Monday, December 12, 2011

Minecraft Thoughts

John Marine | 12/12/2011 04:56:00 PM | | |
(UPDATED: December 13, 2011)

I don't have Minecraft. I haven't bought Minecraft. I have no experience playing Minecraft. Therefore, this is NOT a review on Minecraft. Everything shown here is primarily opinion-based. So allow me to share some thoughts on a game I've never played or owned. Have I on a post on a game I've never played before? Sure! There are some games I have only mentioned in which I have hardly any experience playing or haven't played before. So let me share my ideas on the very popular Minecraft.

What IS Minecraft? This video explains it all:

--- Minecraft... as Much as I Know, Anyways... ---

Minecraft is one of the most popular sandbox-type games today. This entirely Java-driven game was made by Sweden's Team Mojang, and it is the successor to Fortresscraft. In Minecraft, this game is not about some pre-determined storyline. Minecraft is what we call as a "sandbox" game. It basically means that everything you want to do and all adventures thereforth are determined entirely by YOU. It's about taking someone else's product to make your own adventures.

The very essence of Minecraft is in molding a world into your own while also trying to survive in that world. Part of your survival in Minecraft relies heavily on collecting resources and as its name implies- crafting your own tools. It isn't like you have a store or a bunch of people willing to help you out. You are basically on your own unless other Minecraft players come along with you in co-op play. If you search for a lot of videos on YouTube on Minecraft, you may note a lot of videos where some people are in co-op play navigating through Minecraft, providing narration or just fooling around.

You must also be careful going up against mobs. They range from mostly harmless creatures that can be killed for resources all the way towards various monster mobs. Various updates have added many more characters and creatures to go up against. If you are SERIOUSLY committed to battling, there is a boss creature in one Minecraft update known as the Ender Dragon.

Tools and Resources.

To my knowledge, there are TWO aspects of Minecraft to be concerned with- building your own base and being careful at night. Part of Minecraft involves taking various items from the world around you and converting some of those items into tools and resources that you can use. Part of taking items around you involves building enough to make your own home base. Taking items (like wood from trees) will allow you to make some wood items. Killing animals like chickens and cows can be good for replenishing health and even making armor. You first have a two-by-two grid that you can use to make a few simple things, but you have to build a Crafting Table to be able to craft many more tools and items with. The Crafting Table you build (from four wooden planks) have a three-by-three grid for which you craft tools based on items in your possession. How you build certain items in this grid will give you certain items. Proper crafting of items from the Crafting Table will allow you to create tools. One of the most vital for survival is a sword. This table below is a demonstration of what you need to craft a sword from your Crafting Table:









1 = iron, stone, wood, gold, diamond
2 = wooden plank

Crafting a sword will allow you your best offense against mobs. On the tools front, various items help you more efficiently gather resources, such as a pick axe. A pick axe will allow you to break rocks faster. It is important you try to make some torches. Without torches, you increase your chances of getting spooked by monsters at night. A good amount of torches around your living quarters and areas around your shelter/home will help drive away monsters. You can pick up other different items to make other tools. You can even make items for decoration and other things. For one, you can create a bed to sleep in to advance nighttime into daytime. You can make things like bookshelves and stairs and even make a cake. There seems like nothing you are unable to do within the Minecraft realm.


Later, you can create a furnace to melt certain items. With eight cobblestone blocks crafted like this...









CS = Cobblestone created a Furnace. Use the furnace to smelt items, cook raw food, or prepare certain foods. The furnace requires certain materials to use as fuel (the bottom square) and some sort of item (the top square) to prepare the item. Certain items created have to be completely created together. When an item is successfully created, an arrow showing its creation progress will fill white. The created item can then be able to be acquired and used as an item.

Making it Last.

There is one thing to note- most items have a certain amount of usefulness before they can no longer be used. Of all materials, gold offers the weakest amount of uses. Wood allows you the second least. If you want items from a material that lasts longest, diamond is what you should be crafting tools from. It will be tougher to come across diamond, but most diamond items last the longest.

