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Minecraft: The Tyranny of The Creeper


21:0213/05/2012Posted by Charles Etheridge-Nunn40 Comments

To celebrate the launch of Minecraft – Mojang’s hugely successful build ‘em up – on the Xbox 360, D+PAD decided to take a close look at one of the game’s most-compelling (and downright evil) characters: The Creeper. So, with cuboids in hand, Charles Etheridge-Nunn enters the world of Minecraft and sets about dissecting this curious and terrifying foe…

The Creeper is possibly one of the best villains in computer game history. For a green, kind of phallic cactus thing, it’s surprising, but I think I’ve never shouted at my screen louder at anything more frustrating. The shock of seeing a creeper a second before dying at its hands makes me scream like a little girl in an unmarked, windowless van.

The Creeper is king of all bastards, and here are some of the reasons why he’s an interesting, compelling villain, and deserving of all our hate.

1) He is the Unmaker

Minecraft is a game where you build things. They could be small and practical or vast and ostentatious. You create, and that’s why it’s one of the best games around. In a video game culture where shooting foreign people in an environment made of varied brown hues, this is a colourful world where you make.

The Creeper does not make though. He destroys. He is death, he is the internet troll, he is the terrible remake of a song you like, forever etching a ruined version on your ears.
You build a hut, a creeper gets in and while you’re swinging your sword like crazy, he starts to hiss. He flashes. Then boom! He destroys everything.

If you die in Minecraft, there’s little cost. You respawn right away, and maybe you lose some nice items you had, but that’s not the problem. He’s killed your cabin, and night WILL fall. You have to start again. A creeper in your castle is a nightmare. Hillsides outside your home fill up with massive craters, scarred by his passing. Death isn’t the most important thing here, but your home, your project, your art is. They are the diametric opposite of you and that is why they are best.

2) Jumpscares Are Lazy , But Effective Horror

The hiss. That damn hiss. I’ve scared people out of the game by making that noise, and it’s a dick move. I’d fall for it too, I bet.

Zombies groan, spiders make slurping noises (again, I do a great spider noise), but creepers make no noise until it’s too late. You might be exploring a cave, wandering a beach, up on a hill or in your own home. There’s the fizzing noise and it’s too late. You spin around, see that green face and BANG! The deed is done. You’re dead, your home’s ruins and your possessions are scattered all over the place. I’ve played Minecraft since early in the beta, yet it’s still a surprise every time.

3) He Doesn’t Give a Shit

The creeper has no ties, no allegiance, nothing to limit it. You need to eat, it doesn’t. You need shelter, you have a home and you have trunks full of items. This makes you weak. The creeper doesn’t need these, it is not weak.

Its kin, the zombie and the skeleton, burn in daylight, the spider becomes docile. The creeper couldn’t care less. Even in the brightest day, you’re keeping an eye out; desperate not to die at their hands. They don’t have the same need, the same foibles. You are nothing, and the creeper knows that.

4) He’s His Own Man And Looks Good Doing His Thing

Nothing looks like a creeper. Well, a cactus, maybe, and that’s a whole other problem in itself. Still, it’s not a zombie, otherwise the creeper wouldn’t be identifiable as its own brand of bastard. It would be Minecraft’s version of a zombie. Don’t get me wrong, zombies are sods when they’re pounding on your door, but they’re not unique.

The creeper is entirely Minecraft’s monster; from the shoddy, blocky look to the purpose and its way of inconveniencing you. It is pure Minecraft and perfect for that reason. So many villains aren’t interesting, generally they’re just foreign people with guns (Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc), pointy aliens (Halo and its kin) or zombies (pick a game, go on, pick any game right now). Maybe they’re distinct, but have been used in the IP for decades, like slimes in Dragon Quest or Koopa Troopas in Mario. The creeper is a new piece of IP which looks interesting. He graces t-shirts, Lego, memes, he’s iconic after only a year or two, and that’s pretty unique for new intellectual properties.

5) Even The Creeper Isn’t Happy Doing What It Does

Look at the creeper’s face. It doesn’t take pleasure doing what it does. It looks sad, like there’s possibly some kind of backstory going on. Who knows how they’re made, where they come from. They know they’re going to die, and they may not care (see point #3), but they’re still not happy. That sad face has unspoken tragedy, horror. If they laughed, if they giggled, did anything to show that they loved their job, they would simply be a dick, or an evil clown. Instead, they’re not killing you out of spite. It’s all they have, and they’ll have their way.

