A Treasure Hunt at PAX

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Robert Viscusi

Twelve o' two and the Minecrafters are getting their instructions. They get their server IP two minutes later. All of them are in a massive little Adminium (unbreakable blocks) jail, hopping around like gremlins. One admin sits above the jail tossing string "I make it rain" style.

"Okay here are the requirements, ready??

The first team to collect:

  • three cooked pork chops
  • three cooked fish
  • one cake
  • and one mushroom soup
wins.
Everyone ready?
Okay, I'm gonna teleport you…"

He throws them into their new world, it's a mad dash scramble onto 8-bit Amalfi coast to punch trees and find sustenance by way of workbenches and furnace. There is a considerable scramble as they scurry about in the dark to craft items.

In the scurry a man yells out "I caught ahFISH!! Whooooo!!"

A bank of persons synchronously at terminals with identical headgear in vanishing point perspective much reminiscent of the Death Star firing crew. Occasional murmurings of cheering and encouraged enthusiasm spasm through the hallway's longtable of contested players.

The entire bank of men and some women is engaged in the hurried collection of the items and equipment necessary to craft the prerequisite items in order to win their team's glory.

Attempts to use the internet are intermittently effective for me as the server is under heavy stress, even at 12:30 at night. There are roughly 700 computers in this room, and most of them are actively being used in LAN games. That's not to mention the scores of mobile devices, and the odd web-writer sneaking looks at Facebook while he works.

Many if not most of them have made mines of the games' titular purpose, presumably to find coal for their furnaces and iron to make buckets to collect milk.

"WHeetTHEIF", this kid yells.
"it probably just died"
"Yeah, it probably just died the yeller kid says.
WHEETTHIEF he yells again

A kid just bludgeoned a sheep to death with a rock for getting too close to his wheat (which is a necessary ingredient in cake). In a bout of surrealism, the moderators of the tournament (the Enforcers) walk out on the floor with Mincecraft masks and inspect the players.

It's 1 A.M. and by now most of the teams have small farms. They're just waiting on their wheat to grow so that they can make a cake.

A few of the teams have their cake, but they're quickly deflated by the reminder that they still need a mushroom soup.
1:12, two young boys, Ryan and Sam, jump up excitedly, yelling: "We got it! We got it!".

"How'd you win?"
Ryan: "We watched grass grow for about an hour."
"How long have you guys been playing this game?"
Ryan: "We started playing back in Alpha, we've been playing for a long time."
"What do you like about the game?"
Sam: "I love how open it is , … I love how creative it is, you can just make whatever you want."
"Will you continue to play for a while?"
Sam: "Oh yeah, we'll be playing for a long time."

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