My youngest nephew has a range of nifty tactics to prolong bedtime. This includes pulling out more story books, showing me his latest Lego invention or giving me lessons in Minecraft. Kids of all ages can create a Minecraft world but even with the expert advice of a six-year-old it seemed mind-boggling to me. The best way I can describe Minecraft is that it is a creative building game where the player sets the rules and the only thing that limits success is your imagination.
Trying to imagine what sort of Minecraft world I would create, I was reminded of what I saw outside of the plane window as I flew in to Los Angeles and then London. The aerial view is fascinating as the perspectives change as you descent quickly. You go from big blocks of colour to sketch map like characteristics before finally moving from a two to a three-dimensional view when it seems like the buildings and ground are rising up quickly around you.
My over-riding impression of Los Angeles is how concrete brown everything looks from on high. A dusty horizon that seems to go on forever punctuated only by occasional hillsides with dots of green. Trees are just pinpricks until you get much closer to the ground as the massive arterial roads with miniature cars flowing up and down dominate the landscape. Occasional flashes of blue denote household swimming pools that only show their true purpose as you get closer to the ground and can see then gardenscapes and streetscapes in more detail. Grey monolith roofs spreading across blocks of land highlight the extent of retailing that exists beneath.
Unless you know a place well or you recognise defining landmarks its hard to make sense of a the world from above. Spotting familiar places is what makes flying into London such a fun thing to do. Even from a high altitude you can pick out familiar places – the Thames River, London Bridge, House of Parliament, Buckingham House and the myriad of sky scrappers pushed cheek to cheek with centuries old buildings. Instead of motorial arteries, it is London’s railways weaving through the city that make you aware that down below people are travelling within the landscape below. The most distinctive aerial feature of England is it’s vast green blanket of fields and trees. Even the heavily built environment of London is broken up by large tracts of green.
If I were building a Minecraft land I’d want to build world that combines all the features of the world I know and love. Water, green land, smart architecture and heritage buildings would sit harmoniously together in urban areas cocooned within a natural landscape. Instead of a motorised world, bikes, trams and trains would sit comfortably amongst large walkway areas and parkland areas where people and their furry friends would meet and play. The people who would live in this world are honest, kind and generous folks who look out for each other and share all that they have to benefit the wider community. All evil, selfish and destructive types would be banished to an island far away where they couldn’t spread their nastiness beyond their restrictive shores. We’d have time travelling machines so you could experience life in a different century and everyone would live out their days in gardens or libraries instead of offices and shopping centres.
Once you start building a world of your own you can understand why games such as Minecraft have become so popular giving people the chance to escape for a short time, even if it is just into your own imagination. If you could create your own world, what would it be like?