My year in Minecraft

And so the year comes to a close, so I’m going to indulge in a little reflection before 2012 makes its grand, firework-strewn entrance (by Eastern Standard Time) 🙂

I never imagined, when I purchased Minecraft back in October 2010, what it would lead me into. I thought I was simply buying a game, like all the other computer games I had in my odd collection. I’d play it to death for a few days, maybe a month, and then it’d be shoved onto a CD to gather dust; I’ve got hundreds of games languishing in this manner.1

But then I happened upon The Shaft Podcast – I really can’t remember how, like so many of the awesome things I’ve discovered – and was introduced to the Minecraft community at large. As I’ve frequently stated, I’ve never been part of a gaming community before. I didn’t even class myself as a “gamer”; I was simply someone who played games (I have a weird little definition of the word “gamer” in my head, and I didn’t think I fit the definition).

As I write this, I realise I’ve been part of an online community before, without even properly reflecting on it. I simply got on with meeting people on the Internet, communicating with them via Usenet and IRC, and creating stuff reflecting my own love of the subject. The subject, in that particular case, was the novels of Terry Pratchett. And my stuff’s still around, if you know where to look – or if I just hand you the link (scroll down a little bit to “Mark A. Cooper”). They’re song parodies, in case you’re wondering. Sound familiar? 🙂 But as I say, at the time, I never really stopped and consciously thought, “I’m in the alt.fan.pratchett community.”

That online community is a subset of the global community of Pratchett fans2 – whereas, given the nature of Minecraft, the online community is, of course, pretty much the whole community. And I’m most likely stating the obvious here, but back in the 1990s, I hadn’t made the realisation that the community is so much larger than the thing itself.

And yes, for all its flaws, Minecraft is a great game… but it’s the community aspect which is the best part about it, for me – and makes it truly awesome. I’ve said it before to a few people, but I think the very nature of the game has shaped the nature of the community. Minecrafters come across as very caring, giving people, and I’m proud and honoured to count so many of them as my friends 😀

Teddanator, BitBurner, Juneybug, TiniestBit, Avidya, SatoriLove, alefnull, Chris_W_2k5, hojjoshMC, Crommie, Anintua, Farmer_Bo, SudoRossy, makefile, Nosirrah, MinecraftGeek/Beowulf/Pete Little, Miss_Evils, xwcg, SeriousCreeper, Mhykol, stahscream, jessartisan, BeverlyNoelle, rapidninja42, Imperialistic, Tiffer and Ben, Coestar, PaulSoaresJr, WelshPixie, Jaco, ez, Ironfruit, Bethness, MinecraftTeacher, MinecraftChick, TheRussianPigeon, GIBsonCubed, 79Shiv97, Eric Fullerton, Brent Copeland, Wes Wilson, KaliBaliB, SuicideBunnyNL, heronmarkedblade, nuk3d, dadsRfunny, mungoo, Absconditus, Trottimus, alsmiffy, djh3max, SamCube, sagarter, sedated2000, diegogriff, stephoswalk, shroomgirl, VanceCrafter, Kalen_Nighteyes, NiSiSuinegEht, Gleeson9, Zaco619, Bob Mills, McSugar, Thefre, Madmommy, Sparc_man_d, ClydeFrog, RPGamer99, Miningdude…

… the chances are that I’ve missed someone out, and if I did, I’m sorry! All the friends I’ve made, I’m so lucky and happy to have you all in my life, and for helping to turn me into a gamer 😀 Thank you, every single one of you 😀 And thank you to all the people who read this blog 🙂 Plus, of course, all of the people who donated to me to prevent me becoming homeless 😀

Actually, there is one person I’ve missed out, and quite deliberately. It was thanks to Mhykol running CTR3 that I came to hear the voice of thecrystalcrow (aka Kristal Crow), and I had no idea that when I gasped and told her, “Ohmygod I love your voice…” that we would fall in love. We’ve only been dating four months, but it’s been so full of experiences, and if it wasn’t for Minecraft… who knows? So, thank you, Notch and Mojang for indirectly bringing us together 😀

And then there have been the other things which Minecraft and its community have brought me: This blog; appearing on The Shaft 36; editing the show notes for The Shaft (which Kristal and I have a lot of fun doing); editing the English-language translation for WonderCraft; performing voiceovers for friends’ Minecraft videos; writing the lyrics for WelshPixie’s “Want You Banned”… so many wonderful things 🙂

Anyway, have a wonderful New Year, every one of you, and I hope 2012 brings you apocalyptic levels of good times 😀

1 The use of “hundreds” here is no exaggeration, thanks to a couple of collections of those little PC games that no sane person would touch with a forty-foot pole 😉

2 And if you’ve not read his works, you really should. They’re wonderful.

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