Yes, I was being facetious.
Please stop writing about how great Minecraft is. We know that it’s great, we’ve sunk countless hours into building a world of cubes, only for one spiteful green bastard to ruin it all. We are aware of the rags to riches tale of Mojang and their journey from leprosy ridden street magicians to international indie sex icons. Look at your walls – how many of you have a semi-naked picture of Notch pinned above your bed? Don’t worry, you’re among friends here, you can tell us.
But what else does Minecraft offer? You can construct buildings, you can fight suicide bombers, you can bludgeon a sheep to death with a bucket. These are all noble goals, but nothing special. I build real structures all the time, fashioned from wood hewn from trees by my own hand. It takes longer, the end result looks less impressive, and it has left me with callouses so thick that I can no longer make a fist, but I made something. And, best of all, I can show it to people, they can explore it, and I can belittle them with my prowess.
For everything we are told about Minecraft, about how innovative it is, so many people overlook how boring it is. You can’t belittle others with your designs, not unless you risk doing so on a multiplayer server, where people will get in the way. And getting the materials to build the things you can’t show off requires hour upon hour of mindless tunnelling with broken tools.
We had mines in this country once, hard working northern people who enjoyed being dropped into the darkest recesses of Yorkshire to smash rocks into pieces. They were simple folk, but they toiled anyway. Then Thatcher launched them into the sun on a rocket powered by the milk of a thousand primary school children. And so the mines closed – but not because the workers were gone, but because no-one was willing to take their place. And why? Because mining is boring.
Do you know why management games exist as a genre? It is because smart people know that having someone else do the hard work is what makes labour entertaining. Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital, Constructor, Evil Genius, Sim City – imagine these games if you had to do all the menial labour. If you had to service every patient, had to lay every girder, had to torture every superspy, it would grate. We all aspire to reach a point in our lives where we have to do less work for more pay, and yet you will happily play a game where that work is necessary.
When I have to play Minecraft, as I must from time to time as a result of a wager I made with Peter Molyneux in 1984, I feel compelled to enforce capitalism. At first I did this by attempting to form a corporation, with myself as CEO, to construct the world around my every whim. I would dictate the orders, and the dull worker drones would get mining and building to fulfil that dream. Eventually, however, they grew demanding, and I began to lose patience.
“Why should we build what you tell us to build?” they would ask. “We are people too! We have ideas! Why should we be forced to build what you want just because you are rich and handsome and have many attractive lovers?”
A lesser man would have seen logic in those words. I, however, saw idiocy. Admittedly, idiocy can be a powerful tool when properly applied, and so was still worth addressing. I did so with Creepers.
The spiteful green bastards that undo all your Minecraft work, Creepers would be my ticket to workplace harmony. I gave the workers a promise that, upon completion of my obsidian death tower (complete with lava features), I would release them from their pact and they could design their own world. I then dispatched an army of Creepers, menacing and verdant, and watched the chaos begin.
At first, the drones found the Creepers a mild annoyance. They slid in under cover of night, exploding from the dark and stalling construction. But the drones assumed the things would leave. When they did not, and it became clear the torrent of villains was not going to dry up, their vexation began to turn to fear and hatred, and it was at that point I knew that I had them.
They turned to me for help, asking for my ideas as to how to stem the tide. I gave them plans, watched as they continued to build everything I required, hoping for some release from the emerald marauders. With each building I would tweak the flow, giving the illusion that these buildings were protective totems, and that more must be built to ensure their safety.
The tower went unfinished, which was my intention. I have broken no word, and the drones are back in their rightful place. All it took was the liberal application of terror troops to an undereducated and simple populace.
Now, tell me, would that have been nearly as much fun if I had been the one doing the mining? If I had been the one with the pick in my hand, watching the fruits of my labour disintegrate in the pixelated death throes of a Creeper after hours upon hours of toil? No. I had to fix your game, I had to break it down to its fundamental levels and reconstitute it to make it fun.
That so few so-called journalists have noticed that this must be done is astounding. Nature’s working class, locked in a middle-class cell. Perhaps they would be happier if we emancipated them of their middle-class pretensions.
Mercurio Silver is a grumpy misanthropic immortal with bold statements and a narcissistic need to force them on others. With his sharp tongue he shares his most recent realisations and thoughts right here on Midlife Gamer every Sunday.