An Exploration in Futility: Minecraft

by Stephen Fluin 2010.12.26

Recently I have been playing a lot of Minecraft. There are many way to enjoy the game, here are some of my favorite game modes.

Minecraft Mode: Mole Mode

The rules of Mole Mode are that after starting the game, you have until nightfall to gather supplies. As soon as night falls, you must be underground, and you cannot surface again, ever. The key to this mode is to gather sufficient wood and gardening supplies to survive your first few hours beneath ground. Once you have dug yourself out an underground forest or two, and discovered water, you're pretty much set for life.

Minecraft Mode: Warrior Mode

Warrior Mode is more about the destination than the goal. Using whatever mechanisms you prefer (farming, fighting, building a house, etc), you must gather a bow and arrow, and 4+ stacks of arrows. Once you have gathered this, you must spend as many nights outside alive until you find 4 pumpkins (these have to be NEW pumpkins. Doing so will require you have health, armor, replacement armor, and so on.

Minecraft OOC: Philosophy Mode

One of the curiosities of Minecraft is that being the creator and maker of worlds doesn't have any real impact on every day human life. Beyond creating and interacting with living art, you walk away from the computer with nothing. Does this mean the time was wasted, or can time spent enjoying something be intrinsically meaningful? These are the same questions that are presented to those that play World of Warcraft, or who spend hundreds of hours in any sort of game. Is Minecraft a simple extension of the Legos that some of us played with as children, or are they a deep obsession for many? I hope to answer some of these questions someday, but right now I need to work on my castle.