The Minecraft Experiment, day 1: Chasing Waterfalls
When I first started playing Minecraft a few months back, I played with a rule: if I die, I have to delete the entire world. This is the diary I kept of that experiment.
I ignored the game entirely when it was a purely creative toy - yeah, yeah, people made amazing stuff. I’m amazed. I’ve been amazed so often now that I’m in a permanent state of maze, and it would take someone building a working time machine in Zuma Deluxe to un- and subsequently re-maze me. But when it added a health bar, suddenly I was interested. I can die? I love to die! I’m there.
Minecraft randomly generates its world when you start the game, a landscape you never need to leave. It’s eight times the size of Earth, so you’re not going to run out of room for Cobblestone Hovel #3. But you can also delete worlds, to free up a slot for a new one. You lose that vast, unique place, along with everything you’ve found, collected and created within it.
Normally, death just means respawning and a short trip to find where you dropped all your stuff. But since it’s the survival aspect of the game that appeals to me, I wanted to be scared. I wanted a harder death penalty: the end of the world.
World 1, Deaths 0
Minecraft is blocky. It’s made out of blocks, so it’s understandable. Every time we write about it, someone comments about how ugly or dated it looks. I can see it that way if I try, but it’s like 3D pixel art: when you’re looking at the shapes and spaces it creates, the chunkiness is part of the charm. Its landscapes are strange yet natural, things a designer would never make, and that makes exploring a new one feel like a discovery.
This one is amazing.
Craggy cliffs, jagged mountains, snowtopped trees, trickling waterfalls, enticing caves. There are little patches of thawed grass in the shade of each tree and rocky outcrop, where the snow can’t fall. I’ve seen plenty of cool shots of Minecraft, but there’s something special about the first world it generates for you.
I trundle down the mountain I start on with dangerous enthusiasm, scramble up the next one and head for a waterfall with a gloomy cavern behind it. I’m having so much fun. When I finally reach it, I gawp stupidly at what is essentially a cuboid blue stick, and wander into the cave behind.
My face explodes. I’m flung out of the cave, past the waterfall, all the way off the mountain and plummeting into the valley below. I’m killed on impact.
Exit to menu.
Yes, I’m sure.
This game fucking sucks.