Ok, to be fair this post is a bit of a cheat – I haven’t been actively playing Minecraft for quite some time. Reading posts from folks like The Ancient Gaming Noob has just reminded me how addicted to the game I used to be. I even have a page on the Minecraft Awesome wiki! This game has a permanent spot on my favorites list no matter how long it’s been since I played.
While I’ve previously mentioned that the Video Games Awesome Minecraft server helped get me into actually interacting with people in online games, I didn’t talk much about the game itself or what I built on the server.
Minecraft is so well known by now that I doubt I need to explain what the game is. If you’ve somehow missed it entirely (how?) it’s the one about exploring and mining and creating and checking the wiki because you can’t remember how to make a redstone repeater. It’s also ridiculously entertaining for many people, including me.
Many screenshots ahead!
As I mentioned in that other post, I wouldn’t have bought Minecraft to play on the VGA server if I hadn’t expected to like the game all on its own. I enjoy exploration in games, and love the feeling of being alone in an unexplored world. I’m also more than a bit of a collector and hoarder in games, so going out gathering materials can keep me entertained for hours. Even with that, I’d completely underestimated the fun I would eventually have building when I bought it during the last few weeks of beta.
While I don’t have screenshots from my first ever single player builds, I can show you the first thing I built on the server. The community I’d joined (Renimar) needed me to build a mage tower. Scared of disappointing them, I constructed a massive one. This was where I first got stuck on building both towers and round things, because apparently I don’t like doing easy things. The server is vanilla (keep that in mind while reading, none of these builds were on a Creative or modded server!), but I no longer remember if I collected all the materials for that first tower or also borrowed some from my community. In any case, they’d later tell me it was at least four times as big as they expected!
As I spent more time on the server, I’d eventually experiment with landscaping (an Enchanted Forest area) and with builds based on fictional works (The Inn of the Last Home).
I also built an inn on the ground.
At the same time, the VGA server was well known for having regular build challenges, and I tried to participate in as many of those as I could. We would be given a theme, submit a build request, and then work in teams to get things done in the time given. Build challenges were always toured on a live show when complete, making them that much more exciting…and stressful!
In groups, and with strict time limits and quality guidelines, we’d build anything from a massive Dwarven Ruins adventure build to the castle from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (For that build, I also made the church and Denton billboard myself. ^^) While many of the builds I helped with were Renimar’s, it was also fun working with other groups like I did with the RHPS build.
As much fun as I had with those massive team builds, this was also when I realized how much I value solo play even in multiplayer games. I started constructing a secondary tower a distance from my community, not because I disliked them, but because I couldn’t handle social gaming every night. I temporarily had an intricate setup with a skeleton spawner in the basement, but disabled it due to stricter rules about mob farming on the server.
I also added on to nearby villages..
…and continued to participate in build challenges like the twisted Animal Crossing build in Nintenderland.
I had entirely too much fun constructing multiple buildings for part of a Halloween Challenge (37:39), all done the night before to help out a friend! The interiors left something to be desired with the short time I had, but I’m still pretty proud of how they turned out. I was also very much enjoying making my own skins by then, dressing up as Neil Gaiman’s Death for the occasion.
Near the end of my time on the server, I’d started building a Minecraft version of the Myst library off in a third location. This third location was going to be my own to do with as I pleased, a distance away from Renimar. I don’t say that as a slam on the community, which by then I was helping to run! We just had a very specific plan, focusing on fantasy styled builds. By building on my own plot, I could experiment without ruining what we’d already accomplished.
I fell away from Minecraft around the time the Minecraft Awesome server started gearing up to move to a new world. While I was initially excited to start fresh, and spent an ungodly amount of time transferring my gajillion items, I barely made a dent on my new plot. Whether it was lack of motivation to start over, or simply because I’d started playing other games that took up my time, I was soon only going back for brief visits.
Going through these screenshots and videos, I miss the game. (I also miss many of my friends from the server, but right now I’m talking about the game!) One of these days, I may need to start up a new world of my own, and see if going back to the basics with single player Minecraft will respark the magic for me. I suspect it would, and I know there’s been all kinds of fun changes since I stopped playing.