Played on PS4

Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world. And I’ve never played it. Today I changed that.

For those who have been sleeping under a rock for the past 5 years, Minecraft is an sandbox game released in mid-2009. It spiraled into popularity due to it’s unique procedurally generated worlds that then allowed users to create and build whatever they want using the different materials present. I’ve seen some crazy things build over the years – Game of Throne’s Westoros, famous paintings, and even fully functional calculators. Millions of people play the game, and have dedicated endless hours to just exploring and having fun.

But not me. I’ve never played it.

It’s been on PC, Mac, and Linux. Web versions exist. Mobile versions. Xbox 360 and PS3 editions have been wildly popular. And now the release of a PS4 version is out, alongside a version for the Xbox One. Five years and probably a dozen platforms later, I’m finally taking entering the world of Minecraft.

And now I’m hooked.

 

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Coming in blind to the game, all I knew was that I’d have a ton of freedom, and that the cubic pixel-based graphics were all part of the charm. I was immediately thrust into a small zone contained within what I later found out to be an expansive randomly generated world. A brief (although kind of confusing) tutorial got me going, but I soon opted out of it to leave the rest of the experience up to my own discovery. The menus seem a little convoluted at first, but after a few minutes I was easily able to understand the different items able to be crafted, and how to swiftly move my inventory around.

I set myself up a workbench and a furnace in a single spot, made some tools, and then headed out to gather up some wood, sand, and some meat so that I could start building. Wandering out of my safe zone as darkness fell, I soon discovered that night is not the safest place to be, and was assaulted by some zombies, narrowly surviving. There happened to already be some pre-built houses near where my “camp” was, so I ran inside to hide out for the night and munch on some food to refill my hunger meter. The day/night cycle is pretty fast, so morning came quick enough and I returned to chopping down trees and collecting other materials.

As I was chopping stuff down I realized I could not only chop down trees and other bricks around me, but also start hacking away at the ground beneath me. After quickly learning that my jump ability wouldn’t get me back up more than one layer of bricks, I began to carefully weave my way lower and lower into depths of the earth, eventually needing to leave some torches to see my way around and find my way back to the surface. I stumbled upon occasional cave pockets that meant I had a little less digging to do, and even my tunnel opened up into a wider area littered with some enemies. I’d only killed a couple cows and sheep by this point, and had almost died during the night moment, so I quickly turned around and headed back up. I made a note of where my cave began, and swore I’d be back, one day.

 

minecraft2

 

Once I had an inventory full of different materials I returned to my workbench and furnace and started my first real task – building a house. Building is the core of the game, and I soon realized the draw of the game. As I started to place some wood and sandstone blocks on the ground to form the foundation of my home, I initially planned to just build a basic four wall structure with a hole in the side to walk in. As my walls took form I soon started acting like a kid with Legos. I layered my walls with different colored bricks, and even used my furnace to “cook” my sand into glass, letting me put some windows in the sides of the walls. I made a separate room to store my workbench and furnace, and even crafted a working door for the front of my house.

My mind started to race a realize why this game was so addicting and had absorbed the lives of so many people. It was smart and clever, but most importantly of all, it was simple. Like a Lego set, there are some basic things anyone can build, but as soon as your let your imagination run wild, the possibilities are truly endless. Having seen how expansive my world is, I can’t wait to start daydreaming about fun adventures I’ll have and then go have them, or develop the blueprints for a creation in my mind and then jump into the game and make it happen.

About an hour later I stepped back and had a house. The game is fantastic. It immediately inspired creativity and made me want to play more. In the few hours I’d been playing I had gone from knowing nothing about the game to having wandered an endless world, ran from creatures, got lost in a cave, and then built a home. I built it from scratch, it wasn’t perfect, but it was mine.

Minecraft, indeed.