Robinson Crusoe: Minecraft’s literary predecessor

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Three hundred years ago, Daniel Defoe wrote a book called Robinson Crusoe. Telling the story of a man shipwrecked on an island, the adventure reads almost as if it were about exploring Minecraft's blocky terrain. I matched screenshots from the game with quotes from Robinson Crusoe to give you a better sense of the similarities. Enjoy.

“I walked about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapped up in the contemplation of my deliverance.”

Exploring a hillside in Minecraft

“Where I was I yet knew not, whether on the continent or on an island, whether inhabited or not inhabited, whether in danger of wild beasts or not.”


Watching the sunset in Minecraft

“Night coming upon me, I began with a heavy heart to consider what would be my lot if there were any ravenous beasts in that country.”

Sitting in a tree at dusk in Minecraft

“All the remedy that offered to my thoughts at that time was to get up into a thick bushy tree like a fir, but thorny, which grew near me, and where I resolved to set all night.”

Exploring a field in Minecraft

“My next work was to view the country, and seek a proper place for my habituation, and where to stow my goods to secure them from whatever might happen.”

Inside a hut in Minecraft

“As well as I could, I barricaded myself round with the chests and boards that I had brought on shore, and made a kind of hut for that night’s lodging.”

Going to sleep in Minecraft

“I went to bed for the first time, and slept very quietly all night, for I was very weary and heavy.”

Enlarging a cave in Minecraft

“I had no room to turn myself; so I set my self to enlarge my cave and work farther into the earth, for it was a loose sandy rock, which yielded easily to the labor I bestowed on it.”

A chest and work bench in Minecraft

“This gave me not only egress and regress…but gave me room to stow my goods.”

An open chest in Minecraft

“So that had my cave been to be seen, it looked like a general magazine of all necessary things, and I had everything so ready at my hand, that it was a great pleasure to me to see all my goods in such order, and especially to find my stock of all necessaries so great.”

Ah, such pleasures.

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