Remember Minecraft? Everyone remembers Minecraft. Kind of a weird game to talk about, since its fanbase, development timeline, popularity, and the gameplay itself are all either terrible or a preface for terrible things to come.
Minecraft was probably the first popular early access game. Nobody really thinks of it this way, since it existed before that model came into place. Unlike most early access games, Minecraft didn’t drop off the face of the earth, and reached something which might be called completion.
That early access model is what killed the game. Not actually killed, as in development halts, but as in losing all sense of creativity. The game was originally about survival: creatures at night were hostile, you had to build everything yourself, and it seemed like 90% of the world was out to kill you. One thing all games require to work is progression. Minecraft, as it was in beta, had some progression, through upgrades to tools, reaching certain points of the world, all that good stuff. But where’s all that going? What’s the payoff to getting a full set of diamond armor? If there are no temporary goals to each point of progression, the entire game is lost. Mario doesn’t really need a princess to save, he needs a flagpole. And Minecraft, as it was in beta and as it still is today, has no flagpoles. Simply getting all the best stuff isn’t compelling on its own, so when the devs couldn’t make the survival deeper, or invent a relevant ending, they turned to their community. The rest is history.
Games, like most creative mediums, have a beginning and an end. No developer sets out to make a game which nobody stops playing, even World of Warcraft and EVE Online never intended to go on as long as they have. There’s a point where the game is done, and people can move on. Usually when the game’s mechanics have been fully fleshed out, when the developer runs out of money, or somewhere in between. If the developer doesn’t have a direct vision to what that game will become, the game will simply not become anything.
This isn’t to say developing via early access is inherently bad. I think it’s a somewhat deceptive practice to sell an unfinished product, but the actual effect it has on the game is completely up to the developer. Recent Zachtronics games have used early access, having already developed all the rules and mechanics before putting it up for sale. This tangentially related example is one of few, sadly, as the vast majority of early access games are made public far before reaching beta status. These early access games could be made with a vision in mind, but going public means getting “suggestions” from the community. This back-seat driving is what kills all projects creatively, by adding features that aren’t congruent with the existing mechanics, encouraging balancing where none is necessary, and leaving out all the quality control for the sake of the mob. This development by democracy doesn’t make for a very good game. Especially when it comes to creative endeavors like games, a consumer doesn’t always know what they want until they have it. Should be more like a monarchy. With less inbreeding.
But this article isn’t about early access games, it’s about pasta salad. Like, who the hell thought to combine the two? Pasta is had with salad, not in. The contrast of a cold, small side salad and a hot mess of flavor makes a perfect meal. This formula has been perfected over the years, and everyone has accepted it as a standard. Merging the two defeats the purpose of either, as pasta can’t be had with pasta, and a cold salad isn’t enough to justify a meal on its own. Not to mention the pasta itself has its own nuances which are completely lost when mixed with vegetables. Pasta is served with sauce, which is a natural progression from how it is consumed. A certain amount of thick liquid will stick to it when it is lifted off the plate, allowing for the majority of it consumed with all the rest. But pasta salad uses light sauces, if ever, since it has those gay vegetables which eliminate all pastabilities of a good sauce. The only conclusion we can make is this is work of the jews, just like what happened to Minecraft.
Also published on Medium.