Recently, Deadspin ran a piece that made my eyebrows become one with my hairline: a rant from a dad who absolutely hates Minecraft. I found my blood pressure rising a bit as I read through his reasons for loathing the game:
- His kid likes to watch other people play it online, and many of those people are “too old” to be playing games.
- His kid likes to actually play the game and occasionally asks his dad for help installing mods, which is apparently a total pain. Dragging zip files to a folder is pretty tough, I know.
- He thinks Minecraft is stupid and a waste of time.
I love Minecraft for all of the reasons above. All of them. I love that I can watch fun videos of entertaining people playing various mini-games of Minecraft on YouTube while I plow through rows upon rows of of cobblestone. There are few things more zen to me (other than yoga and actual meditation) than peacefully carving up a mountain in search of minerals that I will invariably hoard until I move to a new server. Creating a home in Minecraft indulges my inner architect; while playing in Survival mode, I spend time sketching out housing plans and searching for the ideal ocean or lakefront property for my allies, and planning a few traps for my foes.
I love that there are so many mods and texture packs for such a simple-looking game. It’s a fantastic sandbox and people have managed to create absolutely beautiful worlds and mini-games within Minecraft (including full kingdoms, beautiful renditions of Minas Tirith, Hogwarts, and just about anything else nerds could love) using just the resources that are online.
I really do love that some people think Minecraft is stupid and a waste of time, because I quite like differing opinions. My hot take? I bloody love the game, and I know I’m not alone. It’s always extra special when I walk by a colleague’s desk and see a creeper mug or a pixelated diamond sword keychain.
“YES! WHAT SERVERS ARE YOU ON?”
Boom. Instant friend and possible ally on PVP servers.
Minecraft is also one of the few games my boyfriend and I (both late 20s/early 30s and avid gamers) can play together without things getting a bit tense. We have different approaches to gaming, and Minecraft is such an open space that it can accommodate his “acquire loot at incredible speeds, build a dirt hovel, and oops I forgot to feed myself” mode as well as my “must create food sources, must find shelter, and every chest must be organized before adventuring” role. It’s relaxing, but not entirely mindless, as creativity is needed to figure out good quality architecture, the finer points of working with redstone, and so many other things.
I didn’t always love the game. I didn’t know much about it until a year ago. Prior to my discovery, I asked my online pal/Minecraft guru Aureylian what she liked about the game. Her answer? “EVERYTHING. You just have to play it to get it.”
I didn’t get it at first, so I do understand why ‘Dadspin’ doesn’t get it now. I was still playing Skyrim when I first began to notice Minecraft mentions on my Twitter timeline and didn’t understand why I’d want to go from a beautiful RPG with lovely graphics to something that looks so simplistic and a bit whimsical. I asked Aureylian to get her followers on Twitter to convince me to play the game, and their answers perfectly summed up the varied Minecraft experiences:
“The attraction of Minecraft is simple. You gather resources and you can build anything your heart desires. You can build anything you want from the ground up, thats the appeal for me. Spending hours [sic] mineing through rocks to build a massive castle is a reward in its own. So YES. PLAY MINECRAFT :)”
“For me, the appeal is twofold. I get serious bursts of inspiration and can build a project for hours and hours and hours. The other part comes from co-owning/running/admining a Minecraft server. I enjoy how customizable the game is, we’ve created 8 custom classes spanning multiple worlds, including PvP. I have a great time helping shape a custom Minecraft experience that so many other people really enjoy.”
My personal favorite:
“minecraft is as infinite as you imagination…. so yes go play minecraft…”
I reckon they’re all right. The game is what you make it. I hope one day the dad who wrote the Deadspin piece will check out the game, and appreciate his child exercising his creativity while playing in a relatively peaceful and cheerful setting. If that doesn’t happen, I just hope the kids and adults who play Minecraft get at least a tiny bit of the joy and relaxation it brings to me every time I log into my pixelated world.