Video game corner: Minecraft

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By Willem Weinstein

In 2009, the alpha version of Minecraft was released by Markus “Notch” Persson, a small, independent video game developer. Since then, the game has exploded in popularity, and Notch’s company, Mojang, is still releasing updates for Minecraft to this day.

Since 2009, the game has been constantly updated, fixing many bugs and glitches that plagued earlier versions of Minecraft. At its base form, Minecraft is simply a game about building. It places the player in a 3D environment, in which the player has the ability to break apart his or her setting into blocks and place them in any configuration that they can imagine, within the limits of the world created by Notch.

Players may also craft objects out of raw material blocks; for example, if you place four wooden blocks in a square pattern, you can make a table. If you place two stick blocks with a stone block, you can make a shovel. You can get creative with your objects, but since the developers try to make the placement look like the object being made, your imagination is stretched at points.

Now in version 1.6.4, Minecraft has evolved significantly over the years. Originally, Minecraft consisted of just the basics, with players only able to move blocks to make houses or something simple like a pick to better destroy blocks for moving. Nowadays, however, players face horses, zombies, pigs, zombie pigs, a giant ghost that shoots fire and Endermen, which are creatures born from nightmares. Some can be fought, some can be tamed and most can be killed for sustenance.

As for objects created, Minecraft now allows for smithing, enchanting, alchemy, fence building and other high-tech developments. A mechanic has been added that lets players skip the night cycle if they so choose (which is when the scary monsters come out), called “sleeping in a bed.” Minecraft offers armor for both yourself and horses, potions for making magic and leveling to be used in enchanting. There are crops to be planted, mines to be explored, villagers to be traded with and even bosses to be fought. I could go on and on about all the additions added to the game since its initial reveal four years ago, but the main point is that there is a lot that players can do in this game.

The bottom line of Minecraft is that you can do anything you want. You can either level, enchant and fight your bosses, searching for resources to make the best objects possible, or you can just do what I do and build the most elaborate structures you can think of in which to play around. The point of the game is that its possibilities are literally endless in the perpetually expanding environment Notch has created. Even if you do get bored and feel that you have become too powerful in the world, you can just destroy it and start all over again.

In addition, Minecraft has a multiplayer option, so you can do all of this with your friends, too. Finally, there is a preposterous number of mods that can be added to the game. You can get one to turn it into a steampunk world, one to give you guns, one that introduces magic and a seemingly unending host of others.

Honestly, the only issue I can find with the game is that there is not really a set limit of what you can build or do within this world, so players will often resort to consulting the Wiki in order to find out how to build a given object. This can be overwhelming at times.

Otherwise, this game is so immersive and engaging because it offers a blanket set of tools to the player that permit endless possibilities. I highly recommend giving the game a try.

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