The lights are on
Despite not having much in the way of a narrative, graphics,
or sloped surfaces, the thrill of exploring a never-before-seen world has kept me coming
back to Minecraft time and time again.
When I first heard of Minecraft, I didn't understand what
the big deal was. Interest in the game was just starting to build, and the
Internet had yet to be flooded with all of the insane
projects and pop-culture
that players have devoted countless hours to in the years since. Back then,
Minecraft was still just "a game about breaking and placing blocks."
When I finally tried out the beta, it didn't take long for
me to see the appeal. Starting a new game places you a wholly unique world,
created just for you. Thanks to Minecraft's use of procedural generation, not
even the developers – which at the time was just Markus "Notch" Persson – have stepped
foot in the world laid out before you.
Every world is fraught with danger. A variety of hostile
creatures threatens your survival, and if you haven't cobbled together shelter (usually
a tiny dirt hut unless your starting location is blessed with an abundance of resources)
by nightfall, you're a goner.
Behold, the bane of every explorer's existence: The Creeper
Once you've learned the ropes, a pleasant routine falls into
place. Craft a set of tools with resources gathered by hand, then build a
proper home. Explore your nearby surroundings during the day and dig a
mineshaft in your basement during the night. As days pass, the odds of survival
slowly turn in your favor. Discover a few pockets of ore, and you'll have all
the charcoal, iron, and (eventually) silver you'll need. Seeds planted from felled
trees eventually grow into an ever-expanding grove. Slay a few spiders and you
can craft fishing poles for an easy and constant supply of food. Build a fence to
keep deadly creepers a safe distance from your home and prevent peaceful
animals from trampling your crops.
With survival taken care of, you can start spoiling yourself
with amenities. Why not build a massive tower to overlook the landscape? Creating
a hidden bungalow behind that waterfall would be cool, too. Converting the back
wall in your underwater lair to glass would be a major time investment, but
totally worth the effort.
I don't know how much time I've invested exploring worlds in
first the PC version of Minecraft and then the XBLA port, but it never gets
old. Even the most mundane geological features still captivate me ("Look at how
this cave doubles back on itself! Amazing!"), as does building up civilizations
around them – even if there's still not that much to do once your work is
I've played countless sci-fi epics like the Halo and Mass
Effect series over the years, but none have ever come close to capturing the
thrill of "going where no one has gone before" in the way that Minecraft has. Some
promising indie games like Starforge
and Planet Explorers look to evolve the crafting-focused
sandbox formula (and sport sci-fi themes no less), and I still dream of what a non-voxel,
triple-A version of the experience would be like. In the meantime, I will
continue exploring Minecraft's engrossing worlds, one block at a time.
Check out the video below to see Tim Turi and I explore some of my creations in Minecraft.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
MInecraft was all I played last summer.
Shutup Dan! I'm trying to mine.
I can't see myself ever not playing Minecraft. Simply a phenomenal game!
what about star citizen? you can explore the unexplored there :D and do a bunch of other stuff
Minecraft. Gotta love it.
Minecraft is a great game; so many fond memories.
Thanks for the feature Jeff! Great time sink. Minecraft was one of those games that definitely took me by surprise. But once I hopped into the beta, I was grabbed instantly.
I've currently got one world in the 360 edition being turned into a sort of recreation of Easter Island. I've got one coastline covered in moai so far. I'm also working on a dungeon hidden under a gigantic diamond moai somewhat near the center of the map.
And when I finish with that, I'm going to try to recreate some of the locations from the Discworld series, starting with a recreation of the city Ankh-Morpork.
Awesome feature. Glad I got one Tim Turi pun. Nice place Jeff
It is quite crazy how much time I've spent in this game with no real given directive.
Great article JeffM! I couldn't agree more about Minecraft's lasting power. I think at this point I've played it more than any other videogame, and that's saying something considering its contenders are WoW, FFXI, and many other MMOs.
Listening to you talk about how when you first start out you're fighting to survive,and then as you begin to accumulate resources and establish yourself in the game world and begin to prosper reminds me of Robinson Crusoe.I downloaded the XBLA edition last year,but never really started playing it.This article makes me want to start playing again.
Thanks for the article and video Jeff!And thanks Tim for being in the video as well.
i'm so disappointed that my 360 world won't transfer over to xbox one :(