Circles and arrows on the back of each one
When the Sims (the very first Sims) was ported to Mac by Aspyr back in the day, I was as happy as any kid has ever been for a game. I had been so jealous of my friends with their pcs. I remember playing it in Elaine’s basement which was always a little chilly and watching the warm water fill the bathtub in game and feeling like I was living in that tiny pixelated world.
I played the hell out of the Sims 2, which we got in DC — for Elaine’s computer, because mine couldn’t play it (mac. again). and then Aspyr ported it and I bought every damn expansion until it became nearly unplayable.
And then the Sims 3 which ate my soul. And the Sims 4, which didn’t.
But despite that intro, this isn’t a post about the Sims. It’s a post about Minecraft.
(“Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice”)
The Sims isn’t really technically a sandbox game, it’s a simulation. I get it. But the thing that addicted me so much in the Sims is the same thing that addicts me in Minecraft. The blank slate (I never used money cheats, I’d get so bored). The working for each little piece. The feeling of a million things to do.
Minecraft is the very essence of a sandbox game. And this weekend, I lost myself in the minutia of an enormous, modded world. I studied magic from my research table, examining my Thaumaicon on my little desk underneath fancy silver lights that I built. I built an enormous witches cottage, bookshelves. I built a turtle (like the programming turtle) and gave it a diamond pick axe that I made by strip mining for an hour and set it to mine enormous holes in the ground. I fought furious zombies and fallen knights and cut down magic trees and harvested cotton. We went to the nether and avoided a ghast and walked over flesh and cinder grass, sometimes still on fire.
I’m playing the Direwolf 20 version of Feed the Beast, and there’s a million things to do. We’ve just barely scratched the surface — a smeltery, but no industrial machines. No automation yet. And there are so many other things that I want to do. My cottage is nowhere near complete — I want chairs and carpets, more lights. I’m building a factory for our smeltery, organizing our chests. I’m stumped on the factory roof — fake chimneys? With some sort of smoke? Is there a smoke machine in this pack or do I have to use grey wool? There’s so much to build.
It’s not about the graphics (although they’ve grown on me in all their pixelated glory). It’s about the step by step from the start feeling of it. I talked about it before, I know — the engineering feeling. But it’s the most soothing game I’ve played, even as a mana creeper explodes me and teleports me into a hole to bedrock.
And modded minecraft makes it better, because there are so many conveniences (backpacks, upgraded chests, furniture, minimap, graves) that take away some of the game closing rage moments.