The Ages of Minecraft
08 Nov, 2011
Since you’ve found your way onto this humor website that mainly dabbles in the topics of wrestling and video games I will assume that you already know what Minecraft is. For those of you who do not know, Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game created by a man with a very nice beard. It is a game where your objective is to obtain resources so you can build items that allow you to obtain more resources that will then allow you to build other items. That’s about it.
It’s one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever played.
I would place it in the category of other time-sucks such as World of Warcraft and The Sims. It is a game that offers you an alternate existence where the majority of your time is spent performing arbitrary tasks that while potentially beneficial were it real life will do nothing but grant you digital boons in a virtual world.
But hey, some people like that. God knows I do.
In my experience with the game I’ve noticed that each new player goes through the same experiences. In a hastened timeline, they could be considered the different ages of Minecraft.
I feel a list coming on.
The Age of Discovery
You’ve heard about the game. Your friend convinced you to download it. You watched a video and decided to buy it. You get the basic concept: Punch wood, get sticks, take sticks, make axe. It sounds like more fun than Vegas.
You start up a new game. You land in a random spawn point on an infinite map. The entire world lies ahead of you. What do you do?
You punch trees and get blocks of wood. Game of the Year.
Then you notice the virtual sun is going down. You set up a crude shelter and you end up waiting around in the dark while horrible noises haunt you from beyond your pathetic compound. If you’re bold enough to venture out in the darkness you’ll probably die, most likely because of one of these fuckers.
I just met you but I already hate you.
After a few in-game days of this pattern you realize that this is the game. You paid money for this. “Well I’m not gonna let these things beat me.” You say. “I’m gonna learn the tricks and I’m gonna win.”
And with that you enter the second age, unbeknownst to you that the hard reality is you’ve already lost.
The Iron Age
You Google Minecraft. You skim the Wiki. You’ve whipped up some sweet pick axes and made yourself a nice four-by-four hut that you call a home. You threw some torches on the outside. Bedazzled that shit. But you want more.
You hear there’s iron ore between levels 64 and 32. Gold and diamond rest further below that. You need that shit. You’ve been mining for days now. Deep dark caverns filled with unknown riches fill your dreams. You’ve been below for so long you forgot how to get back to the surface.
There was a left at a lava pool and then… fuck.
You mined your first diamond. You actually killed a creeper. You’re hooked.
In the meantime you’ve accumulated seventeen stacks of cobblestone. You need to head back up for food anyway. What will you do with all this extra shit in your inventory?
You’re gonna craft, that’s what.
The Age of Expression
Upon looking at the digital shack you’ve been surviving in for the last few days you are filled with an instinctive disgust that almost forces you to wretch.
What am I, some kind of digital hobo?
You don’t just need a place to stay. You need a home. You need something befitting a digital explorer who has unearthed raw diamond from the underbelly of the world with his bare hands. You need something that suits your majesty.
Before you know it you’ve spent seven IRL hours building a three-story castle to keep you safe at night. It’s not long before you realize you’ve built it so large that the monsters are actually spawning in the castle.
But that’s just the beginning. You’re looking up crafting recipes on the Minecraft wiki. You’re drawing up your own skin and showing it off to the forum. You realize that you’ve only just begun actually playing Minecraft. Before you were just fucking around in a cave. It isn’t about the things you punch from the earth. It’s about the things that you’ve made.
The Industrial Age
You haven’t slept. You saw a thing online where a guy made a canon out of Pistons and TNT and you want one. You’re building complicated underground railway systems to maximize mining efficiency. You’ve spent three hours studying the redstone wiki trying to obtain a better understanding of the circuitry behind the AND/OR gates.
Shit just got real.
And you’re not just mining anymore. You’re Farming. You spent the majority of Tuesday hollowing out a section of the earth so you could build a seven-story slaughterhouse that will deliver mob items directly to your door on a water powered conveyer belt.
You built yourself a chicken coop and harvested a few hundred eggs in the last twenty-four hours just incase you feel like baking a cake.
You’ve built a powered contraption that automatically grows and harvests sugarcane for you to save you from the inconvenience of having to click a button.
You know what’s inconvenient? This entire fucking game.
You have created unlimited resources for yourself. Your avatar is not in want of anything. So that’s it right? Game over. Time to hang up the pickaxe and maybe go for a run or something?
No. It’s time to build stuff.
The Age of Obsession
You have a problem. Your friends can see it. Maybe you can see it too. However you’re still in denial. You know this game isn’t going to hold your attention forever. You’re sure you’ll stop playing right after you finish your 1:1 scale model of the USS Enterprise.
I’m not making this shit up. This is real life.
The problem with a sandbox game like this is that the possibilities are as close to limitless as they can be. Want to make a scale model of New York? Go for it.
Want to recreate The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in its entirety? You’re behind the times.
9% unemployment rate? They’re all playing Minecraft. I can’t even think of the total amount of time the sixteen million players have spent on this game building VIRTUAL SHIT. It makes me want to curl up into a ball and weep for humanity. That conveniently brings us to our final age.
The Great Depression
Don’t get me wrong. This depression isn’t about want for something. Resources remain limitless. You’re playing for a few hours a day putting the final touches on the seven square mile metropolis you’ve created of your own design when it hits you.
I’m wasting my life.
And that’s when the epiphany washes over you. You’ve created so much, but for why? You’ve built a complex subway system that crosses your city in a minute flat and has a capacity for up to a dozen passengers (two dozen during rush hour) but you’re on a server by yourself. You’re as alone as Will Smith in I Am Legend.
The hell you doin’ out here Fred!?
That’s it. You’ve had enough. Close up shop. Maybe take a woodworking class to get rid of some of the edge. These games are unhealthy. You’ve got better things to do.
What’s that? The 1.9 patch is going to have enchantments? And dragons?
Maybe just make a new map. Start from scratch. That’s kind of like quitting, right?