With it looking more and more likely that I will not be seeing my sister for Christmas due to concerns about the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, it has never been a better time to dive into the world of Minecraft.
I did not get into Minecraft when it first came out in 2009, but I have always known of it. If you’ve never played Minecraft, it is a game like no other. The graphics are comprised of simple textured blocks, and your little character is placed in a biome (forests, deserts, plains, etc.) and let loose. Minecraft has no rigid structure by which you must play it. If you so choose, you can mine to the deepest portions of the map looking for diamonds and other precious stones. Or you can go around chopping wood blocks so you can craft enormous mansions in the middle of the woods. Or you can spend you life on the run, slashing at errant zombies, creepers, or spiders that come your way. Minecraft is brilliantly simple with numerous ways to get into it and relax.
When you play by yourself, it’s easy to get lost for hours trying to make a little house for yourself with your favorite materials. But one of the greatest pleasures Minecraft can offer is the ability to play with friends. You and your friend can explore the world together, mining your hearts out while you chat about how you day has been going.
During this pandemic, I’ve mostly played Minecraft with my friend Bubba (who I’ve mentioned before) and a coworker of mine (who shall remain nameless because I haven’t gotten their permission to write about them yet).
Bubba is a Minecraft veteran. He knows most of the ins and outs of the game, and he’s really skilled at making ornate palaces for us to live in. While I’m using my incredibly lackluster architectural skills to make rectangular prisms, he’s making rafters, cornices, and entryway steps on his latest masterpiece.
He even goes out of his way to decorate Nether portals. He makes them look like something straight out of a D&D campaign.
We once made an island home, complete with a roller coaster, floating farmlands, intricate stables, and an up-and-coming woolen statue on a nearby mountain. A lot of that was due to Bubba’s diligence and creativity. (I kind of just focused on the farming and the animals.) Unfortunately, we lost that world for a reason which shall not be listed here.
But it had to do with ray tracing.
My coworker and I have barely scratched the surface of what we can accomplish in Minecraft. We found a nice place to make a settlement near a dense forest, but it is terrifyingly prone to thunderstorms there.
While my coworker was busy building our house (you can probably sense a pattern here), I was making a pumpkin patch bordered by a fence. Rain started to pour and thunder boomed in our headphones. I was just a teensy bit unnerved, I’ll admit.
Okay, I was a lot unnerved.
My nerves certainly weren’t helped when lightning struck nearby.
Not that Minecraft is stressful or anything. I’d hate to give you that impression. My favorite thing to do in Minecraft is farm, and it’s one of the most relaxing activities you can do. You just clear out a little square of land, make sure it’s irrigated, i.e. place some water nearby, and then plant seeds. You can grow a variety of different things, from wheat to sugar to beets to potatoes.
You can also cook meat, so fishing is usually on my agenda too. There is nothing more chill than standing by a lake trying to catch a fish.
In a video game, that is.
I’ve never gone fishing in real life.
I live in a desert. Where would I fish?
So Minecraft has been a delightful escape from the depressing news of the real world. (Honestly, at this point, any video game is a delightful escape from the depressing news of the real world.) If you have not heard of Minecraft or if you have but you’ve never played it, I highly recommend that you do.
It’s a laidback experience that promises only good times.
(Unless your friend accidentally deletes a beloved world that you two shared and now you have to start from scratch.)