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Veteran Member - Level 11
It's been a little while since I published my blog titled,
"All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Playing Video Games" - which is a
parody of the popular book of short essays written by author Robert Fulghum
that explains how the world would be a better place if adults adhered to the
same basic rules as children. You know...sharing, being kind to one another,
cleaning up after yourself...that sort of philosophy. My version included points
like, "eight hours of a good night's sleep is four hours of wasted game play;
if no one knows you're cheating it's still cheating and the path less traveled
is less traveled for a reason; there is a horde of orcs waiting to ambush you."
Well, having succumbed to the addictive game play of Minecraft, I feel that blog
is worth revisiting and modifying to incorporate my newly discovered belief
"All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Playing Minecraft".
(BTW - that blog remains one of my all-time favorites and
includes input from various community members - if you have the time, I think
you might like it.)
Of course this isn't going to be a complete list (I'll keep
it to my 3 page limit...okay...okay...maybe 3.5 pages) and I hope others can inject
their own relevant ideas (the funnier the better) to supplement what I've
collected here. I'm all about team collaboration, so feel free to join in. In
complete random and non-sensible order:
If You Dream It You
Can Do It
I'm usually fairly reserved with sharing personal
information about myself (I try to minimize how much I bore you all) but here's
a little factoid for you - I am an Army brat and was born in a little military
hospital outside of the Panama Canal Zone. Did you know the United States
government spent the equivalent of $8,600,000,000 USD to fund the construction
of the canal...and that 27,500 people died in the process due to the environment
and working conditions? Many said it was an impossible feat, this canal to
connect the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. Obviously we know that claim
wasn't true. With perseverance and determination, the canal opened for business
in 1914 (construction started in 1880).
Why do I share that with you?
(not sure who created this, but it is impressive)
Minecraft has this inexplicable and uncanny way of providing
you with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which is
totally bizarre, given the simplistic nature of the game. With no real task to
complete (although it does have an achievement system) or quest to fulfill, how
does it accomplish this? The game allows you to undertake feats some might
consider impossible. Digging as deep or building as high as the game will allow
(which far exceeds what I expected it to) provides a rewarding sense of
accomplishment; couple that with a monumental task such as cutting a pass
dozens of blocks deep through a mountain range or connecting two landmasses
with an underwater glass tunnel and the game truly makes you feel like, "If you
dream it you can do it." I decided to build a pyramid of sand and cobblestone
and just randomly picked the number 50 as the base. Once I started laying out a
50 x 50 block square to construct my pyramid, I had my doubts. I thought I
aimed too high and this was too big of a task. After hours of game play spent
gathering resources and toiling over block placement, my pyramid was finally
constructed, and it is truly a sight to behold - it has an entrance tunnel in
the bottom that spills into a glass cube room with low level light due to
minimal torch placement. Since the pyramid is hollow and very dark, it spawns a
ton of bad guys that you can view from the safety of the glass room. More than
most games, Minecraft empowers you to not only dream big, but also gives you
the ability to achieve it.
There Aren't Enough
Hours In The Day
Minecraft incorporates a day/night cycle that is roughly 20
minutes long. It's amazing how frequent this transition occurs and nearly every
time the sun starts to set you can hear me screech, "Wha? It's nighttime
already?" There are a few disadvantages with working through the night, the
obvious being it's dark and harder to see unless you throw torches around
everywhere. The biggest concern is nighttime is when all the bad guys come out,
so it's safer to stay indoors (or underground) or go to bed and resume working
in the morning. Wandering far from home collecting resources at night is risky
business. But just like in real life, sometimes if you don't get your work done
during daytime working hours you might have to pull an all nighter.
Nothing Good Happens
Following up on the heels of the previous entry, if you do
find yourself working late and pulling an all nighter or maybe you're out
messing around after midnight, be aware that nothing good happens after
midnight. It's a proven fact. The drunks are out. The weirdos are out. The cops
are out...AND...the full gambit of Minecraft bad guys are out. You've been warned.
