Tag Archives: Minecraft

4 Games You Can Play While Listening to Audiobooks

Someone found my blog recently by searching for games one can play while listening to audiobooks. This turned out to be a much better idea for today’s post than the one I was originally working on, so I decided to go for it.

Three of these games have science fiction or fantasy themes woven into them somewhere.  It wasn’t originally one of the criteria for this post, but I did think it was kind of cool. Most of them also don’t require the player to make any quick moves in order to do them well.

What I was looking for when I selected them were games that could be played by someone who was multitasking.

As always, this is an ad-free site. I am not being compensated in any way for what I’m about to discuss. They’re simple but enjoyable apps I’ve enjoyed quite a bit over the years that can be played while simultaneously doing something else with your time.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a puzzle game set in a magical world where all but one member of a society has disappeared. The physics and geometry of this place isn’t the same as ours, so some of the solutions can take a while to uncover. Your goal as the player is to solve the puzzles and gradually lead Princess Ida, the main character, closer to the truth about what really happened to her people.

The beautiful thing about this game is that there is no spoken dialogue or time limits on any of the sections. While there is background music, it can easily be muted.

Rarely, certain scenes will contain a small amount of written dialogue, but the vast majority of one’s playing time involves doing nothing but directing the main character around a map at your own speed in order to figure out how to get from the beginning to the end.

Cost: $4.99

Available on iOS and Windows.


Raise your hand if you loved colouring when you were a kid! I adored it so much that my grandmother kept a big stack of colouring books at her house so I’d always have something quiet and amusing to do there.

Of course, it helped that some of my aunts and uncles hadn’t grown out of using those colouring books yet by the time I was big enough to join in on the fun. Two cheers for large extended families that are used to keeping children amused!

Colorfy provides all sorts of designs for you to colour, ranging from flowers to animals to black-and-white prints of famous paintings.

Is this really a game, you might be asking? Well, I can’t help but to tell myself a story about the characters or scenes I’m colouring when I use it, so I think that’s close enough to a game to be included in this list.

Cost: Free

Available on iOS  and Windows


*Creative or peaceful mode only unless you enjoy living dangerously.

Minecraft is a sandbox video game I’ve been playing for so many years now that I don’t need to give it my full attention, especially if I’ve switched to a mode that prevents the monsters from attacking me as I build a house or explore a brand new seed in it.

There is something incredibly relaxing about doing repetitive tasks like that while also working on some other project.  You could even match these two experiences by:

  • Building a castle while listening to a epic fantasy novel
  • Exploring the ocean biome while listening to a pirate’s tale
  • Recreating a crime scene while listening to a mystery

The possibilities are endless, and I can’t praise this game highly enough. It’s one of the first things I turn to when I’m need a happy distraction. There is background music and other noises, but if you stick to creative or peaceful mode it won’t be necessary to hear the moans of a zombie or other monster behind you.

Cost: $9.99

Available on iOS, Mac, and Windows


Is there anyone left on Earth who doesn’t already know what Tetris is?

On the small chance that you exist, know that it’s a puzzle game that requires you to arrange various shapes of tiles into solid horizontal lines in order to earn points. It requires concentration but not much thought. There are usually more chances to repair an unfinished line if you keep going.

I’ve played it while simultaneously listening to all sorts of things, from music to audio books. It’s a great way to completely shut out the world and concentrate on something fast-paced but fun for a while.

This isn’t a game I’d play while listening to something dense or hard to understand, but I think a lighthearted plot would work well for it.

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Windows

What games do you like to play while listening to audiobooks? I’d love to get more suggestions!


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Hobby and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

 I talk about my love of reading and writing all of the time this blog, so I’m going to branch out and talk about some of the other stuff in this world that makes me happy. Oh, and I’m bending the rules and talking about two different topics because it was impossible to pick between them.

Board, Video, and Role-Playing Games

If we were all sitting together in a room and didn’t have Internet access, I’d probably ask everyone if they wanted to play Clue, Scrabble, or Life. There’s something so relaxing to me about the simplicity and predictability of them. I see playing board games as a chance to bond with friends, so I’d much rather spend my time chatting between turns than trying to remember a complex set of rules.

When I was a kid, my favourite video game was Pharaoh. It was a city-building game set in various points of Egyptian history. I loved deciding where my characters should build a pyramid and planning out the designs of my cities.

These days, I spend my video game time building homes, digging mines, and fighting monsters in Minecraft. As long as no monsters sneak up on me while I’m working, it’s a very relaxing way to end a day.

A few months ago, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons occasionally, but I don’t know enough about that topic yet to go into much detail about it. It’s far more complicated than I ever would have imagined!

