Empire Of One

A Hard-Left History Geek Plays Minecraft

This will be my occasional blog, whenever I feel like putting something up, about playing Minecraft in single player survival mode on a vanilla 1.14 Java instance. It’s also about colonialism, which is built into the foundational assertions of the game, and about imperialism, social conflict, and territorial imperatives in a virtual world where only one character actually has free will and volition, and the rest are basically animated wallpaper. Oh, and that one character owns the entire means of production. The villagers with jobs and the merchant are just vending machines. So yeah, I’m going to ramble about leftist politics and Minecraft, and talk about how the one gets me thinking about the other.

001: The Castle, In Media Res

In which we join our scheduled programming, already in progress. The blog starts, as one might expect, at the central stronghold, and the central conceit: that a leftist can find ethical entertainment, or at least challenges to their thinking, while playing Minecraft, and not take all the fun out of the game by taking it too seriously.

002: An Exegesis on Torches

In which I talk about the humble torch, a real workhorse for a cheap price, and that's whether you're pricing in labor and materials, which is the true cost in Minecraft, or trying to assign some kind of monetary value based on the in-game vending machine token, the emerald., Yeah, there's content here now. I'm still working on the article, and will revise this blurb when it;'s finalized.

003: Outpost One

In which we visit the first waystation I built, and I bring up a couple of points for later development, as well as revisiting the colonial/imperial mechanic of the game. This is also the Castle anchor of the Western Railway, so this gets our journey started.

005: The Blue Roof Inn

In which we visit one of the early western waystations, and talk about its conversion to a railway station, and I hold forth on the subject of stripmining.

006: Paddington Station

In which we visit what was at its creation the westernmost station of the Empire, the frontier. Now it's a switching point between the Western, Grand Concourse, and Great Southern Railways, sitting atop a region riddled with played-out mineworks. Welcome to Trenton.

007: Hallucination Station

In which we tour probably the oddest of my railway stations, with peculiar geologic features in the area that gave the place its name, and set the trippy standard for it. This sort of explains the interior but not really.

008: Falling Waters Station

In which I explain that the Frank Lloyd Wright reference is to the waterfall, not the architecture, but you'll figure that out quick enough. And the dog does not show up in any of the photos.

009: Red Room Station

In which I get a little deeper into the imperialism and colonialism of Minecraft, and struggle to decide whether I am mocking the concept of empire or valorizing it by declaring myself an Empire of One and putting up banners to mark my territory.