MineCraft: A Diamond in the Rough

by on March 7th, 2015
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Developers these days like to put a lot of emphasis on what gamers find to be the most essential qualities of a video game. Top-notch graphics, a solid in-depth story, excellent controls, good gameplay, and fast paced instant gratification. Why? Because it sells. And by that logic, a series like Call of Duty could release 15 more games in the next 2 years, each one outselling the last. Sure, that’s a formula that works from a corporate perspective, but what about the consumers? For them, there’s a little PC gem called MineCraft; a game that thrives on doing everything a game probably shouldn’t do.

Retro graphics? Absolutely no story? Nonsense enemies, and slow moving, laborious hours for a small ore of diamond? That’s exactly what MineCraft has to offer. The best question to ask is how the hell does it actually make for a good game? Why has it sold so many thousands upon thousands of copies? For starters, it’s a pretty novel game. I mean, take the concept of randomly spawning in an endless, blocky world where your only primary objective is to stay alive, and then think about all the steps involved in just setting up a decent shelter to sleep in. There’s wood collecting, crafting, mining, and hunting all before you have a bed of your own in a tiny wooden shack. Why go through all that effort? Why not just pop in The Sims, take your starting cash and buy yourself a pre-furnished place with all the luxuries of modern life?

The answer is charm. A game like MineCraft not only brings us retro charm, but the lovely return to living at its simplest virtual level. No fancy electronics, no cars, no money, no advanced machinery‚Ķ It’s just you and your pickaxe. Well, and a bunch of spiders, zombies, skeletons, and creepers.

In such a simplistic game, what could make up for the complete lack of story? How about absolute freedom? Being able to navigate such a large world that’s literally your own, you can do just about as much as you want, as long as it’s daytime. Creativity is another aspect that shines in this wonderful title. Many a you tube video has been posted showcasing “MineCraft Mega-Objects”. From the Starship Enterprise to the Statue of Liberty, the possibilities are endless. On huge online servers, tons of players gather for the chance to create amazing works of virtual art; out of digital lego blocks, no less.

It seems silly at first, believe me. But a half hour of MineCraft is usually all it takes for even the most shameless PS3 gamers to grow quite fond of it. With replay value that only stretches as far as your imagination, and as long as your patience for digging up diamonds, MineCraft has become one of the most sensational videogames in years. Easily my choice for the number one videogame of 2011.


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