They may only be able to hold five kilobytes of data between them, but users have been pushing the open-world building game Minecraft to its limits by constructing a pair of functioning hard drives.
Minecraft maestro and PhD computer science student Cody Littley built the two hard drives without using any Minecraft add-ons, otherwise known as “mods.”
Cobbling each drive together block by block, he says he only used standard tools available in the game.
Both hard drives (that store 1KB and 4KB respectively) are fuelled by an in-game Minecraft component called Redstone. Redstone’s signal functions within the bounds of real-world logic and allows complex circuits to be created by gamers.
For Littley, this meant he could use Redstone to power the pistons that simulate the true and false values of binary.
“When I built the device, I didn’t have anything in mind that I wanted to store on it,” Littley told Wired. “I built it for the sake of the challenge.”
Still, that’s not stopped other Minecraft fans from wading onto Reddit to pitch in their ideas for what could be stored on the device. As you can imagine, most of the suggestions so far for what Littley can put on his 5KB creations are rather…. adult, in nature.
On the other hand, many are hailing the creation as proof that games like Minecraft can be used not only as escapism, but as engaging educational tools. Some establishments are already using Minecraft to teach programming, and Littley’s hard drives embody the basic concepts that underpin all computer hardware.
Still, it’s worth noting that even a 4KB is an incredibly small hard drive. A single kilobyte can store around a millionth of what a fingernail-sized microSD card can store, and Littley admitted that it would take around one billion of his virtual hard drives to store his actual computer hard drive.