Minecraft is an accessible, open world game with no missions, objectives or goals. The game’s original creator hails from Sweden and he is known by his nickname, Notch, although his full name is Markus Persson. As of 2011 he passed creative control over the Minecraft project to Jens Bergensten, enabling him to work on new ideas. The company that was formed as a result of Minecraft’s phenomenal success is Mojang AB.
Console players were finally given the opportunity to test out their skills in May 2012, when the Minecraft Xbox 360 edition hit the stores. In just five months four million copies were sold, new updates for the PC and consoles are being released all the time, these are often prompted by player’s comments and improve various aspects of the game.
Everything that is built in Minecraft starts off as a basic block, when these are mined or refined as part of a recipe they can be used in many different ways. There are nearly 200 types of block, ranging from air to gold ore and lava. Most of the rendering on these blocks is static, but the water, lava, prismarine, fire, sea lantern and portal blocks are all animated. This can create stunning effects when they are used over large areas. To enable players to complete their structures more easily, most of the blocks are capable of floating in mid-air until they become anchored down. The exceptions to this rule are dragon’s eggs, gravel, red sand, anvil and sand, which are subject to gravity.
Even if you choose the single player mode, you’ll never be truly alone in Minecraft. There is a thriving community of mobile game characters which players have affectionately named ‘mobs’ for short. These entities react to their environment in a similar way as the player and they can also become injured. They can jump into a minecart to traverse distances, use ladders, and enter buildings. If they die, mobs drop objects which players can pick up and may find useful. The game has Passive Mobs which are the Villagers, Pigs, Bats, Rabbits, Sheep and Squid. As the name suggests, they wander around harmlessly, spawning in groups and having only a passing interest in players.
The Hostile Mobs are made up of Creepers, Slime, Zombie Villagers, Killer Bunnies and 12 other monster-like creatures. They behave in an aggressive way toward the player and other mobs, especially if they get too close. The last large group are Neutral Mobs, they are made up of Spiders, Enderman and Zombie Pigmen. They will not engage in any violence unless provoked, by another mob or a player.
There are also Tamable Mobs like horses, wolves and mules, which can perform tasks for the player, Utility Mobs, like the Snow Golem which are created by the player to perform tasks like defending villagers, and finally Boss mobs, like the Ender Dragon and Wither, which are especially challenging enemies. On the PC every mob is available to use or interact with; this is not the case on consoles and the Pocket Edition.
The game play can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Minecraft is generally divided into two separate modes of play, these are Creative and Survival. Both can be enjoyed in a multiplayer environment, or as a single player. If you’re wondering which mode to opt for, it depends on how you intend to play the game.
For people who want to have unlimited resources at their finger-tips and plenty of time to build large, impressive buildings, waterfalls or landscapes from scratch, Creative is ideal. You can select the blocks you want to use, plus their shape and size, easily. Better still, this is a quiet uneventful environment where the peace will not be shattered by hostile mobs. These creatures will still spawn around the game but they won’t attack players or cause any damage.
For more adventurous players who prefer a little risk and excitement in their gaming, go for the Survival option. Here, you have to craft various structures to keep yourself safe, ensure your hunger is kept in check and fight off a variety of hostile mobs. These aggressive inhabitants tend to wander around the Minecraft Survival universe at night, but can also be encountered at random points during daylight hours. They will set fire to buildings, destroy blocks and attack or chase players.
When you are playing in Creative mode you need to use specific recipes to make the materials you need. Crafting is one of the methods used to do this; to begin, players have to take the items they intend to use out of their inventory and place them into a Crafting Grid. Some ingredients have to be positioned in a special way on the grid, whilst others can be randomly arranged.
A second method players can use to obtain more refined materials is smelting. Here, as with crafting, items are put onto the grid and then produce a unit of the desired goods. The final recipe method is brewing; you can produce potions or splash potions using the special Brewing Stand. Once finished, these brews have many different properties, some can help you heal or give immunity to hazards, whilst others can be used to launch an attack.
There are three extra modes of play which are more specialised and less commonly used by regular players. These are Hardcore, where instead of re-spawning when the player dies, the entire game is deleted; Adventure, where players use their own map and materials are harder to harvest; Spectator, where players simply fly around observing the world without interacting, and Demo, for players who are testing out the game without downloading the full version.