The long anticipated game from Mojang has finally released. Minecraft is a survival creation game in which the end goal isn’t always quite the same for everyone. If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to play a game where the majority of it involved digging in a hole, I would have avoided you because surely you’re diseased. Before I start gushing into how much this game has changed my perspectives, let’s dig into what makes Minecraft such a spectacular success.
Minecraft takes a page right out from video gaming of yesteryear; when you start the game off you’re given no instructions about what needs to be done. There’s no true tutorial, no helpful guide, just trial and error. The achievements serve as a tutorial of sorts, giving you the barest amount of clues as to what you have to do to further the game. A good chunk of the joy in this game comes from discovering how the different cubes function in the world. Upgrading materials used for digging means you can mine deeper and faster, especially because certain materials are required for mining other materials from the ground. You’ll find the further you go down that all those wooden swords you made just aren’t going to cut it in the deep pit. When you finally die and you lose all your items, you’ll start realizing you need to create a place to keep your items when venturing near potential doom.
At night, Minecraft turns from a digging simulator into a horror survival game. Monsters – called Mobs – come out from the dark and start attacking you as you peacefully try to dig. The first night in Minecraft is always the most exciting – you have almost no resources, no protective shelter, and probably weak weapons with which to defend yourself. It’s all you can do to survive until morning when most of them burn up in the daylight. But with each night you survive, you progressively get stronger and stronger. Mobs don’t just exist on the surface. They lurk in the dark of caverns waiting for a poor adventurer to wander their way. The existence of mobs in Minecraft makes the experience infinitely better. It would be one thing if all you had to do was dig and build unhindered. With the potential threat of the mobs ever looming, you always have to be on guard and dig with a sense of adventure.
One thing that makes Minecraft a gorgeous game is the random terrain generator. Even with simple blocks and cubes, the generator creates some fantastically amazing formations. There are several biomes in which you can find yourself in, each with different materials in abundance. Swamps have lily pads and vines, pine forests have taller trees and wolves, deserts have sand and cacti, and northern biomes have snow and ice. On top of generating mountains and oceans and ravines, the terrain generator also places man-made structures. From time to time you may find a village (with some suspicious looking villagers roaming about) but there really isn’t much you can do there. The major treasures of the world are in abandoned mineshafts and strongholds. There are items buried deep within them that can only be found there – and strongholds are the key to getting to the “End” of the game. Exploring the world rewards you not only in the bounty of treasure and resources you find, but in the spectacular environment you’ll encounter on the way.
While single player has some truly amazing experiences, I like to use it as a sort of testing ground for the true mode of the game. Multiplayer makes Minecraft one of the greatest experiences in gaming history. A group of my friends started up a server and we worked together to try and create the best world possible. It wasn’t long before we noticed that we all played the game differently. Some of us liked to explore, some preferred to create farms, and others still just liked to dig. Even in each of those activities, not a single one of us used the same methods. I prefer to make my structures symmetrical with mathematical patterns, while my friend just builds what’s convenient for creating what he needs in that space at that time. There is no single “wrong” way to play this game, although my friends and I don’t always agree on the same thing. Playing together with friends creates amazing moments that would be difficult to reproduce elsewhere.
At this point, I truly believe that everyone should try Minecraft just once. It’s a game that people of all ages and preferences can get excited about. This game was definitely tailor made for anyone who’s ever played with Legos and thought “man, if only I could fully experience this.” Minecraft is full of adventure, horror, survival, exploration, intrigue, farming, and most importantly, imagination. The possibilities of what you can do in this game are nearly endless – well, until you hit bedrock that is.
- Incredibly complex world
- Surprisingly detailed physics
- One of the most engaging multiplayer experiences
- Your imagination is the only limit
- Portions of the game can be repetitive when finding nothing useful
- Dying early can be a put off
- The music starts off great but gets repetitive quickly
- Memory intensive game can put strain on low RAM computers