Hooked on Minecraft Five Years too Late

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I never considered myself to be a Minecraft player. My daughters play quite a bit and as much as I enjoy playing with them, Minecraft has never really captured my attention. Last week though, my youngest kiddo got Wesley playing for a while. Before I knew it, Wesley had started a new survival game of her own. She set up a little homestead near a cave, setting her pagoda-esque house high on a hill. She invited me to play with her for a bit and I agreed, albeit somewhat reluctantly. Since that day last week, there hasn't been a day that she and I haven't played Mincraft. I'm hooked.

A few people have asked me what the difference is between playing with my wife and playing with my kids. My kids generally play creative instead of survival. The mobs there aren't hostile and there isn't anything you can't simply create on demand. On top of that, they can't play for more than 15 minutes without blowing something up with a nightmarish amount of TNT.

Wesley's playstyle is much more about exploration and challenge. We've spent more that 100 in game days in this seed and in that time we've seen some incredible things. We work more in sync with one another, finding solutions to problems such as food availability, irrigation and what to do about the damn wolves that keep slaughtering our poor sheep. We communicate well and set independent goals to further improve our odds.

For example: I set out early one morning in a boat to map the rest of the world and stumbled on the elder guardian's temple within three minutes of exploring. Wesley and I agreed after that we were nowhere near prepared for that kind of challenge and I carefully floated around it. Shortly after that I found a sand temple.  I began excavating the temple almost as I could. Upon reaching the bottom, I hit the pressure plate. Hearing the hiss of the fuse, I looked desperately for a creeper and discovered the plate just as it swelled. Too late. I blew up in spectacular fashion, losing everything in the chests.

I was ready to walk away from the game but Wesley encouraged me to keep exploring the area. A little further south, near a small river, I found what seemed to be a small cave. It turned out to be a sprawling system, replete with abandoned mine shaft and a wealth of resources. Since then we've migrated our farming operation to the temple area. The desert provides little cover for zombies and skeletons during the day, we are near a reliable water source that attracts tons of animals, and perhaps best of all, there are no wolves to mess with our sheep. We also built a large staircase that leads almost directly to the abandoned mine shaft. In there we have found iron, gold, redstone, lapis and even a little diamond.

I feel silly for having turned my nose up at Minecraft for so long. I've had so much fun over the last few days, I finally get it. Minecraft is a far more detailed experience than I ever gave it credit for. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish with our new mineshaft. I have tons of people trying to tell us where to go and what to gather for this or that, but we are more content discovering it for ourselves so far. I may be late to this party, but at least I finally made it in the door.