Minecraft – What’s the Big Deal?

Hello, my name’s Josh. I have cats – cute cats. In my free time, I enjoy beach combing, leather work, and picking fights with the homeless. I’m also a new writer here at World of Meh, and so it seems fitting to discuss a game that’s never appeared on the site before: Minecraft.

If you already own Minecraft – well done. Now leave. You’d be the choir to my preaching. What’s motivating me to write this is the fact that I only got into the game relatively recently. This means I’m either going to notice the rock I’ve been living under any minute now, or there’s still people out there who are yet to give it a go. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, even seen a few screenshots, but can’t quite see the appeal of… blocks. For me, I was well aware that people were enjoying it, which is exactly what deterred my sick and bitter self from buying the game. This is much like House, which I resented intensely long before actually seeing an episode. Thankfully, when I finally watched the bloody thing it was utter bollocks, leaving no words to be swallowed. The difference with Minecraft is: It’s not a shite hospital drama.

The basic premise of Minecraft is that you’re dropped in a randomly generated world with nothing but a pair of square hands and a pocketful of dreams. The game has day / night cycles. Day is nice, because you can see where you’re going, and frolic with the wild life. Night isn’t nice, because spiders and skeletons join in. The first few minutes, then, involve hastily collecting the necessary materials to build a shelter. This is where things start getting complicated, but in a good way. If you gather some wood, you can turn it into a work bench. From here, tools can be made to gather more resources. Soon enough you’ll be holding back the night with torches, swinging a sword, sailing in a boat, or even sewing animals skins together to make a lovely little hat.

Someone actually built the Earth...

Minecraft has an extensive crafting system that can lead to other pursuits such as interior design, fishing, and even farming. To be at your best, though, you’ll need rarer minerals like gold and diamond. Now the eponymous “mine” aspect comes into play. Mining is the game’s bread and butter. You pick your way into the earth, creating labyrinthine cave systems in search of mineral veins. While this might sound dull, the promise of stumbling upon precious metals is more than enough to keep you going. Additionally, the further down you are, the more chance enemies have of spawning. Because of this, you need to carefully manage lighting in your bunker using wall torches, or even glass skylights on more ambitious projects. The random world generation doesn’t stop on the surface, either – while digging you might encounter caves filled with baddies, underground springs, or even lava flows. There’s nothing more exciting than running for your life, because you’ve accidentally flooded the entire system with a fast-moving wall of fire.

Minecraft is a great little purchase, and given it’s still in alpha stages, indie developer Notch is offering it at half price. Though a solid and simple mixture of sandbox and survival, a quick YouTube search will show the kinds of things people have gotten up to – someone even built a working computer system using the in-game electric wiring feature! Personally, I’m contented to sit cowering in my mud-hut clubhouse, a zombie outside staring vacantly at the “NO GIRLS ALLOWED” sign.

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