303: What Purpose, Minecraft Zombies?

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What Purpose, Minecraft Zombies?

The zombies of Minecraft aren't simply there to make the game more difficult, says Russ Pitts. They're there to remind you that life's one true mission is that of survival.

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Wow. That has made me completely re-evaluate how I look at Minecraft. Good stuff man.

I don't think, as human-beings, we've completely eliminated that primal fear of the night. We've just spent the last few thousand years building the infrastructure to compensate for it.

Remember the Northeast Blackout of 2003?

The first night of that blackout, I wandered out into the street to experience it. It was another world. The very streets I grew up on, transformed into something else entirely. There is a tunnel under some train tracks behind the house I lived in at the time. A tunnel I'd passed through a thousand times; Only 50 feet long. In that completely blackness, I couldn't will my feet to traverse that tunnel. I was totally overcome by that inherent terror of the night.

My logical brain knew beyond any doubt that that tunnel was no different than the day before. But my emotional brain filled that space with the worst evil of Middle-Earth.

Brilliant article, had me gripped! I love the challenge minecraft's monsters represent. To me there's only one thing more exciting in-game than a glimpse of diamond ore: A vast new cave system full of enemies, waiting to be tamed and mined, one hastily torched-and walled-off chamber by another. I think as good as minecraft is, without that challenge I would have got sick of it long ago.

Brilliant is an understatement. I actually felt moved by this, well done. I haven't gone camping since I was a teen but I remember wandering the forest at night, jumping at the slight sounds with friends. Being utterly terrified and yet totally engaged in the experience. Minecraft has been an addiction of mine and somehow I never grasped totally why, I guess I might not ever. But, this has taught me another thing that makes minecraft more than just another game.

Well done!

Very well done article, and nice Odyssey reference there man!

If you carry around a torch and a few pieces of dirt, you can make yourself a small cottage anywhere on the map without having to worry about the evils of the night. So, in this sense, it is incredibly easy to survive through hiding in the game.

Also, once I dug to the bottom of the map underneath my temporary hut (my nighttime refuge), I decided that the only thing left to do during the Minecraft night was to AFK.

This break in gameplay, the fact that nearly half of the game time was spent doing absolutely nothing of significance, is the reason why I was never fully able to get into Minecraft.

That, and the fact that I didn't see any logic behind not giving the player any actual help. I got tired of looking through wikis every time I wondered if I could craft X or Y to add it to my current project.

I'm happy you didn't get eaten by a bear. That's really the only sentiment I have left from reading that article.

If I would have read this article about a month or two ago, I might of disagreed with you and said, "nah! No way those walking bush monsters can add anything to Minecraft! Freaking blowing up everything I make..." >=(

But it wasn't until I spent a long time in a new world on peaceful, that I realized that I actually missed those horrifying twats. Most of the things that I made on the surface just didn't have as much meaning to me... I even made a huge castle and everything (yeah, lava walls too) but it still fealt like it missed something, answer? Zombies. =)

Nothing feals more exciting than surviving an encounter with a skeleton or a creeper inside a cave.

Edit: Now that I think about, it sort of feels like a love-hate relationship in its finest.

So did you survive the zombie attack? It may have been implied but you could have built a wall behind yourself for the night...

hmmm, I'm not afraid of minecraft nights. I slaughter zombies and skeletons and creepers. What I am afraid of it the rain, some how it crashes my p.o.s. computer.

danhere:
If you carry around a torch and a few pieces of dirt, you can make yourself a small cottage anywhere on the map without having to worry about the evils of the night. So, in this sense, it is incredibly easy to survive through hiding in the game.

Also, once I dug to the bottom of the map underneath my temporary hut (my nighttime refuge), I decided that the only thing left to do during the Minecraft night was to AFK.

This break in gameplay, the fact that nearly half of the game time was spent doing absolutely nothing of significance, is the reason why I was never fully able to get into Minecraft.

