Minecraft, Crafting a World that is Mine

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I kill a skeleton archer and pull out my wooden crafting table. Within the nine squares on my table, I can create almost anything: boats, shovels, swords, axes, you name it I make it. I place the skeleton bone on the table and it instantly turns into bone meal. How this happens, don’t ask me. With my newly acquired bone meal, I run out into the yard and sprinkle it on a mushroom. Instantly the tiny red toadstool shooms up into the air, and soon towers over my house.

I decide that I would like to have a mushroom house in my yard, so I collect some sticks and go back to my handy dandy crafting table. With seven sticks I can create one rung of a ladder. Forty nine sticks later I have a ladder tall enough to the scale the height of my new giant mushroom. On top of my fungal monstrosity, I begin to build a balcony, a treasure chest, and a bed. Could you imagine the rent I could charge on a one person, Mushroom Studio Apartment?

No, don’t worry, I’m not high on shrooms. Or maybe I might be high on top of one mushroom – but it’s not that kind of shroom. I’m simply playing the best game ever – Minecraft. The 32 bit graphics are nothing special compared to the ultra-realistic ones of today’s gaming systems. You may not be able to fight an ice-troll realistic enough to place on an HDTV, but the primitive graphics of Minecraft have their charm.

Many gamers actually prefer more simplistic graphics. It’s a breath of fresh air from all the flash and glitz of modern gaming. (This is the exact reason why Mega Man games released in 2010 look the same as they did in 1987).

Each time you play the game, a completely new world map is generated.  When you begin, you will be spawned into a random biome: forest, taiga (with spruce trees and wolves), swampland, extreme hills, desert, plains, ocean, tundra, or a mushroom island. What’s better is that these world maps are huugeamongous!  A minecraft world map is actually 1.235 times the size of the Earth. If you don’t believe me, download the game yourself.

Minecraft brings both the elements of creativity and survival together. The player is basically given the chance to create their own world, a world made up of 3D cubical formations on a fixed grid.  Each cube represents a different material on the earth: dirt, grass, gold, water, lava, gravel, cobblestone, etc. Gameplay involves collecting these cubes and crafting them into new materials – the possibilities are vast! Among more interesting creations, some players have made castles and roller coasters in their mine-craft worlds.

The world also has a 20 minute day cycle, 10 minutes of daytime and 10 minutes of night time. When the day transitions into night your character must be cautious. It is at this time that monsters come out to harass you. This motley crew includes zombies, skeleton archers, and an annoying creature called a “creeper.” A creeper is a green, frowning enemy that runs towards you, hissing all the way. If the creeper manages to hug you – you and it will both explode. I guess I would also frown all the time if I exploded every time I gave someone a hug.

What’s even more incredible about the game though, is that it was created independently by two people.  The main designer, Markus Persson created this game when he wasn’t at his main job, working for king.com. When the game’s popularity took off, he quit his king.com job in order to create his own gaming company, Mojang.

The game itself is cheap and easily obtained. With a mere 20 bucks it will take you less than 10 minutes to download the game off of the Minecraft site. With only 20 dollars down, you have the opportunity to create world larger than the Earth itself, filled with castles, portals to hell, and floating islands in the sky. The possibilities are almost endless. Some people like to focus on the fighting aspect of the game, building up an armory of diamond swords so they can raid other people’s bases and steal their stuff. Some people focus more on the architectural aspect, building beautiful and sturdy homes from Obsidian blocks.

And me? Well…I’ll continue adding onto my mushroom house for now. As my home in real life remains cluttered with unwashed dishes and stacks of paper, my 32 bit home begins to sport glass windows and flower décor.

I hope this review was enticing enough to convince you to purchase the game. What’s that you say? “That’ll be the day that pigs fly?” Well, you’re in luck. The game has that too! Looking forward to seeing you!

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