Alright, nerds. I know this one’s going to be hard for you all, but I have to break it to you: Minecraft is bad and you should feel bad if you like it.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration. As we established about ten posts ago, if you enjoy a game and think it’s good… well, you’re right! Personal taste is a real thing, and only you can decide whether you like a game or not. For example, I decided quite a while ago that I don’t like Minecraft.
That might come as a surprise, given how much I’ve talked about the joys of exploration and creation. Those are the pillars of Minecraft, right? Yes and no. Exploration yes, but with nothing of note to discover. Creation yes, but extremely limited in what you can create.
I do recognize how amazing Minecraft is; don’t get me wrong. The game that got me hooked on creation was SimCity, but for kids today it’s Minecraft — and I’m all about that. It’s just that by the time Minecraft entered my life, I was past the point where it had anything to offer. Which is not to say I didn’t play the heck out of it for a while.
For that admittedly long while, I had fun wandering an endless world, stumbling upon networks of caverns or fascinating geological formations. When that side of the game had lost its thrill, I set to building all sorts of things of increasing scale and scope. That all culminated in a project to create a massive underground city straight out of Stonekeep… which I sunk days of ingame time into before I realized I was only like 5% finished and what was I doing with my life?
See, this was after I had started modding for Doom. I may not have been very good at it yet, but I was completing whole maps in way less time than it took in Minecraft to mine materials, refine them, and build whatever final product. My Doom creations had gameplay and allowed for some degree of storytelling. Minecraft was sterile and basic by comparison. Minecraft was Lego blocks.
There is nothing at all wrong with Minecraft as a game, and I think it’s invaluable for children especially. I can’t even believe the things my nephew has created in Minecraft, or what he’s learned from it. But for me, the takeaway was that I was far along enough on my creative journey that this set of tools wasn’t enough. As an adult I still occasionally delight in building something with Legos when I’m visiting my nieces and nephews — but Legos aren’t my medium of choice. Neither is Minecraft.
Even if I enjoyed my time with Minecraft, it showed me that sometimes there are better and way more rewarding uses of that time.