“Minecraft is a game about creation,” writes Robin Sloan. “But it is just as much a game about secret knowledge.”
There’s no official manual, so the game’s teeming network of devotees, young and old, proper publishers and web-based wildcats, have worked to create them by the score. Not just guides, but wikis, videos, hints, tricks. The rules can only be discovered by observation, reasoning, and experiment. Like science — or magic:
Imagine yourself a child. Imagine yourself given one of these books: not merely a story of exploration and adventure, but a manual to such.
Imagine yourself acquiring the keys to a mutable world in which you can explore caves, fight spiders, build castles, ride pigs, blow up mountains, construct aqueducts to carry water to your summer palace… anything.
Imagine yourself a child, in possession of the secret knowledge.
Maybe the most interesting thing about this, Robin writes, is how the game “calls forth” the books — another kind of magic. Is this a function of how much Minecraft players love the game? Or is that arcane, indirect, networked, bottomless well of knowledge, asking to be impossibly filled, what they love about it?