Who knew building an entire world from scratch could be so much fun? Apparently a shit load of people.

I passed on Minecraft when it was hyped up for the PC and when it released on the 360 I kind of rolled my eyes since PC games rarely transition well on to consoles for us sewer dwellers. A high school buddy of mine mentioned playing MC360 on Facebook which lead to a conversation between the two of us about the reasoning of the game, the motivation to play it and what exactly did people find so damn compelling.

One thing lead to another and my girlfriend and I picked it up, mainly because we both like mindless games like Harvest Moon and we always jump at the chance to play anything with split-screen co-op since our internet is terrible out in the middle of nowhere. Two gamers sharing one system always results in compromise or violence, and thankfully this one ended peacefully.

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A look at the new rain and snow textures (via split-screen) patched in a few days ago.

So we get dropped in to our randomized seeded world, I start punching trees, following the tooltip hints, building blocks and crafting tables but the Kinder in me gets a bit of the old wanderlust and I head off in the opposite direction to explore. I roam from our beach zone to a forest, to a winter wonderland and eventually fall in to a hole so deep that I couldn’t see my stubby little blocky hand in front of me. I start punching walls and getting nowhere fast, so I convinced my girlfriend to start over with a new world.

Round 2 starts and I come at the trees swinging, blocky right hand after blocky right hand. I gather my wood, make my crafting table, see something moving in the distance and immediately head off to find out what in the hell that funny shaped pink thing was but, alas, i fall in another hole in complete and total darkness and can’t find my way out.

Round 3 starts in a much more fertile area and I told myself not to wander off aimlessly. Focus! I start off like I always had, gathering wood, making that damned crafting table again and before I know it, it became dark. Zombies and spiders start pouring in at us and some skeletal asshole starts pelting us with arrows before we even know what’s going on. I start running in the opposite direction, jumping OVER the holes, and BAM! A creeper sneaks up behind me and makes my insides the outside.

Now I’ve played the hell out of Dark Souls and I’m okay with dying, but I quickly grew tired of the “die and start over with nothing” routine. By the end of our first night with Minecraft I was ready to throw in the towel and play something that looked prettier, had some form of storyline, a better combat system, anything. I would have played Friday the 13th for the NES over Minecraft that night.

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Our in-home lava pool. The gamma levels in-game are really low causing darker screenshots to come out almost black. We pumped up the gamma and it looks fine when we play, but it doesn’t transition in to our screen caps.

My girlfriend was saddened by my distaste in Minecraft so I read a little bit online about “starting off” and was completely baffled by what we overlooked. SHELTER! We’ve watched hundreds of zombie films, played countless zombie games and even listen to zombie survival podcasts and never once thought of using all of that wood to build a shelter! Maybe after seeing what happened to Ash in Evil Dead, shelter wasn’t always the best option?

So on Day 2 of Minecraft we headed back in to that pixellated hell of beach and snow, but this time prepared. Suck it, zombies! We’re dropped in Snake Eater style, eye a giant mountain and climb to the top. We gather a bunch of wood, make a ton of boxes, pile them up high and stand our ground.. well, until a creeper came along and exploded half of our building. I really hate those things >.>

To make a long post slightly less long, trial and error became our best friend much like it did in Dark Souls and we’ve learned to embrace our failings. Most of them have actually become quite hilarious, like discovering lava for the first time, falling in it and losing an entire inventory of minerals and diamonds, various pickaxes and cooked pork chops that I slaved over a hot furnace for. She’s really liked the game from the get-go but it took me a bit to turn around. I’m glad I stuck with it because it’s not only been really fun building a massive castle atop a giant mountain, excavating a mine beneath it and blazing down in our minecart, but it’s also been another really great moment that we spent together doing what we love, just like we did with Borderlands, Dark Souls and various other games. $20 well spent in my book!

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