Coming back to Minecraft

I never thought I would be playing this game again, not in 2019 and not when I have a game library that is collecting cobwebs. Its graphics aren’t that appealing to me, there’s no story and no end goal. Lacking those three things, it’s not one that I usually would be enjoying. But it just got an update and so here I am, digging another one by one by two hole in the dirt to save my life because I didn’t realize the sun was going down.

Look, it’s “Minecraft.” If you had even the faintest interest in video games when you were younger or was active on the internet, chances are fairly good you’ve heard of it or played it or obsessively watched Youtube let’s plays. I know I played it religiously when I was a kid and coming back to it was honestly a little daunting. It has become a cultural phenomenon, even inspiring a convention

A lot has changed. There are turtles now. I stayed up through a few ingame nights consecutively and then was harassed by a group of flying blue pancakes that attacked me the entire night. There are so many fish now and I actually know how to catch them. Gone are the days of sitting by a river for five minutes hoping for one measly gray fish. Now I can just swim in and punch a salmon to death.

And that isn’t even the most recent stuff. With the last update entitled “Village & Pillage,” the Squidward-like villagers got a behavior change and are far more interesting. Before, you’d find them, raid their blacksmiths and crops and then immediately leave the area, having gotten everything you could get from them. Now, it is rewarding staying near them. You can trade with them for harder to get goods and slowly build a relationship with them, improving what each villager has to offer you with each trade.

What’s more, there are evil villagers now. Called illagers, these entities patrol around in groups between three and five. The more common ones to find walking around your world are the pillagers, who are equipped with crossbows and will shoot you. These pillagers also raid villager settlements. I haven’t been able to witness yet, because I am a coward who runs the opposite direction from a fight, but it certainly seems like a fun event.

There were more animals added too. Both foxes and pandas made their debut with this update, along with improved cats. I love them all, I really do. I haven’t been able to find a jungle in any of my worlds, so I can’t judge how the pandas act. Foxes and cats though, they’re purr-fection. Both will run away from you if you get too close, so you have to approach while crouching. While you can tame cats, you have to breed the foxes. And really, good luck getting two of them close enough together to get a kit from them. I had to build an elaborate tunnel for the two foxes I found, connecting two dirt boxes together through the woods to chase one to the other. Then my friend to brought them to her horse stable so she could get her own tamed fox, so I think that means I’ve lost custody of them. It was such a pain getting them together that I don’t think I’ll do that again soon.

But even among all these changes, the core of the game remains the same. You can build anything you want in the game, be anyone in it. Do you want to become a nomadic explorer? Do you want to become a trader and a friend to the locals? Do you want to do the opposite of that and murder every one of them, leaving entire villages empty? You can do that too. The things you can do are only limited by what is currently in the game, and even then, you can modify the game to add anything you want, if you are particularly tech savvy.

In terms of multiplayer servers, some of them have risen even further into greatness, and some have crumbled from the players conscious. Some of the fondest memories I have from the hours I’ve put into the game comes from these games within the game. I would play on servers made by the “Minecraft” Youtubers who entertained the community with their videos of them playing the game, either alone or with their friends. Most of these servers have long since fallen by the wayside, either still standing but ghosts of what they used to be or fully closed down.

A few more general servers of my youth still remain. The Hypixel server has expanded considerably since I last ventured onto it, with many new games. A few became favorites like “Murder Mystery,” which involves figuring out who is the murderer on the map. Hopefully, you won’t run into their knife before you get enough of the gold scattered around the map to defend yourself.

In fact, it is this server that has allowed me to drag most of my gaming friends back into “Minecraft” with me. Sure, a few of them get bored after a few rounds, but those are equaled out by my friends who can and will play until five in the morning if neither of us can think of a reason good enough to stop.

Whether multiplayer or single player, “Minecraft” continues to have enough entertainment value to grab my attention and keep me busy for hours. If you haven’t played since you were a kid, I recommend brushing off your dusty account and see what new wonders you can find. If you have never played at all, then what are you waiting for? There’s a whole new never-ending world for you to explore and transform to your heart’s delight.