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Minecon 2011: Crafting, Meeting and Hacking

  • Me: "Hey, Will, can you believe they don't have any actual Minecon shirts at the shop?"
  • Will: "Oh, hey. I'd like you both to meet my cohort, Ryan. He also made his outfit."
  • Me: "Oh, hi deadmau5 and lady deadmau5. Nice to meet you"
  • shakes hands

That pretty much sums up my experience at the inaugural Minecon, I guess. The costumes Will and I created turned out to be quite a hit among nearly everyone who we talked to or creeper'd on, including some of the Big Stars in attendance.

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Will and I had decided that we wanted to dress up, but we didn't want to go over the top and be too obvious about it. We wanted to wear something we could get away with just wearing in Vegas outside of Minecon. So, instead of dressing up as Boxheads, we'd opt for filling the role of Vegas Classholes and went the Classy Creeper route.

We got pictures taken with and of us more times than I can count, and generally everyone was absolutely impressed with the fact that we made them ourselves, even if they looked like crap. My collar was a mess, I missed buttons, but I looked damn sexy. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to score "all the both the Minecraft chicks" as Will and I have had a habit of saying, but hey, we enjoyed ourselves way more than we would have back at home for the weekend, anyways.

Enough about us being awesome, though.

The con itself was very well done, especially for a first time event. 5000 tickets is an incredible responsibility and Mojang handled it well, and put on a damn good show. The panels could have been stronger, and I couldn't get ahold of a Minecon tee in anything other than a small. However, the people I met and all of the awesome things I heard and saw made it far more than I would have figured when I first decided to go.

Minecraft has always been interesting to me in that it is not a game about consumption or destruction. It is solely and completely a game of creation. Those in attendance of the event proved that's the case. We met some of the smartest, most creative and best dressed people at Minecon.

We met up with PrimerLabs, folks from Noisebridge who were showing off their game C{}de Her{}, the game I wish I'd had 10 years ago when I wanted to start learning how to program. Imagine having a gun that you could use to run code on any object in a game. Any type of code. That is what this game is. It's really incredible to see it in action and the work that PrimerLabs is doing is really impressive.

We also met Chris from Ace Monster Toys who was driving around a laser cut, arduino and cordless drill powered creeper.

The costume contest brought together all of the folks who had put countless hours in to being the best god damn creeper, enderman, sheep skeleton or Steve they could manage. It was incredible to see the different ways people expressed their vision of what Minecraft would look like in the Real World, whether it was a custom skinned boxhead, or a leather skeleton skinsuit. Even though MinecraftChick totally ignored Will and I, it was cool to see another set of creepers nearly as classy as we were up there.

We also got the change to spend a few hours hanging out at SYN SHOP, Vegas's budding hackerspace. Though it's currently run out of Krux's garage, it's working on moving in to its own space and growing in to a full sized community. Spending three hours talking to folks who have the same dream, the same goals and that same hacker ethic that has made HeatSync thrive and succeed is an incredible affirmation of the work we've been doing, as well as the work they've been doing. It is going to be awesome to see where SYN SHOP heads and the awesome things they do over the next few years. I also got my Diplomatic Passport signed for the first time!

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We spent probably an hour or an hour and a half talking to a pair of parents of an eleven year old from Glendale. An eleven year old who, along with playing Minecraft, is running Linux of his own accord, hacking things together in Python AND doing drama and sports in school. It was a fun conversation but reminded me how ill equipped I am to have kids. Thank Bob I'm not gonna have to deal with that one for a long while..

The general spread of ages at Minecon was really impressive, on the subject. It really means something when you see at three and a half generations in pretty equal quantities at a video game convention. Parents and grandparents who host a server with their children and grandchildren, college kids and graduates who have neither children nor parents in attendance but are having just as much fun, if not more. It's just a sign of the effect the game has had. I hate to be all overpolitcal about it, but games of creation like Minecraft really have the potential to bring families and friends closer together. I know that I wouldn't have become such close friends with the folks like Trever running Caminus without Minecraft – I wouldn't have got to watch the creation of yet another awesome hackerspace, this time in Akron, Ohio. And we work in the same open source community.

Also, Minecon reaffirmed my love of beautiful gamer chicks. There were definitely more than two Minecraft chicks in attendance, to say the least. Now, there might have been two single Minecraft chicks, but that's an altogether different story.

Even though I didn't get my dress shirt signed by Mojang like I had wanted – because let's face it, an hour waiting in line is PAINFUL – I am really glad that I was able to finish my outfit. I was sewing buttons as we were going up the freeway, trying my hardest to get it in to a presentable state. God damn, it was presentable. As was the rest of the convention. I really hope there's another next year. Mojang and the indie community has a lot of awesome stuff coming in the next year, it would be great to get together and celebrate it all. There won't be another Minecraft 1.0, but with Scroll and Cobalt and C{}de Her{} and everything else the indie community has, Minecon could easily become the PAX of Indie gaming in a couple or five years' time.