January 25, 2014
Getting On The Grid Of Minecraft
About two weeks ago, I found myself completely immersed into the world of Minecraft. Before this, I thought it was a silly game with oversized pixels. If I wanted to play house, I could easily have grabbed a copy of the Sims and played that instead. However, after multiple hours of a Minecraft fix, I discovered a strange beauty in this world of cubes. Thinking this may have been a one-time deal, I can’t help but continue finding myself going back for more.
Starting the game, you are thrown into the midst of a random world with no sense of direction or goal and absolutely no gear. This is the time to explore and get your bearings. There are beaches, deserts, mountains, forests, waterfalls, canyons and many other kinds of naturally occurring geography. Although it is all in the form of blocks, it still has a special quirkiness to it. There will eventually be a place that looks both homely as well as fairly defensive. It will be here that you make your home, utilizing the world’s resources and expanding outward.
The great thing about Minecraft is that everything you come across can be used as a resource. Whether you’re chopping down trees, digging, or mining the blocks you destroy can either be placed elsewhere or used to make other items. You start off with a 2×2 square for creating items in, giving different results depending on the materials used and how they are placed in the box. You can eventually use a 3×3 box, forming more advanced items. Your home and weapons gradually improve from dirt and wood to diamonds and even obsidian. This creative aspect makes surviving all the more appealing.
There are two game modes: creative and survival. In creative mode you can fly around and have unlimited everything at your disposal; you’re basically god. The only mode I’ve really played so far is survival, and that is the perspective I have been writing from so far.
Survival mode keeps you on your toes at all times. When night-time comes around, zombies, skeletons, and other creatures populate the land, attacking you when you’re too close and eventually burning up when daytime comes around again. Your base is usually not in jeopardy; the only exception to this would be the explosive monsters known as creepers. Over time there will progressively more monsters per night cycle as well as some of them donning weapons and armor. It is also possible to die from falling, drowning, and melting in lava. Upon death you will drop everything in your inventory, becoming retrievable for a short amount of time unless it burns in lava. Although the world may have many resources to use, that can easily be lost if one is not careful.
This may sound simple and lacking in direction, but there is a sort of plot to the game, if you want to call it that. Once you have access to obsidian, you can create a portal to the netherworld. The only place I can compare this to is hell: it is dark, located underground, and has flames and lava everywhere as well as a new assortment of monsters. After less than 15 minutes in there I discovered at least half a dozen new resources, leading to plenty of potential recipes. After this, one can begin searching for “The End”, which is where the “final boss” is, although I’m still very ignorant of this.
I would definitely recommend Minecraft to anyone. It has a great mix of exploration, creativity, and danger. The game can be enjoyed by practically anyone, from a little kid just enjoying the ability to smash blocks to an engineer viewing the world as their canvas and playground. You can also take that game at your own pace, from focusing on making castles from simple dirt to plowing through the depths of the earth for jewels. The flexibility has no end, and with that I implore you to take a peek into what it means to be square.
Image Credit: Notch Development AB