I remember, when I was new to Minecraft, sponges were a thing. A sponge was a yellow and black cheese-looking block that would suck up any and all water in a 5x5x5 block radius, impressively having a “Moses Parts the Sea” feel to them. Sponges spawned in weird places, like up the side of mountains, and could be mined by hand or any tool. I used sponges to build a tunnel through a small sea to an underwater base in a multiplayer server, where I kept most of my stuff.
Except half of that sentence isn’t true. Sponges only spawned in Minecraft Classic, where you would generate a non-endless world and where water was infinite all the time. They became non-functional in InfDev (infinite development, when Minecraft worlds became essentially infinite) and didn’t reappear until Minecraft Beta 1.8 as a creative mode block only. But sponges capable of sucking up water didn’t become available until Minecraft 1.8 Release Version, and when they became available in survival mode, they required having to go to underwater Ocean Monuments, which require some pretty good gear to be able to reliably enter. And now, sponges suck water out of a 7x7x7 area but that water can flow back in once the sponge becomes wet and can’t absorb any more liquid, needing to be dried in a furnace (or in the Nether).
So why do I have this memory of sponges being somewhat more commonplace and spawning naturally way, way before their return in 1.8 Minecraft? I don’t know. It’s possible that I played on a modded Minecraft server all the way back in late Alpha, one that had brought back sponges in some way. It’s possible that I somehow played on an InfDev Minecraft server. Heck, maybe I’m just remembering a large Minecraft Classic world that I’d played on at some point?
I have no idea.
There’s other things like that which I seem to remember but things don’t line up in reality. I swear there used to be more biome variation – not the number of biomes but how they’d connect to one another. I am pretty sure I had a different resource pack that made my world rainbow-coloured that worked far better than the current shitty self-made texture pack I am using now.
Heck, I remember finding strange structures and more floating mountain formations than one could shake a stick at, but they seem pretty rare these days. And mushroom biomes were definitely a thing that actually spawned occasionally, rather than being almost non-existent in any normal game of Minecraft.
It happens in other games too. I used to think that rolling would put fires out faster in Warframe and could render tick damage obsolete.
But I’ll tell you what it certainly isn’t: it’s not some sort of conspiracy where sponges existed and were taken away even though they worked. The fact is that the human mind is just pretty shit at remembering somewhat insignificant things, like when sponges existed and didn’t exist in Minecraft. A lot of these “mysterious things that happened yet have changed now” are simply events that we as human beings remember at different levels of detail. So when one person remembers something one way and one person remembers it another way, it seems all crazy and weird but we just remember things differently.
It’s not that dissimilar from people being able to remember facts and learn in general. The same way some people are better at tests and exams than others, the same way we remember a large event or a kids’ TV show differently. And as the years go by, our memories fade and alter and our brain fills in the gaps, making things up so that we can make sense of what happened.
Still, I do wish you could find sponges in some other way apart from hunting ocean monuments and fighting angry pointy eyeball creatures. Make them naturally generate in coral reefs or something, I don’t know. Considering how you have to constantly dry them in a furnace, I don’t see why sponges are so hard to obtain.