I have an addiction. It’s kept me awake all night some nights. I can wander around for hours, completely forgetting about how hungry I’m getting. I’ve gone to The End and back, chasing the dragon.

How is Minecraft such a great game? It defies reason that this retro building game could be so addictive, but I’ve spent hours figuring out how to place my mob farms to get them to spawn and shaping the outside to look like Asian architecture.

Minecraft started as an indy game, but it went viral and is one of the most in-demand console games because it allows you to create in ways that other games just don’t.

I dabbled in game mods (very, very, very newbie.) Some years back I downloaded an emulator to one of my favorite MMOs and learned how to do very basic modifications to AI scripts through trial and error. There was a world of potential in that and it lit my brain on fire to think of creating cities and new continents in the game.

But although you could place blocks through modding that game, it was just way too complicated and not very enjoyable.

Minecraft makes that block placing much easier, since that’s the main focus of the game. Switching around from wood blocks to stone, to ice, to sand or iron or glass, Minecraft addicts can craft buildings and towns ranging from great to spectacular (with the occasional newbie dirt hut thrown in). Some of the most impressive buildings and towns take months or even years to complete.

I’m not going to get that hard core about it. Probably.

Another part of this creative element is crafting, brewing things you need for survival, such as food recipes and potions. The addition of “redstone,” which acts as a sort of magic wire, allows you to extend the reach of levers to activate doors, pistons or carts on rails. This is what adds an entirely new sort of creative element: invention.

I’m still dabbling in this. So far, the only redstone machine I’ve crafted is a semiautomatic sugar cane farm, with pistons to knock the top two blocks off and a canal of water to funnel them into a collection point. Other gamers have figured out brilliant ways to exploit the game mechanics to make NPCs harvest crops automatically for you while an underground cart on a redstone rail automatically collects it for you. Fans have also created secret doors, giant locking mechanism, even a very basic but functional computer processor, existing within the game.

That took one guy two years to make.

Like I said, I don’t think I’ll get quite that hard core, but I may spend a month or two crafting my idea of an Asian village in this swampy area sprawled around my mob farm with a tower of stacked sugar cane farms.

And I will call the city Geek-topia.

What is the appeal of Minecraft?