It seems anything "-craft" lately has been my addiction. Without the obvious World of Warcraft, thankfully. Starcraft has consumed all but precious precious minutes of my time, and that spare time I spend playing a little gem called Minecraft. No, Jim Raynor doesn't make a cameo, and you don't need anymore pylons to build things. You just need cubes and your tools for the rest of Minecraft time.
Minecraft is a game of creation (think Garry's Mod, but add Harvest Moon with a bit of crafting) in which you're free to do, well, whatever the hell you want. That being said, I've spent countless hours creating my own little house on my own little mountain in my own little world. All-be-it the world is actually massive in actuality, but it still remains "my own". The idea of this comes from the fact that each world in Minecraft is randomly generated and conforms to a few types or trends that I've noticed. These types I've found generally are:
My favorite being "mountainy". There's just something about seeing a cliff reaching all the way up to the clouds and beyond that makes me want to go up there and build my house on it.
I build just like any normal human being would build in the normal world here, without the cost and the actual physical labor. You gather materials, you make things with those materials, and you use the end products. In Minecraft, there's a fairly simple crafting mechanic that works off of a 3x3 grid space in which you place the raw materials (or whatever you need) in the vague shape of what you're making.
It's a pretty intuitive crafting interface that I feel is extremely necessary when you start turning to discover all of the games items and products you can manufacture via the crafting interface. I would even go so far as to say you can spoil a little of the games "spark" by looking up the recipes for various items instead of just blindly trying to make whatever it is you want to make. There's a bunch of items to make, ranging from various tools to bunches of building materials and even food. Why do I need food? Well you don't get hungry, but you might be asking yourself, "Gee, I wonder why I have all of these hearts". It's not Zelda and you can't hit grass to find more hearts, but you can surely punch the crap out of a pig to get some pork and eat that. But why oh why do we need all these hearts? Just--Don't go out at night without any self protection.
Yeah, there's monsters. Lots of them depending on what difficulty you choose. The game defaults to an "Easy" setting where the number of monsters that come out at night are less numerous, but still pose a threat. These monsters can kill you and it does suck. Dying in minecraft is one of those time where you feel that sting of the realization of dying, but feel that it's necessary for the game to be exciting. Minecraft does have consequences for dying, and they do suck. Each time you spawn into a brand new world you'll receive a spawn point. This is the spawn point that you'll have forever, you cannot move it, and you cannot choose where it is. When you die, you are thrust back there, minus everything you were carrying at the time of death. Now, that doesn't mean all of your stuff is gone, it's just scattered about the ground where you died.
Now, how could I write something about Minecraft without mentioning the largest part of the game? Well gee, I don't know. I wonder what it is that you do in Minecraft. Any guesses? Me neither.
You mine, a lot. Everything that has to do with mining, you do it. Mineshafts and carts, pickaxes and torches, caves and dungeons. It's all under the brown and green cubed surface of Minecraft. I also feel it holds the most excitement underground. There's this childish feeling of exploration when you're digging in your mine casually gathering stone to build your giant castle and bam, there's a hole in your mine with only darkness behind it. Now, you can't just leave that there, what if you fall in? And you certainly can't just leave it unexplored. Breaking down an entrance cube by cube revealing a massive underground cave is probably the most exciting element of Minecraft for me. Especially because underground caves are littered with monsters. So, naturally you break out your sword and have your torches ready.
How could all of this get any better? Building, exploring, fighting monsters in your own little world. All alone. Without anyone to share it with... Except now you can! Admittedly the multiplayer is really buggy due to the game being in Alpha (yeah that Greek letter) but it gets the point across as to what the multiplayer will be when the game finally releases. Minecraft has dedicated servers with max slots for players to join and fool around. Right now, unfortunately, there's a lot of servers plagued by griefers setting all the trees on fire or breaking people's things. Players can Roleplay, or just goof around and make their favorite final fantasy sprites on the multiplayer servers.
Due to the game being in Alpha and people being able to purchase it, it's only about €9.95. For all of us living in the U.S. who cannot translate currency, if's about 13$. Now, the cool thing about Minecraft being for sale while it's still in alpha turns out to be that when it's fully released you will not have to buy the game again, and the price will raise to €20.00 or around $25.50. Pre-purchasing entails you to all future updates and features. Which is admittedly pretty damn cool. Half the price, and the future of the game.
Man, I'm going to go finish my underwater glass tunnel. See you in minecraft.