Doing Time in the Sunshine Institute

posted by Steve McManus September 18th 2017

When is a prison not a prison, but also really is a prison? This is the confusing conundrum that episode three of Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two, “Jailhouse Block,” tries to address.

For Minecraft players, a prison server isn’t really a prison -- for those who partake in these mods, there are challenges with specific rules and expectations. The limitations are part of the challenge, and part of the fun. We’re here to have fun, right? Well, that’s what the Admin keeps telling us. He loves limitations. He only wants to help us. He wants us to have fun, but really, his brand of fun. And if you don’t measure up, well...welcome to prison.

Wait. Don’t use the P-word. At least that’s what the Warden tells Jesse.

Anyway, a big challenge for us on this episode was to preserve the Admin as Jesse’s antagonist even though he really doesn’t get a lot of screen time. I mean, he has a pretty important scene. Really important. But otherwise he’s up in Jesse’s world, causing trouble no doubt.

So how do we remember the Admin when the Admin’s not around? Well, that’s where the Sunshine Institute comes in. It was important that the people running the place don’t call it a prison. The Admin’s brand, after all, is all about “fun.” So guards become “associates.” Punishment is really “rehabilitation.”

sunshine institute

And he’s right. The Sunshine Institute isn’t really a prison. You can leave any time you like. This is a voluntary institution of learning. Just like a real prison server, when you’re tired of playing, you can leave. Well, you can try to leave. The door’s right there. And beyond that, well, a true Champion should surely be able to navigate an infinite maze of bedrock to find their way out. Right? And the mobs. Special horrible creations you can only find here. Get past them too.

We had a lot of fun creating the inmate characters. They had to be real misfits, players who really don’t jibe with the Admin’s vision. Players who narrate their own lives in the third person, players who go to great lengths to hide their favorite pets. Maybe they’re a little weird, but don’t they deserve the play the game just like everybody else? The Admin doesn’t think so.

Maybe Jesse can do something about it. Y’know, once Jesse figures out how to get out of this place. No biggie. Guess we'll find out when episode three premieres tomorrow. By the way, did you catch the trailer yet?