Hello, my name is Andrew Clark, and I’m addicted to Minecraft.
…and before anyone makes a crack about timeliness, I’m going to be “that guy” and mention that I was playing the alpha all the way back in March of last year – I had a blog post planned to talk about how it was the ultimate digital fix. Thing is, that I was just too involved in planning sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired structures and orchestrating uplifting Chilean miner rescues yet to happen to actually put fingers to keys. And to think, perhaps my blog entry would have been on the front of the wave, just before it blew up and turned one-man developer Markus Persson into a Swedish enabler for addictive personalities everywhere. Oh well, he’s still a millionaire and apparently didn’t need my help getting there.
But what makes it so addictive? Why was there a section of time where I kept it open in a separate Firefox tab at work, just to check on it every now and again? Why was it that whenever I made an excuse to my wife for how much I was playing, it sounded like a line delivered by a member the SyFy channel’s acting stable? I had no excuses. Hell, most of the gaming press/pundits were already questioning whether Minecraft was actually a “game” at all, so what exactly was I wasting my time doing?
And there’s no official answer to that, or any of the other questions I might bring up, so if you’ve read this far expecting an epiphany from me, you’re not going to get one. The only thing I could possibly make any sense of as to why I love this silly little game is that it reminds me of childhood (which was one of Persson’s main goals, I think). Exploring in the woods, building Legos – it all makes perfect sense here, and no arrow-flinging skeletons, zombies or stomach cramps from not getting up to use the bathroom when I should have are going to stop me from experiencing that. Hell, I’m in my thirties; any chance to reclaim a little bit of my childhood is an opportunity I gladly take – I’m no fool.
And maybe that’s the reason it’s addicting. Maybe I’m at a crossroads in my life where I can see middle age approaching, but I’ve still got one Star Wars special edition Adida toeing the last scrap of my younger years. I’ve got a house now – I’m married. My kid’s going to be 10 this April, for God’s sake! Perhaps I’ve been using Minecraft as a soft escape from the reality I willfully accepted. I’m not sure if that’s a good basis for a discussion on addiction, but I’ll gladly adopt it as my most convincing excuse.
Or, maybe I’m thinking too deeply. Maybe I need to lay off the cough medicine long enough to accept this “addiction” as a nothing more than a nightlight – like back in the day when I’d leave The Sims or Sim City 2000 running all night just for background activity. Maybe I like that Minecraft is the first official “do everything while doing nothing” game I’ve ever experienced and I’ve secretly been pining for it my whole game-playing life. No goals, and no pressures outside of the basics for any game: survival and getting better stuff. It just delivers in a different way that tickles all the right spots for me, I guess.
At any rate, my so-called addiction is finally under control enough to host a Minecraft shindig for PC Game Night. I’ll dole out the details as they hit me, but I highly suggest that anyone not yet buried under 128 blocks of productivity-destroying addiction give it a shot. Just remember to tell your sponsor.