The Minecraft Diaries 2: The shame (and boredom) of Creative Mode

I'm bored.

I’m bored.

In Creative mode, you cannot die, and you have automatic access to any block you want. Mobs still show up, and you can kill them, but they can’t hurt you.

I decided to use Creative mode, somewhat shamefully, as a way of getting used to how you move in Minecraft, and how you place blocks and build things. That’s how hopeless I was: I couldn’t even handle Peaceful.

I started in a brand new world, and spawned in a plains biome. Low hills, not many trees, lots of pigs and sheep, and then mountains. Just like the first time, I instantly forgot where I had spawned in spite of my intention to make some kind of marker at that spot. Not that it matters in Creative mode, since you can’t die anyway.

I found a mountain that caught my imagination and made my way up the side to a likely spot, high enough to see stuff, and dug a hole with my iron shovel. That I made because I was cheating, in Creative mode. Normally you have to earn iron.

Next day I went up to the top of the mountain and built a modern little home with lapis blocks and a roof of spruce stairs. Yawn.

Quickly I learned how different it is to play Minecraft when you’re in Creative mode and have access to all the blocks. What to build? Why? I would stare at a cave and imagine possibilities, maybe lay down a few sandstone blocks as flooring, then get bored and wander off. I was starting at the wrong end, I could tell. But I knew I was no match for any hostile mob, and if I got killed too often I would get frustrated with the game and never come back to it.

I found a cave, and explored, and changed the course of a stream of water, and dug a little, and spent a good Minecraft-week or two trying to build a spiral staircase from the top of a mountain down through its midst to the deeper levels.

I built a couple of things that looked nice enough, mostly because I used textured sandstone and stuck a pot and a flower near a waterfall. The combination of blue water, pale yellow sandstone, terra cotta red pot, and bright red flower was nice no matter how badly I placed them. I built a little bridge that looked decent, figured out how to make Doric style columns. I spent a few Minecraft days exploring out towards the coast because I knew one of the things I wanted to get out of my system was building a lighthouse, so I found what looked like an ocean (no land appeared in the distance) and built one. But even my creativity was dampened by my lack of purpose.

The world’s most boring lighthouse

The world’s most boring lighthouse

Unless you know immediately what you want to build – the Roman coliseum, the Empire State Building, some massive experimental redstone contraption – in Creative you have no motivation and no desire to do anything, at least I didn’t, not as a brand new player. I found a great spot to build a farm, but I didn’t do it, because in Creative mode you don’t have to worry about food at all so what’s the point? Even exploring is not as much fun when there’s nothing to gain (you can’t gather inventory) and nothing to lose (you can’t die).

One of the last things I did in Creative mode was go caving, digging deeper and deeper and seeing what was going on deep down in the map, which appealed to my Explorer side. After wandering for some time, and spotting a zombie in gold armor, I discovered a ravine deep beneath the earth. In my attempt to light up the area with torches and see as far as I could, I fell off a cliff and landed on the bottom. In Survival mode, the fall would have killed me. In Creative mode, I was just pissed. How the f was I going to find my way back to the surface?

"I would be a lot more interesting if I could kill you. Brrrrains....."

“I would be a lot more interesting if I could kill you.”

Yes, I could have double-tapped the space bar and flown back to the cliff I fell off of – you can fly in Creative mode – but I decided spontaneously that I would try to act like I was in Survival mode. So I spent a good long time – at least an hour of my real life – trying to get back to the cliff I’d fallen off of. While I was doing that, I realized I was pretty comfortable using the keyboard and mouse to move around.

Eventually I got sick of being lost underground and just picked a spot and began tunneling upwards through the stone, making a stairway as I went. It didn’t take long to break through to the surface. It was just before dawn. I couldn’t help thinking of Tom Sawyer, where he and Becky were lost in the cave, and Tom was exploring each passageway using a length of string he carried in his pocket. He found the way out down one of those passages, afterwards reflecting that, if it had been night, he would not have seen the daylight and would not have explored that passageway again.

This was the most dramatic thing that had happened in that world. So, not all that dramatic.

I had enough light to build a little tower to mark the spot where I had emerged, using sandstone and obsidian because why not? I could see home in the distance, less than a day’s journey away. I was happy enough to get back, but once I was there, I knew I was ready for Survival mode.

Leave a Reply