Wednesday, May 9, 2012

He's Crafty

My Japanese-style castle, tower and bridge as seen from my giant orb.

So, today marks the official release of Minecraft for the XBox360. If you are unfamiliar, Minecraft is a video game originally created for the PC by Swedish game developer, Markus Persson--also known as Notch. At its core, the game is a sandbox-style building game in which a player can collect resources in the form of material blocks and then use those resources to create items and build various structures. Minecraft does away with many of the trappings of modern gaming such as fancy graphics, bloodsplosions and... oh... plot, focusing instead on providing a setting in which the user can flex his or her imagination in whichever way it bends best.

But that's really the beauty of the game. Minecraft is essentially Legos rendered as a digital world, rather than a bunch of plastic bricks in a bin. (Even Lego has not missed this similarity!) Instead of digging through the bin to find the Legos you need, your character traipses across and under a randomly generated world about 3 times the size of the Earth. You dig for your virtual Legos and occasionally fight zombies or other beasties.

As you may have guessed, I am horribly addicted to this game. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about why that is. Why do games like Skyrim and Portal sit on my shelf while I putter around in a blocky, pixelated world. I'm pretty sure it's because Minecraft doesn't feel like playing a videogame. It feels like playing with Legos, or drawing, or planning a D&D session. It engages the creative parts of my brain in a way that even a fairly open RPG like Skyrim can't begin to match. When I am playing Minecraft, there is no story to move forward or quest to accomplish unless it is something I have dreamed up for myself. This characteristic causes some people to quickly bore of the game, but it keeps me constantly coming back for more.

That's no moon!

Even though I already have Minecraft for my PC, I also plan to pick it up for XBox. The ability to play split-screen when friends come over, or online with some of my non-PC-playing pals is appealing. If you're intrigued, I highly recommend you pick it up.

Why yes, my avatar is a cyborg Abraham Lincoln!

Also, I should note that my addiction is minor compared to that of others.

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