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I guess I just like liking things

These things meow at me more than my actual cats do.

These things meow at me more than my actual cats do.

I know I’m late to this party. The first post in the Minecraft thread on my forum is from four years ago. Everybody but me was playing on the same server and building these crazy ornate temples and towers. I read along and looked at all the pictures and watched the videos and was amazed/intrigued, but all of it reinforced that it just “wasn’t for me.” At least part of that was because I don’t have a good PC gaming setup anymore, I know. It’s much easier to play console games, so its appearance on the Xbox One (and its $5 price tag) made it a “ehhhhhhh, why not?” decision for me.

Sure enough, now I’m hooked, just like everybody else… but not in the same way that I’ve seen most other people get hooked. Here’s how I’ve been playing:

After the initial “just survive the first few nights” I got a basic house built. The first version had windows, but I got weirded out by Creepers looking at me all night, so the current version is a 3-block high 20×40 (roughly) stone house with jack-o’-lanterns around the parapet.

For reasons I can’t quite determine, I’m driven to flatten the area around the house in an ever-widening circle. Given enough time, I would most likely flatten the whole map (an impossible/ridiculous task). I can now see the sea from my house, 150m or so away. “Flattening” (at least the way I mean it) is not only digging hills until they’re gone, but also filling in holes (or at least putting a top layer on it).

I did build a Q*bert pyramid pretty soon after I built my house, but it blocked my view of the ocean so I knocked it down. I’ll build another one at some point, you can bet on it.

I have a quarry immediately behind my house that is too big because I didn’t really understand what I was doing when I started it. Now that it’s that big I’ll need to clear it all out eventually. I have stairs on either side of it that go all the way down to bedrock, and the bottom level is completely clear. It weirds me out to go down there because it’s dark and the ceiling is only two blocks above the floor.

Yes, I get claustrophobic while playing. I have also experienced vertigo. The claustrophobia is a big encouragement for me to keep clearing out the quarry, honestly.

Sometimes I’ll just take off in a direction loaded up with a bunch of pickaxes, shovels, and torches and dig in a straight line until I come out the other side of something. Unfortunately, sometimes what I come out into is lava or water.

There’s no story, really, but I find I’m driven by goals: get a house, get a compass, get a map, build a track, that kind of thing. The achievements have guided some of my goals, as I wouldn’t have known to try for some things without that guidance.

The map is my favorite thing, now that I’ve figured out how to read it. It has x, y, and z coordinates, so naturally I set off to find the (0,0,0) point. Sadly, the bedrock wouldn’t let me go farther down than y=4, so that was disappointing. I would like to set up some sort of monument at the (0,0) point, though. Something more than just the pit that’s there now.

If I hadn’t written down one of the axes that my house was on (z=-240), I would have been irrevocably lost at one point. I got turned around and headed in the complete wrong direction. I was 1,000m off my mark by the time I figured it out.

I wish there was a way to add the coordinates to your HUD. Right now you can only see them if you are holding the map. But maybe that would make things too easy?

Using Creepers to mine is kind of fun, as long as you can lead them to the right place and get them to detonate safely enough.

I’m having a hard time reconciling the time I put into this game to do… nothing. Like, 80 hours in Final Fantasy VII, at least I’m getting an epic story, right? Three hours spent mining in this and I’ve… got some resources I can use and a slightly-flatter landspace. I realize that most games don’t give you anything tangible, of course, but the story is something, at least. I am a firm believer in the adage “time enjoyed is never time wasted,” but I’m having a hard time with this one for some reason.

Maybe if I built something…




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