Once upon a time, I was a little monstrosity who would leave Lego bricks everywhere after a very enthusiastic play session.
I was obsessed with them because I could create anything. I could build houses, towers, roads, boats, you name it. It was intoxicating, and I never wanted to stop.
So I didn’t.
Starting to play Minecraft was a natural transition. Both involved blocks, bright colours, creativity, and monsters that would come and blow up my creations (creepers in the game, siblings in the real world).
It also became a source of frustration, because this became a standard conversation for me:
Other person: You play video games?
Me: I do.
Other person: Oo, like what?
Me: You know, video games. Like Minecraft.
Other person, who is now an unsuspecting source of irritation in my life: Oh, my [insert 10-year-old relative here] plays that!
The Minecraft effect
It’s not uncommon for people to assume the game is mostly meant for kids. In fact, at a previous job, I interviewed some brilliant folks who had figured out how to turn Minecraft into a way to teach kids about construction.
But the thing is, it’s so much more than that.
I got into the game because it was a good way to vent my creativity. I’ve always had an obsession with buildings; the only reason I’m not currently an architect is because Calculus is a thing. Blech.
It let me build, create, thwart physics—you know, all the fun things.
I started off using the vanilla resource pack, which does have its own charm, but it wasn’t long before I wanted to start building an epic modern city with all the bells and whistles.
Hunting for a resource pack
Full disclosure: I did not know this was a thing I could do for a loooong time. I am mildly ashamed of how long I spent on Google researching it.
I tried out a few pre-made ones, but none of them really suited my style. So, after what must have been days combing through every resource pack that misled me with a charming view of water shaders, I decided to do it myself.
The thing they don’t tell you about resource packs when you download them is that making them is a bigger time sink than the game itself. You’ve put five days into your game? That’s cute. Now go spend 15 on your pack to make those buildings shine.
The good thing about this exercise is that it taught me a very real, very applicable skill: Photoshop.
Suddenly, I was expanding my abilities beyond the relatively simple process of creating memes and learning how to take images of suits and turn them into some pretty fly sets of armour, if I do say so myself.
It also became the perfect way to create the modern city I’d always dreamed of.
Building on up
Just to make the connection between Minecraft and Lego a little less subtle, because it was so subtle before, I actually started my city by recreating Lego houses I had built. I’m cool.
It wasn’t long before I moved on to replicating actual floorplans that I found online, building houses to see if they could be my dream house someday. Then, I figured out apartment buildings, and then subway systems. Even a library modeled after the famously square one in Stuttgart sprouted out of the ground.
Curious? See for yourself!