I, Minecraft

*Warning: self indulgent prose follows*


All I could see was black.  Then the ground appeared beneath my feet and spread out like a ripple towards the horizon.  My jarring provenance left me slightly disoriented, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it.  I was alone and empty handed in a new world, at the mercy of the elements.

Before me a sandy shore snaked into obscurity behind a small cliff in the distance.  To my left stretched the wide mouth of a sound or harbor.  I would have to see how far inland this sea continued.  To my right, a bank of yellow and red flowers adorned a hillside that sloped upwards towards an extensive forest of yearlings.  Among the smaller trees a few old-growths stood, far taller than the rest.  I left them undisturbed, collecting the saplings scattered beneath their branches for transplantation.  I disassembled a half dozen yearlings with my bare hands and brought the raw wood back to the shore where I first appeared.

From the wood I manufactured planks, and from those planks I built a workbench.  On that workbench I turned some of the planks into hefty rods, which I then used to build tools: shovels, picks, axes, hoes.  These wooden tools wouldn’t hold up too long against earth and stone, but they would be enough to help me get shelter up.

So I set off to find some materials.  A short walk down the beach lead me to an opening in a steep hill.  I poked my head through the maw and found this to be no mere bear cave.  Darkness tunneled far into the earth.  The sight overwhelmed my senses and I began to wonder what might wait for me inside this abyss.  Frantically I chipped away at dirt and rock so as to construct a crude stairwell into the first stretch of cave, collecting the excavated stone as I did.  A ways into the cavern was another drop, and below, on the edge of darkness, I caught a glimpse of an underground river.  The cave was larger than I thought.

I returned to the worktable I had built earlier on the beach and used the stone I collected from the cave to craft stone tools.  These would last longer than my wooden ones.  Back in the cave I started excavating once again, and soon came across deposits of coal and iron.  My mind began to race.  I could use stone to cobble together a forge, and I could use the coal to fuel it.  I’d be able to smelt the iron ore into usable ingots, and fashion even sturdier tools, perhaps even weapons and armor.  Spending one stone pickaxe after another, my imagination had gotten away from me.  As I compulsively hacked away at the stone innards of the cavern, searching for more ore and coal, I had neglected to notice the dimming light.  Before long the cave was entirely dark.  Perhaps it was time to return to the beach and set up a hut for the night.  Before reaching the stairs cut into the cave entrance, I was struck from behind.  I tumbled headlong into a stone outcrop.  Struck again, I was cruelly thrown into another wall.  I spun around in an attempt to identify my attacker.  All I could discern from the darkness were two clusters of blood red eyes.  I was pinned now.  The spider tucked its fangs into my gut.  The world went to black.

And again the ground appeared beneath my feet and spread like a ripple towards the horizon.  Beach before me, sound to the left, a bank of flowers to my right: now a work bench sat among them.  I was empty-handed once again, but this time I had my bearings.  I scrambled up onto the canopy of one of the old-growth trees to escape the zombies and skeletons that were now assembled under the protection of the darkness.  This night I was at their mercy, but soon I would rule this land.  There, cowering in the upper branches, I decided I would build my castle in the middle of the sound.  That way the zombies couldn’t reach me.

(Note: Minecraft is an indie world building game.  The above passage is representative of the first hour or so of gameplay.  Do not attempt to play Minecraft unless you are currently unemployed and alone.  Playing minecraft will result in obsession and the subsequent loss of your job and loved ones.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  That is all.)

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