Block City RLS and Minecraft

 

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1989 Royal Mail 27p stamp about childhood games (from my collection) 

Robert Louis Stevenson in his poetry collection  Child’s Garden of Verses (1885) wrote an interesting poem that to me reads like a wooden version of online gaming block building sensation Minecraft:

What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I’ll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.

Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors aboard!
And see, on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things!

Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where’er I may be,
I’ll always remember my town by the sea.

RLS

This is the sort of imaginative “block  city” built by H.G.Wells in his Floor Games and Little Wars.

Such blocks still feature in many old school / nostalgia  games for larger and 54mm figures.

Block City – Another set of RLS’s imaginary worlds, towns and harbours conjured up in childhood that would become in later life for Stevenson the literary worlds of Treasure Island and others.

Block City (Wars) has also become the name of a Lego / Minecraft type mash-up game.

Read more about RLS, his early wargaming or figure gaming, imaginary landscapes and his record of this in his poetry and beautiful illustrations of his work at our previous blogpost:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/the-land-of-counterpane/

Posted by Man of TIN blog, December 2016.