Adventures of a Non-Gamer: Minecraft


by Shawnie Kelly (@DearShawnie)

I hope everyone has been thoroughly enjoying their summers thus far! I certainly am. But apparently I’ve been having a little too much fun, because I decided on a whim to ruin my day yesterday in the best of ways — video games. If you read this column regularly, you know I’m terrible at video games, thus the ruining of the day. If you’re unfamiliar with my struggles — and they are real, y’all — then I will just say that I wanted to broaden my horizons and branch out a bit. Gaming has been an experiment that almost always ends in disaster for me. But I still have fun playing… most of the time!

So, it was my brother’s birthday and I haven’t played a video game with him in a while because I am an adult! Actually no, it’s because I don’t like people yelling at me so I’ve been playing with nicer people or by myself. But unfortunately, I find gaming alone to be a lonely venture. Maybe you have to have a certain skill level in order to be fully immersed, or perhaps you just need to have more than a 10% grasp of what’s happening in any given gaming moment to enjoy solo sessions. Neither of those two options are favorable regarding me. A tip for all you gamers who love a non-gamer and want them in on the action: make gaming a social event. Invite friends. Maybe have snackies available. Entice them with words like “party” and “no you’ll do great, I promise.” Keep in mind that these are total lies and they may be angry for a brief period of one to seven days. Anyway, I can’t ignore the progress I’ve made from day one. And neither can my brother! Since he has been the one helping me from the beginning, I decided to let him choose what we played. I should have known what his pick would be as he’s been yammering non-stop about it since I started this adventure: Minecraft.

On the plus side, this game is less stressful than some other things that I’ve played. In real life, I handle stressful situations like a boss, obviously. Just the other day, I saved a cute little turtle that was trying to cross the highway. He just wanted to reach the lake, you guys. If he had been on the road one minute longer, it would have been turtle pancake city. If you think turtle rescue is not stressful, I beg to differ. Anyway, calm down. He’s safe. I named him Hugh Grant because I just know he had a British accent and also because he was adorbz. My point is that this superhero-like prowess does not convert into the gaming world. In high stress gaming situations, I become useless instantaneously. All coherent thoughts cease and sometimes I throw the controller. But my freak-outs did not even become an issue in this game. It was easy, breezy, beautiful.

I did hear some mention of zombies, skeletons, and creepers. However, my brother built a shelter right from the jump so I wouldn’t die a bunch of times and quit. When it started getting dark, he was all, “TO THE SHELTER!” with the authority of one who knows what happens when you don’t have a shelter at night in Minecraft. I obeyed because I am scared of video games. Overall, I enjoyed this game even though it took me quite a while to get used to the feel of it. The soft, slightly creepy carnival music kind of turned into a lullaby after a few minutes. That put me at ease, and I can appreciate that. I really liked that I always had something to do. I wasn’t mindlessly wandering around as I often find myself doing in open-world settings. This was partly because I was given tasks, most of which I presumed to be busy work, while my brother was off doing important things and said stuff like, “Go chop down those trees.” But no matter the trivial task, everything in this game is practical and efficient.

One little issue that did arise was navigation. I’m notorious for my lack of direction. My friend likes to say, “Go the opposite of your instinct,” which has actually turned out to be a beneficial trick I use regularly. Pretty much every day, actually. So, my directionally-challenged nature is one aspect from real life that really does translate into gaming. Those of you familiar with Minecraft may be wondering how I got lost in such a simple layout. Um, tunnels much? Like really… tunnels everywhere. We would mine for resources during the night when we were trapped inside. I would burrow deeper and deeper into the ground until I had no idea which way was up. And it was super dark all the time. I was taught how to make torches, which I immediately forgot how to do ten seconds after being taught how to make torches. This became a slight problem, moving forward.

I liked this game, but my skill level was pretty basic. When I was done, my brother showed me his solo game and the crazy house he built which was five levels, with the fourth and fifth floors being “forest roofs.” He planted trees on his house, which I feel was weird. But to each his own, I guess. I just wanted to paint the walls and make things prettier. The lack of color was my biggest problem with everything. At one point when I was mining in my house, I hit a waterfall.

“Can we keep it?!” I asked hopefully.

“No. We are not keeping the waterfall in our house.” He barked.

“Why not?”

“Because this game is all about necessity and that is so unnecessary.”

Way to kill my hopes and dreams. On one hand, this game was not eventful at all. On the other hand, it moved at a nice pace for me. I would definitely play this again and try to build some other stuff. This game feels like one of those things you need to invest a lot of time into, and I am just not at that point in my gaming journey. But otherwise, this was enjoyable.

Happy gaming, you gamers!


  1. VanessaJune 26th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    These articles are my most favorite. Well written and I can relate completely! My 8yo daughter is way into Minecraft. I keep asking her about it and her response, invariably, is “Mom, you just don’t get it”. But maybe I WANT to get it, okay?

    Someday she’ll decide to let me play with her. 😉

  2. ShawnJune 26th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Hey, Vanessa! I don’t quite get it either, but I see how the “building something” aspect might appeal to some people. Maybe it’s a personality type thing. Who knows! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. SynbiosJune 26th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I started playing Minecraft once… stoped in 10 minutes ^_^’. I guess I’m not a builder XD

  4. Erik MoffettJune 26th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I started my son on minecraft when he was 3. I love to see how his buildings have slowly developed over time as he got older. Not looking so much like random logs placed all around the area haphazardly, not to mention he is now labeling the areas near his house with signs that say things like under construction and mine closed.

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