Monday, August 2, 2010

Minecraft - Impressions

If you keep up with a lot of gaming news, chances are you have heard of a little indie game called Minecraft. I heard it mentioned a couple of times, but never really got a good explanation of what kind of game it actually WAS. So I decided to check things out for myself.

On the website I found a free browser based version that you can play, or you can buy the full thing for 9 euros (About 13 bucks). The free version is basically a building mode. You get blocks and build stuff. It's like playing with legos, which is always fun. The graphics are super simplistic and if you called them ugly, it would be hard to argue. I like them though, it has a charming sort of retro feel.

The pay version is where the real fun begins. But before I get into that, allow me to explain a little more about Minecraft. Basically it was created by one guy in his spare time. Later he quit his job to work on the game full-time. He lives off the money from people pre-purchasing the game.

"What's this pre-purchase?" you say. Well basically the game is still in development. It's in the alpha stage right now. Soon it will move into beta, then release version. If you buy it right now you get access to all future versions, but if you wait till release the price will be 20 euros. After hearing all the praise for this game, I figure I have got to support this guy. For less than the price of a shitty-ass map pack, no less!

Ok so I bought the game. Now how does it actually play? Well basically it is a sandbox in the purest sense of the term. You are dumped into the middle of a massive, randomly generated world with no map and no directions. Sound scary? You have no idea. The game tells you nothing. You gotta figure this shit out, son! If you are a person who constantly needs direction and for the game to tell you what to do (like Jaison) this game will probably give you a brain explosion.

I had to talk to people, consult Minecraft wiki and just experiment to find out how things work. Some people can't stand that. I happen to LOVE figuring things out. Here's what I figured out so far.

First, everything in the game has to be crafted (MineCRAFT, I guess). So first you punch down a couple trees to get some wood. Then you craft the wood into a work bench. Then you make planks and sticks which you can turn into pickaxes. Now you can mine some rocks to make better pickaxes. Sweet! You can also craft weapons and armor to kill the monsters that come out at night. Or you can build yourself a fort to hide in when they come around.

You can build minecarts to get around faster, or boats to explore the ocean. You can dig down deep underground and find massive caverns filled with gems, minerals and probably monsters. You can build structures so huge and detailed that your imagination is the limit.

Now I hear you asking " what is the actual point of the game?" I am a little surprised to say that there isn't one. You set your own goals and play until you stop having fun. That hasn't happened to me yet. It definitely is not a game for everyone. But if you are the kind of person who, when given a test paper in school, would immediately turn it over and start drawing on the back, this game might be for you.

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