Minecraft… Minecraft… Minecraft… If you still have never heard about this, you surely have been living under a rock for the past few years. The game is everywhere out there and some players have gone insanely crazy over the freedom it gives them to create whatever structure they want to create. Since I am not a big fan of creation modes in video games (LittleBigPlanet, map creators in games like Halo or Far Cry, etc.), I had looked at Minecraft as being a total waste of time. People thought I was completely stupid to overlook this game for this reason and that I would certainly give it a shot someday. That day came when I learned that the official release of the game brought along a proper “end” to the indie phenomenon. Let me tell you about my “non-creative gamer” adventure into Minecraft’s creation madness.
Everything started with Mr. Curtis (@CurtMcD) talking to me about Minecraft and sending me a couple of tutorial videos to get me started. I was really impressed with the resource gathering and crafting elements found within the game. I open Minecraft and basically replicate what I have seen in the video, thinking it’s the best way to get me started. I obtain wood, create a sword and a pickaxe and then start mining a small cave in one big hill. I make sure the cave I end up in does not contain any enemies and set up a first “main base”. In short, I’m set up perfectly to start the game and I start digging.
This is where I encounter one problem: I cannot see in the dark that much. I remembered my friends putting torches everywhere in their mineshafts, so I got back to my main base to craft some. Sadly, Minecraft does not offer any kind of basic nor advanced tutorials, making my quest for light quite harder than I first anticipated it. I started to mess around a little with the crafting system to finally end up browsing one of the game’s wiki pages to get some proper help (which got bookmarked for very frequent future use). Throughout my adventures, I found it quite disappointing that the game itself never tells you a single bit of information about what you have to do or how to do things. Don’t get me wrong: I am against over-abusive tutorial and babysitting in video games. However, minimal help to get the players going on their own is more than necessary in this case.
After getting some torches, I started mining down more and more. I encountered enemies, got blown off by the first Creeper I have encountered (and was incredibly scared by them afterward because of this brutal first impression), gathered more resources, created multiple sub-bases to make navigation easier, etc. I finally ended up gathering diamonds, which I knew were a very valuable material. Once again, I did not know what to do after gathering this precious stone. I visited the Wiki page once more to find out how to get to my primary objective: the end of Minecraft. I discovered what I needed to obtain, where to obtain it, and how to obtain it. For those who have played the game and know how to get to the end, you know that it is virtually impossible to get that far without outside help. Once again, I must say that this upset me quite a lot. However, this did not stop me in my adventure.
I gathered more resources, created a portal to an alternate world (The Nether), got lost multiple times within it, finally found a specific type of enemy to gather resources from, got back to the normal world, and gathered more resources. Having all the necessary material, I ran into my biggest obstacle yet: finding The End Portal. It would seem really easy to find something this important in any normal game, right? Well, Minecraft is not your typical “normal” game unfortunately. As many of you know, Notch’s creation is a randomly generated game, making The End Portal appear in one of three “Stronghold” which are RANDOMLY buried throughout your world which is, by the way, miles and miles wide. In short, finding this important location without any third-party tool is ridiculously hard, not to say impossible.
Having found the portal and repairing it, I was now on my way to my ultimate goal: The Ender Dragon. Needless to say that my first encounter with this creature didn’t last long as it sent me flying into a bottomless pit. Slowly but surely, I took off bits of its health bar, leading me to a triumphant victory. I had done it. I had beaten the game which many people thought couldn’t be cleared.
The question still remains though: did I have fun getting through this game without building up immense statues of famous characters? I sure did. What I enjoyed about Minecraft was that I could do things the way I wanted it. I was never really held back by the game in any way other than not having the proper basic knowledge to get from beginning to end without skimming through Wikipedia pages. I also liked the fact that you are exploring a totally unique world full of surprises.
Minecraft is a wonderful game and if you can get past the fact that you will have to do some Internet researches to fully appreciate everything it has to offer, I highly recommend you buy it if you have not done so already. For those who already have Minecraft and are interested to have a look at my world, it is available here.
Minecraft is available for PC and Mac for 26.95$USD on http://www.minecraft.net/ . It is also available for Android devices for 6.99$USD. It will also be released on Xbox LIVE Arcade in 2012.