Minecraft Manifesto: What Could Have Been
Minecraft had so much promise. By this stage of development we should have, in my personal opinion, a massive range of construction materials and a massive range of building materials, new smelting recipes and added mining and crafting. I should be able to create a mine with working winches and pulleys. I should be able to create large machines of working parts. I should be able to craft a ship and sail the oceans. My castle should have drawbridges that actually work. There should be rope. Instead I've got some lame shiny sword and a dragon hiding out on an island in another realm. Color me disappointed.
Some people will say that I have no right to be making these comments, that the game is Mojang's and Notch's to do with as they will. Perhaps so. But Minecraft's success is a direct result of its ability to make people talk about it, to spread the word, and I do not see why we should be limited only to making positive noises, like a half senile grandmother.
My concern is that the players who are currently cheering on the tired tropic additions to the game are providing false positive feedback. Yes, the enchantment and potion systems are mildly interesting because they're new, but once the shine of the newness wears off, we'll just be left with a barely relevant system that is thoroughly put to shame by dozens of other games. Just as we have many times before, we'll grow tired of the game and then the game will die.
Everyone wants to support Minecraft, but a large portion of the community seems to think that 'support' involves 'agreeing with everything Mojang does'. I don't think that's support. I think that's enabling them to drive the game into the ground with nary a whimper.
It's very possible that Minecraft may very well have peaked before actually being released. It's coming out one week after Skyrim and being released in the middle of GTA V, BF3 and (hopefully) not too far away from Diablo 3. The only chance Minecraft has amidst this level of competition (and it is in competition with these games, at least in terms of competing for the limited gaming time we all have), is in being true to itself and being what it is – a mining and crafting game, which to be honest, it barely is anymore. Yes it still has all the old mining and crafting mechanics, but that's precisely what they are – OLD mining and crafting mechanics, alpha and beta mining and crafting mechanics.
Enchantments and potions and ridiculous dimensions and dragons have come at a cost, the opportunity to have developed something truly unique, to have pushed the genre Minecraft carved out even further. Fortunately I have no doubt that another developer will invariably develop a game that does these things. The market for these types of games has now been proven and it's probably only a matter of time before the next great game comes out. I'm just sad that it probably won't be Minecraft, but hey, at least we'll have cows that look like mushrooms, right? Right?