It's incredibly well designed and well programmed. It's intuitive, and it's something fresh in an industry that has been stagnating for way longer than is healthy. It may not look it from the screenshots, but it offers some frankly amazing hi-definition vistas - standing at the top of a mountain provides you with infinite possibilities laying from either side.
It's also vastly emotional. The variety of creepy crawlies are nothing new - there's skeletons which shoot arrows, zombies that look a little like my Andy character, if he were made of blocks, and had washed in a swamp. There's also spiders, and my personal not favourite, Creepers - as my cousin puts in, "exploding giant green dildos." Creepers are a bit like Left 4 Dead's Boomers - they explode. Thanks to these endlessly spawning baddies, the game gets more than a little horrifying. I'll get to that later though. First, the gameplay.
Now the game's "classic" version is free to play, so hopefully I can have you go play that instead of me having to explain it. But basically, it revolves around manipulating a world that is basically all made up of cubes. There are various types of cubes, from grass to stone to sand to wood and gravel, and using your intuition, you must dig, explore, discover and create. That's all there is to it. There's an inventory and crafting system which makes it easier to dig, explore, discover and create; you can craft tools like pick-axes to easily chop through stone and iron. It reminds me a lot of this year's Civilization V, as in, you literally start from nothing - and you watch the world grow, by your hand, into a bustling world full of fun and interesting things. Only difference is, while Civilization you grow the world city by city, in Minecraft you grow the world BRICK BY PAINSTAKING BRICK.
Getting into this game takes a lengthy time investment, but it's one that... how do I put it.
I started playing at about 6:00pm. I did some digging, started a mine and cleared out some dirt so I could lay down the foundations for my house. Next, I checked my watch and - "holy shit, it's 10:00pm!!" Yes, Minecraft is slow to progress - but you almost never notice time passing while playing. I'd like to harvest the secret of this game, there must be something to it, some underlying genius that keeps you playing, like some kind of subliminal message or something. Regardless, Minecraft really is one of those "just five more minutes..." sort of games, where five minutes quickly turns into five hours.
So, having learnt all you've just learnt, I'll go back to the "emotional" thing. You've built a massive stone tower using resources dug from more than 60 layers beneath the Earth. Your mines are reaping you more rewards than you ever thought imaginable. Every new iron cache fills your heart with glee as you bring your loot back to make swords and armour. It's night-time, the moonlight reflecting off the stone walls of your base, when suddenly you see a giant green dildo coming towards you. "Fffff-" you start to run. You know if he touches you, he will explode, and scatter your inventory all over the world. You can't let that happen. Keeping eye contact, you run away from the dildo, but you fail to notice the other dildo standing behind you. "SHIT!" you scream. The dildo starts to hiss, you hear the sound that indicates he will soon blow up, and so you jump, dive for cover; and the giant green dildo explodes and RIPS A HOLE IN THE HOUSE YOU SPENT HOURS BUILDING. Your progress, ruined. Hours of toiling in the mines of Hell, now you are at a loss because one giant green dildo had the nerve to explode. Your heart is pounding, and you are now bent on revenge.
And you are now hooked on Minecraft.
Bonus! LET'S HORRIBLY BREAK POKEMON BLUE
I know how much you guys like nightmare-inducing, nostalgia-fueled gaming glitches! This is a fairly old, yet still (and surprisingly) a very educational, Pokemon Blue Let's Play!, in which the creator tries to induce as many game-breaking, balls-tightening, off-the-wall gameplay glitches as possible. Now, a lot of them are induced by GameShark codes; but the few that aren't dependent on codes are some of the best ones. You might even learnt something about programming and Hex codes and such. It's a really neat look at how sometimes you pull back the curtains behind the scenes and see a giggling, screaming, programming mess behind them...
Be warned though - if you're a fan of Pokemon, some of these images and sounds are... how do I put it. EVIL. It is EVIL. That's a good way to put it. Night-mare fuel for the 8-bit generation. You have been warned.
Anyway, here's Let's Horribly Break Pokemon Blue! Enjoy guys. And apologies if you end up having to sleep with a night-light for the rest of your life, and if you have to cry yourself to sleep every night until you die. Here's an example of the kind of fucked-up I'm talking about.
Andrew Deavin is hooked on Minecraft. He will take this time, however, to draw you attention to the new Daily Wallpaper in the sidebar, courtesy of the ever-awesome folks at GameWallpapers.com. He's gonna go play more Minecraft now. When - no, if, he stops - he'll probably have more screencaps of interesting stuff for you. Until then, see you on the other side, y'all.