One Metre Cubed Blocks

Lockdown has led me to have the chance to learn how to play Minecraft. I know it’s not that hard, but I’ve found it interesting and fun. I’ve also had the chance to explore parts of the world that I can’t do in real life. I had started thinking that I would write today about systemic racism and privilege in our modern society but I’m not going to, yet. I think there’s been enough said over the last while and if you read these communications you will see what side I’m on. What I will say is that if you deny systemic racism then you either a purposely not reading or learning anything about our modern society or you are racist. I think my favourite thing I’ve seen written recently was – We hate Trump because he is racist, you hate Obama because you are racist – and don’t you go thinking this is just an American problem, it is rife in this little island over here too.

Minecraft World
Minecraft World

This is how much of the current world I have explored. It is approximately 5km across its furthest points. The base is somewhere in the middle of all that! This is the second Minecraft world I have generated, the first had me on an island in an ocean and I spent quite a while on that world but I have to say that being spawned in the woods and on a land of large area is much easier. It’s much easier to find resources. I find that I tend to separate my playing sessions into three main types.

  • Building Structures
  • Off Adventuring
  • Mining for Materials

The loop top right is one that I spent a few “days” exploring. When exploring I always have a bed, food and compass in my inventory. The bed is to be able to skip the night so that I encounter as few monsters as possible. Food is a requirement and then the compass I use to find my way back to the world spawn point. My main base is close to the world spawn point and I think that’s important along with a compass. I haven’t yet figured out how to use the Minecraft maps properly I need to do some reading on them. Each session I play is between one and two hours. I find the mining good fun and I think I try to see too much logic in the placement of blocks but also need to understand that while it’s random it is also procedurally generated. Building structure is excellent and my plans are slowly getting larger. I haven’t really figured out the aesthetics of it all yet and I need to practise my use of materials cleverly to look good but I’m getting the hang of it slowly.

My Buildings - Minecraft
My Buildings – Minecraft

My main structures are marked with red blotches in the above picture. Starting far left they are:

  • Beach House
  • Beach Station
  • Meadow Station
  • Main Base
  • First Harbour
  • Secret Mountain Base

I found the beach while I was off on a wander and I decided eventually to build a pathway from the main base to it as easy access to the sea is helpful in this game. Once I had a pathway in place with lit towers marking the route I then decided that the “day” it takes to walk was rather annoying and I chose to make a railway from the main base to my beach house. I knew I would have to gather a lot of resources and that I did. I needed plenty of railway and powered rails along with lots of blocks to make the whole line one straight section of railway. I chose to do this as it’s easier to head in a single direction through mountains and over rivers than winding your way, it also requires less material. The resulting railing is just under 1,6 kilometres long.

It's a long way to the beach
It’s a long way to the beach

To travel this far in the minecart takes about three real minutes. From main base to the beach house is about five real minutes of travel. At least it gives you time to sort out the inventory and make sure everything is placed neatly. Once the main railway was in place I built stations at each end and I don’t have any screen shots of those at the moment. I then wanted to build two decent looking bridges over two rivers and a future job is to build a nice viaduct where the railway passes over the swamp biome.

My Suspension Railway Bridge
My Suspension Railway Bridge
My Standard Railway Bridge
My Standard Railway Bridge

Ill try and get some screen shots of my stations and secret mountain base and put them on here sometime soon. I wanted my stations to be fun and represent the areas they headed to. So the station near the main base is fun colours and looks like a sweet while the station near the beach is green and looks like the forests the line heads towards. I have really done any Redstone constructions yet apart from the railway. I think I will need to start these soon as I would like to have a switch which turns railway points so you can pick your destination in the station and the correct railway line is chosen automatically. While I don’t know if this can be done I am sure I could find a guide if I wanted but I will learn bit by bit.

Because I’m classically on the left of politics I’m going to mention some problems with this game. Is this important? It’s just a game you say. Well, yes this is important because all of this adds to culture and what people think is acceptable. What do the Marvel films teach us? That the world will be saved by gods and masked superheroes with immense damage and that all arguments can be solved through violence. This is partly why I don’t really enjoy these movies, that and they aren’t that good. So, Minecraft. Let’s look at the overall themes. I mine coal to power my cooking and smelting processes. I harvest trees for the wood but at least I can regrow the trees or even plant more than I have destroyed. Animals roam the land and I can use them for my own purposes. I get points for killing them and also for breeding them. If I’m trapped in a village overnight I can kick a villager out of their bed and sleep in it. I can destroy the villagers’ homes with no repercussions, I can steal their food and their possessions with no repercussions. I can kill them with no repercussions. I can take their lands and use their goods for my own purposes.

This game teaches you that there are no repercussions to stealing land, taking food, killing natives, destroying the planet, building whatever you want. I know this game is played a lot by younger children who love it. They love the creativity of it. They love challenging each other and it is a massive online arena with YouTubers careers made on explaining it to the world. But, when you break it down, what does it teach you? If there’s a better metaphor for historical and current European descent white supremacy then I’m not sure I know what it is. Where was this game created? Stockholm. Who owns it now? Microsoft. This world is biased and people claim they can’t see how! There, I managed to end this communication on a depressing note.