Making yourself a home
October 28, 2019 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Oh, that is really lovely.
I think it gets to the heart of what I love about Minecraft, more than anything else I've read about it.
posted by Adridne at 9:58 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think he should ask the neighbor farmer to let him clean up the field. Just a couple of hours every morning in a plashy winter visit can prune or thin enough area to see if the coppice will come healthy. And one person by hand can clear enough land for one loads worth of grain.
posted by clew at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2019

Today is my son's birthday. My project for the lunchtime break is to migrate our Minecraft server to a new virtual machine so we can play again. He has one crazy world with millions of wolves and zombies that he sprayed over the landscape, and craters all over from when he made bombs all the time, but also the tower with a water falling down one side and lava from the other. There's the world that we spent countless hours playing in together. And there's "Grandma World" in which he plays with my mom who lives far away. It truly is an old familiar place.
posted by technodelic at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

From the article:
I built a small cobblestone castle, a high-walled place of safety from the terrors of the night. It made sense to me, this dream world about building a house from whatever you could gather from nature. It’s a game about home, about creating a sense of belonging from hollowed dirt and lumps of coal. About having a place where you know the hills and lakes, and hold some measure of control over the muck around you. There are no landlords in Minecraft, and this is the real reason an entire generation loves it. Every survival game for me is about chasing the dream of home. Of a place where I belong, a place that – this time – will be perfect and stable and good and free.
I absolutely understand this feeling. Stardew Valley also has a similar vibe. You control how the virtual space around you is organized. You decide what should go where and why and it might only make sense to you but it doesn't mater. It's your own world, you create it as you see fit.

A lovely essay, worth reading. Thank you for posting it here.
posted by Fizz at 10:37 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

That is a lovely essay and helps articulate something I'm always chasing in videogames, the creative feeling of making a place for myself. Minecraft definitely is a key game like that, and I still think of MeFightClub's Aporkalypse not just as a home, but a village of lots of people and their homes.

But for me "a place for myself" doesn't need to be like a house or home. I felt the same way about Eve Online when I was playing it seriously. It helped I belonged to a corp that had its own starbase, but for me "my place" was really my own private network of hangars and jump clones and trade routes. I'd found a niche environment for myself and it was comfortable.

Factorio is also a make-your-place kind of game, doubly so when you play it with the biters turned on so you have to defend your home.

Right now it's No Man's Sky that has my attention. The new patch adds the ability to create industrial facilities that extract minerals and gasses from the planet. I just figured out how to pipe them over moderate distances so I can bring all that extracted wealth right to my front door and my little house with a bed. Feels like home.
posted by Nelson at 10:48 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

He seems to be going back to freelancing, and not, as I was kind of worried from the way this was phrased, deceased, in case anybody was concerned. I don't think it was really phrased that poorly, just the combination of that and having written a piece this reflective made me worried, as someone who occasionally reads RPS but doesn't keep up on it aggressively.
posted by Sequence at 11:09 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]

Rock Paper Shotgun seems to be going to hell lately. I guess they got bought a year ago? Lots of spammy articles trying to get hardware sales referrals, good writers leaving. Nothing good can last.
posted by Nelson at 11:13 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

RPS is the only gaming thing I read daily, outside of a handful of subreddits. I don’t begrudge them the silly HW articles if that makes them money. Gotta do something in the age of ad blockers. They still write about worthwhile games. Sin Vega is a treasure. They’re perhaps not as great as their heyday, but they’re still highly worthwhile.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2019

I’ve always read RPS and Eurogamer but now they have the same owner and look identical, I assume it’s only a matter of time before a merger - or one in all but name.
posted by adrianhon at 2:19 PM on October 28, 2019

I agree with those saying this captures something essential about why I poured hours into Minecraft. I realize now I was doing so at the same time I was trying to make my own space in the real physical world, with far less control than Minecraft offered.
posted by Wretch729 at 2:26 PM on October 28, 2019

I stopped reading RPS after their godawful redesign.
posted by Pendragon at 4:29 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the link to that article, Sequence, I should have included that in the main post! Brendan's been one of my favorite games writers for awhile and his twitter feed is generally pretty fun.

Nelson, I've got a similar feeling about making-a-place in games. I've spent thousands of hours playing Civ and similar 4X games, and really the only thing I ever want to do is make a little empire* in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement with local terrain and let those people get on with their lives and probably build some spaceships. Creepers (which is what I will now call all those warmongering civs that like to city-bomb what is CLEARLY my territory and then declare war on me) really frustrate me.

* out of some kind of garbage
posted by curious nu at 5:11 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

For awhile I lived with friends and we all played Quake 1 on the LAN all the time and we would load up DM2 or DM3 and just run around trying out various jumps or other little optimizations. Like: if you walk off the edge *here* you fall down without noise, but if you do it any higher up you make an ungh sound the other player can hear. Before that there was an LPMUD I remember so well where I learned how to code in ed at 1200 baud lol.

The reason EVE or Minecraft or Stardew Valley or any MMO never really felt like digital homes to me was in those games there's a lot of chores and busywork one Should be Doing, sometimes at the risk of not even being able to play with your friends anymore if you don't keep up. Stardew Valley especially seemed horrifying to me when I played through it co-op with experienced players; the day-night schedule feels aggressive as fuck. That shit felt like a work camp. I did have a home base in Minecraft on the Aporkalypse that I liked, that was just a place to fuck around, but it felt isolated and lonely there a lot. It was a place of boredom, not hanging out w/ friends, and I guess that's defining for me.
posted by fleacircus at 2:12 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

fleacircus - I take your point, especially with Stardew, but to some extent I think that's a playstyle/personal preference thing. I've not really felt the "Should be Doing" thing in Minecraft because you can play the game perfectly happily for literal years without ever actually advancing much in it. I've been playing Minecraft off and on since 2010 and I've never legitimately gotten to the end world (I cheated in once just to see it, but I'd argue that doesn't count). I like to make my own narrative, and my own goals. Sure you can min/max Stardew and rake in millions, but you can also just plant a big apple orchard and have a few pigs and spend your days tinkering with your home decor. Also, for me, the solitude is the point. I play 4X games with friends to be social, for me Minecraft is for either entertaining younger relatives or just relaxing on my own.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:34 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

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