303: What Purpose, Minecraft Zombies?

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Great article! That's quite an interesting perspective...

UnmotivatedSlacker:

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.

My point was never that I didn't have projects in mind, I always did when I started a new game. My point is that nighttime essentially pauses the gameplay. Once you realize you have enough blocks to last you several day cycles, there is no point in collecting more (and that's pretty much all you could do at night anyways until you get to the point where you decide to build/decorate the interior). At this point, the game becomes an AFK-fest through night, because while there are real dangers outside, it is too easy to isolate yourself from them. It's tedious and pointless. It'd be nice if the game didn't pause every time you alt+tab, at least. In that case I could do something while I wait for sunrise.

danhere:

UnmotivatedSlacker:

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.

My point was never that I didn't have projects in mind, I always did when I started a new game. My point is that nighttime essentially pauses the gameplay. Once you realize you have enough blocks to last you several day cycles, there is no point in collecting more (and that's pretty much all you could do at night anyways until you get to the point where you decide to build/decorate the interior). At this point, the game becomes an AFK-fest through night, because while there are real dangers outside, it is too easy to isolate yourself from them. It's tedious and pointless. It'd be nice if the game didn't pause every time you alt+tab, at least. In that case I could do something while I wait for sunrise.

Hm, then I have something you can try. Get a sword and just go nuts on the monsters when night falls. Try and see if you can last through the night. That should be interesting enough.

Keith K:
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.

It's only smart to be afraid of the unknown in that situation though. You have no idea who could be waiting for you in a dark tunnel.

Wow. I've never felt that sort of fear in Minecraft. Ever. :S If I'm digging, I just slap a rock back the way I came, light a torch and settle down to craft the night away. Zombies and spiders have always been a way of getting me to do my chores, than anything else.

I'm not going to lie, this article was really good. It changed my view of the world and the things in it, and for that, I commend you, good sir.

So, after your experience with the bear, which made you realize the preciousness of life, you decided to spend all your days in front of your computer playing Minecraft?
Alrighty then...

I think our culture has successfully managed to eradicate most of the things that go bump in the night through industrialization and technology. Now most of our fears are results of our own machinations -- being destroyed by mega corporations, inept or corrupt governments, religious fanaticism, environmental destruction. Fictional settings are one of the few places left that many people have to be reminded that man was, at one point, not the most fearsome monster on the planet.

Angel Molina:
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.

I've been playing on Peaceful for a few hours, and now that I have my awesome doom spire with 14 levels and 17 sub levels, I realize why I'm so bored =|
Night falls, and I just whip out some torches and keep on working on courtyard #4. When I first started playing, I kept it on normal. After getting killed by: skeletons with wallhacks, cows that push me into lava, and exploding penises that push me off of cliffs, and getting lost, unable to find my fortress that I worked so hard to make, I set it to Peaceful.
I think now that I have my fortress of awesomeness, I'll set it back to normal and see how my 3 block thick stone walls and glass walkways fair against the night =)

Actually I don't think the monsters augment gameplay at all. I find them just to be an aggravating hindrance. Me and my buds play with the monsters off and it's arguably just as fun with them on. If not better. You get more shit done when the monsters are off. With the beds you can simply skip night as well. If you have the option to sleep in the bed every night what's the point of having the monsters on at all? Sure they provide materials for....tnt? arrows? Bones for getting wolves, which would be otherwise useless if the monsters were off. I just don't see the point. We started playing with the monsters on for a while but always refer to the time when we had them off as "the golden age" because we noticed we didn't create as much cool shit when the damn monsters were on.

danhere:
...At this point, the game becomes an AFK-fest through night, because while there are real dangers outside, it is too easy to isolate yourself from them. It's tedious and pointless. It'd be nice if the game didn't pause every time you alt+tab, at least. In that case I could do something while I wait for sunrise.

there's beds now, you can skip nights if they bore you.

Eh, I always saw night in MC as a nuisance. Just a time to watch my back while I go about whatever work I was up to.

There is another game that taught me to fear the night. In it, you're far more likely to survive soloing a dragon than wandering the wilderness alone at night.

