All it takes is a mention, my mind fills with possibilities. Crazy structures, incredible palaces, wonderful towns to explore and lots of mining. Lots and lots of mining with little more to keep me going than the promise of rare or essential minerals to assemble my next project. Once I get the Minecraft bug, it’s like a maddening fever: intense, with an eventual cure. Right now, I got the fever, Minecraft fever, and I know I’m not alone.
The first time I ever started hacking away at Minecraft’s dirt cubes was two years ago, back when it was still in an incredibly early Alpha stage and the easiest way to enjoy it was in a browser window. It was survival mode and without an account, single-player only. The idea of being able to shape this primitive world to your liking seemed silly, but it’s the primitive implementation that allows it to work at all. Build tunnels, erect massive towers, create an entire or master plan community? You can do it. And with the addition of others, the enjoyment soars even further. But as a browser-based game, there wasn’t much to do, that is, until our very own Kelly set up our first Minecraft server.
We kept the numbers small and the server private and built a massive castle and mined the hell out of its underground chambers. This happened while I was between jobs, so I was more than happy to stay up until sunrise building and building. The game had some clever bugs, like being able to toss a tool as it’s being worn down and then pick it up again with full strength again, which saved a ton of time in fabricating axes, picks, and shovels. You could also build elaborate underwater structures since you couldn’t, at that point, drown. Of course, they changed all that. But eventually the fever died as we either ran out of ideas or this or that and that thirty hour stint stopped.
Kelly would set up the server twice in 2011, four months apart, each with a blank slate and each with that same intense fever that kept me awake at night. If I was working on something, I was dreaming on a way to improve what was already laid or plan out future turns in the structure, which materials I wanted to use and how I even wanted to get them. This lead to many days and nights rushing straight to the computer to pick up a pickaxe and spend hours burrowing through thousands of cubic meters of dirt and other raw Earth to bring a new city to life.
The fever started again with the launch of The Verge‘s server in which hundreds of players have already spent thousands of hours building out an incredible Verge City. I’ve set up shop a five minute walk away in the suburbs, a still mostly-undeveloped portion of land and for now, I am content and fevered. As these people finish their structures, they fall out of love with them and seek out the next best thing, leaving Verge City proper an empty proposition at times. That may, in fact, be Minecraft’s biggest flaw: if one can build anything anywhere, why would you dedicate yourself to your initial foibles and experiments? You won’t, you’ll seek out to build the next best thing. Oh sure, you can role-play an adventure through Minecraft, probably the biggest addition to the game since Kelly set up our first server, but what fun is that? Just play Skyrim. Minecraft is so ingenious that people have even built working graphic calculators with them.
All in all, I’ve probably put over a hundred hours into the game, all in intense waves of enthusiasm. So I’ll finish my tower, I’ll have my fun, I’ll work to improve it, then I’ll just get bored. In a few months, I’ll start over again somewhere else.