My friend Paul idly suggested to me one afternoon last week that I play the free trial of “Minecraft” on XBOX 360. Being the adventurous and sporting fellow that I am, I gave it a shot.
Warning, my friends. Do NOT play this game unless you are prepared to lose several hours of your life. Minecraft will suck you in and hold you in its gullet until its good and ready to spit you out. And you’ll love every minute of it.
Some background: Minecraft was released in its earliest alpha form on PC in 2009 (and in its final form in late 2011) but only saw a release on 360 in early May. More than 400,000 people downloaded the 360 version within 24 hours and more than one million did so within a week.
The game is essentially the ultimate sandbox playland fantasy that you dream up when you’re six years old. You start out with nothing but your bare hands and have to chop wood, mine for stone and build a house to protect yourself from monsters that come out at night. From there, you can create a variety of structures, modes of transportation, weapons and armor. You can even decorate your house with golden trinkets and such.
Does this game sound fun to you? It didn’t to me, at first. And though I’ve played it several times since I downloaded it last week, I still can’t explain what makes this game fun. It just…is. It’s incredibly addictive and I can’t explain why.
The game looks like it was made in 1986. It’s pixelated as can be and your character looks like he stepped out of a cartoon drawn by a man with two fingers. The entire game is incredibly goofy. Even the monsters that can kill you (zombies, spiders and skeletons, to name a few) are completely unintimidating because of how cartoonish they look.
There is a way to win the game, and it apparently involves traveling through a portal to somewhere called “The End” and slaying a giant dragon. Don’t ask me, I haven’t done it yet. Other than that, you are free to spend hours building, creating and destroying as you see fit.
Thanks to a glitch with an item called a dispenser, you and a friend can create a seemingly infinite number of any given item. How did we wield this great power? We built a Michael Bay movie’s worth of TNT and blew a crater in the ground the size of Central Park. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. It actually made the game run slowly for a few seconds because of all the kaboomage.
Minecraft is a wonderfully fun game. My girlfriend, who has hardly played a video game in her life, jumped in with me and spent time decorating our virtual home and tending our virtual garden. This game brings people together! And, sadly, our Minecraft home is nicer than any apartment I’ll have in the near future.
This game is fun, but, as I said at the top, beware of digging too deep. See what I did there? Cause digging is a big part of the game…
Ah, forget it. See you in the mines.