Measure Twice Cut
I always heard this expression growing up and never really
understood it. I always believed if you just paid attention the first time you
measured, then when you made the cut it would be correct. Inevitably though, I
always managed to screw this up. It would explain how I almost failed shop
class. It would also explain some of my struggles in Minecraft (but the game is
helping me overcome this problem). In most cases, it's not a huge deal if you
place a block of some sort in the wrong place...just dig it up and reposition
it...but when you build something massive (in my case, a lighthouse) and take a
step back to view it in its entirety, it looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa...so
you count blocks and confirm that it is indeed...crooked. It's usually at that
point I remember that sage advice to measure twice and cut once. Part of the
problem is whenever I count out something, I'm wired to use even numbers; but
obviously when building a structure that you want to have a dead center, a door
for example, then you need to use odd numbers. Sigh. I'm getting better...and
Minecraft is certainly helping with that - through trial and lots of error.
Use The Right Tool
For The Job
Speaking of measuring and cutting (and shop class), another
pearl of wisdom I learned from Minecraft is "use the right tool for the job".
How many of you have ever used a screwdriver as a pry bar or chisel; or a
crescent wrench as a hammer? Tsk Tsk. Guilty as charged. I know this in real
life but seems like every time I crack open the tool box I break this helpful
tip. Sure, I make excuses, like the toolbox is so far away or it will only take
a second or surely it won't cause any damage THIS time. Well, Minecraft is no
different. Just because I can dig through sand and cobblestone with my bare
hands doesn't mean I should (it definitely takes a lot longer). Sometimes I'm
lazy and I don't want to go all the way back to my workbench to create the
right tool for the job, so I'll just improvise. It's SO much faster and a lot
more efficient to use the tool designed for a specific function; axes chop
wood, shovels dig gravel, sand and dirt; and pick axes break down stone...just
because you might be able to interchange implements and still complete the
task, doesn't mean it's a good idea. We're advised not to do it in real life,
and Minecraft is no different. Use the right tool for the job and not only will
you maximum the use of your resources, you'll save yourself a truckload of time
There Are Varying
Degrees of OCD
Dictionary.com defines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
as a psychiatric disorder characterized by the persistent intrusion of
repetitive, unwanted thoughts which may be accompanied by compulsive actions,
such as handwashing. The individual cannot voluntarily prevent these thoughts
or actions, which interfere with normal functioning.
Some might argue that hoarding is a type of OCD. Maybe.
Others might think being a perfectionist is a type of OCD. Perhaps. I'm not a
doctor and although medic is my favorite class to play in Team Fortress 2, I
have never claimed to know anything about the mind and how it works. What I do
know is I had a Navigator (Navigations Officer) respond to my demand for
perfection by telling me, "You can't
expect perfection from everyone. Do you know what the opposite of perfect is? The
opposite of perfect is good enough."
I'm not quite sure the point he was trying to make, other
than nothing is or will ever be perfect, so quit trying to achieve it. As long
as it's good enough, that should be okay.
Meh. Not sure I agree with that, but whatever.
I mention all that to say that if you don't think you have
OCD, Minecraft will reveal whether you do; and if you know you do, Minecraft
will reveal just how bad you have it. Some gamers have to have everything
perfect - like me. My storage trunks are all logically organized and sorted - I
have one for sand and sandstone, one for cobblestone and smooth stone, one for
gravel, one for tools and one for miscellaneous items. When I discover a cave
and start exploring it, I often carve out the caverns into perfectly aligned
walls; if a creeper blows a hole into the terrain I have to come back and level
it out...torch placement is a big one for me. Perfectly spaced and aligned, all
nice and neat like.
All signs of a perfectionist or OCD? I dunno, call it what
you want, but I have it.
In the other corner, you have those who are not
perfectionists (the bane of my Minecraft existence). They throw all of their
resources in a storage trunk with no regard to organization; they dig, carve,
cut and excavate with sheer randomness. They'll build something and abandon it,
leaving behind and eye sore. They strip the land of its digital resources
without even considering that one day they might cut down all of the trees if
they don't replant the saplings that fall. They will occupy a cave or cavern and
leave behind obnoxious traces of their presence. And torch placement...OMG...their
torch placement. They might as well have given a stack of torches to a zubat to
What Minecraft has taught me is that these people exist in
real life too (technically I already knew that), and whether you are on the
extreme right or the extreme left, both are not without flaw and their own
intrinsic challenges. The optimum location is somewhere in the middle. You
know...the opposite of perfect is good enough.
Maybe you've heard of George Carlin and seen his routine on
"stuff" - but it's actually quite humorous, partly because of the truth behind
the message. Essentially he talks about how we spend our whole life acquiring
stuff...and we buy houses just so we can store more stuff.
