4 Things Minecraft Teaches Players About Survival
Minecraft is a sandbox video game where players are free to build and create worlds of their own vision. However, players also rely on survival as night falls and new dangers breach the surface world. There are zombies to fight (or run from!), creepers that blow up in your face, and the threat of starvation if your hunger bar becomes empty. And while striving to survive a night in Minecraft is a fresh challenge, this aspect of the game also teaches us several things about human survival in the real world.
1. Everyone needs to breathe
While the open world of Minecraft can make players feel like gods of their own universe, they are not exempt from the most important means to survival as a human being - oxygen. Just as humans need oxygen to live and breathe, players need oxygen to survive the Minecraft world. When underwater, players lose two hearts per second once they start to drown from lack of oxygen. If players make the dangerous mistake of digging straight up, blocks of sand or gravel can pile on top of them, causing them to start suffocating. Oxygen does exist in Minecraft, even if it is not an obvious threat to the player.
Have you ever tried holding your breath under water? They say that most healthy people can hold their breath for around two minutes. Carbon dioxide (which we breathe out as humans) builds up in our bodies, and we eventually have to release it, causing spasms that result in gasps for air. Freedivers often test how long they can hold their breath under water in order to practice and increase their time. This is called static apnea, and takes a lot of work! In the end, humans rely on oxygen to live and breathe.
2. Don’t forget to eat
While water doesn’t play any nutritional role in Minecraft, food is a major factor in how long players can last in survival mode. Players first load into the world with a health bar and a hunger bar. The more energy they expend by sprinting or doing physical labor (such as cutting down wood, or mining ore), the faster the hunger bar empties itself. Eating food items, such as bread, fish or meats, refills the hunger bar to varying degrees. Eating a cooked steak is going to fill more hunger points than a raw carrot or potato. If the hunger bar becomes entirely empty, players start to take damage and can potentially starve to death.
Even worse, if a player is being damaged by a hostile mob or other source without a full hunger bar, their health does not regenerate. In other words, players have a much higher chance of dying when their hunger is not maintained. Players lose the ability to sprint at 6 hunger or lower, making running from monsters more difficult. Have you ever tried running while you were really hungry? It functions the same way here. Your body needs nutrition to function properly, and players need a reliable source of food to survive the Minecraft world.
3. Seek shelter from the dark
Once night falls in Minecraft, monsters begin to spawn in the overworld. Zombies chase players, skeletons attack at range, spiders can climb up surfaces, and creepers explode if players get too close. Spending the night in a secure shelter (or at least having a closed door to escape behind) could save a player’s life. Torches have a luminance of 14, and mobs have a chance of spawning in light level of 7 or less; therefore, placing down torches within 13 blocks of each other keeps hostile mobs from spawning at night, and makes the dark landscape much more comforting.
In the wilderness, humans are not alone; there are potentially dangerous animals whose living space you are inhabiting. Would you consciously camp overnight without a tent? Having shelter ensures that humans are less attractive to wildlife, as well as protected from the elements. Getting soaked on a cold, rainy night can lead to pneumonia. The smell of food can attract animals (if food isn’t properly stored). While making shelter in reality is more for protection against the elements, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a place you feel safe in the middle of the night.
4. Sleep is not for the weak
Minecraft is not the first game players can go to sleep in, though the function might seem strange. In video games, the ability to sleep in a bed is most often used to pass in-game time. Some games, like Skyrim, allow the player to sleep at any time of day, while Minecraft only permits sleeping once night falls. However, sleep is a great way to skip the night in Minecraft; sleeping the moment that the sun goes down prevents mobs from spawning. And when night turns into day, any remaining zombies or skeletons burn up in the sunlight, making the terrain mostly safe.
In actuality, humans need at least six hours of sleep over a 24-hour time period; adults up until 64 years old are recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily to function properly. Some adults can do with as little as six hours, while some need as much as 10 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep impairs your concentration, alertness, and memory, making it harder for the brain to function. It also impairs judgement, and can lead to several health problems, such as stroke, diabetes, and heart attack. None of these problems exist in Minecraft, but skipping sleep means that, for a full seven minutes, hostile mobs will spawn and attempt to kill any player who gets too close!
© 2015 Jessica Marello
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