Excellent article. I have often wondered what Man hath wrought with Civilization. Whether we are actually better off with what we have today over the daily struggle to survive our ancestors had to endure. Anyone who has experienced a near death experience will tell you it does change their life. I wouldn't say change, myself, but more enhance. I envy Russ for that entire day he got to experience after the bear. And thankful that he did get that extra day. Russ enhances a lot about The Escapist that we take for granted.
As for Minecraft, I have gotten to the point where I can build pretty decent structures on the first day without a sweat. But it doesn't stop me from just going out on occasion away from my safety to see what else is in the world created for me, and then find myself too far away from home when the sun sets. Dig a hole? Maybe. But first I will see what else my surroundings might offer. Just last night I spent a night perched on a cliffside under an overhang. Skeletons were bouncing below, waiting for me to lean my nose out to shoot it off, and I know there was more than just a pig on the top above me, silently waiting for me to do something foolish. Precarious and enduring as it was, all I could do was think to myself how amazing the view would be in higher bit resolution. I actually find it quite easy to fill in the blanks and anti-alias the edges to see more out of what is presented.
We are given very beautiful worlds upon which to sculpt our imagination upon. When this world has become too safe for me, I can just summon up a new one. Or just go over to the next chunk.

The Random One:
I don't believe that story. There is no way a bear would not recognize Russ Pitts as its superior.

Even the most nefarious supervillains are hard to recognize out of their element. Russ just had to express his true nature to get the point across.

My only problem with night in Minecraft is skeletons. They have perfect aim and can shoot from quite far away which makes random killing in wide open spaces at night difficult. It can also make large groups of enemies very deadly when exploring underground.

For fun though you can create a sort of maze above ground, starting at a spawn point and ending at a door that leads to a safe, well lit room. The main problem is that creepers can easily destroy your maze if your not careful, but the purpose is to try and make it through the maze without dying (and obviously before night ends). The maze keeps the number of skeletons down to a minimum so as long as you are careful with creepers it's not that difficult.

The maze needs to have most paths be 2 blocks wide so spiders can spawn and chase you and at least 2 blocks high (3 is better) to prevent spiders jumping over the top of the maze.

No building is allowed at all inside the maze and you can increase the difficulty by limiting the number of arrows you can bring in with you.

Other then something like that though eventually enemies become a distraction more then anything else. You can build at night just as easily as during the day if you use torches to good effect and especially if you are building up, have built a protective wall, used lava etc. It takes very little time in a new game to create a defensive position around whatever you are building so nothing can reach you. I personally like using lava as it provides great visual effect, a deadly defense and is easily moved if needed.

Zombies rarely are even a minor danger especially once you have diamond armor/sword as they are very easy to kill and prevent from harming you. Spiders are a bit faster, can jump and are slightly more likely to actually hurt you. Creepers are not that dangerous if you know they are there....but if they creep up on you ......BOOM!!. The most dangerous by far are the skelly's though who can take off a decent amount of health even one on one unless you are very careful. 3 zombies are easy to kill without taking any damage, 3 spiders a bit harder but you can use terrain to often kill them easily without any risk and even without that hit and back up options still work pretty well. 3 creepers can actually take themselves out if your careful and hit the lead creeper with an arrow after it lights itself (pushing it back just a bit so he explodes the other two).

3 skeletons though.....will tear you up FAST if you don't break them up and come at them around corners etc. They are by far the most dangerous enemy in minecraft in my opinion.

Hooboy, those monsters. My friends and I have a coupla servers up using Hamachi, and each has varying degrees of progress. The oldest one has a sprawling, walled-in underground/aboveground/treetop castle, all connected in some form and each built by a different person. The torchlit walls attract friendly mobs and repel most intruders, but we still see angry creepers eying our fortress with hate. We point and laugh. It is no threat to us and once day breaks, its gone.

But sometimes one of them spawns in a darkened corner somewhere in the bowels of our abode and slowly makes it's way up into the living quarters. Our safe haven is penetrated for the moment, and the intense fear returns. Then, it explodes, or is killed and we move on, have a laugh and rebuild the damage.

On the newer servers, where the land is not quite so well known, our defenses not so robust and our equipment not so powerful, the nights are still gripped with fear.

Reminds me of the very first night I had in Minecraft. Like almost anyone, I sat in a dirt hole and shat my pants the entire night as God knows what hungrily rubbed it's stomach directly above me.

danhere:

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.

You know what I do at night? I mine. Duh.

God. That-*sniff*
*Squeak*That was beautiful!

This is why I love MC. The problem being that once you've played the game for months surviving gets too easy. But going down looking for diamonds and other goodies never gets old, I pretty much lose control of my mouse everytime a monster jumps out and scares me.

