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Games Vintage and New - Minecraft, PC

Updated on November 8, 2013

Minecraft Trailer by Minecraft.net

Pros and Cons

Pros -

  • Environment where you can literally do/build anything
  • Survival Mode for adventure and achievement seekers
  • Creative Mode for people who just want to play with blocks and build
  • Tons of quality mods out there for the base game when you're bored

Cons -

  • Visuals are a little simplistic looking
  • Twitch-Play (shooting, jumping, etc.) is there but not as intense as a gamer might be accustomed too
  • Accomplishing much of anything requires a fair bit of time

General Synopsis

If you don't know about Minecraft, you're either a parent or living on a different gaming planet. Minecraft is a game that has exploded over the last few years. Players have access to randomly generated worlds where they can literally accomplish almost anything they can imagine. A stunning mountain vista can, over time, be shaped into an impenetrable mountain fortress or leveled entirely piece by piece.

Minecraft features two gameplay modes - Survival and Creative. In Survival, players are forced to hunt and forage for food while building shelter and hunting rarer and rarer materials to accomplish bigger and better projects which will make the task of survival easier. The need for shelter becomes apparent at night when monsters begin spawning in all unlit areas in the vicinity. Creative mode, conversely, removes the survival element entirely and gives players the ability to fly and free access to the available blocls

Updates and a seemingly infinite amount of mods are available (for free) that introduce new mechanics when (if) you get bored of the original game. You can even download free texture packs to give the admittedly bland Minecraft a much needed facelift.

'The' Sandbox Title

This game is really what brought the 'Sandbox' genre of game into reality. Every single block (what you might consider a 2.5 sq. ft. section in the world) is a thing you can break, gather, horde, or replace elsewhere in the world, forming whatever you might be able to imagine. If you have played maybe, 10 video games in the past, you have to understand how significant this is. A game that practically makes a genre is noteworthy beyond any detraction I could offer, and I am not very much inclined to do so.

Your general gameplay progression in Survival Mode is this - you will appear in your world, immediately begin gathering wood which will allow you to make a pickaxe and harvest stone. With stone and wood, you can make stone tools which are slightly more efficient than wooden ones. You will make a structure that you will improve over time by expansion and utilizing superior materials. You will have to replace your tools occasionally, oftentimes with a superior material (digging underground will yield iron and diamonds which produce significantly better tools and the chance to make armor). In the late game, you'll likely have a massive farm to harvest food and materials from, a good sized keep, the ability to enchant your gear, and access to the two other worlds (the Nether and the End) filled with otherworldly beings. You don't necessarily have to do these things - that's the beauty of a sandbox. It is possible some gamers might be turned off by the non-linear approach to a game but I suppose Call of Duty isn't for everyone either.

An epic vista, something you could conceivably build given enough time. The ground and mountains around appear pre-generated by the game and a user just built on top of them.
An epic vista, something you could conceivably build given enough time. The ground and mountains around appear pre-generated by the game and a user just built on top of them. | Source

Criticisms

The world, especially when you are zoomed in and not looking at a styled vista, is as you might expect - blocky and a bit on the boring side. Minecraft has the misfortune of going up against modern titles that offer eye candy galore. In that respect it is rather plain, and while you can download free texture packs to mediate the problem, every patch renders your favorite texture pack obsolete and breaks it. This isn't to say that patching is bad as I certainly appreciate the new content but some more built in support to discover and implement texture packs wouldn't go awry.

To accomplish anything, especially if you aren't in survival mode, takes a great deal of time. You have to dig things out block by block. While this makes every success a milestone of a sort (your first diamond sword makes you feel like a complete badass), some gamers will simply not have the time to invest and want a game that has a more immediate payoff. It's a tradeoff. This is complicated by dying, an event that is quite common and renders all of your items lost if you don't immediately charge back and gather them up. This can be a daunting prospect.

While efforts have been made to make it more of an adventure game, and it certainly can appeal to some in this respect, it really has difficulty competing with other titles in this regard. It is not Spiderman 2 or Call of Duty or Final Fantasy - it is Minecraft. If you can look past its blocky exterior to the goodness within and invest the hours needed to make your mark in your world, it has the potential to be a greatly rewarding experience. If you can't however, you are probably better off booting up another round of Nuketown and having at it.

Epic Minecraft Creations by TheTechJoint

Creative Mode

Creative mode removes the constraints of Survival mode such as health and food. Monsters ignore you and you are able to fly around, and gain access to an unlimited inventory with all blocks available. The game turns into more of a paintbrush as you simply build things unconstrained. Each mode likely appeals to different sorts of gamers so its nice that both are available.

Floating Minecraft Island Castle
Floating Minecraft Island Castle | Source

Modding

You can change your appearance by downloading any number of free skins available from numerous sites on the internet, or design your own with an image editing program and upload it via the Minecraft website.

Once the experience has grown stale, there exists a huge amount of free third party content you can download and modify your base game with. I highly recommend the Technic Launcher as this allows you to download heavily modded versions of the game and install them quickly and easily (although you can manually download and install each mod you like, I just find it tedious). There is currently a mod that allows the user to create a spaceship and explore the galaxy. There are other mods that allow machines and electricity, guns and tanks, magic spells and research, and so much more!

The Technic Startup Screen. The splash backgrounds are nice to look at for the featured packs. You can scroll your packs on the left and easily add new ones when you find some you like on the website.
The Technic Startup Screen. The splash backgrounds are nice to look at for the featured packs. You can scroll your packs on the left and easily add new ones when you find some you like on the website. | Source

Minecraft Rating

5 stars for Minecraft, PC

Conclusion

The gaming phenomenon Minecraft is simply too big, too groundbreaking, and so susceptible to modding and other shenanigans to get more out of your game, not to be played and appreciated for the masterwork it has become. It is the first in a generation of video games that will continue to evolve and change the face of gaming as we know it. If you're late to the party, join now. If your kid stares at the computer anyway, buy it for him. If you've never liked the typical video game but loved Legos as a kid, get it now! It is one of the few titles that demands anyone with an appreciation for video games not to play.

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Where Can I Get It?

Try checking out their website here for a download. If you're using a mobile device instead of a traditional computer, you should be able to download the pocket edition for either iOS here or Android here.

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