People Still Like Minecraft
So, within hours of the release of Minecraft on Xbox Live Arcade, it was not only profitable but broke all previous sales records for the platform, with over 400,000 downloads in the first day. And that’s despite being - if I’m not mistaken - the priciest XBLA game to date at 1600 MS Points. Which I guess proves Activision’s point in overcharging for Call of Duty’s map packs; if something is popular enough, it doesn’t matter how large the number on the price tag is.
But I digress. Yesterday, I decided to join the mob after downloading the Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition trial. My first few hours with the game were well-documented but since then I had not returned, mainly because it had failed to hook me but also because it had changed so much, with new modes and new mechanics I couldn’t bring myself to wrap my head around. The port, however, is more resemblant of the state the game was in when I started playing, though the word is that it will brought up to date further down the line (you wouldn’t want to disappoint those 400,000 consumers, after all).
This will probably surprise no-one but already I prefer playing Minecraft on the console than on the PC. But not for the reasons you probably think.
A Week With… Minecraft
It’s funny how the games that attract the most hardcore players these days tend to have the suffix ‘craft’ in the title. The recent, game-changing expansion to The Biggest Computer Game On Earth, World of Warcraft, has even managed to sucker in our own Nic, a move that surprised me given how long he resisted.
But it’s gaming’s latest and greatest sandbox, Minecraft - developed by Mojang - that has got everyone frothing at the mouths. And would you believe it, it’s actually about crafting…and mining (one of those Ronseal games; does exactly what it says on the tin). I haven’t been avoiding it for the same reasons I’ve been avoiding the likes of WoW - paying the subscription every month, general lack of knowledge about MMOs - the sort of things you get shouted ‘n00b’ at for. No, the reason I’ve been avoiding Minecraft is purely for my own safety.
I’ve heard the stories: “One minute I was digging through a hole in the ground and then nine hours passed!” I’ve seen the crazy things people have done with the game; if creation-based games like LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers are enough to give me a sugar high, I reckon Minecraft might be the equivalent of drug addiction.
The thing that continues to amaze me is that it’s still in beta. Beta! Gamers today lose their minds if there’s a tiny spot of lag in the latest Battlefield beta, and yet everyone is going nuts for a game that isn’t even finished yet!
Well, for the sake of this blog, and crucially the sake of staying hip, I’ve taken the impulsive plunge. What follows is not so much a review of the game, rather a journal of what will hopefully be the first of many hours with this digital bag of crack. Could Minecraft join Knights of the Old Republic and Civilization IV on my (rather brief) list of reasons to defend PC gaming? Will I succumb to its addictive nature like so many before me? Will I loudly procrastinate and give up in frustration after ten minutes? Gentlemen, start your…pickaxes.