I don't own a PC. This apparently excludes me from both manhood and the remote possibility of ever being considered a real gamer. Fair enough. I've never considered myself a man anyway, all aggregate years to the contrary, and quite frankly, looking at the past decade or so of my gaming, I can't really say I've ventured too far from the industry's main vein. I, am a Mac user by trade and by choice. When it comes to gaming, I am console through and through. My video game history reads like a straight line through the industry's past; Atari, Nintendo, Genesis, Playstation (1 & 2), and finally, XBOX 360. And because I'm so invested in gaming as a solely console sport, I tend not to pay attention to the land of PC gaming. Ordinarily this just means that I miss out on a ton of truly great games, but with Minecraft, this means that I've missed the bus altogether. Let me explain.



     The only thing I knew about Minecraft when it blew up the spot was that it was something PC people were all sorts of psyched about but also something I'd never get my hands on. To me it seemed like a side-scroller in the realm of Dig Dug (some of you might have to look that up). That's not a joke. That, is exactly how much attention I pay to a game when I see the letters PC next to it. I knew there was some sort of big deal about it, but it was more or less like World of Warcraft; a hugely popular PC game that regardless of how great it may or may not be, I'll never play, so why bother even looking in to it when all it will do is just wake the green monster (that's Envy, not Creeper). So I went about my ordinary business of shooting at my fellow gamers. But when that Minecraft 360 Edition image popped up on my Dashboard, I had to jump on the trial. Skeptical as I always am about super hyped stuff I stumbled about pessimistically trying to figure out what all the fuss was about. And when it all came together and I finally realized what I was dealing with… well, let's just say that 12 steps aren't going to be enough. I actually spent over a week just digging and building in the tutorial before I even moved on to an actual game. It's hard to put in to words how quickly this thing overcame my gaming life, but let me put it this way. I've been waiting on Borderlands 2 from the second I brought down the Destroyer. When I got home with it, I turned on Minecraft to make a Borderlands logo. Seriously. It's just ridiculous the way that thing can become a part of your everyday thought process, not to mention gaming process. But my obsession is not the point.

For me, Minecraft is all about creative construction. I don't care about the Creepers, the zombies, or any of the other rude inhabitants on my damn island, i just want to build. Don't get me wrong, added to the equation the monsters make the game the masterpiece that it is. The consequences of having your entire Coliseum structure flooded and destroyed because two Creepers caught you slipping is absolutely fantastic; in retrospect. But eventually, I just wanted to build some crazy stuff without having to worry about Minecraft's grumpier denizens. And ever since that message flashed across my screen informing me of Peaceful Mode, I haven't looked back. Now I can just invest all of my time in mining for delicacies and constructing whatever it is that happens to pop into my head. But after all this time, I never really looked into what was popping into other people's heads. That all changed when I stumbled across a GI member blog by Mike showcasing some truly incredible Minecraft creations. I was floored. I couldn't believe some of the stuff people were making, but more importantly, I hadn't the slightest idea how they could've mined, collected, and found all of the stuff needed to make these things. They looked like they must've taken months, like 5+, from mining to masterpiece. But then I happened upon another GI article talking about what Mojang was finally going to be giving 360 users that the PC folk have had all along; Creative Mode.



     Now, if you don't know what Creative Mode is don't break out that razor and start cutting at your inner thigh again, neither did I. If, like me, your life is 360 or PS3 centric and all that extraneous PC noise just gets tuned out, there's no way you would've heard about Creative Mode. But if you're in the land of squares strictly for the creations, this thing is the Higgs Boson of Minecraft. Instead of spending hours, sometimes days, searching and mining for materials, you simply just select it from a drop down and viola, infinite amounts are at your disposal. Oh and that pesky gravity thing that requires creative scaffolding solutions? So last year. In Creative Mode your proximity to the yellow sun will finally wake those dormant Kryptonian powers. Just strap on your unitard and fly about placing blocks wherever your heart desires. It's good to be Superman.. especially when you're into hot reporters. But anti-gravity DNA isn't the only Kentian skill Creative Mode wakes in mild mannered Steve. Don't like that Obsidian block you just laid? No problem, throw your pickaxe once and it's mined. Now, granted, you're not, "Faster than a speeding bullet", but Creative Mode definitely gives you the, "More powerful than a locomotive", and, "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." Superman.. All this time I've been playing as Steve and I could've played as Superman? I couldn't believe what I was seeing when I watching that teaser video showcasing all of Creative Mode's highlights. So… why the shaftedness? Let's just call it two parts ego, one part WTF?!?? 