Why do I love games so much? Well, most of the ones I play ask you to use your imagination. There are very few things in this world that I find more interesting than needing to do that.


I’m a weightlifter. It’s a form of exercise I first tried about four years ago, and it’s made me feel so good to grow stronger as a result of this hobby. I’m a short and petite woman, so every bit of strength I gain makes a huge difference in how I look, how I feel, and what I’m capable of doing.

Walking outdoors – preferably as close to nature as I can get to as a city person – is another fitness activity that I really enjoy. I originally tried to get into running, but I found that long, brisk walks were much more my speed. I like being able to take in my surroundings and notice that squirrel darting up a tree or a neighbour’s dog playing fetch in the distance.

Talking about this is making me very glad that spring is around the corner. I can’t wait to go to the park again.

Why do I love working out so much? Well, it makes me feel really good. I get an endorphin rush from cardiovascular exercise, and I really like the way weightlifting improves my life. There’s something thrilling about picking up a heavy laundry basket or bag of groceries and realizing that they feel a little lighter than they did the last time you needed to do that chore. It’s almost like gaining a superpower!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. This is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.


Filed under Blog Hops

If Minecraft Was a Fantasy Story, This Is What It Would Be Like

The only thing Steve remembered about his past was his name.

His first memory of the land called Minecraft was of standing alone at dawn in an eerie forest whose trees came tumbling down if you hit them. He was wearing a shirt and a pair of pants but was otherwise alone and defenceless against the elements.

He had no food, weapons, or tools. Other than a few fluffy sheep in the distance, there were no other living things within sight.

The ground was covered in a soft layer of grass that was occasionally interrupted by a colourful flower, but, strangely enough, there were no butterflies, insects, earthworms, or other small creatures anywhere to be found.

Surviving in the Wilderness

Steve dug a small sleeping hole in the side of a cliff that first night. The thought of sleeping out in the open made him shudder for reasons he couldn’t explain, and that gut feeling turned out to save his life.

There were witches, zombies, skeletons, spiders, and green exploding monsters called creepers in that forest that growled, cackled, and prowled from dusk until the next dawn. Other nasty creatures revealed themselves later on, too, like Enderman (who could teleport) and baby zombies who were somehow twice as fierce and fast as their parents.

He didn’t know where they’d all come from, but the noises they made kept him from sleeping a wink. After swiftly being killed by a baby zombie the next morning, he learned two things: 1) always be cautious when leaving his tiny resting hole, and 2) death wasn’t permanent. He woke up beside the same tree he’d looked at while his first memory was being formed after the accident, and he was somehow no worse for the wear.

Over the following days, he slowly learned how to build a bigger shelter and where to find food. Arranging the pieces of wood he collected gave him everything from a workbench to crude wooden tools for hoeing the ground for his first little garden, defending himself from monsters, and digging deeper into the cliff to see what he could find there.

Other lessons soon followed. For example, it turned out that monsters appeared during the day, too, if he failed to put up enough torches in his dark home or in the caves he discovered as he dug ever more deeply down into the cliff. Once he built a bed and began sleeping through the night, his encounters with these creatures became something he sought out on purpose instead of an unwanted source of danger while he was trying to gather basic supplies.

Thriving on a Homestead

Steve’s little farm quickly grew into a large, bustling homestead. He soon had so many sources of food that he was able to fill several chests with enough meals to keep him from ever going hungry again.

For example, he learned how to grow pumpkins, potatoes, wheat, and carrots. He also figured out how to keep a steady supply of fish, beef, mutton, and chicken in his diet as well. Exploring new biomes added even more animals and plants to this list.

Building fences and putting torches everywhere kept his property safe no matter what time of day or night it was. As he dug out more valuable minerals from the soil, everything from the weapons he used to the armour he built for himself became top-of-the-line.

There was nothing Steve needed that he couldn’t somehow grow, mine or build other than the answer to one burning question.

Wondering About His Origins

Where did he come from? Did everyone come back from the dead and into the same body every time they died? Why was he alone in this strange, flat world that defied the laws of science? Who were his people? Were they the ones that had raised him to adulthood, or had someone else done it? Why couldn’t he remember anything from his childhood when he did instinctively know how to hunt, farm, fish, fight, and mine?

He soon began wandering further and further from home both to discover what other fantastical things were out there and to see if anyone had any answers for him. One day he stumbled across a village filled with tall, thin people who looked nothing like him but who were quite friendly (if also occasionally inept at building safe homes and somehow never able to defend themselves against the monsters that came out at night if Steve refused to go to sleep).

