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Taking Inventory: Bed

Not sure about reading this article? Why not sleep on it?

ZZzzzz.... *BRRRRRING BRRRRING* ugh... what time is it? Time for another Taking Inventory? Nah, I’m gonna sleep another five minutes... What? Everyone’s waiting? FINE! I’ll write it. This week’s article is about the bed.

Beds are great. They’re fluffy, comfortable, warm and soft – all of my favourite things. They keep you safe from monsters. You get in one, and close your eyes, and suddenly it’s the morning. Where did the time go? That’s one of the great mysteries of life.

Beds were added to Minecraft in February 2011, in beta version 1.3, alongside redstone repeaters and sandstone slabs. Originally, a creepy-sounding block called “crying obsidian”, made of obsidian and lapis, was going to be put into the game to let the user change their spawn point. But then beds came along instead.

Beds have changed in functionality a little over the years. Originally, sleeping in an area where monsters could get to you would sometimes cause you to wake up early, under attack from a skeleton or a zombie. This functionality was removed in version 1.0, and today instead it’s impossible to sleep if you’re in an area with monsters around.

Dyed beds of all colours were added in version 1.12. And since 1.13, there’s a good reason to sleep, even if you’re not feeling tired. Flying mobs called Phantoms seek out players who haven’t slept in a few nights, and swoop down and attack. 

The other thing that’s worth knowing about beds is that they’re bouncy. Falling onto a bed will halve fall damage, and bounce you right back up again. Feeling like a daredevil? Try and sleep in a bed before you hit the ground, and the fall damage will be delayed until you wake up again. Just like in the real world.

Speaking of the real world, no-one knows who made the first bed, but it was probably little more than a pile of straw, leaves, or animal skins. We know that somewhere between 23 and 25 million years ago, before humans were humans, apes started making sleeping platforms that included wooden pillows, raising them off the ground to avoid pests, dirt and the cold.

The ancient Egyptians carved beds out of wood, with headrests made of stone, wood or metal instead of pillows. Beds get namechecked in Homer’s The Odyssey, and appear in Ancient Greek vase paintings. We also know the Romans had mattresses stuffed with reeds, hay and wool.

The largest bed in the world is possibly the Great Bed of Ware, which was made in 1580 and measures 3.26m by 3.38m (which isn’t actually that big). Shakespeare gives it a shout-out in Twelfth Night, and it’s now in the V&A Museum in London. In 1882, an Indian maharajah commissioned a bed made of solid silver, with a statue of a woman holding a fan at each corner. It was hooked up with a mechanism so that when he lay on the bed, his weight would make the women wave their fans.

Today, beds come in zillions of different varieties, varying considerably around the world. The “double” size is common among English-speaking countries, and “king” size was developed in the United States in the mid-1950s. There are also twins, bunks, queens, supers, California kings, emperors, and even “caeser”-sized beds. 

Minecraft just has one size, which makes things simpler. And at the end of a long day mining, perhaps simple is all you need. Goodnight!

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere

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