Heidi and I have been playing Minecraft together in the last couple of months and having an unwarranted amount of fun.
I realize that I am a bit late on the Minecraft bandwagon (though to my geek cred, I did purchase the game a few years back when it was still in alpha, but I played it only sporadically back then.) However, Minecraft for Xbox 360 is recent enough that I don’t feel too bad discussing it.
Having the game on a console lends it to a more pick up and play mentality, despite the boot up time for the Xbox, and that means it is a little bit easier to get my wife on board.
As I have learned with her and various forms of entertainment, the biggest battle is getting Heidi to try something. Even if she believes that she will enjoy it, she takes a long time (or it seems long to me, anyway) to bridge the gap between hypothesis and reality. But once she samples it, gets that first taste, then we can really ascertain her reaction to the game.
Since her first exposure around Christmas, Heidi has gone out of her way to play the game at least once a week. I call that a win.
Minecraft is just plain more fun with someone else. By myself, I quickly find the game to be somewhat lonely and frankly a bit depressing. With someone else, however, it turns into the best LEGO session ever — specifically, one in which no one is required to clean up all the little bricks afterward.
Over Christmas break, I played a decent amount of Minecraft with my brothers, and Tim and I worked on a rather impressive transcontinental mine cart system. At one junction, the user may get off the rail, pass into the Nether, then ride that rail (dubbed “The Netherway”) and cross to the other side of the world in less than a minute. It was an extensive project, and one that took a lot of time and effort.
(Admittedly, most of the manual labor was done by Tim, but I take great pride in my management abilities shining through — I synthesized our systematic processes or something.)
But we bonded over it! And we came up with faux military protocol that had to be followed while using the railway (such as a formulaic announcement of which rail you plan to ride) and ‘consequences’ for breaking protocol. We put Heidi through a rigorous application process in order to justify a stop on the railway for her house (after she insisted on making a floating house which happens to be inconvenient for rail travel).
Now Heidi has discovered Creative mode, where the player has unlimited access to all materials and the only real limits are the imagination.
She has been hard at work for a few weeks constructing a gargantuan crystal castle in the sky, towering over a nearby village whose residents she has given theoretical serfdom.
When she asked me to join her, I popped into the world for a bit and gave some advice on making secret doors, some opinions on interior decorating, spawned an unreasonable number of skeleton archers on one of her towers.
My biggest contribution, however, is an automated system for flushing the unwashed masses, straight out of her throne room. With the flip of a switch, the dirty peasant slips down into a stream that passes through something vaguely sewer like and is ejected from the castle grounds (*floating* castle, mind you) and dumped into the ocean.
At least that’s what it does in theory. We’re still in development, working out the kinks. Honestly, I’m finding the tests to be almost more fun than I suspect the result will be.
I’d love to tell you more but that castle toilet isn’t going to fix itself.