Minecraft; The Ultimate Home Decorating Game

Minecraft is the greatest sandbox you'll ever play in.

Minecraft is billed as the “most significant sandbox you’ll ever set foot in.” You are told that the only limit is your imagination. The world you enter is fraught with peril and enemies (spiders, creepers, zombies and skeletons). But after you survive the first few nights (no easy task), what kind of gameplay does Minecraft morph into?

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A friend told me that he played Minecraft for a long time, until he became aware that he was mining for diamonds so that he could build a diamond pickaxe, just so he could continue making more diamond pickaxes. The grind of the game eventually wore him down, and he stopped playing. The beginning of the game, different for every server, is about surviving. You’re decently fragile, and you can starve. There is an exploration element as well, as you attempt to see the world around you, maybe decide where you’re going to build your home.

But what about when you’ve settled into play and your home has been built enough to survive the night? The game seems to morph at this juncture into something else entirely—basically a design/living game. You might create a small fenced in area and raise chickens so that you have sustenance later on. In our server, we created a second story greenhouse space with glass walls and tilled land. The threat of the skeletons, spiders and creepers hadn’t gone away necessarily, but they became more of an infrequent annoyance when someone left the gate to our property open.

You can continue to explore. The world inside of the server is open and full of different biomes and things to discover. But creation seems to be the strong suit of Minecraft. After all, as the trailer says “The only limit is your imagination.” In creative mode, you can build things like this, but I’m not just talking about Creative Mode, where you don’t have to worry about the risks that are present in survival mode.

Vanilla Survival Mode Minecraft, after you’ve basically turned survival into an easy process, is also a design game. You design things that you and your friends would enjoy. You don’t need a roof top garden, but it would be cool to make one. Add a turret to your house so that you can see distances? You continue crafting, even though you don’t need anything anymore.

Minecraft facilitates this by making it incredibly easy to make more things, to craft whatever your heart desires. You may not have the skill set to make a floating island…

But once you can keep the creepers and other threats out, the focus can drift to taking the home you made for survival purposes and making it something entirely new and different. I don’t just mean Creative mode, where you can build things like this Beetlejuice Experience, which someone crafted on an Xbox 360, or this classic example of Creative mode, the Enterprise.

I think Minecraft is a great design game. I think it manages to balance all of the elements of creation that are present in other simulation games like The Sims, but somehow doesn’t make it seem like a chore. In Minecraft you have to work, in game, for what you need to add more to your home and life, but the designers have balanced it so well that game time doesn’t seem like wasted time. It just seems necessary. 


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Author
Amanda Wallace
Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.