Minecraft has officially been around for over 10 years, and these days, you’d struggle to find someone who hasn’t at least heard its name before. It has evolved from a simple indie game with building blocks and mobs to an infinite sandbox world with biomes and over 1000 items. Minecraft has gone through multiple phases including the Survival Games – which was one of the first battle royale-esque modes that took inspiration almost directly from the Hunger Games – to even an education edition that helps teach children in schools. While Minecraft is definitely not slowing down in terms of updates, one might question what else can be done within its incredible atmosphere. In late February, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Asynchrony, a unique experience entirely in Minecraft, and honestly, it’s one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had.
Asynchrony is an online digital experience within Minecraft by Monash Uni Student Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. Actors and participants play Minecraft together on their computers while connected through a voice call on Discord. The actors guide the participants through a narrative set 200 years in the future where a dormant Minecraft server has been recently rediscovered. At first, you are encased in a secure dome, with two tour guides, and not a worry in the world. However, it’s not long before it all goes wrong and the world collapses, leaving you and everyone else to venture out into the world to discover the secrets of the past.
“The Minecraft world the Asynchrony team have created is nothing short of astonishing.”
The Asynchrony team have created an immersive narrative that keeps you hooked from start to finish. There was no point where I felt like I didn’t know what was going on, or what I was doing. There is also the interesting element of being able to have a conversation with other participants or people who you think are other participants, as you really never know who you can trust.
The narrative is based entirely on choices. There are plenty of times when you must take sides because there are two different paths. Usually, this is where things could get a little ugly. Fortunately, with the help of the tech team and a few Discord settings changes, this process was incredibly smooth. Every time a particular path is taken, the tech team move you into an isolated call with only the people around you. And if you follow the instructions in setup, then you won’t hear any system sounds, making it a completely fluid transition.
The Minecraft world the Asynchrony team have created is nothing short of astonishing. As someone who has played countless hours of Minecraft over the years, I can instantly tell that this would have taken many sleepless nights to create. Fortunately, as a participant, you’re constantly left with your jaw open. Each area you are guided into seems to be better than the last. Every biome is utilised to its fullest potential, and sometimes, it’s even hard to keep track of the narrative as you’re constantly fighting the urge to explore.
“I can’t recommend Asynchrony enough.”
Even if you don’t buy into the idea of it being the next major step forward for Minecraft, it’s an experience that can’t be missed. From a stunning narrative filled with spectacular individual performances to a beautiful expansive world, Asynchrony is an absolutely wonderful adventure; I couldn’t recommend the experience enough. If you ever get a chance, you should definitely let the team take you for a ride.
The show was most recently at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, but if you want to find out where you can participate, you can go to the Asynchrony Show website.