this is a rough outline of an essay i want to write eventually:

minecraft and improv: how to enjoy games and build beautiful things

  • it’s easy to fall into the hole of wanting to build something beautiful in mc (eg realistic)

  • most creators online are doing this and streaming this, for example

  • but this is like trying to fight against the natural desires of the medium (like trying to effortpost on bluesky lol)

  • kids are less likely to make this mistake. in the johnstonian sense, they don’t filter their decisions through “what’s acceptable” and “what other people want”

  • they create from the heart! they do the things that look good to them. and surprise, this results in creations that are often way more compelling than what adults make

  • every creative project comes with a set of constraints, but virtual worlds also come with a set of supernatural freedoms. structures in minecraft don’t have to obey the laws of gravity, for instance

  • kids naturally realize this and are gleeful about it. adults try to gloss over it, in hopes of making something realistically beautiful

  • even when adults make floating islands or whatever, they always look the same as media representations of floating islands

  • they obey tropes

  • the point im trying to make isn’t really about kids versus adults

  • the point is that we desperately try to project the real visual world onto every blank surface we can find instead of trying something new

  • the term is literally “visual fidelity”

  • this happens in legos too! we see the the people who build these gorgeous $20k custom sets that take up a whole room, but you know who’s having just as much fun, much more easily?

  • it’s the people that are combining every color brick into a wild neon static to build their walls and homes. and it doesn’t look “worse”, it just looks “not realistic”

  • why even aim for realism?? we already know it can be done

  • especially when the neon static aesthetic is accessible from the moment you pick up minecraft for the first time, whereas building in a hyper real style is extremely labor intensive and requires hundreds of hours of practice

  • all i’m saying is: build those insanely tall cobblestone walls. make a brick tower that reaches the heavens. experiment with form! use weird colors (or whatever you have on hand). do what comes to you with low resistance

  • tile the world with lil spheres or circles

  • build astounding archways (or even just stounding ones)

  • make an accurate recreation of your childhood bedroom

  • dig a huge unkempt hole

  • build a staircase to nowhere