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December 23, 2010

I Have No Mouth and I Must Build

With end of term I am finally able to look into this Minecraft thing my students have been on about (via Boing Boing). I don't think I have enough end of term to have the time it would take to risk downloading and installing the thing.

In Minecraft, the world is made up of blocks, each a three-dimensional pixel or a voxel. This world has mountains and trees and seas and animals and rivers of lava, but all of these exist in a universe in which Euclidean geometry past the cube is as arcane and impenetrable as it would be in Flatland. Trees are simply blocks of wood and blocks of leaves stacked on top of each other; pigs are just quivering cubes of bacon, stacked in pig-like configutation. When I chop down a tree, or hew coal out of a mountain, or scoop water out of a lake, the chunk or bucket comes out in my hands in a perfect, self-sustained cube.

To Lovecraft, the eldritch often took the form of non-Euclidean geometry. In Minecraft, horror is found in a world that is all too perfectly the opposite.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 23, 2010 09:27 AM