I don't know what it is about humans...not even so sure it's
all humans or just most of us...but we sure like our stuff. Minecraft will
demonstrate this quirky behavior. I don't know that I have ever been as
protective over my in game "stuff" as I have in Minecraft. Basically, if I
built it, stay away from it. If it's in my storage trunk, keep your hands off. I
like my stuff. I'm very protective of my stuff. I have a sword. Stay away.
Argh. I'm running out
of room...I never got to talk about...
There's a fine line between paranoid and checking over your
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy, or
Never dig the tile directly above or below you, or
He who dies with the most toys still dies.
Oh well, I think you get the point.
Minecraft. It's not just a game, it's a training aide for real
life. Now if you'll excuse me I have to run...I have buildings to build, crops to
harvest, iron ore to smelt, sheep to shear, and a zombie problem over at the
Sheesh. My work is never done.
"I do not like work
even when someone else does it." -Mark
But at least I enjoy it.
Great one, Saint!! And I love the use of George Carlin, since I used him in one relatively recently too. Great minds think alike. :)
As for Minecraft, I guess I just don't have that creative spirit, because games like this do nothing for me. It's sad sometimes, watching my friends enthuse about a game that I know I wouldn't care for. The adulation for this game is unreal and very impressive.
Glad you've got more inspiration, though!
I'm just like you on Minecraft, except I measure. Here's a lesson: Tame a wolf, put it in the basement, mine your basement for coal, etc., expand it, make it the perfect dimensions & replace walls w/ cobblestone, and poke a hole through the wall on the 1st floor by accident & forget to patch it up. Then go to sleep, have a spider go through that hole, and wake up to find your wolf getting attacked to death saving you (good, loyal wolf to the end, I'll never forget it), and then suffer the same fate. My advice - make sure you have all the walls patched up, and TRY to find a way in from the outside (that way you really know how safe your fort is).
Great blog! I love Minecraft (though not as much as my younger brother). I've come to realize that I'm OCD, but also lazy, and my laziness will win over my OCD whenever there is any competition.
Great blog, i love minecraft its an amazing game!
Man, this makes me want to get the game. But I'm fighting it, as I know it will consume my time like few other titles. It doesn't help that I've had bad OCD at times and generally am a perfectionist. So needless to say this would be a huge timesuck. That said, my one question is do you play co-op? Your comment about not wanting folks to touch your stuff made me think you've played with others who have messed with your world. I can see how that could be annoying. Anyway, a great read and ode to Minecraft. ; )
The OCD part made me laugh! This isn't the most OCD-friendly game, but it allows players to change it however they like. I like that. It allows fun for everyone. EVERYONE.
I think I have about the same amount of OCD/perfectionist as you when it comes to playing Minecraft. Except for straightening out caverns and having torches a set distance from each other. When I find something naturally made in Minecraft like abandoned mines, villages, caverns, and ravines, I usually just explore every inch of them until I've gathered all the loot, other than that I pretty much leave 'em alone. As for torches, I usually just place them as I need them, making sure there are no patches of darkness for mobs to spawn.
I just got this game, after hours of my friends nagging me to get it. And I must say.....I'm addicted.
That was a nice blog with some pretty neat comparisons. I think my favorite out them has to be "Never Enough Hours in the Day" since I always have so many projects and activities I want to do, but never have enough time to fulfill them all.
Brilliant, you summed up my entire digital existence in this blog
Hahaha I really like the "nothing good happens after midnight".
Reading this article has made me want to go back to Minecraft. Haven't played it in almost a year.
This game has more or less ruled my life since it's release. Great blog Mr. Saint, I got a some good laughs out of it.
A brilliant post Saint. I enjoyed reading it
Randoms can't jump in your game in the XBLA version, so that aspect of co-op isn't really a risk-factor (unless your friends-list is populated by ruinous a-holes I guess).
Ah Minecraft. I haven't played it in a bit since I've been out of town, but it is quite addicting and OCD-inducing. I definitely have some perfectionist parts of me in Minecraft, but it's not too awful. I do often run into having one too many or too few blocks placed, but oh well. Nice blog!
I never really got into Minecraft until the 360 edition came out, and I really love it now. Whenever I need a break from the dis-based games I'm currently playing, I boot it up and revisit my mountain-top castle and various mining bases. The sense of discovery and adventure that the game is able to stir in the player is something that definitely helps in the real world, because having that drive to see more and experience more is a good thing.