To quote The Skwrk at youtube: “I specialize in a very specific type of mining…”

The Minecraft bug has hit me full force now.  I struggled with the concept initially, lacking any supporting information about how to get to the point where you can effectively craft, then mine.  I feel like an idiot now, but this Penny Arcade strip puts it in perspective.

Minecraft is more fun than many retail games.  It’s being developed by one person, and for the time being it only costs around $10.  It doesn’t have the greatest graphics in the world, but this is in no way an impediment to the game itself.  It’s truly a sandbox game with rules only governing the crafting process and combat with enemies.  Otherwise, it is you’re own little world.

What has kept me hooked to it is the realization that when I look at something in the game and think of something cool, there’s nothing to stop me from doing it.  As you learn more about the crafting/building process these possibilities open up more and more.  The whole experience is glued together with a satisfying sense of exploration (the world is randomly generated when you first begin) in tandem with the day/night cycle that keeps you on your toes, ready to seek shelter from an assortment of nasty creatures.

I haven’t been in tune with the indie games front, so maybe this sounds obvious.  But it’s easy to think that the traditional publishing model is the only way of doing business and putting games out on the market. Even with indie games published via Steam or XBLA, there is still a gate keeper between the designer and the audience. A game like Minecraft demonstrates that doesn’t have to be the case.  It’s not the only example, but it’s certainly turning heads like none other right now.  And I really hope that we’ll see even more of this in the near future.  It would be great to eventually see the same sort of success that’s normally associated with retail games begin to emerge for games like Minecraft.

Go ahead and try it out for yourself.


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