Written by S. Bowyer


 

      Minecraft is an interactive, creative-flow-inducing game, based on a simple storyline. You are dropped into the wild, to survive on the land. When you first start the game, you will not know where you are, or what climate it'll be, as it's randomly decided when the game map is first drawn. There are thousands of instantly-created maps, so even if you've played Minecraft before, you will still not know where to find shelter or water. But you must. In several hours (10-20 minutes real time), it will be dark and you might not be alone. For the world is inhabited by creatures that come out at night, who are drawn to anything suspicious on their land.

     Skeletons with crossbows, Spiders that jump, Creepers who will sneak up and explode on you, zombies that moan and give chase, and the Endermen, who you should never make eye contact with. 

 

     Build yourself a shelter and find some food before dark. Either apples from the trees, meat from a nearby cow or pig, or find some seeds to farm for vegetables or grains.

      Minecraft essentially has 3 game modes. In Survival, it's about how long you can last, and the methods you use to find shelter, food, and what you can explore on the new world. Amongst the wilderness are lava lakes, water, snow, flowers and trees to collect, and caves with minerals and diamonds to harvest. The more you collect, the more options you have to make your shelter fancy, efficient and comfortable. Additionally, the more resources you have, the more you can explore your new home and see new sights. The desert, the snowfields, the hills, the rainforests, the savannah, the swamp, rolling oceans and rivers . . . the horizon never ends. Both above the earth and below are places and adventures waiting. However, there will also be creatures to stop you from finding their salvation: their netherworld, and "The End" where it's rumoured a huge dragon awaits defeat.

     There is also the bonus objective for the die-hard survivalist, who is ready to cast aside safety to find specialty. That is, find Mooshroom Island, as it's often called. It's mostly found in the middle of oceans, so prepare a boat and take lots of food with you. Some take months to find it, but it's like a jewel in the Nile when you do. You'll know you've found it when you see the giant, destructable red and brown mushrooms, which drop edible mushroom pieces, and the red cows that can be sheared of mushrooms upon the lone mass of land in the middle of the water.

 

 

     For the more artsy types, there is Creative mode. In this mode, the creatures are harmless (they are unable to hurt you), and your goal is to design and create whatever structures, sculptures, rollercoasters, or features you wish. Your designs can be functional and/or beautiful. You have endless resources pre-farmed for you, so the adventure aspect of the game is somewhat lost, but you can build and create to your heart's content.

     As with Survival mode,there are dozens of terrains to create your camp, many materials to use to create your home, and endless ideas to create your modest hut or extravagant city. Create homes, castles or statues, designed from basic construction, to high rise success.

 

     If you play with friends, you might find yourself in a half-survival / half-creative mode, where the game is set to Survival, but you and your friends spend a great deal of time developing your habitat before starting on your adventure to find new sights. Personally, I love this method of play because it gives all users the chance to live their Minecraft goals without having to change or restart the game. You can start a server quite quickly, and your friends can join in via network connection or Internet. However, more than 2-3 people and you might find the world gets a little laggy, so if you have a mass of friends, you might want to hire an online server and share the cost. 

      Minecraft might help you learn how well you know your friends, family and acquaintances. Sometimes in the half-half mode, you might find a hidden "troll" in one of them. Some people who play Minecraft like the evil streak of practical jokes. Below is a video series called Trapcraft, where some young guys show how to build traps to trick your friends, and have fun doing it. Please note: these jokes might destroy the work of your companions. Be careful when pranking or you might permanently damage your journey buddy's creations and shelters.

 

 

     Minecraft has existed for a few years, players buying and playing before it was even completed. Throughout its time, reviews have all been favourable:

"Minecraft is by far one of the most fascinating and progressive games ever made, both in terms of its leanings towards procedural generation and emergent gameplay, and the way it has been so openly developed. In an era where the development of most games is a closely-guarded, PR-managed secret, millions were invited to buy and play Minecraft years before it was even finished." -- Telegraph

"Intuitively interesting and contagiously fun, with an unparalleled scope for creativity and memorable experiences." -- PC Gamer

"Minecraft is a towering achievement in the very possibilities of gaming, and it does this without losing itself to either esoterica or cynicism. It is a game anyone can play and anyone can get something out of, no matter how skilled or imaginative they are." -- Eurogamer

"For anyone looking for the ultimate in expression and aesthetic satisfaction, or merely searching for a game that will virtually limitless exploration and achievement, Minecraft offers it all." -- Game Planet

"Big, beautiful, and without limits, Minecraft is the box of blocks you never have to tidy up." -- Game Master UK

"Now that it's finally "finished," Minecraft stands as a remarkable achievement - not only a well-rounded gaming experience, but a chance for players to experiment, explore freely and reshape their environment to an almost ludicrous level. If you own a computer and haven't given Minecraft a try, you're missing one of the most unique experiences of this generation." -- Games Radar

 

 

 

Feed The Beast: Minecraft gets Technical

      Feed the Beast is a free addon, which turns basic Minecraft into a more developed world. Instead of using fire and primitive means of power, you can use solar panels, nuclear power, magical essence, oil, gravitational forces, and a blend of them to add technology to your buildings and designs. For the nature lovers, you can also breed bees that create ores and diamonds.

      For a change of pace, you can aim to seek out and explore the Enchanted forest beyond the Twilight portal. Find hollow mountains full of gems and ores, but at the risk of your own life, as the Enchanted mountains are guarded by stronger creatures, ready to defend what is theirs. Climb huge trees, fight the hydra, feast on the giant mushrooms, and discover the secrets of the mazes and hollow hills. Within this twisted land are new sights and sounds to curdle your blood.

 

 

      Minecraft is available for PC and Xbox. PC Minecraft is for purchase at https://minecraft.net/ for $27US. Feed the Beast is free via http://www.feed-the-beast.com/.

 

 

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