A while back I wrote about how playing World of Warcraft actually saved me money in the long run. Its actually been a while since I last played WoW because I've moved on to a new and even more cost effective video game. Minecraft (such a similar name) is an extremely simple game. At first glance the graphics are downright ancient looking and the concept seems too simple to be fun for any long period of time. I thought that at first and then I realized I had been playing for two solid weeks without ever feeling bored. After a month or two of playing, I'm still going strong. So what is it like and is it something you might want to play? Read on for my analysis.
The randomly generated world in which you play Minecraft consists of different types of blocks. All blocks are perfect cubes and they are all the same size as each other. Blocks exist for dirt, wood, stone, leaves, sand and more. Game play comes in two parts. First, you mine blocks and collect them in your inventory. Then you craft the blocks into pretty much anything. From the blocks you create tools to help you build faster and mine more efficiently. Your view is first person and you maneuver throughout the world with the standard WASD keys you would find in games like Counterstrike.
Technically, Minecraft is still in beta so the cost to buy is a little over $20 US at the time I write this. To get Minecraft you buy it at their website and download the software. The program itself is tiny and the install is quick. The other great thing is that this is a game you can play on your Mac.
Single vs. Multiplayer
Single player mode can be done offline and from your computer. The game world you play in is saved on your computer and you can access it at any time regardless of internet connectivity. Multi-player mode on the other hand allows you to connect to private servers that other players create where you can build and play as a group. I prefer the multi-player way of playing because the combined building and mining power of a group results in really amazing creations. Its just fun to see what other people come up with and the inspiration you can get to build your own structures is helpful.
Enemies vs. Complete Freedom
There are two ways to play Minecraft when it comes to enemy mobs. If you play the game in its rawest form, zombies, spiders and exploding creeps come out at night and will kill you if you wander around outside alone and unarmed. Its best to stay indoors and in a well lit area to avoid them. The other way to play is to turn off the mobs and engage a creative mode. In this mode you have access to any and all of the blocks available and you have complete freedom to build as you wish. There are benefits to both modes but for now I prefer survival mode. It makes the structures you build more impressive because every single block has been mined and then placed one by one.
Right now I play with my brother-in-law and his coworker on a private server the three of us have been building in for a few weeks now. Here are some pictures of things we have built. Keep in mind these are all build on survival mode so every single block was harvested one bye one.
A recreation of Apple's Cube store
A glass dome covered village
A floating island camp ground
A great place to find build inspiration is Youtube. People have been posting videos of their creations for a long time and there are some truly fantastic servers with insane building projects. Check out these videos to see what I mean.
A massive floating island build
A quaint lake-side village
Do you play Minecraft? What have you build? I'm still new and playing survival mode so my creativity has some limits so far. Post your ideas or questions below!