Posted by brilokuloj on Jun 23, 2024

For how little I’ve posted about it, Minecraft is quite possibly my favorite game of all time. I’ve been playing sandbox virtual world games ever since I was old enough to have creative thoughts, with one of my earliest being Furcadia, a similar block-placing decorating game with more furniture options but substantially less gameplay. When all my Furcadia friends jumped ship for Second Life, I went to the substantially cheaper Minecraft, which quickly absorbed my life.

I play Minecraft most days of the week. Maybe not as obsessively as you’re imagining. It’s easy to set up automatic farms that turn it into a resource-accumulation idling game. What isn’t easy, I’ve found, is sticking with a single world (save file). Still, since I almost exclusively play on servers run by me, I have a catalog of Minecraft history going back to 2011. I’ve decided that I’m finally ready to show it!

I started officially playing Minecraft in late December 2010 with the release of Java Edition Beta 1.1. My at-the-time-girlfriend had gotten it for me as a Christmas present, as I had been spending a lot of my time playing the playable-in-browser free Creative demo, which was cool enough just to wander around in but had no persistent save data.

In this version of Minecraft, you could only have 5 save files at a time. You could rename the folders as backups, shuffle them around or what-have-you, but the game would exclusively read from the folders World1 through World5.

I have save data for all 5, probably just to look at the random world generation, but only World3 has any buildings in it. This is because 3 is my favorite number, so I figured I’d have an easier time remembering it (no, you couldn’t rename the worlds either).

(Disclaimer: these screenshots were taken in 1.16.5. I could have gotten an older version for authenticity, but I need the modern QOL features like sprinting and Spectator Mode.)

Minecraft screenshot. An aerial view of the spawn area’s beach, which has been almost entirely dug up to reveal the stone underneath.

Ever since I first started playing this wonderful game, I’ve always treated it more like a stim toy. Nothing shows that more than World3, where I was determined to dig up the entire beach I had spawned on.

It was a terrible task, but you can see that I very nearly did it before I got bored and created a new save file. This becomes just a little bit scarier when you remember that this was long before enchanted tools.

Pixel art of a cat head.

Most people opted to live in a dirt hut, a hole in the ground, or – for the more creatively inclined – perhaps a massive cobblestone castle. I lived in a cat head.

In fact, this was pixel art of the disembodied cat heads from Cat Planet. I chose dirt for the borders; the only options for dark-colored blocks were either obsidian or black wool, and both were ludicrously expensive.

Not far away from my Cat Planet Cat Head was unfinished wool-and-dirt sprite art of a character from that certain awful webcomic about teenagers that I stopped reading when I was no longer a teenager. I didn’t take a picture of it because I didn’t want to, but it just feels right to mention it. Minecraft is a quiet home for so many people’s cringiest memories to be laid to rest.

Inside of the cat head. There are stairs leading up to a second floor, as well as a crafting area and a furnace.

Inside of the head, I had built a fairly simple house for my valuables and smelting. I liked how the torches in the corner of the eyes not only lit up the structure, but gave it the impression that it was looking off to the side, maybe gazing into the blocky Minecraft clouds.

You might notice that my house was not fortified in any way. This is because when I first started playing, I was a gigantic weenie and only played on Peaceful. I’ve come a long way since then!

A hole in the wall has a sign saying “In case of suicidal ideas, break glass.” The glass is missing. Next to this is another sign labeling it “The Heart of Darkness”.

I’ve always had a fondness for video game lava, but Minecraft’s lava is just… one of the best ever. So this was once a glass compartment housing some lava I had found. I chose to decorate it with my charming 16-year-old sense of humor: a suicide joke and a reference to the PS1 game Heart of Darkness.

Don’t worry, I hadn’t unleashed the lava in a fit of depression, or else the signs would have burned down. Instead, I later relocated it to somewhere way cooler:

A heart made out of lava.

I loved Minecraft lava so much that I built a glass structure on my desiccated beach dedicated to storing a pixel heart made of lava blocks. Sure, collecting it and being around it in any way scared the bejeebies out of me, but having it contained in a pretty greenhouse was enough to make me feel pretty good about my home.

A checkerboard of grass and water.

Near my Cat Planet house was my sugarcane farm. I don’t think I knew yet that you could just plant sugarcane in a straight row, or maybe I genuinely liked the artificial checkerboard look, but either way I don’t do this anymore.

A chest labeled Sand Land.

All that sand I harvested had to go somewhere, so I had a collection of chests labeled… Sand Land. Hmm. I always remember it as Sand Zone (a Cave Story reference), but maybe I did that joke later?

I forgot to get a closer picture of it because it’s really not that interesting or important, but you can see my bedroom in the back. Lime green was my favorite color at the time.

Despite how little time I ultimately spent on this map, it occupies a disproportionate amount of space in my brain, on account of being my very first Minecraft world.

A chunk error, which looks like a square-shaped bite has been taken out of the world.
Trees with mismatched leaves.

World3 even comes with its own amusing glitches. One update corrupted a single chunk, leaving the vacant square you see above. Then, when birch and spruce trees were added, the leaves on my trees got randomized. I never “fixed” either of these things and considered it just part of my world’s story.

I don’t have as much nostalgia for pre-1.13 versions of Minecraft as other people seem to, but it’s clear to me that people like it a lot, so I hope this series will be at least a fun time capsule for those folks.

Categories: gaming

Tagged: 2011 minecraft

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