That, and the fact that I didn't see any logic behind not giving the player any actual help. I got tired of looking through wikis every time I wondered if I could craft X or Y to add it to my current project.

Yes you can easily hide from the night in Minecraft Yes you can do nothing at night but there is nothing stopping you from doing things you don't really need to do Heres what makes minecraft fun at night as well as day Mine at Night Build during the day.

Patrick Young:

danhere:
If you carry around a torch and a few pieces of dirt, you can make yourself a small cottage anywhere on the map without having to worry about the evils of the night. So, in this sense, it is incredibly easy to survive through hiding in the game.

Also, once I dug to the bottom of the map underneath my temporary hut (my nighttime refuge), I decided that the only thing left to do during the Minecraft night was to AFK.

This break in gameplay, the fact that nearly half of the game time was spent doing absolutely nothing of significance, is the reason why I was never fully able to get into Minecraft.

That, and the fact that I didn't see any logic behind not giving the player any actual help. I got tired of looking through wikis every time I wondered if I could craft X or Y to add it to my current project.

Yes you can easily hide from the night in Minecraft Yes you can do nothing at night but there is nothing stopping you from doing things you don't really need to do Heres what makes minecraft fun at night as well as day Mine at Night Build during the day.

Like I said, I dug down to the bottom of the map (64 blocks down, I think it was?) with a fairly decent width. I had maybe 5 stacks of cobblestone in my inventory and another 8 or so in my chest. I was collecting it faster than I was using it so I just...stopped. And then half of the game time became obsolete to me.

This is exactly what I love about Minecraft. There are few other games able to invoke such high-stakes adrenaline as Minecraft when you have a swarm of enemies in front of you and item-eating lava in back of you. Yes, it's a great building sim, but for me? I see it more as the best caveman sim I've ever played.

Also, that bear story was incredible.

I like to think the zombies in MC were past miners that died before me.

Also anyone got a TL;DR?

Russ Pitts:
What Purpose, Minecraft Zombies?

The zombies of Minecraft aren't simply there to make the game more difficult, says Russ Pitts. They're there to remind you that life's one true mission is that of survival.

Read Full Article

Deep...

Im never going to be able to lo...

OH LOOK! GOLD! :D

Hmmm... I wonder what it says about me that I spend lots of time in Minecraft placing flaming blocks of netherrack down so mob don't spawn nearby for miles and miles?

At first, I figured this would be something that could be responded to with the words "Peaceful Mode". However, the article proved more complex than that. Minecraft's various monsters are a very good example of primal fear. In fact, I've been wondering if, perhaps, they're all in the character's head, mere manifestations of a tired, or worried, mind.

And then the creeper gets me and there's an undeniable hole in the ground.

EDIT:

Quiet Stranger:
I like to think the zombies in MC were past miners that died before me.

Also anyone got a TL;DR?

I've also had a run in with a bear. And fended him off by similar means. I know the feeling you describe, although I hadn't attributed it to Minecraft, on reflection though, I can see your point.

And after building a rather impressive castle, my minecraft days have become devoted to the building of roads.

I know where you're coming from about facing death and then walking away. There is no feeling like it, and it really puts everything into perspective.

Great article, loved every part.

That was an extremely moving article. As someone who loves both Minecraft and the woods, I really understood where you were coming from. although, I have no idea what I would do in the presence of a bear.

Also, as a side note, the woods here in North Carolina, especially the mountains, can be stunningly beautiful.

Russ Pitts used Intimidate on The Bear. It's super effective

Amazing... and I guess I can see how Minecraft captures that feeling... though I think it could capture it better if Hiding were slightly less effective. Like give Creepers and Zombies the ability to attack your structures directly.

"Some games give you everything for free. Your weapons drop from the sky. Your tasks are handed to you. You arrive in the world as capable as you will ever be and your survival is a foregone conclusion."
" Have we, as humans, so irrevocably lost ourselves to the care and feeding of our always-on, just-in-time, wash-and-wear civilization that the pure, primal terror of the night no longer holds sway?"

