You might have seen it while looking over the shoulder of a younger relative as they sit hunched over their computer for hours. Strange blocky people running through pixelated worlds, digging endless caverns and building fantastic structures. You might have thought it looks like good fun, kind of like a modern-day Lego, but have no idea how to get involved.
This article aims to provide an introduction to the world-wide gaming phenomenon that is “Minecraft”. What exactly is it? Where can you get yourself a copy? How do you start your own Minecraft adventure? If you’ve ever asked one of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.
What is it?
Minecraft is a game that is played by building structures and exploring worlds. As the name suggests, gamplay focuses on “Mining” and “Crafting”. Depending on the mode selected by the player on start-up, the objectives differ slighty but they are consistently geared towards creativity.
Your task is to extract materials from the environment, such as wood, rocks and metals, that enable you to build your own tools, weapons, dwellings, farms and castles – whatever you please, really. The only limitation is your own imagination.
The game was created by a Swedish developer Markus “Notch” Persson and saw its first release in 2009 through “Mojang”. To date, it has sold over 22 million copies.
Where and how do you play it?
The game is available to play on:
- Windows (including Windows 10)
- Xbox One & 360
- Playstation 3 & 4
- Nintendo Wii U
- Smartphones (both Mac Os and Android)
You can start playing the game after setting up an account and following the inbuilt tutorials. These will show you all the basics.
Do you play alone?
That’s entirely up to you. The game can be played alone, but the online multiplayer mode allows users to connect to thousands of players. Gamers can then trade environments and worlds, battle each other or share what they have created. This option makes Minecraft a very social experience for those who chose it.
How much is Minecraft?
The cost of the game depends on the platform that it’s played on. Check out our article on “How much is Minecraft?” here.
How to setup a game of Minecraft:
The game can be played in two basic modes:
- Survival Mode
- Create Mode
In “Survival Mode”, you have to manually extract the building materials that you require from your environment. Different resources have various properties that allow players to use them to aid their own survival in the Minecraft world. You are required to find food, build a shelter and create weapons, all while trying to fend off zombies and other enemies that come in the night.
It’s the harder option of the two game-modes because surviving the perils of Minecraft is understandably tough. However, the challenges a player faces allow for a lot of creativity in terms of solutions to the problems of living in such a hostile world.
In “Create Mode”, all the materials you need for building are already provided and you don’t have to get your hands dirty extracting them from the environment. There’s no need to survive here as this mode focuses only on your creativity and what you want to build.
Forts, castles, empires, cities – the possibilities are literally endless. Though more hassle-free than Survival Mode, Create Mode doesn’t provide the same challenges to innovate with limited resources.
Both modes offer a huge amount of satisfaction and enjoyment. It’s really up to the player themselves to decide if they want to tough it out in the big scary Minecraft world, or they just want to get creative with some blocks and build a dream home for their virtual self.
Parent’s Guide: is it good for your kid?
Some schools have been so impressed by the range of real-life lessons that Minecraft teaches that they have incorporated it into the curriculum. We have listed some of the reasons that might have influenced the decision below:
- The game encourages children to use math, geometry and reasoning to figure out how to build an optimal environment, making it an invaluable educational tool.
- Players also have to manage valuable, limited materials and think up creative ways to ensure their own survival. They often have to work in teams to make sure their world flourishes, but also have to deal with other players who can challenge them for their resources. All of these aspects mirror problems that may arise in real life. The game allows children the chance to figure out solutions in a “safe” virtual realm before tackling them in the real world.
- Another obvious benefit that Minecraft has for children is the way it stimulates their creativity. Kids are naturally imaginative and adventurous and the objectives in the game lend themselves to these traits. The game requires players to think creatively to arrive at solutions that will aid them in their adventures through the fantasy world. This might involve creating new tools out of acquired materials or searching for new resources underground that will help their quest.
- One concern parents might have is that children can get swallowed up by the game. This can lead to them spending many hours sat in front of their computer, isolating them from real life interactions.
Ultimately though, “Minecraft” means to children today what “Lego” meant to children 60 years ago. The creative impulses the game draws upon are timeless and “Minecraft” has simply modernized the idea. That’s not to say that only kids will get a kick out of the game. The creative and problem solving elements of Minecraft ensure that it holds wide appeal, with fans coming from almost every conceivable demographic.
Check out Minecraft Items on Amazon.com