I know just about everybody on the planet has heard about Minecraft by now. But it’s still living strong and is still a great game. If you don’t know what Minecraft is, it’s a sandbox game about mining, crafting (as the name suggests) and building. However, once the creator (Notch) added in a health bar, it also became about surviving.
Now, I had heard from my friend about this new game before a health bar had even been added, and it was known back then as more of a “Free Build Mod”. It was simple to play: Left click places a block, right click destroys one, and each block was created and destroyed instantly. I found it vaguely amusing to muck around in, but it wasn’t much of a game; you spawned in a flat grassy area and could choose from various blocks in your inventory to build “cool stuff”. And wow, some of it really was “cool stuff”. People built grand castles, monuments dedicated to each other and pixel art versions of game characters like Mario and Luigi. While none of these things could be of much use and could not move around, your small flat area of grass soon became your very own pretty little heaven. This was all fun and games until you realised you had probably built every single object that ever has, does or will exist. So after a few weeks of playing this, I soon found myself maybe popping over onto the server once every now and then to check up on things, but never really playing.
However, because of the way Notch had decided to go about creating this game – slowly adding updates and developing it – Minecraft was overall a great experience, and still is. For example, once the full Alpha of the survival game was released, every Friday Notch would add the “Secret Friday Update” to Minecraft. This update would add a new feature to the game which was completely unknown. So you could log on and suddenly… “Moo!”. This once simple and fun sandbox game really transformed into a zombie killing epic survival game. I began playing for hours, and not even building anything like I would have had to do before. Unlike the Free Build Mod – which is still around and now is called “Minecraft Classic” – you didn’t have all the blocks immediately in your inventory and spawned with nothing but your arm sticking up on the screen. The world was no longer flat, and began using an incredible random generation system where you could end up with simple rolling hills and a few trees, or great caverns below towering overhangs and even a few floating islands up in the sky.
The aim of the game changed to be: “Find light and shelter by night time. Don’t get killed by monsters.” Pretty simple… or not. So in Minecraft, if you have never played it before, seen others play it before, looked on the Minecraft wiki for crafting recipes or how to survive. Your first experiences would generally be: Wonder around and chill with the animals. Notice night is coming. Stay outside. Find out zombies, skeletons and even giant spiders are trying to brutally kill you. End up buried in a hole till morning. Repeat the process the next day. Now this doesn’t sound like much fun, however while all my friends were mining diamond because they had watched all the YouTube videos, read all the wiki information, I was having just as much fun spending my nights buried in a hole and my days seeing if i could find something more awesome than yesterday. Another change in the game was how, unlike Minecraft Classic, different blocks had different purposes. For example: At the beginning of the game, you need to find wood. Wood will allow you to create planks, which will allow you to create sticks, which combined with planks could make a pic-axe, which could mine stone, which could make a better pick-axe… And so the game expands. And rapidly at that.
Notch had a good idea. And made it as best as he possible could have. Due to his great idea about having it released before it is released (if that makes sense) he immediately got himself testers who could deliver good and bad feedback and he could edit the code with his powers accordingly .
If you do not already own Minecraft, I strongly recommend purchasing it from minecraft.net to support Notch and to be part of the endless fun.
Minecraft review by Ben Rolph
Rated by GamersHeroes
This review is based on a retail copy of the PC version of Minecraft