First off, I my campaign wiki for the Westerlands over at Obsidian Portal just hit 50 fans! W00T!
I am facing a couple major deadlines at work this week (I am forcing myself to take lunch today to regain some sanity and post about stuff I like) as such, when I arrive at home, I feel very stressed and have been turning to Minecraft as a way to relax and turn off my brain.
There is quite a bit of discussion out on the web that likens Minecraft to a sort of video game equivalent of a Bob Ross painting (The "happy trees" guy). Just do a Google search for "bob ross minecraft" and you'll see what I mean. While most of the "discussion" is in the form of one-line quips, I think there is a solid basis behind the equation.
As with Bob Ross's show, the Minecraft experience is one of pure creation. There is no driving plot or set adventure. The user makes whatever he/she wishes out of the randomly generated world. The single-player Minecraft world is also rugged and devoid of people, just like a Bob Ross landscape -but with some farm animals, skeletons, zombies and other monsters thrown in. Most importantly, however, the experience is very soothing. I have found myself chipping away at virtual mountainsides for hours in the evening -to the increasing chagrin of my wonderful girlfriend... sorry babe. It's sort of zen like in a way and has really helped me to turn off my brain so I can sleep this week.
To take the parallel even further, I have become at least as addicted, if not moreso to a series of YouTube videos called X's Adventures in Minecraft. While the narrator is certainly more animated than his afro-clad painterly equivalent, I find the cadence of his delivery accompanied by the visuals of gradual creation result in a very soothing experience very similar to watching Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting -its visual vallium. At the same time, however, the videos provide inspiration, making me want to go out and make an X style Minecraft structure of my own. I've already copied his design for a greenhouse.
Anyway, I recommend you check out at least the first video to see what I am talking about.