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Originality is painstakingly sought after but scarcely arrived at in most MMOs. That’s why Minecraft amazes us as an undisputable eye-opener constantly after its release. As an innovative game in essence, it is like a great story which finds its Muse in the source of all pleasure: discovery, creation and sharing.
Behind it is the passionate Swedish creator Markus Notch Persson, a talent programmer receiving lots of programming contest prizes and then a gifted game developer with numerous works (both amateur and professional) to his credit. In 2009, inspired by Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper and Infiniminer, he worked on a project entirely written in Java and finally brought birth to the game type known as Sandbox. That is the very Minecraft, which enables you to build constructions beyond the wildest dream in the simplest way.
Minecraft features a randomly generated yet remarkably consistent universe, in which players creatively build constructions with resources in the 3D world. And there are two variants: one is named Classic, the earlier pioneer that centers construction solely with auto material supply; and the other is termed Survival, the more ambitious successor that requires resources collection before building. Both modes have their own credits, and the polished Survival is especially favored by players since its alpha version. Then when the game goes into beta on December 21, 2010, it’s not surprising that the sale approached one million copies.
Minecraft immerses you in a gigantic universe made up of billions of cubic. Generated dynamically, the in-game world spreads out unbelievable rich landscapes of valleys, forests, rivers, mountains, deserts of volcanic rifts, glaciers, etc. You will be initially dropped in the middle of it randomly to spawn. And don’t worry, you are not completely alone. As the world also runs on a day-and-night circle, non-human creatures will make their presence accordingly. In the day, animals such as sheep, cows, chickens and pigs can be hunted for food and crafting materials; and while night falls, monsters in the shape of skeletons, zombies, explosive creepers and giant spiders, etc will emerge to wreck havoc and initiate attacks. By this, it begins to bring home to you the sole purpose of Minecraft: survival.
To survive, you need to learn to make full use of the surrounding resources: trees provide wood, rocks contain ore, pigs offer chubby chops, etc.. You can take advantage of almost all of the cubes around you. As a starter, why not dig a hole in the ground on a hillside and build a makeshift shelter in the manner of a Hobbit, so as to fend yourself against the attack of mobs? And to build whatever buildings, all needed operation can be easily achieved by simple controls on mouse. If you want to cut wood, for example, you can simply hold down the left button of the mouse against the selected tree; and once the log is felled to the ground, you can pick it up and then place it in the intended location with the right mouse button. During your adventure, you will repeat frequently to collect resources around the environment and use them to create new buildings. And it all works the similar way.
Surely it can’t be all that simple; otherwise the game would quickly reduce to a boring no-brainer. Let your creativity spark and tap the potential of the raw materials collected in the environment. From your inventory or from your workshop (if you have built it), crafting materials are accessible to be put into creation. For instance, wood can be turned into planks, which can in turn be cut into strips to make torches, ladders, fences, etc.; and leather pieces (got from cows or dear) can be cut to make protective clothes. The craft is based on a pattern that may be a little confusing at first, but is intuitive ultimately once summed up: it is to sketch the shape of the desired object by adequate resources. And you bet, the crafting and building list is long enough to indulge and creative enough to be longed for at the same time.
Your life as a beginner may be vulnerable, but your ingenuity will quickly pull you through. During the first few nights, you may be threatened by the monsters poking around and scratching the fragile door of your little shelter. Such menace calls for the necessity of self-protection: rack your brain and come up with resourceful tactics against different enemies. Just think about those explosive Creepers. How can you effectively keep them at bay, protecting yourself and your buildings from damage inflicted by their explosion? Once sufficiently seasoned and equipped, you can start exploring the wider world. And the natural cave is a good starter, since monsters lurking there are not that daunting and essential minerals (useful in making advanced objects) are scattered around in large quantity. As you delve deeper, danger increases and so does treasure.
For Minecraft is a hardcore game and relatively unpredictable: a moment of carelessness may force you back into the original spawn point to start over. There is no world map, so you are to experience adventures unique to you; and there is no finality, so you are to set your own goals. You can simply play the way you like, no matter the preferred activity is to build an impregnable fortress, to dig a mine with Cyclopean system for trucks support, or to explore the world in search of paradise. Possibility sees no end and the only limit is your imagination.
Solo play is undoubtedly great, yet still outshined when compared with the multiplayer mode. In it, you can indeed work together with other players towards a common goal, whether on the free Classic or paid beta (including two modes: Survival and Creative), and whether on a private server or public. Cooperation extracts much greater fun out of working on more spectacular projects, such as building an entire city with its neighborhoods, its canals, air routes and subway, etc. Some servers let players create and destroy at will, exposing everyone to vandalism of ‘griefers’; while others impose restrictions by way of in-game designs like administration and economy, etc. Besides, Minecraft still sees new interesting modifications forthcoming to all the more culminate its already immersive gameplay.
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