The fantasy: I get in a minecart headed to the Sea-Tac Nether Portal. Then just a couple hops through the Nether, and I’ll be on Vegas server, baby!
The reality: I am a bad traveller. I am the worst traveller. I don’t prepare, I pack almost nothing at the last minute, relying on shopping when I get somewhere. And I hate travelling among the dreaded humans. They’re always walking erratically, not paying attention to the giant hairy dude trying to make his way directly somewhere, so I either crush them underfoot or have to dodge, and I’m slow at dodging. And they shout and whine and have crying children and watch Fox News. They MOVE, which causes my “motion = shoot it” reflex to go off a hundred times an hour. But there is a cure: Booze.
Normally I fly Virgin America, and they’re calm and cool and professional and get shit done right. They bring me great drinks and entertain me with the Red video screens until I get where I’m going. I love those people. But I couldn’t fly Virgin this time, because their reservation system was broken. I had to go with Alaska, which is strictly amateur hour, and has no video screens, like it’s the dark ages.
So I get an unsatisfying bagel and a drink before boarding. Then they make us sit on the tarmac, with no drinks, for 45 minutes before taking off. FINALLY, I’m able to get a double scotch (Glenfiddich? Not the kind of peaty Islay scotches I like, but it’ll do). Then another, and I start to mellow out.
We land at the Hellmouth International Airport (LAX), and no joke, you have to ride a BUS driven by a surly Armenian(?) to make a PLANE connection. The bus circles all of LAXative, and I’m totally expecting Allen Funt when we stop. But no, eventually they disgorge me into a Delta bomber. To describe Delta as third-world is insulting to third world airlines where chickens ride coach. But the steward is ready with some cheap scotch, and I guess I can cope.
FINALLY, land, baggage, cab, hotel. A shower and a room service steak sammich and everything’s OK again.
Minecraft Pocket Edition:
Oh, and Minecraft Pocket Edition is out!
So the good part: It’s Minecraft, or part of it, on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. It looks like Alpha Creative, it’s fun to run around and build simple things. The classic “ugly” cobblestone is back! And non-smooth lighting!
The controls are hard at first, but can be learned: You hold down forward, and you’ll jump up 1 block or keep swimming at the surface. You can hit the center button to jump. No shift, but you can’t be hurt by falls. Dragging on the rest of the view is like moving the mouse. It took me maybe 10 minutes to really get the controls wired in my head.
I haven’t made much yet, just a little observation post, and the start of a big treehouse. I dug into the ground, and found (useless) iron and redstone, but no caves. If there are caves, they’re rare.
The weak parts: It’s just creative mode right now. There is a multiplayer wifi mode, but I don’t know what you’d do in it. I’ll try that out this week. You are Steve?, you don’t have your Minecraft.net skin in third-person view. But also, you don’t need a Minecraft.net account.
The world is VERY small, maybe 256 or 512 square? Which in some ways is good, you don’t have the expectation of wandering forever in creative, you can’t get lost, and a world won’t fill all of the limited storage space.
There’s not even a full set of blocks.
The draw distance is Short (maybe Tiny), the fog is everywhere, there is no sky. There are no mobs. Physics isn’t on; sand and gravel don’t fall.
As a building block toy, Minecraft PE is awesome. As “Minecraft”, it’s only the very first tiny step towards real Minecraft.
But Minecraft Pocket Edition makes me nostalgic.
I’ve been watching Blast to the Past YouTubes with ChimneySwift11, Minecraftwb, & Paulsoaresjr, and it’s making me heartsick with nostalgia for the older versions.
There’s a lot I like in the newer Minecraft. But I miss how hard Alpha & Beta were. I miss some of the look; I mostly use Eldpack, which is gorgeous, but it is a little muddy. Alpha textures were BRIGHT. And jet-black in darkness. Man, dark was scary back then, no gamma slider, no dim light. At night or in a cave with no torches, you had a black screen full of monsters. Spiders were welcome, because at least you could see their red eyes coming for you. EEYAGH.
Food is much too easy now. Yes, you don’t heal directly from it, but as long as you stay fed (and that’s easy with melons and wheat, even if meat is harder to come by), you’re in no danger unless you get swarmed. Worst case, you can eat rotten zombie flesh, and you’ll heal up and be fed long enough to find something else. In the old days, you’d get hurt, and need food, and food didn’t stack, except raw wheat and mushrooms; and mushrooms were RARE, and hard to grow more. So you’d carry a stack of wheat and a few porkchops for quick recovery, and then you’d be out, and doomed.
Minerals and coal are super common now. Back in the day, coal was uncommon, and there was no charcoal, so if you didn’t find coal before night you died. And when mining, you had to be cautious with torches, because you might not find enough coal to replace them. Iron was rare. You used stone tools for digging, because you needed your precious iron tools for redstone and diamond. Diamond tools were elite. In my first world, I had a diamond pick and sword after months of play, and maybe one spare diamond. Now I have full diamond gear and almost a full stack left.
I could revert to old version like Blast to the Past, or use a mod with modern Minecraft (or make my own if I can’t find one that does what I want).
There’s a couple of mods I haven’t tried yet, but they look promising: