Top Ten Reasons Minecraft is a Better Video Game than Skyrim
Minecraft always draws me back, but why?
Time. Time for a college student is a hard thing to come by. If I'm not studying, I'm doing homework. If I'm not doing homework, I'm sleeping. If I'm not sleeping, I'm in class. If I'm not in class, I'm studying. However, no matter how little time I truly have to myself, I somehow end up playing a video game, probably just because my body becomes so stressed that I need to find some sort of an outlet.
Last November, Bethesda Studios released the epic-world fantasy that is known as Skyrim, the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series, following Oblivion, a game I had spent MANY hours playing in anticipation of the release. Whenever Skyrim came out, I was hooked, and I've played it many times over, enjoying every moment of it.
However, a little after it was released, a cousin of mine showed me the 8-bit game known as Minecraft, something I had heard about before, but never actually paid any attention to. I bought a version of the game, and my cousin and I started our own private server world, where we began building and building incredible (at least to us) structures using the materials we had harvested around us. I now find that even though I have played both of these games extensively, Minecraft always seems to pull me back more than Skyrim. And here are my top ten reasons as to why I think this happens:
Reason 10: Minecraft has Player-Skins
This might seem like a silly reason that Minecraft is more re-playable than Skyrim, but it's true. The advancement in graphics development are fantastic, and the realism achieved in Skyrim is astounding, to say the least. However, most of the racial options in Skyrim, save the Khajiit, Argonian, and Orc races, are rather realistic and human looking. This isn't a bad thing, but there's always something hilarious about running around as Zoidberg in a medieval-stylized area.
Reason 9: Multiplayer!
Say what you will about how great Skyrim is, it would be even greater if you could roam the mountains and valleys with a friend, who wasn't just one of the silly AI followers who happens to get in your way all of the time. *cough Lydia* If you make a server world in Minecraft, which is much simpler now than it was whenever I first attempted, you have the added benefit of dividing tasks between people (e.g. You, build this! You, gather this! Me, I'll mess around with this redstone I've found until I become so frustrated I give up and TNT everything!) That and it is interesting to see how a world in an open sandbox game evolves with people that have different visions than you do.
Reason 8: 8-bit simplicity.
Everything is made of cubes, each supposedly 1 cubic meter in volume, and you stand two blocks tall. Simple. Everything you do revolves around these cubes; you build with these, live within walls built by these, and dig through these. Even the controls are easy to use, and since many other games use a similar movement system (known as the WASD system) it's not like it is something completely new to learn. Even using tools in the game is easy; usually to swing something you click the mouse. If there's a secondary action involved with that object, then you right click. So simple, so easy.
Reason 7: Nostalgia
While I wasn't exactly around whenever 8-bit games were in their hay-day, I have played my fair share of SNES, gameboy, and arcade games. They were a huge part of my childhood, and I even bust out the oldies-but-goodies just for kicks. So seeing a new (new meaning within the last 5 years) game that is completely designed around 8-bit, I feel a bit nostalgic, and it makes me want to play more and more. Skyrim is just so new that there isn't much to relate it to, other than Oblivion, but I was "grown up" by the time I began to play that; you just don't feel as much nostalgia unless it is related with the "good ol' days" of childhood and pre-teenery.
Reason 6: Minecraft Changes. Often.
While the overall look of Minecraft is the same, things are always being added, via "snapshots" and full-on updates that add new enemy types, new building blocks, and new ways to utilize the old building blocks. Skyrim, though it will definitely be given many expansions that can change the dynamic of the game, will more or less remain Skyrim, excluding any modding of course. Even the little updates given to Minecraft add many new possibilities. I didn't think that an "upside-down stair" would make a game any different, but now you can see upside down stairs everywhere on the things I build, simply because they make it look smoother, better, and (bear with me) more realistic. The next update due is going to add even more to the game, and it will change Minecraft even further from the original.
Reason 5: The Menial Tasks
This one seems weird. For some unknown reason, I find it completely relaxing to go coal mining, or on a diamond hunt in Minecraft. However, sometimes the miscellaneous quests in Skyrim make me want to scream with rage and frustration, mostly because no matter what I do, I seem to add to the miscellaneous quests instead of remove some of the quests.
Reason 4: Creative Mode
While the majority of my time in Minecraft is spent in survival mode (a game mode where you must gather all resources, eat, and defend your home against monsters) I like to take a break and begin a creative mode world, where you can build whatever you want, with completely unlimited resources. Search Minecraft on youtube, and you're guaranteed to find a video based on showing off someone's creations that were made in creative mode, and you can see why this gets me excited. If I could build a castle as large as some of the stuff on the internet, I could consider my Minecraft life over. Unfortunately I have a short attention span for things like that, and I'll become distracted with another project or world. However, in Skyrim, there's pretty much one default mode: adventure mode. You roam Skyrim's beautiful landscape, and fight of the monsters of the wild, bandits in the dungeons, and dragons in the sky, but you're always adventuring.
Reason 3: There is always more.
Imagine the universe in its entirety. Now double that. That's the size of the world in Minecraft. Well, not really, but it is large. Very very large, as in nine hundred million square kilometers. That time I'm serious, that is the calculated size of a Minecraft world. Now keep this in mind: every time you start a new world in Minecraft that's another nine hundred million square kilometers generated. In other words, huge. Skyrim also has an incredibly large map, however you could feasibly explore every inch of it within a lifetime, something I don't think you could do in a single Minecraft map. So if you get tired of your little habitat in the world, you move on until you find something new that you can work with, you'll never run out of space!
Reason 2: You are well and truly free to do what you want.
Minecraft has no rules, except for eat, and don't die. Some would argue that Skyrim is of a similar format, and it is, but not nearly to the same extent. Skyrim, though you don't have to do a single one of them, has plenty of quests to keep you busy. And therein lies the problem. While I don't have to do anything in Skyrim, I feel obligated to, because without the quests given to you, there isn't much to do. In Minecraft, it's exactly the opposite. There aren't any quests offered to you at all, so you HAVE to make up things to do. So you will decide to build a roller coaster, or a computer, or some other strange device or building that has yet to even be thought up by Minecraft users. It's just what you have to do, since nothing is handed for you to do already.
Finally, reason 1: The Building!
With the addition of Hearthfire to Skyrim, which coincidentally was inspired by Minecraft, you can now build your own homestead in three distinct areas on the Skyrim map. I personally really enjoyed the little addition, and actually built myself the best house I could on one of the plots, and I'm working on acquiring the other two in order to have three unique houses that I "created" on my own. The only true problem that I have with it is that you can't build wherever you want, however you want. I'm given three options for each wing of the house, which is nice, but what if I want to be irrational and have three libraries in one house, a wizards tower beside my adopted children's bedrooms, and a stand for the dragon skull in the middle of the house? There just isn't the freedom to be able to do that. Most of my creations in Minecraft, however, have been built on a whim, and are built exactly how I felt the should be, where they should be, no matter how strange it may seem to a stranger, or to myself a few weeks later. That's what is nice about it; I just build and build to my hearts content, and can change whatever I want whenever I want. If I want to build a lovely countryside manor overtop of a pool of lava and have snow golems running amok like servants, then I can! I don't feel like I'm confined to a set of standardized rules (gravity barely even works in Minecraft) so I can build whatever vision I have however I want to, something many games don't offer. I like being able to see what I have come up with as a building within the world, and I like being able to see how a group of buildings work together. If I could build all three of my Hearthfire homes right beside each other, I probably would, just to see how they looked beside one another, and so that I could influence one based on another. If I could, I would build myself a mountain tower that also had caves extending in each direction underneath it. However, I can't in Skyrim, so I play Minecraft.
Over all, I love both Skyrim and Minecraft, and they're both two of my favorite games of all time. However, if you're looking for a game that will take up the most time and will be the most re-playable in the long run, then go with Minecraft. Not only is it considerably less expensive (around twenty-five dollars or so) than Skyrim, but you'll also probably play it for much longer in the end.