     Looking at examples of what people have created literally made me feel like I was a 2yr old playing with finger paints. I've never been a sculptor, nor am I particularly talented when it comes to complex 3 dimensional objects, but compositionally and architecturally, I'm generally on point. If you give me an infinite palette, I'm taking a crack at recreating lower Manhattan. But something like that would take me months, 5+, even on Peaceful Mode. For those of us that just want to create, without Creative Mode, our hands were tied behind our backs. Actually, our hands were tied behind our backs and glued together with crazy glue, we were blindfolded, our ears were filled with quick dry cement and sealed with caulking, zippers were installed along our inner legs, zipped together and then locked, and our feet were trapped in the tenth dimension. More or less. 



     I think we can all agree that Minecraft as a game, is all about creativity. Sure you could play it as Steve against the monster's, but even then it's still about figuring out the most creative way to trap and kill the fundamentalist Minecraftians. The reason I feel shafted is that my creativity is stifled. My toolset and someone with Creative Mode's toolset are millennia apart. Literally. With only Peaceful Mode to work with, I'm basically sitting in Lascaux staring at the side of the cave. For those of you that didn't take some art history, Lascaux is where snooty French cavemen sat around sipping lattes, discussing existentialism, and painting cave walls. Not only is it a remarkable example of early cave paintings, it's also the very first French cafe. So anyway, if I want to paint, I have to find the minerals that I then have to grind into the powder that I then have to mix to make the paint that I then have mix to make the colors I want. And that's not even counting the tools required for mining the minerals that themselves require various materials to construct. Don't even get me started on the brush. So while I'm stuck at around 15,000 BCE, Creative Mode let's others work in 3025 AD (I'm assuming people will be flying by then). I just can't figure out why Mojang would leave this huge leap in creativity out of the 360 Edition.

     Creative Mode is on it's way. A specific date hasn't been announced, but it's coming. Until then, the question remains. Why did they not put this into the 360 Edition on release? I don't specifically know what was, is, or may have been part of what I'm assuming is a hugely disparate and modded PC version, but in a game whose sole purpose is creativity, why Peaceful Mode and no Creative Mode? If you take the monsters out of the equation so that Steve-O can focus on mining and construction, aren't you assuming that some people just want to create stuff? So how goes that assumption without the equally obvious assumption that people that just want to create don't want to spend 5 months doing what they could pull off in a couple of weeks? I feel like we've been left out of the real creative process, shafted, if for some reason you have the need to hear the subtitle repeated. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the 360 Minecraft folk can't create these things without Creative Mode, but… wait, that's exactly what I'm saying. There are a whole heap of blocks that I either don't have access to, or don't have nearly enough of. I've been playing Minecraft since probably the day it released and there are still some things that I haven't even run across yet. It took me months before I even bumped into Lapis Lazuli, and I only hit Bedrock last week. Emerald Ore? Never. Huge Red or Brown Mushroom? Never. The list goes on. Without Creative Mode my limited selection and quantity, well, limits me. I love the satisfaction I get from building a massive structure through traditional means, but that certainly doesn't mean that I don't want the ability to go crazy big. I'm sure it's only a month or maybe two before I get my hands on Creative Mode and all its wonderful tools, and I'm sure those new abilities that turn Steve into a super, uh.. man, are gonna revolutionize my creativity, but finding out about Creative Mode after all this time makes me feel like i've been drawing stick figures with crayons.