Imagine: A game in which you have the freedom to create anything! You are put in an endless world made of cubical blocks that represent different materials like sand, grass, water, stones etc and you can gather and place these material ‘blocks’ anywhere, thus creating constructions. The core gameplay revolves around construction and gives the freedom to modify everything in the environment the way you want. This is what Minecraft is all about and the most amazing thing about this game is that, it has no set goals and cannot be ‘won’.
So, Minecraft is basically a sandbox building game with primitive graphics, no plot, no set objectives and no possibility of victory. Then how does Minecraft qualify to be ‘More than just a game’ (or rather, a ‘Game’), that too in a time where we have titles with breathtaking visuals, detailed environments and terrific protagonists with amazing story lines… Minecraft is written in Java, originally created by Swedish Creator Markus “Notch” Persson and now by his company, Mojang and, the very fact that Minecraft has no set goals makes it revolutionary. You create your own goals! You are the creator and the destructor of the environment around you. You can build almost anything out of the material ‘blocks’ that you acquire from the surroundings. And I am not just using the word ‘anything’ just for the sake of it, after a lot of research regarding this game across the net and having the first hand experience of playing it, I actually mean what I have stated and that’s the reason why I categorize it as ‘More than just a game’.
The game isn’t just limited to building big castles, tall skyscrapers, huge fields etc., it’s much much more…a dedicated player has already come up with a CPU that can actually compute! Now, developing a computer game is one thing and developing a computer within a game is an entirely different thing. That’s like putting a computer in a computer so you can process while you process. Mind boggling isn’t it? And even though it is still limited to performing small calculations but, the fact that this has been achieved, is an amazing feat in itself. Here is a video of the CPU designed in the game (NOTE: This requires basic understanding of Binary numeral system):
And this isn’t even the full version of the game yet! That is set for a release in November later this year. At the moment, the game has two variants — free Classic and paid Beta, Classic is focused entirely on construction with unlimited material supply, whereas Beta requires players to acquire resources themselves, and contains mobs, player health, and additional features and items. Beta is the only continuously updated version of the game. The game has the option of singleplayer and multiplayer as well. In the singleplayer mode you get to explore the complete world on your own, whereas, in multiplayer you can share this experience with other mine-crafters. Multiplayer games are currently hosted by individual players or groups, there aren’t any official Minecraft servers yet.
Talking of which, many of you guys might be aware of ‘Lord of The Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth’, an MMPORG, (inspired from the movies and books of the series) developed by EA Los Angeles. In this game, you create and level your character to explore the various areas of the Middle Earth by completing quest objectives dungeons and raids along with your friends. Now, you might be thinking that why would this require a mention in a post regarding Minecraft, well, there is a big reason: A project is underway titled ‘Minecraft Middle Earth’, in which dedicated mine-crafters have successfully replicated the whole world (well not the entire world but yes, a very huge part) of LOTR:TBFME in Mincecraft. ‘Minecraft Middle-Earth’ will feature different race/class combinations and will allow the players to level, complete quests, dungeons and raids like LOTR. There is already a server dedicated for this multiplayer experience, which is getting very popular among fans. Donations to maintain this server have already started coming in and the project seems to be on the right track with many players helping in the development of the same. Applications to join this project are open and due to the overwhelming response, applicants are being rejected as well. Here is a link to the official project site.
Minecraft is seriously something big and revolutionary. Implementing a working CPU and an entire MMORPG world within a Java based game are a few things that are unprecedented. Hats off to the developers for creating such a game and to the players who came up with these amazing ideas within the game because if this is what they have achieved in the Beta stages, god knows what they will come up with in the full version….Possibilities are endless in Minecraft and that’s why it is ‘Much more than just a game’!!