Then they die.

beema:
So, after your experience with the bear, which made you realize the preciousness of life, you decided to spend all your days in front of your computer playing Minecraft?
Alrighty then...

Ha! Not ALL of them, but some, yes, because I enjoy playing games and writing and making internet stuphs. I also enjoy hiking and camping and taking my dog for long walks and building things in my garage. I know I don't pursue my RL pastimes as often as I would if I didn't also game, but then, I probably also play games less than I would if I didn't have other interests.

Life, to me, is about trying to keep things in balance, not depriving myself of certain pleasures because they seem to be polar opposites of others. ;)

Russ, what a beautiful read. Thanks man! Well done!

frans909:

danhere:

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.

You know what I do at night? I mine. Duh.

Apparently that doesn't help you read during the day though.

The guy that made the point about beds (too lazy to double quote): Touche, I haven't actually played Minecraft since January/February, prior to that update. It'd probably be more interesting now...if I ever find a project I want to build. Thanks for the tip.

This is driving me crazy and a little off topic but what is Russ's avatar a picture of? It makes me take everything he says more seriously.

Keith K:
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.

Sounds like fun, I think humans these days are too used to being secure and living in society, I wouldn't mind a bit of chaos every now and then. *plays minecraft*

Very thought provoking, definitely a good read.

Wait... you screamed at a bear... and it ran away!?

I believe your Man Card may now be of an unlimited duration without ever having to be renewed.

"Dude I need to renew my Man Card."
"I don't."
"But you haven't gotten a new one in like 6 years...."
"Look."
*Pulls at his old worn Man Card with the stamp I yelled at a bear and it ran away crying.*
"Seriously?"
"Yep."
"Well, that finally explains the harem. I always wondered how you managed that one..."

Thedek:
Wait... you screamed at a bear... and it ran away!?

I believe your Man Card may now be of an unlimited duration without ever having to be renewed.

"Dude I need to renew my Man Card."
"I don't."
"But you haven't gotten a new one in like 6 years...."
"Look."
*Pulls at his old worn Man Card with the stamp I yelled at a bear and it ran away crying.*
"Seriously?"
"Yep."
"Well, that finally explains the harem. I always wondered how you managed that one..."

Russ doesn't have a Man card, he has a BAMF card.

Such a beautifully written article!

This gave me goosebumps. In the background, I had this song on loop :

And the part of the song where in the trailer, he does the dragon shout, I started reading about you shouting at the bear. Was pretty epic.

Good read though. The piano cover of the Skyrim theme made it even better though ;D

This article is cool beans.

Great article indeed :). Not to be a smart-ass or anything but building at night is no biggie really, a lot of torches and my Iron armor combined with a trusty diamond sword keep almost everything a bay, not to mention my "castle" is literally in the clouds so come at bro-zombies!

But yeah, first days in minecraft are super creepy, but once you establish a good mine system going down to lava floor, you can get a lot of insane ore and you can keep mining for days without worrying about a thing ( I mostly do this to bury my own fear of lurkers coming to blow my beautiful buildings up =( )

You kind of exaggerated the danger of all the monsters in the actual game of Minecraft. Spiders can be stopped with a lipped wall, rather than a huge roof, the sturdiness of a wall rarely matters, and zombies are not much more common than any other monster and weaker than all of them.

There's also the fact that the primal survival feel of the game has been lessened dramatically by the addition of beds, which not only allow you to skip the night, but actually prevent monsters from spawning during it to greet you in the morning.

Awesome article and it makes me glad i actually caved and bought minecraft the other week =)

Lol... Just thought of what Minecraft would be like if it had the kryll from GoW1 :D

Also Minecraft would be totally mad if it had Bezerkers from Gears as well. O_o

RedEyesBlackGamer:
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.

have you even played Minecraft?
There is no purpose, no objective, no help. you dont need a tutorial, and having one would just detract from the game by telling you what to do rather than letting you figure it out. you are supposed to do whatever the hell you want, you dont need atutorial to tell you that. and there are plenty of games without a tutorial that are amazing.

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!

News to me. And news to lots of beloved games. Like Tetris.

Yvl9921:
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 think that the most brilliant thing is that it is a caveman sim, as in the caveman as the child of humanity.

It's a child's world, in a child's world you don't die, you re-spawn, but in a child's world the monster under the stairs is real, and the monster around the corner, and ghosts, and darkness is out to get you.

because in Minecraft when you stare into the long dark, it doesn't stare back, it bares its teeth and dares you to come inside and try your luck.

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