Your friends have been talking about it, your grandmother knows about it, it’s a game used as an education tool in engineering colleges and it’s been taking the internet by storm since late 2010…
Yes, I’m talking about Minecraft. Now, you’ve probably heard about Minecraft, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two years; although many who have heard of it have not played it. As per normal, I was sceptical at first, but after a while, I decided to try out the game. And I had no clue what to do. So I googled “Minecraft”, and the first return was Minecraft Wiki. Now the game may just be many large square blocks placed there to be mined, running on a Java engine, but it really has a beauty to it, and is rather complex. This is where sites like Minecraft Wiki come in. Without the help of the community, Minecraft would never be as successful as it is today, and would never be as likeable.
The storyline? Well, there was a recent update named the “Adventure Update”, which started adding things to the world like NPCs and their villages, and an ending to the game. Now, although the end is there, a lot is still missing. When you play, the point is just really to keep playing, building and stockpiling until you feel you have enough to start adventuring toward the ending of the game. “But that’s only one mission!” some might say. Well this part of the game will take you roughly 80 hours of play to complete, and with these new NPCs that have been introduced, while they currently don’t do anything they will start to have interaction abilities and quests for you.
The game is extremely easily accessible, one click on the download site and you have the Beta, a small R200 credit card payment and you have the full game, with multiplayer access. There is a small 16mb or so download, and after that, you are ready to lose your life for the next two months or so.
Going back to graphics, most people will just say, “Oh, Minecraft has such terrible graphics, it’s just a bunch of blocks and no physics engine.” Well, I beg to differ, Minecraft has an astonishing beauty to it, if you look at it right. A lot like art. Most of my friends don’t like Van Gogh’s work, for example, but I love it, as I took time to understand it. The game has the ability to be so subtle, while also being amazingly attractive, and is great for making short films or machinimas as it has a wide range of user-created tools. It has also been ported to Mac, iOS Mobile Devices, Android and is soon to be making its debut on the XBOX 360: XBOX Live Arcade, full with Kinect features and multiplayer.
The multiplayer is great fun, as you would expect. It also plays exactly as you would expect: showing off your creations in a small world of the creations of others. It is great fun to build together, quest together and even grief other people together. The saying “great things come in pairs” really applies for this. Except with the large server capacity you might want to change the saying to “great things come in 256’s”.
My final verdict: Minecraft is an amazing game, and I think everyone should at least try it out. It’s a great way to get someone interested in gaming, and can also lead to discovery of new concepts, games and people. It is unbelievably fun and one should always have a copy at hand when at a loss of what to do.