A Letter to Minecraft

Written by Paul Goodhead

November 28, 2010 // 9:59 a.m.

Tags: #games #gaming #indie #letter #minecraft #notch #online-game

Dear Joe

Thanks for your kind letter the other month, it was very nice of you to think of me and Harry while away on your Minecraft excursion. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to turn down your offer to join you however.

I don't mean to appear rude by turning down your offer, but believe me when I say I'd rather stab rusty forks into my own eyeballs than toil away away in an imaginary world, building nothing of any value, consequence or benefit.[break]

Please, go back to your ridiculously low resolution world, build yourself an awkward, blocky looking imitation of a cliff, and jump off it.

Sincerely,

A Letter to Minecraft A Reply from the Real World

P.S.

Seriously though, am I the only person that doesn't see what the fuss is about Minecraft? It seems like the whole world has taken leave of their senses to play a game that, in my eyes at least, looks like a complete waste of time.

'Hey, come look at this thing that I built'
'Nice. How long did that take'
'Oh, about 20 hours'
'Wow, what does it do'
'Oh nothing, it just is'
'You're kidding'
'No, I just get to look at it'

The easy comparison of course is Lego, but at least when you've built a Lego stealth bomber you can zoom it around the house like a 12 year old, making ridiculous noises as you go. Once you're bored of doing that then you can chose to crash your model, shattering it into hundreds of pieces on the kitchen floor - which, believe me, is fun.

In Minecraft though it just seems to be creation for the sake of creation. There is no end benefit apart from the fact that what you created now exists. It serves no purpose. Not that this is a problem, art tends to exist for no purpose other than to just be. It bothers me when people tell me I should play the game and then say I 'just don't get it' when I say no.

I'm not going to tell anyone they shouldn't play Minecraft, its not my place to tell people what to do in their spare time. I just wish I could get through a day without a newly converted zealot trying to get me to play too.

One could easily argue however that you get little tangible benefit from playing any game - what am I getting from playing Black Ops that lets me say that playing Minecraft is pointless? The point is entertainment, right?

Its actually this argument that I find most interesting, though I guess it comes down to what you personally want out of your downtime. When I play a game I need to feel like I'm working towards something, whether its improving my aim, my reactions or my KDR, even though I'm playing to relax. I like a game in which I can chart my progress, whatever metric that may be measured in. Just look at F@H to see how much engagement a simple progress metric can generate.

Minecraft doesn't have this. There is no reason to build, there is nothing to work towards, there is no end goal in sight. This makes me question why you would play the game at all, the simple question of 'why?' seems to be the hardest one to answer when it comes to Minecraft.

I'll never play it. I respect those that do of course, but I'll never understand them.

WEEK IN REVIEW

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