21:34: Sit down with a full glass of Vimto. Stick Minecraft on. I was building a railway line to make getting water a lot easier. I’ll finish that and then get to bed.
22:18: Still sat down with a half full glass of Vimto. Now I’ve completed the water transport system, I may as well finish the sugar cane farm I was working on.
23:42: Finish the dregs of the glass of Vimto. Oh crap. I used the last of my wood making that hoe. Better collect some more. And plant more seeds. And harvest some wheat for the pigs. Need more pigs.
00:58: Thirsty for Vimto. Pretty tired but I want to get some more iron ore so I’m prepared next time I play. Need more wood to smelt it. Need a storage box to keep the iron ingots in. Can’t you make books in Minecraft? I’ll look into that. That’s a fine looking bookshelf I’ve made. They improve enchantment tables? How do you make one of them?
Aaaahh! It’s two in the morning and all I have to show for it is a shit load of square-faced pigs!
The online Mirriam-Webster dictionary describes a game as an “activity engaged in for diversion or amusement” …Now, I must be honest I was relieved by the word ‘diversion’ as I’ve been feeling a slight twitch of guilt when it comes to gaming recently. The titles I am playing at the moment aren’t boring me, it’s just that I find myself switching my brain off and just playing like it’s the only thing I could be doing at that moment in time. I need an overhaul. I need to find the joy in gaming once again.
This all started when I downloaded Minecraft. Now, I’m not backhanding Mojang AB’s sandbox create-o-rama here. When I first started playing it, I was blown away a little. The lego-esque graphics didn’t particularly tickle my pickle but the open ended feeling of the world did. In Skyrim, you can run up to that mountain that looked to be miles away and hike up the damn thing. In Minecraft, you can make it your home by digging under it; or even take it apart piece by piece. A game world where you can walk 800 miles and back is some kind of impressive.
Now, for me the key problem with games of this nature is the lack of defined levels. I understand that I’m a grownup and I need to set my own bedtime but if a game doesn’t scream it to me, sending me back to a menu screen or at least has clear check points my brain breaks down. “Oh,” says my mind, “the game isn’t over! I better keep on playing until something tells me that it is. I don’t have much else I need to be doing. Obviously, work in the morning but that pales in comparison to this mission.” Cut to me, red-eyed after hours of dicking about with the decoration of my furnace room entrance.
In the past I’ve hated on the fact that I will whizz through games at a jaguar’s pace but here I am, somehow complaining about how I also spend hours doing basically nothing that has a shred of importance to it. I am a complicated bastard, it turns out.
But I don’t only have this problem with Minecraft; it’s with any open ended game. I ran around for ages in Mass Effect’s citadel, just making sure I talked to enough people before I even thought about getting on my ship to save the universe. In Morrowind (or any Elder Scroll game for that matter) I would often find myself wandering into the wild, going on “stock runs.” Basically, I would run between villages trying to find alchemy agents or animals to acquire leather from. Let’s face it; I could be doing much more important activities, like killing people and stealing their alchemy agents and leather.
Now, I love games. I just don’t like looking back on the hours I’ve spent picking out wallpaper in them. The proprietor of this very blog site has told me that I need to land myself with a project if I feel myself tumbling into “picking flowers” territory. I think this may work. A good suggestion was making a rollercoaster in Minecraft. Yes. I think looking back on this particular game would be a lot more rewarding if I had a badass-coaster instead of a symmetrical roof and matching flowers in my garden.
Although, remember kids, pride in one’s abode is never a bad thing.