Track to the Edge of Minecraft

Here’s a thought. Can games provide us with no real goal, purpose or objective, but still provide a distinct emotional response?

Today, Twitch streamer JL2579 started streaming an 17 day zen-like ride to the edge of Minecraft. The trip is roughy thirty-thousand kilometers of straight track that he’s managed to generate with some friends. In his words:

I set up command blocks to clone a template bridge pillar in the spawnchunks in front of the last bridge pier when a minecart would ride over them. I also added some fancy overhang and Mountain detection to add tunnel segments when the track goes through an Extreme Hill. Then I let several instances of Minecraft run from different starting points at the same time with the help of some friends from zipkrowd, and together we were able to generate the chunks within few days. 

The rails and the world are therefore pregenerated, because the terrain and the bridge generation caused massive lag and would have ruined the smooth ride :)

I rarely know what to call these sort of interactive pieces but it’s really quite mesmerizing. All I know is that it has a reflective, peaceful quality to it and there’s 16 more days until that cart dives off into the digitally uncharted. It has my vote over your standard digital fireplace. 

What Nintendo Gets Right by Keeping the Game Industry Weird

I’m preparing a segment for my project that explores what Nintendo gets right that everyone else seems to get wrong… landed on this article in the LA Times with an interview of Shigeru Miyamoto.

Now in his early 60s, Miyamoto is something of a goofball himself. Mention the recent “Super Mario 3D World,” which enabled Mario and Co. to turn into felines, and Miyamoto will use his fingers to mimic cat ears and meow.

“Nintendo isn’t one simple element of an overall gaming industry,” Miyamoto explained through a translator at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), North America’s largest video game trade show, in Los Angeles. “I really think there needs to be a Nintendo genre, that’s almost its own entity.”

Miyamoto talks of designing games as making performance art.

“It’s not that I don’t like serious stories or that I couldn’t make one, but currently in the video game industry you see a lot of game designers who are working really hard to make their games seem really cool,” Miyamoto said. “For a lot of us at Nintendo, it’s difficult to decide what cool is. In fact, it’s a lot easier for us to laugh at ourselves. It’s almost as if we’re performers. Our way of performing is by creating these fun, odd and goofy things.”

I’ll be exploring a lot about the finer points of Nintendo and how, in the details, they manage to create properties that are more complex and fine tuned than just about anything else out there. Great read.