Tag Archives: creativity

Good things: Minecraft

MinecraftOn the run up to Christmas I was looking for games for my son and kept coming across this game called Minecraft. I’d heard of it and had a vague idea that you mined stuff and built stuff and that there were rpg elements to it. It hadn’t lit my fire and the graphics felt a little too retro for my tastes.

Anyway, I asked online if people had anything to recommend and Minecraft popped up again. I asked if it would be suitable for children and got a resounding yes. So I had another look.

A kind fellow sent me the link for this documentary and I was immediately won over by how down to earth the creator was.

So I’ve picked it up and played it for a few days and now I get the Minecraft thing.

I love it.

Why?

I think because the game gives so much freedom and because it makes me creative. In most games, the thing being tested is reflexes and the ability to push buttons in sequences but here I have to actively engage with the world.

And the world is big. Huge even. On the scale of Skyrim but with so much more depth.

I’m playing with Em at the moment* and so far we’ve built a physics defying house. At first we built it to have a shelter from the monsters but it soon became more than that. Like a virtual joint Lego project.

I didn't build this!

I didn't build this!

It now has three floors and growing out to the roof, my pride and joy, a tower, topped with an observation tower made of glass. It’s mad and it’s brilliant. Em’s been busy with perimeter walls, a chicken coup and wolf taming.

Some cool moments in the game so far:

–          The first night when the monsters come out to get you. We hadn’t made any weapons by that stage and had to listen to a zombie trying to smash down our front door.

–          Realising that with the right objects in your hand, you can get animals to follow you.

–          Watching the Bean become obsessed with building a giant pathway from his front door.

Another thing I like is how you can solve problems in different ways. For example, we’d sometimes go exploring but get caught out after dark. One of us** had a habit of falling down holes and needing to be rescued. So we dealt with this in two ways. First, we fenced off the major holes and second, we built pathways between the islands, with beacon towers along the way to guide us home at night. Alternatively, we could have built tunnels, or filled in the holes with dirt, or laid down track and rode carts from one pace to another.

We found a giant set of catacombs running under one of the islands, where rivers run through the rock in some places, lava in others. If we mine the wrong blocks, or if one of the monsters destroys one, it can alter the course of these rivers, trapping us inside or changing the layout of the caves.

There’s a genuine sense of exploration that I haven’t felt in a game for a long time.

Or this!

I didn't build this either.

When we finish with this current world, I might treat myself to the Mass Effect version of the game, or the Skyrim one. Oh and I’m going to build an epically stupid castle with huge paths going across the sky so that I don’t have to worry about the monsters down below.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, I’m off to see what I can make with the gold ore I just mined.

 

*This is another reason the game is so fun, I doubt I’d enjoy it as much on my own.

**Em.

For the Struggling Creative

We all struggle to do our creative thing sometimes. Might be that life gets in the way, family emergencies, busy jobs or a bad review of what you’ve done that cuts off the flow.

I recently put up a post about a writing funk I’d had, and how much it sucked. I was really moved by the number of you that got in contact across various social media to share your own experiences.

After months of editing, planning, attending to real life (and playing computer games) I finally got down to writing some brand new words yesterday.

It was wonderful!

Don’t get me wrong, plotting is fun and editing has its own rewards. For me however, nothing beats the sense of having made something new.

The point of this post is not to say how great I am for writing something* rather to point out how good it felt. When I was at my lowest, I’d forgotten what it felt like to create, to the point I wasn’t sure I could still do it.

But I could still do it. And when I did, it was worth it.

I think that there’s a constant battle going between our inner saboteur and our inner cheerleader. My inner saboteur has had high level ninja training which can make him a tricky bugger at times.

I do have weapons to deploy against the evil ninja however. One of my lovely online friends once sent me an email that was very positive about one of my WIP’s. I confess to having revisited it regularly as it boosts my spirits. So naturally when I was struggling recently I turned to it for support.

It had gone.

Somehow my evil ninja had deleted it from my phone, and my laptop (including my deleted items folder). Curse you evil ninja!

Hmm, there was a point to this when I started. What was it?

Oh yes, the point is that if you are feeling low and not creating at the moment you may have forgotten just how good it feels. Your inner cheerleader isn’t dead; he’s just waiting for an opportunity to send you the good vibes.

Now I cringe at the idea of giving advice to anybody but *cringe* if you can today, make some time for yourself and do your creative thing. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Those vibes are waiting for you. Go get them!**

 

*Although between you and me they were pretty cool words.

**And if you can’t, treat yourself to something else.  (Chocolate, ice-cream, a hug perhaps, an Avatar-athon, maybe a Mass Effect play through, so long as it’s nurturing).