Is this happiness?

Sorry I’ve been inactive for a little while, but I had run into something new that occupied a lot of my time. And I mean a LOT of my time. Probably 50 hours or more this last week.

It is Minecraft.

It started our as a gift from my son. He has been playing for a while now and thought I would like it. I’ve known about the game for some time know, but what gamer hasn’t? You can’t be in touch with the gaming world and not have heard about it. It never really interested me, it sounds kind of silly at first. You go and collect items so you can make things. That’s pretty much what I knew about the game and I didn’t understand the popularity.

You start with nothing, so you punch a tree to get wood blocks. You use that wood to make planks. You use the planks to make a crafting table. This expands the items you can now create. You can take some of the planks and turn them into sticks. Combine planks and sticks and you get tools. A wooden axe (faster than punching a tree) or a wooden pick axe. With the pick axe, you can now mine stone. Except night is coming and bad things come out at night, so you need to build shelter.

Dig up some dirt with you bare hands (or wooden shovel if you’re feeling fancy) and pile it up to make four walls, don’t forget to leave room for a door! You can make that out of the planks you have. Now, unless you feel like hiding all night in your little dirt house, you need a bed. A bed will fast forward to the dawn, so they are very handy, the night is about 15 or 20 minutes long, so it’s worth skipping. To make a bed you need planks (of course) and some wool. Time to kill something! You can find some sheep wandering around and punch them to death (wooden sword is faster) and then make your bed. Congratulations, you survived the first day!

Sounds kind of dull, huh. For some reason, it really isn’t. Once you have collected some stone, you can upgrade your tools to stone tools! Much faster than the wood versions. As you mine you will find monsters, ores of various types (coal, iron, red stone, gold), caves and dungeons. I’m betting living in a tiny dirt hut isn’t the lifestyle you imagined, so you start to build better housing for yourself. It starts out simple enough, but before you know it, you are planning a huge castle on the hill overlooking the ocean, paintings, carpeting, the works. You should see mine.

One of the things I like about this game is that there are a lot of things you can do with it. Feel like exploring caves to find those damned diamonds, you can do that. Feel like building a giant sculpture of you pet dog, Spanky, you can do that too. Just want to go out and see what the world has in store, or maybe start a farm and raise pink sheep, or build, well, you get the idea.

My wife said that she was glad to see my smile again, she forgot what it looked like. I know that this was just an escape from reality, all games are. So are books, movies, TV, ect. A fantasy world is easier to deal with than the real world. It is often the one place in our universe where we can feel in control of something, or feel like we matter. This game is perfect for that. It is one of the biggest wastes of time I have found, and I love it for that. You get sucked in and the next thing you know, three hours are gone, just like that. The first day I literally played for twelve hours straight.

Escaping reality like this may or may not be good for me, but it made me happy for a whole week. I even applied for a job (not holding breath.) I smiled, I couldn’t stop talking to my wife about it, I even got her to play a little. It was nice to do something together again, even if just for a short while.

Anyway, it’s a good game, even if I was a bit obsessed for a while. Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually take a shower and shave. I hope I can hold this happiness for a little while at least.

Now I need to go plant pumpkins in the greenhouse I built in front of my keep.

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