After years of hearing about how awesome Minecraft is, I finally tried it for myself last month.
For those who do not know about Minecraft, it is an open-ended game where you are dropped into a world with nothing at first. However, you can break and collect any material around you, remix the materials to make new materials, and build to your heart’s desire. There are two modes: survival and creative. Survival is more of a game mode where zombies attack you during the night, so it forces you to do things like build shelter and weapons early on.
Like Civilization, Minecraft’s survival mode is an education about human history and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As you advance through different phases of the game, you go from being very concerned about safety and shelter, to caring about aesthetics of your buildings. One behavior, however, that I realized was that I did not like exploring dark caves where zombies could attack me. Instead, I tended to prefer building amenities to the house and garden.
Hence this week, I switched over the creative mode. Creative mode gives you access to all materials, the ability to fly and invisibility to zombies. When I was young, one of my favorite games was to design apartment layouts out of mah jongg tiles (using special blocks like 4 circles as a stove) and to this day, I love looking at house layout diagrams. I realized that Minecraft could allow me to revisit my love of designing buildings.
And so, I started chipping away at some ice on the side of a small mountain in a glacier biome and 4 days later, created an ice palace.
The structure was inspired by the geography and built one room at a time. This building process has also making me pay more attention to building in real life and learn about materials, colors, and shapes. My next project has already begun. :)