I started writing this article on the day of my twenty eighth birthday. Historically, birthday’s have never been a big deal for me, and this one wasn’t particularly different, but its proximity to my thirtieth has given me cause to ponder on what I have achieved in my life. If I were to look solely at the last month, the answer would be, “Not very much at all!”
The reason for this? Minecraft.
Until recently, I had avoided this game as though it was a plague carrying fundamentalist with a penchant for licking people. This was not because of any snobbery towards a quite clearly inferior game in the graphics department, nor was it down to a desire not to follow the millions of gamers who had already purchased the game in a vaguely sheep-like fashion. No, the reason I had avoided Minecraft, was time.
Like most people these days, I have more things I would like to do with my time than I have time in which to do them, and if there’s one type of game guaranteed to eat my precious time indefinitely, it’s a sandbox game where you can build stuff! However, one day, back in March, I was in bed with the lurgy (flu) and I finally decided to give Minecraft a whirl.
And immediately regretted it.
You see, Minecraft isn’t exactly finished, and there isn’t much in the way of instruction or tutorial when you begin, and by not much, I mean nothing at all. I was dumped in the middle of a grassy landscape, confused, and being curiously eyed by various blocky livestock. Unsure of what to do, I walked up to the nearest sheep, and punched it.
The sheep proceeded to drop two blocks of wool, make a disgruntled, vaguely sheep-like noise, and wander off. Unfortunately, two blocks of wool didn’t prove to be particularly useful at this stage, so I punched a tree instead. Five minutes later, I had myself five blocks of wood, which wasn’t really enough to build any of the amazing things I’d seen online.
Twenty minutes later, I gave up.
Forty minutes later, I resolved to find out what the hell I was supposed to do, and did so by looking it up online. Soon I had a set of stone tools, sixty four blocks of cobblestone and as much wood. I was ready to build.
I’d read up on how to make torches, but had not come across any coal in my digging, and when it got dark, it got really dark. Had I been aware that, at night time, monsters start crawling out of the ground, I might have made more of of an effort to craft some torches and light the area up. My health was already low from various falls, and I didn’t know to replenish it, so you can imagine how annoyed I was when, while placing the last cobblestone block in my wall, I heard a hissing sound, and span my player around just in time to see a sad looking green creature explode, taking me with it!
So I got off to a rough start, but I began to pick things up, and soon I had a spacious (if ugly) house to protect me from the hoards of nasties that came out at night, and it was while I was hiding in my house, watching Creepers roaming
around outside my window, that I began to wonder, what’s the point? I wasn’t having fun. There wasn’t enough game to make it a good game, and it was too difficult to get the necessary materials to make building anything decent worth while.
Maybe I should have given up there, but I didn’t.
Determined to give Minecraft a fair trial, I went online, looking for a multiplayer server to try out. I had limited time, so many of the servers I came across were no good, as they required you to apply or to get building permissions from a moderator, and, for the most part, there were no moderators online.
Enter PCGamer. Yes, the magazine. I came across a post on the PCGamer website, graciously announcing that they had decided to run their own Minecraft server. Unfortunately, the post was old, and, upon entering the server, I found a lot of builds that had obviously been built by many virtual hands… with only three people online. I played for a couple of hours, but the number of players online barely sufficed to make it feel like multiplayer.
I spent three or four hours building my house, which looked considerably better than my singleplayer effort, but, again, there seemed to be little point. What was I going to do once the house was finished? I was surrounded by derelict builds. Whatever the two or three other players online were doing, the map was big enough that I never saw them doing it. It may have gotten busier in the evening, but I never found out as, after hours of work on my house, the server went down.
It wouldn’t come back online for a few days, as it turned out, but five minutes after it had died, I was already looking for another server. I found it in the shape of the UK based Crazy Fools (CFUK) server.
It is worth noting that the majority of my Minecrafting experience (in fact, all of it, other than what has already been mentioned) has been on the CFUK server, and other servers may vary in type, rules, quality and experience.
MORE Minecraft regrets? Check the next page to find out.