You know what’s addictive? Minecraft. So much fun! I build and mine and travel, and my most favorite thing to do is design complex railways systems that take me deep into unknown territories.
The first time I stumbled across a village, I was thrilled. The humm humm of the villagers offered endless amusement, and they had plenty of gardens which I could pillage for potatoes and carrots. I built a road leading from my home (a massive stone complex with high walls to keep out the zombies) and started visiting the village every few days, to interact with these strange little big-nosed people who spoke in a funny language I couldn’t understand.
After awhile, I noticed that there were fewer and fewer villagers, and they were becoming less and less pleased to see me. The reason soon became clear: zombies were visiting the village and killing the villagers*. I tried my hardest to save them – I even stayed in their houses to battle the hordes of undead and red-eyed spiders – but nothing I did stopped the inevitable tragedy. Soon, the village was deserted, and I was left alone. Just me and the zombies, many of which now looked like villagers.
I started to see this whole episode within the context of a historical tragedy: a colonizing interloper with invasive technology, consuming vast amounts of natural resources to re-order the environment, who sweeps in to trade with the indigenous people, only to bring a plague, ruin, and death. If I had not approached the village, the zombies would never have come there. The Observer Principle states that that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems; it was by interacting with the villagers, observing them, that I changed their fate for the worse. I had rejected the concept of living in harmony with the natural world, thereby causing imbalance, and unleashing terror on the lives of those who had learned how to live – and thrive, by the number of gardens – in this particular biome. The game exhibits a strong colonialist attitude, and places value in resources not for their intrinsic place in the natural world, but for how they can be consumed, reordered, and used.
The undead are not the true monsters in Minecraft.
The true monster is me**.
*Plus, I was stealing their vegetables. That’s never a good way to make friends.
**Yeah, I’m a freakin’ JOY to play video games with.