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Minecraft: My Antidrug

Posted Dec. 18, 2010 by John Woltman

Earlier this week, TB bought me a gift pass for a popular indie game called Minecraft. I kind of wish he hadn't, because I can't. stop. playing. it.

What is it?

Minecraft is an exploring, building, and crafting game. You explore an almost infinite world, harvesting resources like wood, stone, meat, and metal. You take what you harvest and build structures with them, or combine them in unique ways to create more items. If you take some sticks and some coal, you can make a torch.

Great, you can make torches

For a reason! The game has a day and a night - each one maybe 10 minutes long.  When night falls, the enemies come out.  If you haven't built yourself a shelter, you'll be dead meat in a matter of minutes.  Enemies can't spawn in lit areas, so torches are a necessity.

Why is it fun?

The game is what you make of it.  Want to build a castle in the sky?  No problem.  Delving deep into the earth for diamonds and gold?  Absolutely.  Fight off hordes of the dark-spawned undead?  Every night.  You're only limited by your imagination, so go nuts.  It's an open-ended game with no definite ending.  This is fun for awhile, but the real entertainment comes when you play with others.

Tell me more

I've been playing with Jen, and we're both learning as we go.  We carved out a chunk of mountain to live in, and I started looking for metals to mine.  Jen went out to find pigs (you eat pork chops to restore health) for dinner.  However, she got lost, and night fell.  She made a small hidey-hole to survive the night, and then started for home in the morning.  But she kept getting farther and farther from field.

I built a tall beacon light for her to see, but I think she's so far away she can't see it.  So now I have a quest: find Jen!  Finding your missing spouse isn't any sort of built-in feature of the game, but that's what it turned into.  To aid the quest, I downloaded Minecraft Overviewer, which creates a Google Map of your world.  Soon I'll set out to find Jen, building beacons along the way to light our way back home.