I like to make myself laugh. Of course, I suppose this implies something kind of pathetic, namely that I like to laugh at my own jokes. Be that as it may, in the highly personalized world of a single-player Minecraft survival game there are lots of opportunities for me to do things for no other reason than that it pleases me. Most of my builds are driven by two complementary concerns: function and form. I don’t tend to spend time on something unless I think it will have a function, maybe not now, but conceivably in the future, at least. But if I’m going to spend time on something functional, I want it to be aesthetically pleasing or personalized in some way. I can’t stand having a bunch of perfectly built but ugly Redstone systems strewn about my survival world. That’s what a creative-mode test world is for. Nor am I satisfied simply replicating a build I see on YouTube. Where’s the fun in that? No. Everything I do takes what I see and puts my own personal stamp on it, a stamp that often betrays my version of a wry sense of humor.
A simple example of this personalized balance of form and function is a sign I put up in my sorting room to designate the side of the room reserved for metals. I wanted something big and readable (both of which features rule out the vanilla signs). An obvious choice for me was a ComputerCraft monitor. I’ve used ComputerCraft for a variety of things in the past, but I had not yet taken the time to learn the monitor API. This was a perfect opportunity to combine form and function and learn something in the process.
But simply making a sign that read “metals” wasn’t enough. No, if I was going to use a computer and a monitor, and if I was going to learn a new API for the project, I wanted something more than a static sign. I wanted a scrolling marquee. (The stuttering of the following video is due to my old hardware, and is precisely the reason I prefer to blog than to make videos.)
I won’t deny that I generally laugh or at least grin when I take note of the sign in-game. I love the blatant and ironic pretension of the marquee. Long after the sign has ceased really functioning as a location reminder to me (and it is questionable whether it ever actually functioned this way), the sign continues to be a joke between past me and present me, like the little doodles or funny comments I often wrote in my class notes in high school and university that, when I run across them now, pull a chuckle from me that never ceases to get a raised eyebrow from my wife.