Achievement Unlocked: Got My Ride

An orange Lotus Race car is pictured in front of a tree
“Lotus Evora S” by is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Achievement Unlocked: Got my Ride

Speed. Revving engine. Shining exterior. The feeling of freedom disguised as the wind in my face and the road stretched out in front of me. The beats on the radio remind me of youth and living life in the fast lane. However, getting here was not fast. It was a journey of birthday money, Christmas money, and ultimately getting a job to save up the funds for the down payment on my new ride.

At twelve years old, I would save $5.00 here, or $10 there. As those earlier years passed, sometimes allowance could be split so that I could have gaming money while still putting a few bucks into my car fund. Getting a camp counselor job brought in more money than I had ever seen, and saving it was the best thing that I ever could have done for myself.

I began the search for a car around the age of 14. I was looking for my dream car; something that I could work my way up to. A lot of different makes and models came along for me to look at, however, none seemed to be the right fit. Some were way too expensive. Others had too many miles already on their worn out engines. Others still, just were not appealing.

Then came my orange beauty. It was like finding treasure. We are best friends now, and while she is wild and pulls against her reigns like a wild horse, I keep her in check. We will have a long life together, and I shall have a clean driving record. Bonus Points for paying off my loan early.

And when people in sporty cars pull up next to me with revving engines, I just smile, and call out from my open window, “Don’t mess with my discount!”

Join me on a journey to the blocky world of Minecraft

Minecraft is a creative, all-aged building game, created by Mojang. It is a block world, where the only limitation is your own mind and imagination. Worlds in the game update each month, so there is always something new to try and new ideas to explore.

My personal opinion on Minecraft is that people should definitely spend time creating in the Minecraft Universe because it is worth using as it really gives the creator an outlet for his or her creative energy.

To get started on Minecraft, you either have to purchase the game or find a place to use it, such as a library that hosts Minecraft events. Once you do that, you want to start with a tutorial world that you can find in the start menu. It is here that you can learn the controls, how to maneuver through the world, and basic building skills. You can also find “how to” books on Minecraft either online or at the library, and you can look up tutorials for Minecraft building on

Once you familiarize yourself with game play, you can start learning in survival mode, which is the ultimate goal of regular game play. Survival mode is where you have to live off the land, figure out the story, and survive against the environment and the mobs/creatures within the world. You may also have to survive against other players who choose to raid you or who just tend to attack other players for no good reason, other than to do it. This, of course, isn’t very fun so you have to decide if you will continue to play with these types of players or move on to other worlds as you get better at getting around. Multiplayer mode is optional, so you do not actually have to play with other players at all, if you do not want to.

One essential element that you will want to familiarize yourself with, and get good at, is crafting. This can be explained as being able to make something else out of materials that you find within the Minecraft world. You have to gather the materials, and some of these materials are not always available, so you have to do special things to gather them. Once gathered, you make things with your materials, using a crafting table that you first must make using your inventory crafting table. To do this, you gather one piece of wood from a tree that you find anywhere in the world, and craft the wood into wooden planks. You then form a 2×2 block in your inventory crafting table, which then creates your crafting table in the Minecraft world. Examples of things you can make on your crafting table are tools, other blocks, different foods, and pretty much anything else within the world.

You always have to watch for your health and your hunger, because if either of these are depleted too much, you can die or you cannot sprint fast which means that you might not reach food and you could starve and then die slowly. I like to explore a lot and knowing materials are sometimes scarce, whenever I get the chance I will set up camp so that I can replenish my stock of supplies.

The mobs that you might have to deal with, if you choose survival mode, usually spawn at night and consists of skeletons, zombies, spiders, creepers, and Endermen. These five are the normal mods that will spawn regularly at nighttime. Skeletons are weak ranged attack enemies that have bows and arrows. Zombies are typically the easiest to deal with, because they have weak hits. They do have more health than skeletons, and get annoying in packs, but are easy to fool into going into the water which turns them into a new mob called “drowned”. This is a water only based mob, that can’t come out of the water during the day. Spiders are big and creepy, and like to climb walls. They sometimes get the chance to poison you by hitting you. Creepers are easy to deal with if you know the round about ways of defeating them. To do this, you can hit them once and back away to avoid their explosion, since they come towards you to explode in an attempt to harm your character. Endermen are a relatively safe mob if you do not look at their face. They do attempt, periodically, to steal blocks from you.

I have been playing Minecraft for many years now, and I have loved every minute. I have used it in education as a homeschooler, to build DNA strands, the Alamo, Castles, Art Museums, Government buildings from US History, and other virtual field trips to made up places that came from my mind. I have played for enjoyment, to challenge my building skills, and to see what my friends and I could create together. When I first started out, there was definitely a learning curve, but the game is so fun, it goes fast. You will be a master in no time.

As you know, there are many facets to Minecraft that I have not gotten to in this first blog entry. I hope that this has given you a little opener that will get you started and interested in the Minecraft world.