Short Exercise: MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

For this exercise, I will be analyzing the mechanics and dynamics of Minecraft. Minecraft has several gameplay options, each of which can be interpreted as a dynamic. For the sake of this exercise, I will be focusing on Survival mode. In survival mode, a player has a health meter and a hunger meter, and no items. A player can sustain damage by falling, touching fire or lava, drowning, suffocating, being poisoned, or being attacked by a mob. Minecraft has a day cycle when the sun is out and all mobs are either hiding underground in caves, or are burned by the sunlight. At night, mobs are able to spawn anywhere in the world where there isn’t manmade light (such as torches or lamps). These mobs can be zombies who can hurt you and even poison you for a short duration, skeletons who can shoot arrows at you, or even creepers who will blow up if you get too close to them. Being attacked by any of these mobs will severely hurt your health meter, and the only ways to regenerate health are by using a regeneration potion, or more commonly, having a full hunger meter. The hunger meter can be regenerated by eating food which can be foraged for by killing animals and cooking their meat, or by making bread from wheat.

All of these mechanics work to create the dynamic of survival mode which is played solo. In this mode, the player survives by building safe shelter from mobs, mining for minerals and metals, foraging for food, creating armor, and eventually, traveling to the End world to defeat the Enderdragon which beats the game. There are many elements to the survival world which affect each mechanic and as such, the path to beat a solo world can be as fast and simple, or slow and complex as a user wants. In fact, the game doesn’t need to end when the user beats the Enderdragon! The uncharted territory at each stage of the game, and the possibility to pursue any path and discover a way to progress to the next stage create a discovery-based fun which is endless in possibilities.

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