Minecraft, Ho!

I’ve been hearing about Minecraft for a while, now, but only recently decided to start playing it on the urging of a friend of mine.  With a price of about $20, I decided to pay for it sight-unseen (and incredible rarity for me — I normally heavily research just about everything I buy — but it was inexpensive enough for me to take the plunge).  It was definitely worth the price.

Minecraft is a fairly simple “sand box” game.  You control a person in a very cubic world where everything is made up of blocks.  Almost all blocks can be collected and placed elsewhere to one’s heart’s content.  The land is randomly generated as you explore, and the world is effectively infinite.

There are a few forms of flora and fauna in the world that live and grow and from which you can collect resources.  There is also a day/night cycle in the game.  During the night (if you play in “Survival Mode”) monsters roam the countryside, adding a bit of excitement.

Anyway, after a few trial starts with random worlds, I finally settled on one which I felt looked pretty good.  Here are some pictures:

Here is my main base (left).  I built it to look a little bit like the Cambodian jungle temples, and I think it turned out pretty good.  I built the top out of sandstone because it just didn’t look right made out of cobblestone.  I’m not sure if it would look right being made entirely our of sandstone, either.  I’ll have to experiment a bit with mixing materials to see if I can come up with some more aesthetically pleasing combinations.

A little further beyond my main tower is a pond surrounded by sugar cane, and beyond that is a small lookout tower that overlooks the sea.  In the far distance is a navigational tower situated on a small sandy island off the coast.


This image shows the main entrance to my mines, the interior of which is being dug out with the idea of a subterranean temple complex in mind.


The main floor of my home base.  The log walls give it a nice ambiance, and the sandstone floor helps provide good contrast with the objects placed about the room (plus it looks classy).  Beneath the tower is a subfloor which connects to the underground temple/mine complex under the mountain.


The ocean look-out tower as seen from the third floor of my main tower.  I don’t rally like how this tower turned out.  Maybe adding gables would improve the look?


My main tower seen from my look-out tower.  To the right is an outcropping onto which I built my first statue (see below).


The eagle statue I built from scratch.  I turned out a little more Third Reichy than I intended, but I think it looks good.   I was a bit surprised how much anxiety I felt being “virtually” ten stories in the air, working on those wings.


Oh, how many times I fell to my death while constructing you!

Custom Vinyl Decals

My brother and one of his friends have started up a small side business creating custom vinyl decals.  They’ll do any custom image you want in a variety of colors.  If you’re in the market for inexpensive custom vinyl decals — whether for your car, gaming machine, or whatever — check out impossibledecals.com.

Impossible Decals

Here are some sample images of decals they’ve made:

Things That Should Have Been

Sometimes things that are meant to happen, don’t.  While I can’t prove that meddling time travellers are responsible for some of these things not happening, I am almost certain that the following mundane things should have happened:

Fallout 3 (Van Buren)

What was it?

Fallout 3 was to be the third in a highly praised series of tactical, squad-based combat/adventure games set in post-apocalyptic U.S.A. Following in the isometric footsteps of the utterly fantastic PC games Fallout and Fallout 2, Black Isle Studio’s third installment of the Fallout series (codenamed Van Buren) would likely have been equally awesome.

What happened?

The game was nearly completed when the publisher inexplicably decided to cancel it in favor of focusing on console game development.  Black Isle Studios was shut down, and the rights to the game sold off.  Soon afterward, the publisher, Interplay, was shut down (though it re-emerged four years later).

What did we get instead?

Yet another First-Person Shooter.

The rights to the Fallout name were sold to Bethesda Softworks, who later released a Fallout 3 game using the same engine as their more recent Elder Scrolls RPG games.  The industry’s thirst for isometric, turn-based tactical games continued to go unquenched.

Pontiac Rageous

What was it?

The Pontiac Rageous was Pontiac’s quad-coupe concept car.  It had enough room to carry 4’x8′ sheets of plywood in the back.  It doubled as a race car.  And it looked like this:

What happened?

I’m not sure, but I believe copious quantities of crack were involved.

What did we get instead?


That’s right.  We got the Pontiac Aztec instead of the Pontiac Rageous.

Instead of doubling as a race car, it doubled as a tent.

Star Trek: Phase II

What was it?

Star Trek: Phase II was to be a new Star Trek series in the late 70s with most of the original crew, plus some new characters.  It was set to air on a proposed new major network: Paramount Television Service.

What happened?

The new network the show was to run on didn’t pan out and the show was scrapped.

What did we get instead?

Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Some of the sets, costumes, and characters were later re-used in this movie.

It would have really been cool to have had a second “original” Star Trek series in the late 70s/early 80s.  I wonder, though, if Star Trek: The Next Generation (and all subsequent ‘trek’ shows) would ever have happened had Star Trek: Phase II made it to air?…