Posts tagged ‘lego’


Little Ruminations – 5 Random Things.

Since last Tuesday my stomach problems have been excruciatingly bad. This means that I’ve done little or no writing in a week. It also means that  I’ve run out of the spare articles which I write to stay ahead of myself. That being the case, and my concentration being roughly the same as the average 6 week old puppy, I’m going to be inflicting a series of “Little Ruminations” on you until this period of bad health finally eases off.

Starting today with five random things which I haven’t been able to fit into other posts in the past, and kind of doubt I’ll fit into posts in the future.

  • Do you remember Technical Lego? The stuff from the 90’s for making machines with? You know, back before Lego became dumbed down to a ridiculous degree?Well anyway, as it turns out, that stuff is great for making prototypes. You know for when you need something easy, and quick to assemble, just so you can test a concept. So ya, if you have a big bucket of it somewhere, and you’re the kind of person who builds their own tools, you just might want to hold on to it.
  • It’s surprisingly difficult to learn how to walk in platforms again, when you’ve had a break of two years. This came as a potentially very painful shock to me in the last week. The key seems to be reminding yourself constantly that if you don’t keep your feet facing dead straight ahead, you’ll end up flat on your ass in the street.
  • Apparently a lot of puppies eat other dogs poop. No-one really knows why they do this, but thankfully they see to outgrow it in time. Weird, disgusting, but weird.
  • Crazy Color, the semi-permanent hair dye which I’m addicted to, seem to have changed their recipe. It used to remind me of really weirdly coloured custard. Now it reminds me more of really weirdly coloured semen. Oh, and the colours seem to have been tweaked as well, they’re not quite what they used to be, the Violette for example is a much darker shade.Either that or last time I got a bad batch. Not complaining though my hair looks Funky, the capital “F” is definitely a good thing.

    See? I did say Funky!

  • To my utter shock, airsofters don’t seem to build their own guns, ever. By this I don’t mean that they don’t buy specific internals and casings and put them together to form reasonably unique setups. I mean they don’t seem to build their own externals.As a long time model maker, and someone who has a great love of making props for my own use, this sort of addles me. Anyway, guess whatone of my first projects will be next year? Yup, you guessed it, dieselpunk airsoft rifle!

The Joy of Minecraft – Part 2 – Multiplayer

In mid-March I wrote a review of the singleplayer version of Minecraft.  Back then I promised to write-up a little more, when I had experienced the multiplayer version of the game.  Well I have and I am still highly impressed.

To quickly recap, Minecraft is exactly what the name implies.  You mine materials, everything from sand to diamonds, and then you craft items and build objects from them.  The only limitations being, your own imagination and the fact that like with Lego, you can only work in diagonals if you don’t mind a very jagged edge.

So about playing on a multiplayer server.  Well the game is the same.  Mine and craft to your heart’s content.  But in multiplayer, you have obviously enough have other players in the world with you.  This can seriously improve, or wreck your experience.  Improve by having someone to help with that huge project you’ve been putting on in singleplayer, or wrecking your experience by them laying large quantities of TNT around that same project and blowing it sky-high.  Help or grief, these two words best sum up the multiplayer version of the game.

Luckily the server I play on, which belongs to an old Wow-head friend of mine, is noticeably lacking in griefers.  Though it is filled to near overflowing with creepers, zombies, skeleton archers and spiders.  All of  whom seem to take a perverse pleasure in jumping on you at the worst possible moment.

So the question now is do I still recommend Minecraft as a game?

Oh Goddesses yes.  This game is still described as digital crack cocaine and the option to play with other humans only adds to that experience.  So much so, that after a mere half hour session, I often find myself plotting out the next ten hours of play, while cleaning up the apartment, showering, walking the dog, trying unsuccessfully to sleep.  You know all the unimportant things that aren’t Minecraft.


The Joy of Minecraft

For my recent birthday my lil sister decided to give me a copy of this game.  Now after two days of playing it I can’t decide whether to curse her for the gift or to give her a huge hug accompanied by a very large glass of something that tastes deceptively nonalcoholic.  The reason you see is that Minecraft has turned out to be the gaming equivalent of crack cocaine.

So what is Minecraft?  Well the best description I can give of it is this.  Minecraft is digital LEGO with added cows, chickens, pigs and monsters.  In the single player mode you play what seems to be the sole inhabitant of your own world.  All around you are hills and plains which are made up of hundreds of individual blocks of resources.  You can interact with most of these blocks and it’s up to you to create the world you want from them.

Playing Minecraft is a little odd at first.  You start with literally nothing but the clothes on your back.  No tools or anything else useful.  The daylight is running out and soon monsters will stalk the land.  The monsters are held back by light and solid walls.  So in your first moments of play you find yourself in a race for survival.  Speaking for myself I died eight times before I finally worked out how to make the most basic pickaxe and torches.  It took another three deaths before I figured out that I needed strong walls and a roof over my head to be truly safe at night.

The survival aspect of Minecraft is genuinely challenging and not just at the beginning.  Even later as you plunge deep into the earth to mine for iron, coal or even diamonds, you will suddenly dig through the roof of a pit and plunge to your death.  If you’re lucky.  If you’re unlucky you’ll survive, now you have to find a way back out of the dark.  And whether it’s day or night on the surface, the dark below is never your friend.  It crawls with spiders, zombies and some weird creature that explodes when you get too close.

The good news is that you can apparently make armor and weapons.  Though right now I have to admit that I have yet to discover how.

The most enjoyable and satisfying part of Minecraft though is building.  There is very little as satisfying as deciding what you want to build and then spending hours not just personally building it, but actually making your own tools and gathering all the resources to build it as well. It really does remind me of playing with LEGO when I was a child.  Though this LEGO set is essentially infinitely large and has very few limitations.  My first building was a tower that literally finished when my characters head touched the clouds.  Around it lies a moat, with a pit beyond that for trapping animals.  Beneath the tower is a huge complex of mines and tunnels.  Basically I did the simplest construction imaginable in Minecraft as a learning exercise, but I came away with a huge sense of accomplishment.

There is a multiplayer option but I have to admit I haven’t yet taken part in it.  Simply because I want to learn how to play well before I join others.  But having chatted with people who do play on the multiplayer servers I can tentatively report that they are fun and well worth a look.  When I take part in the servers myself, I will write-up something extra about them.

Minecraft is still in Beta testing, so there will end up being extra features, such as an end game added at some point.  This also means that some features won’t necessarily work when you download the client.

As a game Minecraft  seems to have been made with the intention of  giving adults the sort of freedom to create that LEGO and plasticine gives to children.  But without the mess or the screams released when you step on a random piece, barefoot in the armpit of a dark night.

If you need evidence that Minecraft has become a force for creativity just Google “minecraft” someday and look through the images that come up.  A quick search last night ended with me looking at everything from huge models of the Battlestar Galactica to a truly incredible model of all three pyramids in Giza.

It should also appeal to players of all ages.  My partners granddaughter aged 4 is already addicted to walking around the world’s Minecraft creates.  She’s also addicted to punching the chickens and picking the flowers scattered on the hillsides.

All that said what are my conclusions?  Minecraft has in the last few days consumed all of my gaming time.  I haven’t even loaded any of my other games, because by the time I think of them I’ve run out of time.  It is addictive in the same way that cigarettes, chocolate and NCIS are addictive.  Play this game and you will lose entire evenings.  But you’ll find yourself more than happy to have lost those hours and with a little luck and a lot of work you might even have built something you can be proud of.  For me, my next project is to build a model of the Space Battleship Yamato.  Just for giggles.

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