The lights are on
So, you're stranded on an island covered in sand, cacti, and
a couple trees to offer shade. Rectangular clouds obscure the sun as it bears
down upon you. Suddenly, the skies start turning violet as the sun begins its
descent, and with it comes danger; myriad monsters will begin appearing to make
you their dinner. An ordinary person would despair; the island is, after all,
not the largest thing you've ever seen before.
However, you aren't that person.
You've already prepared for this by digging through the sand
with a pickaxe you made and crafting a nifty abode from the rocks underneath. You planted some plots of land near the shallow waters
and planted some seeds for your own private farm. You even discovered a vast
dungeon with more surprises and vital resources. However, the ore that you harvested and smelted has proven the most useful, providing the essential ingredients for the iron sword you're now carrying. Suddenly, those fearsome monsters you've
been running from aren't looking so tough now, and this is where the adventure
and wonder of Minecraft begins to settle inside of you, since this is just one
of countless scenarios you could be experiencing. It's a game that never
falters from its vision.
I've often heard people compare Minecraft to a cultural
phenomenon, with the same elated nostalgia Tetris has attained; in many
respects it is. However, I feel that doing so has failed to sufficiently describe
its significance, in spite of critics who oversimplify its genius. In the same
spirit of Tetris, Minecraft's presentation is simple and minimal, yet it is
also deceptive. Just like the layers of randomized blocks accumulating as the
puzzle game's difficulty rises, Minecraft's randomly-generated worlds evolve
into complex organic experiences that continue to offer the player new rewards
and challenges that never become repetitive.
Simple textures hearken to earlier digital aesthetics and emphasize
form and function to capture the essence of each object, rather than its superficial beauty. When you see a stone with
concentric black markings, you'll know you've found coal; when you see small
piles of glowing orange liquid, you'll know there's lava nearby. These objects,
a priori, are tools that you can experiment with in your quest for survival, and
their true beauty shows when you've successfully harnessed them. There will also be a wealth of
objects and substances you might not recognize until you've acquired them, and this
also adds to the fun and unpredictability of Minecraft, which revels in you
gradually learning the ropes like a true everyman in this coming-of-age story.
While there are different modes, realms, and difficulties in
Minecraft, there's no one true way to play it. You can spend countless hours
sculpting and refining the world as you see fit in Creative mode; make a name
for yourself by conquering the elements in Survival; risk it all in the brutal
Hardcore; or join with a friend or more and create, destroy, and explore to
your heart's content. Of course, as hinted earlier, there will be some
challenges to this.
While chickens, dogs, and other animals can be spotted
roaming these worlds, you'll run into plenty of unconventional forces, namely
in dungeons and at night. Green creepers that resemble crudely rendered
versions of Gumby will stalk you; pale arrow-shooting barbarians will snipe you
from afar; zombies will chase you down, eager to devour your brains; then,
there's those ghasts, endermen, and gigantic spiders... there's never a shortage
of enemies to face.
The combat is relatively uncomplicated, in
keeping with the game's main focus: simply whack the brutes with your fist or
create some makeshift weapons and armor to defend yourself. Your health meter
is dictated by a series of hearts you have, that gradually disappear as damage
is inflicted; sprites will flash red when you've successfully hit them, and with
enough effort, you'll have successfully netted your first kill and sigh in
relief as the creatures vanish into plumes of gray smoke. Or, you'll have built
a successful barrier to protect yourself from them until you've recovered your
health. It's a simple, straightforward system enriched by the player's
ingenuity, as well as the adorable sounds players will hear whenever a monster
is in their vicinity.
Death, however, carries true weight with it; players lose
the materials they've earned and start over; or, in the case of Hardcore
players, lose entire worlds as well. While it can range from inconsequential to
daunting, the challenge of survival - dictated by you - in this game makes
everything you create and every obstacle you overcome feel authentic.
Part of the game's authenticity naturally comes with the
work and effort required from the player. Tools and other items wear down with
use, necessitating replacements; farmland must be tilled and crops harvested properly;
players must wisely manage resources so that they'll have more to collect.
However, once you've acquired what you need, you can create like a true artist
or artisan; whichever title you prefer. Either way, you'll feel like what you've
made or earned truly belongs to you and is far more than a contrived reward
from some scripted mini-game or event. Of course, in order to find, you must
explore, and the only limits you have are your imagination, especially with the
ever-expanding contributions of the online community.
With everything from texture updates to schematics for
complicated new inventions, players can create anything: floating cities;
underwater ones; portals to other worlds; towering monoliths; submarines;
airships; airplanes; cars; boats; sprawling valleys; merciless deserts; even
recreations of your favorite mythical places. These things can be shared with
friends or displayed for all to marvel at. Of course, if this sounds too
open-ended, you can try your hand at The End or the Nether realms, in addition
to building your character through the new experience system which adds RPG
qualities to the game, a tough boss fight, and two distinct environments to
conquer. While not the high marks of the experience due to the typical grinding
that accompanies it, the endless updates practically guarantee that it will nonetheless be improved in some fashion, making
this criticism temporary. After all, Minecraft is more than simply a game; it's
an idea that constantly evolves, never content to rest in mediocrity.
Outside of single player, minor issues like bugs or lag
might occur, due in part to connection problems that players you join might
experience, but this is also something I have to say is pretty trivial when
there are a wealth of great servers and communities in the Minecraft universe
awaiting you. Join with a group and build your own worlds focused on a
particular theme; or, if you're feeling a little burnt out, simply explore the
worlds of your friends and try your luck at the various challenges they
present. If you want a focused, linear experience, you can create one, on your
terms; again, this is what makes Minecraft so definitive, and it's the gift
that never ceases to give back.
So, you're stranded
on an island; or, you were once before. Now, you've turned it into
an oasis covered in exotic plants, with a gigantic idol or two devoted to your
pristine image. Or, you could have fashioned an underwater tunnel to another
land and escaped solitude. Then again, you might have simply turned that
dungeon you found into a mystical dwarven hall filled with booby traps awaiting
the next unsuspecting travelers. Ultimately, what you do is never forced upon
you, but its results aren't lazily handed to you either, and the fruits of your
labor can be shared with anyone.
Minecraft is a game that never stops engaging the player,
with a concept that's simultaneously concise and prolific. This game is more
than a toy box; it's a well of unlimited resources and
possibilities for everyone from the naïve beginner to the established savant to use at their leisure. Instead of interpolating *art* from a gaming experience, you can build it
right here. The choice is yours, and nothing but your own willpower can stop
I agree it is a wonderful Game, its so amazing.