would be much for fun if it was tsa

    • I don’t know about a TSA server (quite expensive for large user limits), but if you PM me I can give you the IP for my server.

  6. Im on Gamoc’s server and its bloody fantastic. THe things that the server memebrs have made baffles me. I’m currently designing a huge glass dome to put somewhere near the sea. Circles are a bitch so i need to plan it out of minecraft before i go ahead a build it. Currently collecting sand and wood to make glass.
    It may sound like a chore but it adds to the game so much. Nothing like a bit of underground exploration with a few mates!
    Already one of my favourite games ever.
    Also, Gamoc, i haven’t seen you on for a while.. you back on it soon? I miss you :3

  7. I need to give this game a go!

  8. Got my own server running 24/7 at my home for just me and my friends
    We usually talk via skype when we play.
    Last call took 3 hours and 55 minutes :)

  9. I’d love to see some screenshots of your creations! I stumbled upon the Yogscast videos by accident and they are very entertaining. I might have to check this game out myself.

  10. I’ve always been on the edge of buying this game, but not wanting it to absorb all my time, aha.

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