I like Minecraft.
I don't have a garden, I used to have one - a small patch of green but I gave it away to the woman who lives downstairs from me so that her grandchildren have somewhere a bit bigger to play. I gave it away because I never did anything in it apart from very occasionally hang out my washing.
My next door neighbour is in her eighties and her garden is pristine. Mine would occasionally get the grass mowed when it reached about knee high.
I'm not a gardener, the thought of pottering around planting flowers and digging up weeds fills me with dread rather than any form of inner peace.
I mean, I quite like nature, but for me it's something I like to visit rather than cultivate.
World of Warcraft was described as 'the new golf', a social game where you could play and socialised at the same time. Business was conducted over it, people met while playing it and got married, friendships were made.
Minecraft is different, it has a nicely designed single player mode where you are the only sentient creature in the world. You build and you dig, and you build some more. The digging provides the resources for the building. There are monsters in the game, but it is easy to avoid them with only a small initial outlay of effort.
There is no end goal, only to build better things in a beautiful environment. It is something that you can dip into and out of, and the creations that you make are as complex, or as simple, as you can think of.
(As an aside, I don't think it'll be long before there is an art exhibit of creations in Minecraft, especially the game's 'Survival' mode)
It's a garden for me. I come home from work and load it up, then spend a little too much time making sure that my creations are well maintained and look as nice as I want them to.
The castle that I built in the picture above is crying out to have some flags hanging from it, and so I'll farm the wool from the sheep, crush the colour from flowers to dye the wool and make some tapestries to hang from the battlements.
Once I've done that I may noodle around and extend the building away from the castle, or work on some dungeons, or add a forge and some chimneys. I don't know what will occur to me.
Maybe I'll work on a new building, like my lighthouse that I built on an overhang.
And it is this solitary pursuit, to 'go into minecraft' and carve from nature things that you think are beautiful, and yet never really be finished, that makes me think that Minecraft is the new gardening.
And I don't have to wash my hands afterwards.