I'm calling major bullshit on these. Minecraft is the epitome of a game of this type, everything IS given to you. anything you need already exists in the world for you to carve out and put together. No character progression, no skill levels, no upgraded items. You want a sword made of grass? Shit, just make one, no hassle.

I hate how people continue to put Minecraft on a pedestal, and this is the worst example. Why Minecraft? Why is it so special? I always considered the enemies in Hyrule Field as a mirror into the soul and inner workings of humanity. Of course! How can you not see Stalchilds popping out of the ground and be reminded of the heroic spartoi rising from dragon teeth of greek mythology, coming to us through the ages to teach us the hidden secrets of the universe and our place in it.

And the Kokiri clearly represent the ideals of Thoreau's Walden "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Honestly, Notch didn't throw enemies into Minecraft as a social commentary on the futility of civilization and how fragile we really are. You know why he made enemies? Because a game without enemies is GODDAMN BORING!

TheRightToArmBears:
Hmmm... I wonder what it says about me that I spend lots of time in Minecraft placing flaming blocks of netherrack down so mob don't spawn nearby for miles and miles?

It tells me you like either city life, or suburbia, away from nature.

vxicepickxv:

TheRightToArmBears:
Hmmm... I wonder what it says about me that I spend lots of time in Minecraft placing flaming blocks of netherrack down so mob don't spawn nearby for miles and miles?

It tells me you like either city life, or suburbia, away from nature.

I think I just don't like the bits of it that kill me, like poisonous snakes and crocodiles.

At least crocodiles don't explode.

Laxman9292:
Minecraft is the epitome of a game of this type, everything IS given to you.

Oh it is? I was wondering why when I first bought and loaded up the game, I spawned with a full inventory full of items including the best weapons and an awesome house already built for me.

Oh wait. I spawned with absolutely nothing. Minecraft doesn't give you shit, you have to go out and collect materials and build up everything you want on your own. But hey, since you mentioned Zelda, I guess that game gives you everything too. Sure, you just have to go get all the weapons, items, and heart containers, but since just like Minecraft you can go and get everything if you play long enough, the game just gives them to you.

Please. The rest of your post makes your hate for Minecraft obvious, and you're really reaching for a reason to bash it with this one. Minecraft doesn't give you everything. Last time I launched it, it didn't even tell you how to do anything. If that's giving you "everything", I'm sure as hell not seeing it.

Laxman9292:
Honestly, Notch didn't throw enemies into Minecraft as a social commentary on the futility of civilization and how fragile we really are. You know why he made enemies? Because a game without enemies is GODDAMN BORING!

*CoughTetrisCough* And I'm pretty sure Harvest Moon didn't have any enemies as well. Sure I only named 2 games, but the point was made.

danhere:

Patrick Young:

danhere:
If you carry around a torch and a few pieces of dirt, you can make yourself a small cottage anywhere on the map without having to worry about the evils of the night. So, in this sense, it is incredibly easy to survive through hiding in the game.

Also, once I dug to the bottom of the map underneath my temporary hut (my nighttime refuge), I decided that the only thing left to do during the Minecraft night was to AFK.

This break in gameplay, the fact that nearly half of the game time was spent doing absolutely nothing of significance, is the reason why I was never fully able to get into Minecraft.

That, and the fact that I didn't see any logic behind not giving the player any actual help. I got tired of looking through wikis every time I wondered if I could craft X or Y to add it to my current project.

Yes you can easily hide from the night in Minecraft Yes you can do nothing at night but there is nothing stopping you from doing things you don't really need to do Heres what makes minecraft fun at night as well as day Mine at Night Build during the day.

Like I said, I dug down to the bottom of the map (64 blocks down, I think it was?) with a fairly decent width. I had maybe 5 stacks of cobblestone in my inventory and another 8 or so in my chest. I was collecting it faster than I was using it so I just...stopped. And then half of the game time became obsolete to me.