So there we have it, five reasons why the creeper is the best enemy in video games, or at least one of them. They’re nice, simple, evil creatures that makes going up against them both a blessing and a curse to be. Without them, Minecraft wouldn’t have a serious threat to your projects. Rather than put you off of Minecraft because of how effective and how vicious these green sods are, I hope it gives you impetus to buy it. These creepers are an interesting challenge, a worthy adversary, and the risk they bring makes a completed project even more satisfying.

Now you’ve read this lengthy, purposefully sweeping statement, do you agree or disagree? Are there more effective nemeses in videogames? Do you have any war stories from the fight against the creeper menace? Comment in the thread below.

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40 Comments »

  • Graeme said:

    I’ve been putting off buying this since it came out on the xBox, despite finding the demo strangely compelling… I think I’ve just been convinced.

  • Steve said:

    I tried the early iPhone version, but without the monsters, it was just locked in builder mode, and it didn’t really appeal…

    I hear the Xbox version has split screen multi-player, so my plan is to go round a mates house and build with them every so often. Try and figure out what makes the “game” so compelling and then avoid getting hooked.

  • Eric said:

    I play Minecraft already but the creeper just makes me want to buy it… AGAIN. They’re fun to kill (or be killed by). I was once fighting 2 zombies at once and a creeper came up behind them, he burst through their lines and came at me! I hit him with my sword just as he started to hiss and the sword knockback pushed him into the zombies and they all blew up. Later that night I snipe a creeper with a bow.

  • Jules said:

    I could’nt agree more… If creepers werent in minecraft, i would hate minecraft. The complete minecraft.

  • Shible said:

    I hate creepers. They kill you countless times in fact in the first five minutes of the game the score is usually creeper 1000 you 0

  • Shible said:

    But Minecraft is not complete without creepers. I would be bored in 5 seconds of minecraft if creepers were not there. :D

  • Shible said:

    XD

  • Shible said:

    If u see me on a server say hi ShibleXD

  • Notch said:

    PUMPKIN PIES WERE ADDED!

  • Fae said:

    I’ve only met one other adversary even close to as annoying as I’ve been told the creeper is. A ganker from the opposite faction on a pvp server of WoW. Ganked while fishing–that’s the best! But no, the screams emitting from my children when a creeper comes is enough to make me want to play Minecraft :D

  • Noah said:

    Creepers… Ahhhh Creepers One Of the worthiest opponents in the fucking world. It dont matter if you hate or love em. There bastards but there amazing.

  • meme said:

    yea, I’ve had this happen a million times: I’m in a cave, mining diamonds, suddenly a hiss behind me, i turn around and hit madly at what i know it is, but all i have is a pickaxe. i pull out a sword on super low durability, and it breaks. I’m using my hand now to fight the monster, a flash…

  • f u said:

    fuck you

  • f u said:

    creeper in the nether how mod

  • f u said:

    he fuck you creepers 2000 die

  • rod said:

    creepers in my home dam!!!!

  • rod said:

    hey f u see you tomorrow!

  • f u said:

    ok minecraft!

  • notch said:

    move it

  • notch said:

    the frist time i play hardcore at night a creeper came all a had was seeds i ran and saw a flash…

    and i DIED!!!!!!

  • rod said:

    ford

  • rod said:

    soz bro

  • ChairThief said:

    I once defended my house from a creeper by charging to attack it before it could reachthe building X’DD I lost over half of my life doing that but at least I didn’t have to rebuild everything.
    Ah man, these things are the best videogame enemies, hands down. Not only are they unique, but they are good at what they do because that’s ALL they do. They’re sneaky and crafty and blend right in with the environment.

    …But I can’t help but want to give them a hug, because that sad look just makes my heart break XDDD

  • John Anderson said:

    I love minecraft I play the xbox mc with my cosin richy I play the demo at my home I want a creeper skin and the game I hate creepers but lure a creeper to the ocean and get under it and attak from underneth and it wont blow up.

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