As you should be aware, our 2011 Videogame Deathmatch is currently underway. We’re in the first round, but the competition is already hot, with all the best games of the last year pitted against one another in a battle to the death. You can help us pick the ultimate game of 2011. Visit our Videogame Deathmatch page and pick your favorite. For our Nerdfight today, we’re on one of the most unique match-ups in the contest: Skyrim vs. Minecraft, a battle of wills between two very different games.
Steve Johnson: Yeah, Skyrim is a big, huge, massive step forward for the RPG-genre and blah, blah, blah, game of the year, blah, blah, blah...but Skyrim doesn’t have soul like Minecraft.
Minecraft if like a Lars Von Trier movie compared to Skyrim’s James Cameron vibe. Avatar is a million times “bigger” and slicker than anything Von Trier has ever produced -- in budget and scope -- but it doesn’t contain anything as affecting as the haunting opening sequence to Anti-Christ. So it is with Skyrim vs. Minecraft. Sure, it’s epic when you learn Dragon Shouts and participate in Tamriel’s civil war and crap, but those are scripted experiences that will be done largely the same way by everyone who plays the game. Minecraft’s epic-ness comes from within. The procedurally-generated landscape combined with the lack of plot or direction means all in-game actions are unique. They are only yours. I like Skyrim a lot, but I love Minecraft.
For the rebuttal, please welcome Dan The Elevator, who, I feel I must remind him, is an intern.
Dan Fasulo: WAS an intern, thank you. Look, I won’t deny I enjoy messing around in Minecraft. But it’s just that - messing around. There’s no sense of direction--at all. Start up a new file and you just appear, as if by magic, in a world with no other people in it. Start a new file in Skyrim, and you create a character that you give life to over the next 100 plus hours. You determine whether he or she will be a virtuous member of society, or will be a cut-throat assassin, striking from the shadows. In Minecraft, you punch trees. If I wanted to craft a full fledged storyline in my head, I wouldn’t be playing a video game. Games should have a fully fleshed out world, that we, as players, can immerse ourselves in. When I play Skyrim, I can easily picture my High Elf as an actual member of the world he exists in. When I play Minecraft, there is no world to speak of. Just empty plains of blocks.
Back to you, Steve “I Punch Trees For Fun” Johnson.
Steve: That’s because Minecraft doesn’t spell anything out for you. The experience of a player in Minecraft mirrors the story of Humanity itself. We start off naked, with no awareness of how the world works, in a hostile land we don’t understand. Through trial and error, multiple deaths, and skeleton attacks, we eventually adapt to our environment, learning that we must stay indoors after dark or risk zombies. We learn not to stare at Endermen. We learn not to walk off cliffs. Then, as our knowledge grows, we begin to extract the raw materials of survival from the earth itself. Agriculture is developed, as is craftmanship. Machinery follows. And then, finally, culture. As our comfort is secured, we build more and more elaborate structures as monuments to our vanity. Finally, we yearn for meaning, plead to our blocky Deity to bring us a mate, or at least a chicken and a couple of g*ddamn diamond drops every once in a while. There is a world in Minecraft, and it’s our world, spelled out in old-school pixels. Skyrim is nice and all, but it’s finite. Minecraft’s only boundary is your PC’s memory.
Dan: Really? What culture exists inside the World of Minecraft? Unless you’re playing on a multiplayer server, there is no one else in that world but you. You are completely alone. Sure in Skyrim you’re the only one playing, but the NPC’s that live in Skyrim give the game life. And not everyone is going to play the game in the same manner either, some will be mages, others assassins. In Minecraft, you’re always a builder. Minecraft is LEGOs - fun to play with when you’re 10, not so much as you grow. Skyrim is like your favorite book - you can always find something new in it to enjoy, regardless of how many times you revisit it. Plus Skyrim looks better.
Steve: YOU’RE FIRED!
Dan: Elevator out of service!
Did we do anything to change your mind? Who do you think won our nerd fight? Go to our Videogame Deathmatch page and vote for your favorite!