Well you could try your hand at making castles or something elaborate. Heck you could just make a simple garden. I find it helps to keep giving yourself different projects in this type of game to stay interested.

I do not intend to offend you, Russ, in the slightest, but:

Jokes aside, that was an awesome story, Russ. I'm glad you made it out in one piece (literally).

Also, I agree. Minecraft is, viewed objectively, an excellent metaphor of the human race and it's effect on Earth, in general.

I mean you're just this guy, who drops into a foreign world one day, and starts killing it's peaceful inhabitants for food, Desecrating ancient mountains for personal taste, and mercilessly slaughtering the nocturnal residents, who are just trying to get close enough to you to say "Hi!", in their own way. Why are you doing that? Because A)Their "way of saying Hi" happens to hurt. and B) They wook scawy!

It's interesting to note though, that you CAN live a sustainable life, if you work HARD for it (with a wheat and tree farm)......but most people don't because it's just Easier to chop down whole forests and kill hordes of virtual pigs.

It's one of the few games where, depending on your personal beliefs, you could just be playing as the Villain for a change....

Of course Tetris has an enemy. That jerk keeps dropping things on you and if you don't place them quickly enough you die.

Laxman9292:
"Some games give you everything for free. Your weapons drop from the sky. Your tasks are handed to you. You arrive in the world as capable as you will ever be and your survival is a foregone conclusion."
" Have we, as humans, so irrevocably lost ourselves to the care and feeding of our always-on, just-in-time, wash-and-wear civilization that the pure, primal terror of the night no longer holds sway?"

I'm calling major bullshit on these. Minecraft is the epitome of a game of this type, everything IS given to you. anything you need already exists in the world for you to carve out and put together. No character progression, no skill levels, no upgraded items. You want a sword made of grass? Shit, just make one, no hassle.

I know its sarcastic, but you cant make a sword from grass, nor do I think can you actually farm grass (at least I havent been able to). And the actually uses for a grass sword would be so laughably pitiful that I couldnt even image in the time and resources one would waste on it to craft such a ridiculous weapon.

But more to the point, nothing is given to you. Hell, before achievements were added, they didnt even give you a sense of direction. you start with nothing and can end with anything in the range of nothing to everything. You dont start with a sword, you dont start with a craft box, you dont even start with shelter. And god help you if you odnt figure it out by the time night comes and the creepers, spiders, skeletons, zombies, and ghasts come to wreck your shit. Sure, you may stumble across something like a pick ax of diamond (though I've never seen that, even after fighting enemies with it), but you may also just stumble upon a legally binding deed to a paid off house (*cough*inheritance*cough*). Minecraft (like any game) is exactly reflective of your effort towards it. You want that cock and balls statue of gold, you go mine the gold. One wont just appear from the sky. You want that House of glass surrounded by lava falling in such a way that it resembles the beauty seen at Niagara you smelt the sand and sling buckets of lava.

You want an upgraded item? You just made a stone ax instead of a wooden one. You want character progression? Your clothes change from simple nomad to hardened veteran incased in diamond. You want skill level? you were able to craft from a table,a nd now can smelt from a furnace. You can farm sugar for cake, or create obsidian for fortresses. You made light with torches, glass from sand, and ingots from ore. You did something that the newbie may not be able to, you gained a skill. What, you think real world glassblowers are just born with that knowledge, that they dont have the trial and error?

I hate how people continue to put Minecraft on a pedestal, and this is the worst example. Why Minecraft? Why is it so special?

One could easily say the same for Zelda. I never saw it as anything more the the classically and overused greek hero arc thats so stereotpyical in games. And even more so it was a nintendo fantasy adaptation on LotR of sorts, with its population of elf like creatures that interact with humans, monsters, and magic in a wide expansing world with dungeons and mythical inspired bosses.

