Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jack's Castle: No Giants Allowed

by Skrufor
It's my little guy's birthday today and as a surprise, I built him a castle.

Like many kids his age, he loves Minecraft, that he can create worlds (literally - OK, "virtually") and the bizarre and crazy-fantastic "mythology" of the various creatures (Creepers, Endermen, Ghasts, Mooshrooms etc) as well as seemingly endless magical possibilities.

So, I built him a castle. In Minecraft. (He'll discover it later today when he explores his world with his friend who is coming over for gaming and cake - hopefully!)

OK, so really it's just a very large stone box with some turrets... (this Mama is kind of new to Minecraft), so it's more like this, but without the clouds and beanstalk):

... but there are a few surprises in there, some better-than-basic fortifications and a lot of signs saying "Keep out! (until January 20th, that is)".

One sign will stay, though: "No Giants Allowed" because every Jack should eventually have his own castle, (and stop invading the neighbors) don't you think? ;)

Here's a little Minecraft-built adventure featuring Jack and the Beanstalk, or should I say "Steve" and the Beanstalk. (Steve is Minecraft's everyman character.) It was made a few years ago for a Minecraft "sky limit project contest" (a few people ended up creating Jack and the Beanstalk-based builds), and this builder even made a little teaser-trailer for their created world. It's pretty neat to see someone created the fairy tale, then "played" it as an adventure.

It begins at Jack's little house, where he discovers a beanstalk has grown overnight. He then climbs it into a cloud-land where he finds the Giant's house. (Note: it's a bit dim there because everything is so very, very large compared to "Steve", that regular lights sources don't reach very far, making for many dark corners.

Cue the dramatic adventure music!
Because in Minecraft, there really ARE castles in the sky to explore...

Edit FTNH 1/21/15:
This posted late because of time and birthday-related things, though I've kept the date as it was originally scheduled. You'll be glad to know Jack (my Jack) was completely delighted with his castle and has moved in, making it his new base. He's even made himself a personal crest. Oh and yes: he kept all the signs. ;)
While we're on the subject of Minecraft and fairy tales I wanted to mention that this would be a worthy study subject for those interested in pop culture that uses myth and fairy tales. Part of why I think Minecraft is so popular is because it has a unique component of creatures (both hostile and not) that can change and affect your world. As you create your own living story, these creatures become part of it too, though you can't control them the way an author can in a book. You have to work around their intrinsic natures (programming), which no one knows the complete extent of to date, since it's constantly changing and adapting, the more people play and create. The more you know about them and adapt defenses or uses for them, the more creative potential is unlocked and the more interesting your story gets. (Note: if anyone knows of a fairy tale student or scholar writing a thesis or treatise on this, please let me know. Minecraft has become such a useful tool for education and art - including in schools - I think it might be important that we don't ignore the storytelling and ongoing live tales happening here as well.)
Have a look at this Minecraft fairy tale-type world creation below. It's far more cinematic looking than the Jack build featured above and was made using a special animation program in combination with Minecraft called Mine-imation, which is why there is controlled camerawork and nice lighting, and it gives you an idea of the sorts of things people are doing in their spare time (most of them amateurs). Oh, and this was created a couple of years ago. Since there have been a HUGE number of "mods" and texture packs created for Minecraft since, one can only imagine what's possible. Bring on the fairy tales!

Note: Minecraft Jack and the Beanstalk pics posted were all apparently created for the Sky Limit Project Contest a few years ago. It just wasn't clear who had created which ones.


  1. This is so cool! Jack's a really lucky kid! :)

  2. Good blog and very helpful information about the Cinematic Minecraft Shortfilm it's really very great well done.