Saturday, November 24, 2012


I just finished playing the Minecraft Demo for the first time.  For those of you who don't know, Minecraft is a game that has garnered heavy accolades from the gaming community over the past couple of years.  I think it's safe to say that the game has become something of a phenomenon.  And after playing the demo for about a half-hour, I can go on record saying that this game is worthy of the praise.  

Something I want to emphasize is the joy I experienced just learning the basic mechanics of the game.  Exploring the world of the demo, and testing different ways to interact with it, making new discoveries--  I had a great time.  In fact, I have enjoyed this process so much, that I am willing to call what I write from here on out 'spoilers' simply because I do not want to spoil a new players experience of learning the mechanics.  So, if you think that you will play Minecraft in the not-too-distant future, I strongly urge you to just go play it.  Put in a half hour or even the ninety minutes the demo allows.  If you like games-- then it is worth your time.

So, here's a  breakdown my experience with the demo, transcribed here for my own selfish need to express myself.  Please stop reading and go play Minecraft.

One possible reason why I enjoyed Minecraft so much is something called emergent gameplay.  I like this term, and I think it relates to the creativity of Minecraft play.  I felt a strong pull to explore the possibilities within the world. In the beginning, I ran around digging at random pieces of the world, becoming stuck and un-stuck in corners, getting accustomed to the controls.  However, when nighttime first arrived, I was quickly killed, right around the time I found a neat-looking cave to explore.  I had to start over again, and then got killed again.  I got frustrated, so I ended the demo, and started from the beginning.  

This time, I took to digging with a vengeance.  I tore trenches through the landscape, sawed the tops off of trees.  Right about dusk, just as the baddies were going to emerge, I just started digging straight down for a while, and then tunneled around through the softer, easier to dig bricks.  I got lost, but didn't sweat it, and just kept right on digging. 

The critical point came when i figured out how to place items i had collected.  My first move was to block off the tunnel I had dug, thus protecting me from any roaming baddies who may follow me into my tunnel.  Then, entirely by accident, I placed a torch on the wall.  Now I could see! This was reassuring, and helped to orient me as I decided it was time to tunnel upward. 

My next great discovery was that i could jump and place a hunk of dirt directly underneath myself.  This helped me to more quickly get out of a cave i had trapped myself in, and then was even more useful when i subsequently popped out of cliff-side and fell into an abyss filled with monsters.  I took one look around and quickly launched myself skyward on an ever expanding stack of dirt.   I exited the abyss but found myself critically low on food.  Apparently all that time tunneling came with a cost.  This form of isolation kept me safe from monsters, but also locked away from any sustenance.

I hunted around for some of the non- hostile animals i'd seen earlier, and proceeded to beat a pig to death with my bare hands, and devour the raw pork inside. However, since the graphics resemble LEGOs, this wasn't really that grisly.  Still, Herbovours are sure to hate this element of the game.  Possibly you can eat grasses and plants, but this seems unlikely as the hunger meter is represented with pork-chops.

Anyhow, I resupplied my hunger meter, and then decided to take a trip to the sky on another giant tower of dirt.  Kinda like how Iceman gets around.  I rose dozens of feet above the play area,  my limited visual settings fogging the scene below.  (I sure do need a new video card).

I had one heart left of life, something I haven't figured out how to resupply, and the temptation to jump from the in-game stratosphere was very strong.  I decided against it, and began to dig my way back down from on high, one cube of dirt at a time.  When I got to about tree-height, I decided to hop off, but It looks like that was still too high a fall, and I died anyway.  Oops.  

So, that was fun.  Maybe one day I'll buy the full version, and maybe one day I'll terraform a landscape and show it off on YouTube. I don't even know what to do with all of the Minecraft culture stuff out there.  The incredible cities, monumentsand all of the creativity coming out of this game.  It sucks me in and  I have to consciously just sort of forget about all of the mountains of amazing things coming out of this game.  There's just too much of it, and the game is fun to just play, without being intimidated by all of that.  

But one thing I will do, is to link to a video of the Enterprise 1701-D being built in minecraft.  I think this one is going to be my favorite minecraft-thing.  


currently playing:
Trilby's Notes
Sim City 4

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