Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dr. Trayaurus and Dan from The Diamond Minecart

Perhaps you are an older adult who does not have a child.  (If so, it is unlikely that you would be reading these words, but stranger things have happened online certainly)... At any rate, in that case, you might not be aware of the phenomenon that is Minecraft, or of the professional category that is "Youtuber."

At the center of the overlapping categories of Minecraft and Youtubing ("Youtubering"?) is Dan of TDM.  He is certainly not the only one, and not even the most popular (with only around 3 million subscribers and over 1 billion views) but he is one of my kids' favorites.  They claim to have watched all of his videos.  I hope this is not an accurate statement as it would be a damning commentary on my parenting.

To return to the hypothetical person who does not already follow The Diamond Minecart: You might ask what does this man Dan do to earn the eyeballs of over three million people?  He plays the Minecraft video game in all of its amazing variations, while narrating his progress. 

Minecraft is a "sandbox" game which is open to endless modification and specialization by its players. Dan demonstrates various "Mods." Among them: "Flying Cows," "Grand Theft Auto," "Super Mario World, and, more disturbingly, "New Girlfriends!"  He is often accompanied by a "villager," Dr. Trayaurus.  Trayaurus is mostly a mindless AI, but Dan uses him as a sidekick and comic foil. 

The endless watching of videos of other people playing video games seemed odd and inexplicable to me back when my sons first started doing so.  I still have moments of disbelief that the kids who cannot bear to sit through a few minutes of expository dialogue in a movie can spend hours listening to Dan as he narrates an activity in Minecraft, often something not exactly gripping like building a swimming pool.  

I have to note that Dan is my personal favorite of the Minecraft Youtubers. He is relentlessly upbeat, his British accent is soothing, and he does not scream expletives when he gets killed by a Creeper.

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