Minecraft – high capitalism and the accumulation of stuff

August 29, 2015


Minecraft is awesome – a world-wide phenomenon, loved by millions, including me.

But, there is just one small thing which bugs me about this sandbox game.

Maybe it is just how my friends and I play it, but after a while you end up with so much clutter, it starts to feel like an episode of Hoarders.

In survival mode, you’ve built a shelter from the Googlies (Stampy word) and you have mined, chopped down trees and collected all sorts of objects from gold to buckets full of lava.

What do you do with all this stuff?

You build chests to store all these things for the day later in the game you may need this item or that one.

Then you play some more, which naturally means collecting more stuff.

Then your chest is full, so you extend it to be a double chest.

Then the double chest is full.

So you make a new double chest and another and another. Soon you have so many you have to make signs to hang above each double chest to label each: “plants”; “rocks”; “food”; “tools”; “weapons”; and so on and on and on.

Each world I have played in Minecraft survival mode has been awesome until I have got to the point where I have so much stuff I have a house full of chests all full of clutter.

On some level the game seems to lead us towards the accumulation of things. At some point it flips from the basics you need to survive the harsh world to a modern problem of having just way too much stuff in your life.

The game moves seamlessly from battling to live with nothing but your wits to the world of high capitalism in its purest form.

You mine, you farm, you make, you barter, you own. You own some more.

The whole game boils down to accumulating more and more, some kind of Ferengi heaven of acquisition.

I don’t know if there is some hidden, intentional irony, in where the game takes you – the guy who built it sold the game to Microsoft for an astronomical sum.

Maybe the whole game is some kind of ironic take on human society which I am not smart enough to get.

Or maybe its a great game of battling against the elements, building unbelievably cool structures until you end up with a house full of chests full of stuff you don’t need.

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