Minecraft: The Best Game Ever Right Now.

Standing on the pinnacle of a dark fortress, I survey my domain. The CoG castle dominates the landscape with its stony, monolithic greyness, a giant gnome, resplendent in his pointy hat watches over this green and pleasant land, his intentions unknown. Far in the distance, I see a colourful, roundish object that I think is a hot air balloon and a red and white construction that I’ve not yet seen up close. Somewhere beyond the castle is my half-finished, olde worlde pub/inn/feasthall thing.

Two things about this scene strike me as remarkable. Firstly, everything I see, barring the randomly-generated landscape itself, has been constructed by my fellow Colonists, a motley crew of game enthusiasts, most without a single game design credit to their name. Secondly, none of it existed 24 hours ago.

Sure, plenty of games are about building stuff and some of them can be played co-operatively. Little Big Planet invested in the idea of co-operative building in a big way, but I would argue that it’s too involved to be seen as playing a game. Minecraft is different. It’s simple, even primitive, with everything constructed from basic cubes, but that simplicity leads to an immediacy which is its greatest strength.

Plop someone down in front of Minecraft for the first time and they can see the two choices they have; build, or dig. What follows is a frenzy of construction as blocks are placed and tunnels dug. The creative urge kicks in and structures immediately begin to take shape. It’s videogame Lego in its purest form.

Most gaming accomplishments are fleeting. The pin-point headshot that saves the day, the perfect, last-corner powerslide which wins you the race, the successful “one last try” boss attempt after an evening of wipes. You may be left with a slightly higher gamerscore, a better win record or a shiny new hat, but that moment of excellence is gone. Logging in to the world you share with your friends, to find it not only still there, but added to and improved evokes a feeling quite unlike any other.

In a world that is so focussed on the destructive, aggressive nature of videogames and too many titles which support that image, a game so completely grounded in co-operative creativity and construction is a breath of fresh air.

~ by bigjonno on March 25, 2010.

One Response to “Minecraft: The Best Game Ever Right Now.”

  1. Minecraft is an excellent game. Though, if you purchase it you can play it as it currently is – which is much different than multiplayer mode.

    The current build has you mining with tools, collecting resources, crafting, and fighting off monsters. There are also torches and dynamic lighting.

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