Artistic Value in Video Games

I have wanted to talk about this for some time now, but could not find the words to get my point across. I have seen articles and news stories over the years about how school shootings and violent children are due to violent video games. No actual evidence or research to back it up, but I cannot get angry over this. They say that they are just a child’s play thing, dismiss it, and say that there is nothing positive that comes out of playing games. Every generation people find something to blame for all the bad behavior of children. People would blame books, art, movies, music, and right now video games are in the hot seat. All forms of media and art go through this before being known for the value that they give to society. Games let you experience the creativity that can be drawn in from all forms of art. You are the one who pushes the story that could have been read from a page, you make the decisions that actor is directed to make, you experience the scenery that could be viewed from a painting, and you are the one who experiences the music that is created for the game. All these types of art are brought together to make an experience that, if done correctly, can last with people forever.

I remember I as playing a game called Fallout 3 and I was given a choice. I could disarm a bomb for a town for some coin or blow up the bomb, along with the town, for more coin. Since I made the decision to save the town last time I played this time I decided to see how the game would change if I blew up the bomb. After the explosion I revisited where the town once was. There was one lone survivor. She had no idea that I blew up the town and she was still her cheerful self just thankful that I got out in time. Now I know she only survived because she gives quests in the game, but that moment stuck with me. This lonely girl who had been physically altered due to the explosion and the radiation. I have never experienced regret in such a strong way before this moment. I wanted to return to a previous save, but could not do so. I just sat there for a while and stared at the screen looking at what my actions have caused and in that single moment I was playing more than a game. I was experiencing something different. Something that I had never experienced before. Games can be more than just a child’s play thing or a thing to kill time. It can express creativity and emotion like any other great work of art.

Minecraft – Introduction to Redstone

If you have spent any length of time within the Minecraft world, you will be familiar with the common mineral, redstone. Redstone is the “wiring” in Minecraft used to connect one contraption to another, your power source within the game.

How do you get it? Naturally, of course! You can mine for redstone ore underground as with most materials in Minecraft. That ore will turn into redstone upon breaking it with an iron pickaxe or better. However, you can also acquire it from killing a witch, looting a temple in the jungle, or trading with a villager.

Once you have your redstone in hand, you are ready to experiment with its’ possibilities. At the most basic level of gameplay, if you need a little portable light within the game, all it takes is redstone and a stick to craft a redstone torch. Want to provide constant light to your Minecraft home? Combine redstone and glowstone to make a lamp, keeping the darkness at bay… and all of the creatures that come with it.

Redstone is used for powering various sorts of gadgets. You’ll want to be familiar with several fundamental items. In the trigger category you find buttons and levers, as well as pressure plates. Buttons send a redstone signal upon being pressed, while levers function more like light switches. A pressure plate each side of a door can allow it to open as you enter and then close behind you, triggered by your weight as you step on and off again.

Two kinds of pistons also exist in the Minecraft world: regular and sticky. Regular pistons push a block one step forward and then leaves it there, whereas sticky pistons attach to the block and can thus push or pull it. You can use those to make doors, elevators, secret entrances and so on.

Repeaters, as you might guess, repeat the redstone signal: one placed after the first fifteen blocks of redstone will extend your signal’s reach for another fifteen blocks.

So, what can you do with all of these buttons, levers, pressure plates, pistons and repeaters? The sky is literally the limit. You might decide to make piston-controlled waterfalls, secret trapdoors, music machines, clocks, and even rollercoasters. If you want to get really fancy, try assembling a number of gadgets and contraptions into a Rube Goldberg Machine. Feeling lazy? Redstone can even power up automatic farming and mining machines as well.

Redstone can also enhance the brewing of potions. Combining redstone dust and a water bottle will give you the Mundane Potion, while adding the dust to a number of other potions (e.g. Potion of Night Vision, Water Breathing, or Invisibility) will increase their duration.

As you can see, redstone will provide the power source for many of your Minecraft creations and adventures. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination!