What the hell is Minecraft ?
Minecraft is a computer game which will run on almost any computer operating system as there is a web version as well as Mac and Windows versions, as well as for Xbox 360, a station three and some mobile phones and tablets using android. The game was written and published by a Swedish company Mojang in May 2009. Programmer, Marcus Persson, was something of a genius in thinking up and developing this game. In 2011 Minecraft received five awards during the 2011 game developers conference. So what is Minecraft? Let’s take a look.
Minecraft is a multiplayer environment that allows players to construct buildings and other objects out of 3-D cubes or blocks in a world. Within the game there are various modes which a player can play in, survival mode, creative mode and adventure mode. The maps of this world can be created by the players themselves or other players and downloaded to your own game so you can play in those worlds. Adventure mode allows players to customise maps created by other players.
What is the purpose of Minecraft? I’m still trying to get my head around this one. In survival mode, probably the most complex of the three, player has to build the world they live in by acquiring resources and using those resources for tools, food and construction materials in order to build shelters and survive. There are also randomly generated creatures which have their own personality and may attack you if you provoke them or are naturally aggressive and must be avoided or killed. The aim of this game is survival.
Minecraft graphics are basic everything revolves around the cube, which is the basic building block of everything. There is no predefined storyline for Minecraft and maybe that is why so many players are engaged in multiplayer environments where they can make the storyline up as they go or develop their own worlds (custom maps) and the challenges within them. I need to stress this point Minecraft is not just the kids, there are very many adults hooked on Minecraft and active in playing online games and developing custom maps for others to use.
This game is described as a “sandbox game” which basically means that players can create their own environments and experience. It’s a virtual world which starts as a basic framework for anyone to build upon using the resources available within the game and combining resources in recipes to produce new resources. This game is all about imagination and creativity. When you start playing you learn to build basic cuts and simple structures but when you become involved with some of the more experienced players online and see the stunning complex structures that they have built then you cannot help to be amazed at how simple concepts can come together to build such complex worlds with so much detail.
Life in Minecraft becomes interesting when you have to deal with various animals, zombies and other monsters and your survival depends on building shelters and making tools and weapons to stay alive. In terms of moving around the world’s (maps) you can walk and run and in some modes you can also fly. In multiplayer environments you are also able to teleport to friends in case you lose them in the vast expanse of the games maps.
In many respects the game emulates the challenges of real-life and I can understand why at least some schools may choose to encourage children to learn and play the game because there are some basic concepts, strategies and thought process that are key to the learning process and how we function in everyday life. This may be one of the only commercial games available that has the ability to teach children certain life skills that are otherwise missing from normal education.
When I sit back and look at how this game is put together and what you need to learn to play it, then I can start to see how different this is conceptually from the typical games my generation have grown up with and are still prevalent today, i.e. the simulators, third person shooters and games where the journey is predefined and the player doesn’t really need to use creative skills in order to win the game. Minecraft is like a blank piece of paper for an artist, you can make it a simple or as complex a game as you wish. You can play alone or you can play with dozens of other players, online, or you can set up your own server at home and play with a select group of friends.
What is Minecraft?- It’s like a box of 10 million Lego bricks and unlimited space to build then plus a lot more, and it’s on your computer or online and that makes it global. I can see why my daughter is so enthusiastic about Minecraft and why the game has been so successful since its first release in 2009. It has sold over 100 million copies to registered users around the world.
If you want to learn more about Minecraft flick through the pages, drop us questions, or simply surf the Internet. There are a wealth of videos on YouTube created by enthusiasts and some of the leading players.