Minecraft, who’d like that?! Turns out I do.
Whether you’ve played or not, you’ll be aware of it. It’s an indie sensation, lego taken to the Nth degree. And like many so called hardcore gamers I hated the very idea of it. After all, I chase action, graphical quality and epic storytelling. Minecraft had none of these. Or so I thought…
When Minecraft was released on XBLA I thought, what the hell, if I try it out people will stop bugging me about it. I thought I could tell them I hated it and it was time to play a REAL game. But to do that I knew I had to sink at least an hour into it.
Starting a game is easy, firstly I didn’t realise it would generate a random level as standard, I thought you’d have a range of options to choose from, the skeptic in me was already listing this as a negative. So far, so good, picking faults, still hating the game.
I spawned in a lush world with plenty of greenery and vast expanses of sand interspersed with verdant pools of water. I had to admit, it was pretty which in itself surprised me. So I start digging aimlessly, which slowly turns into my first underground hovel. I had evolved into the mindset of a worker ant, dig dig dig, pile up dirt then dig some more. Eventually Calvin (of Godisageek.com fame) popped onto the server and taught me a few things. Firstly, digging holes in the ground with my hands, wasn’t really that efficient. He taught me how to make tools, and what I would need to make more. I had finally evolved into Homo Erectus. So I set about making my hovel bigger. Then the zombies came.
I’d heard about creepers but I wasn’t aware of other nasty things that go bump in the night, actually scratch that; having a day / night cycle threw me. So maybe there’s more to this game after all? I lost a lot of health, but I prevailed. Braining a zombie with my shovel turned out to be a pretty tense experience. I suppressed the small feeling of admiration that was growing. I reminded myself that the point was to hate the game.
So I ran off, low health with nothing regenerating, fearing for my meagre life and possessions. Calvin, by this point had built his own hovel, complete with a door and more advanced tools. He had already reached the stone age, I approached, in awe of his fire and hunkered down to ride out the night. He taught me how to hunt pigs and cook food. I worshipped him like the primitive being I was. We expanded his home and built beds. All was well and soon, during one of my daytime forays into this wild world we encountered a wolf, Calvin gave me a bone and left me to tame the beast. Once I had domesticated this canine I realised, I am Homo Sapiens. I called him Sparky, and he was a fine animal.
By this point Calvin’s hovel was growing into a comfortable home, we had beds as well as a crafting bench with storage for our works. Soon we found Iron and coal in one of our deep earth excavations. I was excited, what new wonders could we achieve with this? Calvin created new tools, we had reached the iron age, together. It was a good day. But the night was fraught with tragedy. Our expansions of the hovel had left a hole neither of us had noticed and that night whilst sleeping in our bed we awoke to zombies in our home. Valiantly Sparky tried to defend me, but he was slain. We fought off our attackers, but Sparky’s death hit me hard. There would never be another one. (until I found Sparky II later)
Too distraught to continue working on Calvin’s home I set out to build a new place. Free from spiders, skeletons, zombies and creepers. So the grand task began. Near my first home, was a hill. Not a very large hill, but big enough for my plans. I wanted to create sheer cliffs on three sides with a narrow, defensible entrance. I had no knowledge of what structures were available to protect me, but I knew this had to be done. For hours I moved block after block until I had a clear plateau atop the hill. I went through dozens of pickaxes and shovels. But the hard work has completed, or so I thought.
By now I was on Sparky III, Sparky II had been killed in an unfortunate accident when Calvin hit him by accident and was attacked, forcing him to slay my friend. But my ambitious project would soon create a safe home for him. For I had finally topped off my home. It was safe, and secure, if a little dark and creepy. Looking at it from a distance, I’d created a Medieval style fortress of Doom. It spoke of unspeakable horrors within; but that was to be expected, it was born of grief. It was a monument to the Dark side.
Hours passed, days even and the works continued. Whilst Calvin had shed dirt for glass and hollowed out the hillock his home was buried within, I pushed on with my monument to oppression. While nothing in Minecraft is ever truly finished, I was happy with my efforts.
I was particularly pleased with the lava pit
The first floor, complete with under floor heating (provided by Netherrack blocks)
With spacious areas upstairs
A lovely master bedroom
And a well equipped spare room for guests
I was happy. Sparky V (yes we’d gone through a few by now) and I could finally live in safety. Did I say safety? This statement of course exempts poor Sparky’s immolation by Calvin when he was lighting Netherrack (so he claims). Which is another feature I loved in Minecraft. Intentionally being a dick.
So if you haven’t worked it out, I ended up loving Minecraft. Right now, Raptr says I’ve clocked up 33 hours on it. I can see myself hitting triple digits easily.
But what makes it special? Hell if I know. Just go buy it.