Do you like Lego? Ever fancied building something, but either not having 10 000 of the same colour blocks, or having to pack up every day stop your creative genius? I always wanted to build the Death Star, but only had about 100 grey blocks. Luckily, if you suffered from any of these constraints, Minecraft is here for you.
Minecraft is all about cubes, because everything is made of cubes. Dirt cubes, stone cubes, water cubes; even your little character is a 2×1 set of blocks. All these blocks make up the world, which is infinitely large, for you to conquer. But don’t just stand there! Monsters come out at night, and they love the way you taste. So smack that tree until you get wood.
Minecraft isn’t really a game, in the conventional connotation of the word. It is an outlet, for both the creative and social aspects of the gamer. There is a local co-op option, with drop-in drop-out split screen play. The only problem here is the reduced field of view imposed by splitting the screen in two. Fortunately, there is also online multiplayer, which solves this problem. Working together, either locally or online, has distinct advantages in a game where you can find yourself hopelessly lost with monsters on your tail.
So whether you enjoy working alone on your masterpiece in the peaceful difficulty (no monsters), or teaming up to fight monsters and explore dungeons with friends, there’s something for everyone. Each block you dig through might reveal something exciting on the other side, from caves, to monsters, to a rare stone that has to be mined! Collecting rare ore naturally requires superior tools and more time for less reward, so you will never run out of things to do.
The possibilities are endless, really, as you can construct a myriad of items from the crafting menu, and bake a few more with your furnace. Turn sand into glass, sticks and stones into pickaxes, and lava and water into portals to the nether realm. There are also a variety of plants, trees, and animals to harvest for various purposes, not to mention all the monsters that can drop even more exotic loot.
The only real limit is your imagination and probably your patience. This might be a game you play for hours on end, or something you pick up from time to time when you want a break from the norm. Physics weeps in this game, as you can easily delete the supporting blocks of most materials, leaving you with fantastic floating creations. Or, in my case, random columns of dirt.
Having played the original PC beta version, it’s interesting to see how far the Minecraft franchise has come. Mechanics have been added and improved, but it’s still the same addictive formula at its core. The excitement I felt upon discovering some super rare green stone many miles from the surface was only matched by the disappointment I felt when I couldn’t find any more, meaning I couldn’t make my entire fortress out of the lovely green stone. Nevertheless, this will make the green parts all the more special because I had to work for them. The game does seem to take rather a long time to save. However, considering the scope of the world which you get to explore, this is probably reasonable.
The point of the game? Well, either personal achievement, or building in a group, is the impetus for the creation of gravity-defying constructions, from small villages to cathedrals and castles with millions of blocks, to a scale model of the Starship Enterprise.
Be careful though, because even on peaceful, you can die. Upon death, you unload your entire inventory, meaning that if you die because you decided a swim in magma was a great idea, your items went swimming too, and caught alight. Use chests with precious resources and extra tools in case you get drowned by gravel or a Creeper’s kamikaze leaves you as a pile of little blocks because you will die at some point in this game. (Note to self: Build those floating contraptions above water next time.)
More fun than a bucket of lava in your best friend’s greenhouse, Minecraft may sound like an odd, boring concept. Until of course, you build your first 12 metre tall *cough* likeness out of solid gold. That shoots snowballs out the head. By then this game, that isn’t really a game, probably has you hooked.
Last Updated: May 15, 2012