So: Minecraft. I’m in the habit of writing here about each game that I finish, and I have indeed finished Minecraft. By which I don’t, of course, mean, that I’ve actually finished Minecraft, because it’s not the sort of game that has an end: I’ve merely stopped playing it. At least for the time being, for a few weeks at least, I imagine that when the adventure update comes out, I’ll give it a try. And there’s of course the VGHVI Minecraft nights on the last Thursday of every month.

But I have met the criteria for writing a summary post here. What to say, though? I’ve written about it quite a bit in my diaries on my other blog, and I’ve written a couple of posts here about it that I’m rather fond of; the Playable Characters folks were even kind enough to let me blather on about the game on their podcast. Given all of that, I’m not sure what I have left to say about the game?

I suppose one answer is to talk about why I’m stopping playing the game, and how I feel about that. And how I feel about that is: conflicted. Minecraft is a wonderful, wonderful game, no doubt about it. I’m looking at a wall full of video games, and it’s helped me tap into my creativity in a way that none of the rest of them have; it has a lovely, wistful aesthetic; it’s quite well balanced; and I will very much miss planning out the next steps in my design with my daughter and look forward to continuing to talk to her about the (much more elaborate!) designs that she continues to create in the game.

In fact, I have nothing negative to say about the game. But: to those of us who have drunk its nectar, it’s not so much a game as a lifestyle. Even that would be fine, indeed wonderful, were it not for the fact that the other game I’m playing right now, Rock Band 3, is also a lifestyle. I’ve been playing both of them for months now, which means that, for those same months, I have had time to do very little other game playing. And, while I have zero complaints about how I’ve spent those months, it is time to move on to something else. And I’ve recently come to the end of a project in Minecraft, while my current project in Rock Band 3 still has months, even years to go (not so crazy when you realize I’ve been playing one Rock Band game or another for about three and a half years straight!), and could in its own way end up even more rewarding than Minecraft has been.

So: Rock Band 3 stays, Minecraft goes. And, in the short term, I’ll probably binge a bit on other recent(ish) games: right now Ghost Trick, perhaps next Catherine, Sword and Sworcery, Bastion, From Dust, Child of Eden (paired with Rez HD?), Dragon Age 2, Okamiden, Portal 2. Or, if I go a bit older: Spider HD, BioShock 2, the Half Life 2 episodes, World of Goo.

I certainly won’t play through all of those; I’ll play through some, though, until I feel more sated. I should find more time to play board games, too: last year we’d gotten into a nice habit of playing them regularly on weekends, and while we’ve fallen out of that, it’s a habit that I miss. And maybe a carefully selected non-gaming project or two: it’s been a little while since I’ve done substantial non-work programming, for example.

Good times. Looking back, it seems that I’ve been playing Minecraft since at least the beginning of 2011; and quite a year it’s been.

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