It took the better part of two-and-a-half years, wherein thousands upon thousands of players found themselves playing the unfinished version for more hours than your average retail product likely ever sees, but finally, after endless revisions and a beta longer than some entire game development cycles, Minecraft has officially gone gold.
Minecraft creator Notch officially rang the cubed bell of completion last night via his Twitter feed, noting that the official 1.0 client is now available for download (which you can do right here, if you'd like a direct file link). Though some minor tweaks may occur prior to the game's super-duper official release this Friday, those tweaks have been deemed minor enough to where Notch is totally fine with reviewers just reviewing what's out right now.
This, of course, does beg the question of what a Minecraft review even encompasses. Considering Minecraft's elongated and extremely public development history, it's safe to say that a good chunk of the core audience for that game has already played more than a mainstream reviewer would ever see. Does Minecraft even need reviews at this point? Or has it become such a ubiquitous, simply understood entity that transcends the need for standard editorial critique?
I shan't dare to judge myself, and instead will simply note that this retail release comes just ahead of this weekend's MineCon, which takes place this Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Again, Minecraft is such a popular thing, it already has its own con. What effect can we, the game reviewers of the world, possibly have now? Thanks, Notch, for rendering my chosen profession all but obsolete. I guess all that's left is to hang myself from the ceiling fan again. Hopefully the structural improvements I made after the last time will finish the job this time around.