World of Minecraft

A deadly new affliction is taking control of gamers. Much like that first over-the-shoulder glance of Azeroth or Cid Meier’s Civilization, the addiction sparks as simple curiosity: “Why does my friend waste so much time on this? I think I’ll just have a quick go…” And then it begins. “Wood breaks down into planks, planks break down into sticks, sticks can be used to make fences… oh god, it’s getting dark! I’d better find coal. Can’t get eaten by zombies. Gotta finish my house. Then explore the lava dungeon…”

Don't be put off by the simple presentation – there's an unquestionable functionality to the retro-stylings

This is Minecraft, the break-out indie-hit that exploded in popularity three weeks ago when web-comic juggernaut Penny Arcade linked to the development blog of its creator, Markus Persson (“Notch”). Since then, the game has received a bevvy of press attention from every corner of the Internet, and with good reason. A sort of cross between playing with Lego blocks and the everything-simulation Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft dumps the player in an 8-bit world of mining materials and tasks them with doing… well, whatever they like. There is a base objective of surviving the horrors of each in-game night – shambling zombies, armoured skeletons and the like – but as with some of the best open-world experiences, it’s the player who defines the goals. Want to spend a game-week building your own fortified castle, complete with a bridge and a moat? Go ahead. Or perhaps you’d like to dig deep towards the centre of the earth in search of rare ores to smelt, detailing unique finds along the way via signposts? There’s nothing stopping you.

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan of indie-games. I’ve been following Minecraft for some time, but given that it’s still in the Alpha development stage, I’d held off from actually playing it just yet. That, and every description I was given of the early gameplay sounded a little too much like work. I finally caved-in (ho-ho!) when my best-friend, Kat, became absorbed in the experience following the recent free-to-play weekend and would speak of nothing else. Dropping Notch a very reasonable 10 Euros via my PayPal account – a fee which covers all future updates and expansions, by the way – I was on my way to new levels of procrastination.

Behold, my first cave!

The game takes a moment to generate a new world when you start for the first time, randomly placing islands, mountains, underground dungeons and much more across the terrain, hopefully giving every player an experience they can call their own. As for my own efforts, after falling pray to the dangers of the night several times over, I started to adapt. Hollowing out a crude shelter in the side of a mountain, I established a crafting place and, after discovering how to craft tools through experimentation, began to feel at home. Oddly proud of my achievement, I took some screenshots to show to my friends. Kat responded with her own pride of joy – a majestic log cabin situated at the base of a towering mountain – but I didn’t envy it. There wasn’t a cave like my one anywhere in the world. That cave was mine.

And that’s what makes Minecraft so special. If you’re not quite ready to invest in the full experience, then I urge you to give up ten minutes of your time and check out what Minecraft can do on YouTube. There’s also an in-browser “Classic” version of the game to try on the game homepage, although it pales in comparison to the current Alpha version. Hit me up in the comments if you want to get some multiplayer going!

Some time and effort can yield incredible results. I just want to explore that place!







5 responses to “World of Minecraft”

  1. Mark P avatar

    Wouldn’t mind hitting up some MC multiplayer some time!

  2. Dean avatar

    This looks really unique. Thanks for drawing my attention to it. May give it a whirl.

  3. Walter avatar

    I love the video where the guy sets his house on fire 😀

  4. Zekton avatar

    @Walter That’s how I discovered Minecraft xD

  5. Simon avatar

    Minecraft really does sound interesting but I still can’t fathom what it’s all about.

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