To me what really makes a video game is it’s replayabilty (real word?). Once you are done the main story is there still a lot of things to do? That’s why games like the GTA series, Red Dead Redemption and the Batman Arkham series are so incredible to me. I can spend hours on things that have nothing to do with the main story of the game. I can find items, stop random crimes or even commit random crimes. But what if they game was completely endless? No real story. You have control over what goes on.
That is what Minecraft is. Originally created as a PC game in 2009 by Swedish programmer Markus Persson (aka Notch), the game has been ported over to the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Live Arcade. Minecraft is complete sandbox game where you the player find yourself in a vast land. Your mission? Do whatever you would like.
The game is built around the player being creative while implementing some traditional video game aspects such as surviving the baddies that come out at night. Go mining for precious ores, build houses, kill pigs for food. The options are practically limitless.
The worlds are made up of different areas, called biomes, that have different characteristics. For example there is a snow biome that has snow on the ground and the water in these areas are typically frozen. There is a desert biome that is all sand and is where you are likely to find cactus. Maybe you want to make yourself a ski resort getaway in the snow biome.
You have groups of non playable creatures, called mobs, that will come into play. First you have passive mobs. These are animals that will not attack you, even if you attack them. They consist of cows, pigs and chickens. And you have hostile mobs. These mobs will attack you once they get close enough to. They include zombies, skeletons and the infamous creepers. Almost all hostile mobs spawn at night and in dark locations. The creeper will quickly become your most hated and feared enemy as they sneak around without causing any sound until it’s too late. A last second hiss of it igniting itself will be your only cue if you don’t see him. Then it’s BOOM!
Now the Xbox 360 version is not completely like the PC version. The Xbox version is only on 1.1.1 as opposed to 1.3.2 on the PC. The worlds are not as expansive but are still gigantic leaving a lot to do. There are a number of features, blocks and mobs that aren’t in this version but 4J Studios intends on making free updates to eventually get the game full up to date with the PC version. They have released some updates already and another big update is anticipated by the end of October that is expected to include sprinting, Endermen and the ever popular Creative game mode, where you have free access to all materials and can just build.
Some people have a hard time looking past the blocky graphics but I think that is some of the charm of this game. It looks very childish and crude but it allows so much to be done.
I must admit that I have caught the Minecraft bug. I knew of the game but it wasn’t until I saw some videos online of the game play that I decided to get the Xbox version. I haven’t played the PC version but find myself with the urge each day to buy it. But if you find yourself loving games that you constantly have something to do in I believe Minecraft is for you. It’s absolutely worth the $20 in the Xbox Live Arcade.
Happy mining and don’t get creeped!