Instead, lets look at the question of why not Minecraft? Its probably one of the few and truest adaptions of the human development. You are dropped in a strange yet familiar world, with nothing on you but the close on your back. You forge your way through with trial and error, making yourself a home in the day. Your first night comes, you have that moment of confidence, that you mastered the day, you can master the night just as easy. Then you hear it, the scratching, the hissing, seeing the beady red eyes stare back at you and rush to make acquaitance with your body in the most unfriendly manner. You turn to your pockets, and you have nothing, for you know nothing. You didnt know to make a stick or a crafting table or a sword. You didnt know that you could make armour from the leather of the cows you saw. You had no idea that you needed a torch to give light, to make a safe shelter to close of the dangers of the world. You are helpless, you can only flee.

So you do, or you foolishly stand, the htought that maybe, just maybe I can survive with my fists, that my strength will overcome theirs. Either way, you either live, and start the day new,s eeing light is the enemy of the creatures,a nd they die in it. or you die, and begin life anew, a fallen chance that you learn from. A defeat in the war of life.

Eventually you learn, you learn to craft this world in your image, that you are the master of your domain. That digging up/down can bring in a flood of water/lava and snuff you out again, to see your hopes and dreams and achievements washed away/burned away in front of you. You suffer the pitfalls and hardships and finally dig the world to bed rock, then recreate it in your image, your mind. You have mastered your life, mastered the world around you, made your statement that you are ________________ and this world, this life would not beat you. You started with nothing, you ended with everything. You conquered the darkness, defeated the beasts of the night. You are god, transcended from man and his mortal confines.

So what now? You've mastered life and its challenges, beaten everything. Crafted it all, mined it all. Your castle of diamond looms in the distance, your bright kingdom of perfection. You do what is human. You destroy in a fit of overzealous rage, that somehow the castle mocks you and then must sit in the perfect world you made with nothing available to help you recreate it. You fade away into the night, knowing you have done your best, and that you mastered what you could. Or you start new, life reborn, challenges to reconquer, with the knowledge of what you had in your past life to attempt at the new.

Maybe its me reading in, but Minecraft is possible the true digital personification of the human mind and its capabilities, as well as life's journey and struggles. Sure, you could read into another game, and dismiss minecraft as nothing more then child playthings and a lego clone, that there is no satisfaction. But that doenst mean that because Pitts sees it as so, he is should be wrong and blatantly told so.

Honestly, Notch didn't throw enemies into Minecraft as a social commentary on the futility of civilization and how fragile we really are. You know why he made enemies? Because a game without enemies is GODDAMN BORING!

Also, any game (in which enemies exist) are guilty of this. There's not alot of games that honestly go out of there way to add an enemy and make a social commentary about anything that doestn advertise itself as such. Nintendo certainly didnt.

Now I get what Pitts is getting at, and I get what you're getting out. I made the argument once that there is no reason to ever make a Soul Calibur game again because the story is done. You've seen the classic hero arc in Seigfried from start to finish, so what else is there that you can do without hurting the game (more so) then you already may have? You two just share a differing opinion, and while yes everyone has and is entitled to an opinion, to say he's wrong in his thinking and make such a grand showcase as to post it here, AND make a separate thread so everyone can see how much you contest Pitts is rather unnecessary and poorly reflecting.

though all that was meant with respect.

I really like in Minecraft how your really not ever invincible, and there is always the danger of dieing. (I play purely on hard though, put it on normal or easy kinda negates my argument) In some other games you can get to a point when almost nothing can kill you, but in Minecraft, the best thing you can do is get a full set of iron armor and a diamond sword. Which DOES make you rather powerful, but nowhere near invincible.

Any game without a tutorial is a poor design decision. Don't try to justify it. Other than that, you want to read that deeply into it then go for it.

So there should be zombie bears in minecraft?jk.
No,no that's not a bad thing.The simplest mechanics seem to be the best

I don't believe that story. That's no way a bear would not recognize Russ Pitts as its superior.

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