Archive for April, 2014

Apr 11 2014

Obsession 1

Okay – so my first obsession. I thought I’d make this one a bit easier on myself by making it very current and writing about my current obsession.

Minecraft.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Minecraft is – a quick description. I’ll try not to go into too much boring detail, but I might get a bit carried way – this is an article about obsession after all.

Minecraft is a game. Not a ‘traditional’ computer game (if that phrase makes any sense) where there is a ‘story’ and you play through it. It’s part of the genre that tends to be referred to as ‘sandbox’ games. You are given a playing environment, there are some inbuilt rules (gravity, money, etc) and from then on you can pretty much do what you want. Grand Theft Auto (3) was probably the first really sucessful sandbox game but there have been many others since, of varying types. Minecraft isn’t really similar to GTA, but it is in (broadly) the same genre.

Even in GTA, there is a ‘story’ and you can play through it – or you can ignore it totally and just do your own thing. In Minecraft, there is no real ‘story’ (apart from a couple of very simple goals that you can freely ignore and in fact might know nothing about). Minecraft very simply allows you to build stuff. Simple stuff, complicated stuff, big stuff, small stuff, whatever you want. It’s a little bit like a giant Lego set (although pretty much everything is a 1x1x1 block)

When I first heard about Minecraft, it sounded a bit ‘arty’ – like it was for creative people. I’m not very creative, so I kind of ignored it. I remember, a few years ago, seeing a video of a guy who had built a scale model of the Starship Enterprise (from Star Trek) in the game, and someone who had built a working computer (of sorts) in game, but didn’t think any more about it. Then, through a couple of connected routes, I came across a couple of YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft and started to get a bit interested (this will tie in to a couple of my other obsessions as well – I don’t know why, but I love watching other people play games).

I played a demo, and really enjoyed it, so I but the full game and just never looked back. In many ways it’s a very simple game, but as with all really successful things, it’s simplicity is really a cover for some quite complex interactions underneath and it really allows you to do some very impressive things. Now I am no expert – I have never really been one for online gaming, and so I have never got into one of the most popular aspects of Minecraft – playing ‘online’ with lots of other people and all interacting in the same environment. I just play on my own. I actually would like to try out some online play, but I’ve never really looked into it too much.

So I just play along on my own, wandering around, collecting stone and coal and diamonds and wood and building little projects of my own. This was one of the first little houses I built.
First build
Which looks pretty rubbish – as pretty much everyone’s first house does. But I built it all myself.

This is my current major build.
Actual Survival build
Which is still pretty ugly, but is a fairly major undertaking for me. The big building in the top left is clearly my main base (with a tree farm on top). In the middle is another tree farm with some structures underneath it that I haven’t decided what to do with. At the bottom is my automatic wheat farm (you use wheat to make bread) What isn’t shown is about 5km of railway that I also laid, because it’s underground 🙂

This is a new game I have just started where I’m trying to think a bit more about how things look.
Tertiary
Not much to look at, but at least it looks a bit better than the big stone lump in my main game.

Why am I obsessed with Minecraft? I guess because it’s so open – there is really no limit to the game, and it’s a real pleasure to just while away some time and build stuff.

I guess I should put in some links in case you are that interested.
Minecraft website
Wikipedia page about Minecraft
A nice video series about a guy playing minecraft

Apr 10 2014

It’s Alive!

I’ve been thinking for a while about a way to revitalise this blog, and actually make it meaningful. I did really enjoy the ‘post every day in May’ project, but that feels a bit too much like work for the long term.

I needed to come up with something that I would actually enjoy writing about, without it feeling like a task. What occurred to me was my obsessions.

I do have an obsessive streak in me. Not in any major or even negative way, but when I come across something that I enjoy, I tend to immerse myself in it, to the exclusion of all other things. This can be good, but can be bad (as I’m sure Mrs Worm would agree) – but overall I thought it might be interesting to write about some of the things I have obsessed about over the years.

I’m not going to do this is any systematic way. Just pick the first topic that pops into my head and see where it takes me.

This will include a fair amount of pop culture, but also (I would hope) some more esoteric things…we’ll have to see.

Hopefully I’ll get the first post up tonight.

Watch this space!