Getting Around in Carts and Boats.

Minecraft allows you to build a cart as well as a boat to help you get around. Creating a cart requires you to build a rail system. Your cart will ride on these rails. Design a rail system to help you better navigate through the Minecraft world you are in. In addition, you could be creative and have some special rails that provide boosts to get around a bit quicker.

Build a boat to get around on water (DUH! obviously!) quicker. You can get around to other islands or safely traverse through watery locations. You can even make fun water slides while riding in your boat if you're creative.

Taking on the Night.

The other aspect is in dealing with nighttime. And I quote:

"What a horrible night to have a curse."

-Castlevania 2
Not having enough lighting around can lead to zombies and other monsters pursuing you. The land in Minecraft is not some sort of place that is infested with evil monsters stemming from one source. Remember- Minecraft is a completely open-world type of game. It is also all about survival.


One of the most disrespectful things anyone can do in the Minecraft realm is grief. Or in other words- go into somebody's Minecraft server and destroy anything or everything in sight. Call it vandalism in Minecraft- and vandalism of someone else's hard work ain't cool. This is usually where most people burn others' houses and property in Minecraft. Some servers have specific guidelines and parameters designed to curb griefing. Some servers may even only allow certain players to play within a certain Minecraft server. But just know one thing- griefing isn't cool.

So that is as much as I know about a game I haven't played or bought.

--- Minecraft's Appeal ---

What I think makes Minecraft so appealing is a lot of things. Most special about Minecraft is just the creativity that people have in regards to making these adventures and videos and stuff. Making your own Minecraft adventures and sharing them with the world is great fun. A game like this also shows that you don't need over-the-top audio and visual quality to have a great game. The old-school voxelized charm gives the game some unique character.

What appeals most to me about Minecraft is mostly about how creative people can be in creating all sorts of worlds, buildings, texture packs, and things like that. Many people are finding new ways to make Minecraft even more addicting and fun. An active community always makes any game fun for a long time. I do not see Minecraft going away anytime soon unless Team Mojang () comes up with something even better than their current offering.

--- Final Thoughts on Minecraft ---

Minecraft is the kind of game that is what almost anyone can ever want- the ability to make your own experiences with a game world you can actually craft. Taking the world around you and making your own tools and resources is just a fantastic concept executed well in this game. There is a reason people are making videos and setting up servers for a reason.

Some people are going to say the game looks ugly just because it doesn't look like a PS3 or XBOX 360 game. If you're one of those people, here's my response- who the hell cares (besides you, obviously)? You can't just boil a game down to audio and video. Minecraft does a great job of providing a gaming experience for its character and with its personality. It doesn't have to be any recent first-person shooter or anything just to win YOU over. Minecraft is one of the finest independent games ever made with the amount of respect it has garnered from the gaming community.

How come I don't have Minecraft? Random admittance of mine- I can admit to being cheap often times. So I just haven't bought Minecraft. I think I have the basic PC requirements for Minecraft (I think). So I'm often a bit cheap to not want to buy Minecraft. I downloaded one demo of Minecraft, but it wouldn't load on my PC when I attempted to play the demo. So... I have not played a second of Minecraft. Not one.

--- Minecraft Resources ---

So... do you want to get in on the Minecraft fun? Here are some resources for you:

Minecraft Official Home Page
Minecraft's Wikipedia Entry
Minecraft Wiki
Minecraft on Wikia (recommended)
Minecraft's Facebook Fan Page
Follow Team Mojang on Twitter!
C418 - music composer for Minecraft

And as a note about C418, my personal favorite song I've heard for Minecraft is "Sweden." You can hear this lovely song here:

You can visit C418's website to hear more music as well as buy and download these songs.

To all you Minecraft folk worldwide, you've read my thoughts on this great sandbox game I have not played. I salute you Minecraft people. Thank you for reading!

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