Posted on Sep 27, 2010

[caption id=“attachment_601” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“Minecraft procedurally generates breath taking landscapes”][minecraft screenshot][]/caption[] is my new addiction. It’s a rather simple sandbox style game by independent developer, Notch. It’s also a cult-hit in the indie games circle having reached the point where demand for the game has brought down the website several times and caused Paypal to back-log orders. I had been hearing about the game for a few weeks and after seeing some demo videos that were posted, I never really thought much of it. Then I started seeing posts claiming that Minecraft was raking in nearly 250k purchases in a single day. The hype was on and I needed to know what was so catchy about this game.

I have since lost my soul somewhere in the world of Minecraft and have been searching for it for days. I’ve dreamed about this game at night. I wake up and anticipate playing it all day. In my spare moments I think about the additions I’m going to build to my fortress and where I’m going to start digging next.

Yet this is a game that so far has absolutely no goals or expectations. No back story or careening plot line. It may eventually have some sort of instruction manual or something, but for now it’s up to the player to figure it out. I figured things out after watching a few videos on Youtube (particularly ones about how to survive your first night in the game). It’s just you alone on an island. There are cute animals roaming about during the day, but you better find a way to fend off the monsters that come at night…

The best way to protect one’s self is to build a shelter of sorts. How you go about this is pretty much entirely up to you. Do you chop down some wood and build a cabin? Dig yourself a cave? In fact this is one of the coolest parts of the game. It’s one of my favorite parts: building. It’s a simple mechanic that I fell in love with while playing Second Life and Dwarf Fortress: creating things. However Minecraft somehow has a unique take on this by making the shelter you create useful to your survival. I started to begin feeling an eerie sense of attachment to my humble little in-game abode. I started to get a feel for the landscape as I explored and gathered resources to bring back and improve my living conditions. It’s a really neat mechanic that touches a very primal urge.

So if you have a bit of imagination, I highly recommend trying this game. Once you start you’ll begin to notice that the reason the game needs no plot is because as you plod along and survive you start to develop your own. The simple blocky graphics melt away in your minds eye and become more than the sum of their parts. Deep, deep down where the earth itself rumbles in a some what frightening voice you’ll realize it: you’ve lost your soul in minecraft somewhere too.

[minecraft screenshot]: http://minecraftwiki.net/wiki/File:Minescape.png