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If someone asked me a couple weeks ago what a “creeper” is, I would have cited dictionary.com.

Definition: “a person or thing that creeps.”

But now I know another meaning of the word, thanks to ICEtendo: the 16th annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice.

Creepers are one of the main antagonists in the video game “Minecraft.”

“They are one of the most unique and iconic hostile mobs found within the game,” according to fandom.com.

The Festival of Ice starts tomorrow and continues through Sunday at multiple downtown venues. (See the official program guide inserted in today’s Suburban for full details.)

I’m a fan of the annual event. However, I’ve never been a fan of video games – even when I was a kid – with the exception of a few simple computer games such as Tetris. I easily succumb to motion sickness. Even watching other people play video games sometimes makes me woozy. I can’t watch movies in 3-D either.

Consequently, my knowledge of the gaming world is as minimal as Pong. So before I could continue reading about creepers, of course I had to look up “mobs.”

“Mobs can be divided into three behavioral categories: passive, neutral and hostile,” Famdom.com explains. “Some mobs will change their behavior in response to certain situations (eg. if they are attacked). Mobs usually drop items and experience points when killed, with hostile and ‘boss’ mobs tending to drop rarer and higher-quality items, as well as significantly more experience depending on their difficulty.”

This helped me understand (a little), so I went back to reading about creepers.

“A creeper can easily be recognized by its tall vertical structure (roughly the size of a player); its pixelated body covered in a range of greens to whites, and four legs,” the website continues. “It is one of the most dangerous mobs in the game, as it is not affected by sunlight like zombies and skeletons (but it can despawn after a while) and will always remain hostile (unlike the spider, which becomes neutral in daylight). This makes it a constant threat as it silently roams the map, searching for an unknowing player to explode upon. It should be noted, however, that most creepers do despawn during the day, along with spiders. It is often used as the game’s mascot by Mojang.”

Mojang is the company that created and developed Minecraft.

I had to look that up, too.

I started researching creepers when I learned they would be the inspiration for The Abington Suburban-sponsored ice sculpture in this year’s festival. Located at the 300 block of South State Street (#32 on the map, which you’ll find in the center of the program guide), our creeper sculpture is one of 50 cold creations that will line the downtown Clarks Summit streets this weekend. And despite my lack of video game knowledge, I can’t wait to check them all out.

I love what Anne Armezzani wrote about ICEtendo in her Jan. 30 “The Gathering Place Notes” column:

“The theme has shaken me into a realm of knowledge I never would have discovered on my own,” Armezzani wrote.

“I have made new friends: cute guys named Mario and Luigi, a fuzzy yellow fidget named Pikachu, a young man named Ash and some rather forbidding characters named Evelynn and Vaughn from Fortnite. ... At first, I was skeptical about Nintendo, but now I want to learn more. I don’t plan on becoming a gamer – my coordination with game controls is more comical than competent. [Don’t worry, Anne; you’re not alone.] But I understand better the depth of creativity in Nintendo worlds. Which brings me to my main point: sometimes we have to be pushed into learning new things that we never would have looked at.”

Although, I, too, will probably never become a gamer, I am excited to dive into the ICEtendo world this weekend and discover new things. I may not recognize most of the characters carved into the ice, but when Sunday’s festivities come to a close, I’ll have more knowledge and experience than when I started.

And what I don’t get, I can look up online − or better yet, ask my video gaming friends to explain.

I hope readers will “get your frozen game on,” as the festival slogan instructs, and join me there.

Contact the writer:

ebaumeister@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9185, ext. 3492