They were the first human-like creatures he’d found in this land, and he soon figured how how to trade with them even though they found his language as indecipherable as he found theirs. Steve felt a kinship with them despite the fact that they had no way of understanding his questions or giving him any answers that might have been hidden inside of their memories.

Seeking Answers, Defeating Foes

The further Steve wandered away from his home base, the more wonders he discovered in this flat land. There were lava waterfalls, a hellish second dimension of this land called The Nether where day and night had no meaning at all, and monsters tucked away underground or underwater that were much bigger and more dangerous than anything he’d seen on the surface.

In time, he defeated them all. He even found a way to kill the dragon that lived in The End, the third and final dimension of Minecraft. A voice boomed from the heavens when this happened proclaiming him the winner and bestowing more riches upon him than he’d ever seen in all of his lifetimes put together, but still he found no answers to the questions he sought.

He was Steve, the man who could die but who would always come back to life again. This was all he knew about his identity and all he was ever going to know. Somehow, it had to be enough for him.

Steve carefully travelled back home again, carrying all of his treasures with him. The chickens needed to have their eggs collected again, and he had almost certainly had some vegetables to harvest as well.

As life began settling into it’s regular routine once again, Steve began thinking about his future. Perhaps it was time to build a bigger home. He could invite some of the villagers to live with him. Despite the vast language differences between them, he’d come to see them as dear, old friends. There was definitely enough food to go around!

What would your favourite game be like if it was translated into a story? 


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

What Minecraft Has Taught Me About Mindfulness

Minecraft was frustrating when I first began to learn how to play it. It’s the kind of game that has a steep learning curve, so my avatar died in a lot of silly ways in the beginning.

I am not a big gamer in general, but Minecraft is one of those pastimes that I keep cycling back around to. I’ll play it for several months and then take a long break from it. No matter how long I’m away, though, I always come back to it eventually.

Recently, I’ve started to play it again. The other night I began to think about the lessons this game has taught me as I was putting up a stone fence around the home that some friends and I have been working on.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I got lost in Minecraft when I first began playing it. If you happen to wind up in the middle of a biome, every hill looks the same after a while. This can make it difficult to find your way home before dark when the monsters begin to spawn and the game becomes dangerous for anyone who wants their character to survive the night.

To be honest with you, I’m still not an expert at navigating my surroundings. I have gotten a lot better at knowing where I am relative to home base, though, and it’s much more rare for me to get totally lost than it used to be. A big part of the reason why this is so is because I’ve learned to pay attention to where the sun is in the sky and what landmarks are close to my home.

Even something as simple as a patch of flowers or an oddly-shaped tree can potentially be a clue that you’re almost back to a safe place to spend the night.

Live in the Moment

Minecraft is the sort of game where everything can be peaceful one moment and a life-or-death battle with an army of skeletons the next. You never know what a day will bring to you, but you also won’t progress at all if you spend all of your time assuming that there’s a skeleton lurking behind you.

Sometimes I like to watch videos of what other players have built in this game. The homes I’m able to build at the moment are simple, but I dream of the day when I, too, will be able to build a mansion without using any cheats.

In the meantime, I enjoy the skills I’ve picked up so far. I’m learning new things almost every time I play it, and I see a lot of improvement from where I was as a player when I first began.

Photo credit: Andy Dingley.


You Can’t Prepare for Everything

Just because the monsters usually spawn at night doesn’t mean you won’t come across any of them during the day. One time I was collecting wheat near my home when a creeper (see photo above) snuck up behind me and exploded. My avatar was injured and a piece of the fencing around the wheat was destroyed.

I’d followed all of the rules the night before by going to bed as soon as the sun set. Doing this is supposed to dramatically reduce your risk of running into a monster as they won’t spawn if you’re asleep.

You can’t prepare for everything, though. Sometimes Minecraft and real life throw you curve balls. Accepting that anything could happen at ay moment wasn’t always easy, but it did make for a better playing experience once I started to do it.

Stay Peaceful

Photo credit: Gilda from London, UK.

Like many other things in life, Minecraft operates on a cycle. It has a steady cycle of day and night modes, of course, but it also seems to shift between times when there are many monsters and when there are fewer of them.

The number of friendly creatures in this game seems to change, too. There have been times when I’ve found valleys full of sheep and pigs and other times when it was hard to find any of them at all.

Once you grow accustomed to the ebb and flow of it, it’s easier to accept that sometimes things aren’t going to go your way. A hunt for the sheep that my farm still needs might be unsuccessful today, but that doesn’t mean I won’t find any the next time I go searching for them.

If you play Minecraft, what lessons have you learned from it?

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Filed under Mindfulness and Meditation