Minecraft is an open-world construction game created by Markus Persson and continued by Mojang AB. The title was published by Mojang in 2009 as early access. The full version was released in 2011 for Android and iOS, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3 and 2014 for Playstation Vita.
The Swedish programmer was inspired by games such as Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and Infiniminer. His goal was to develop an isometric 3D building game that contains features from these three titles, especially the last one. On the other hand, his wish was that it would also contain RPG elements. That is how an early stage of Minecraft saw the light on May 17th, 2009, today is known as the Classic version.
Questioned by critics, yet successful with the numbers
The critics received Minecraft in different ways. On the positive side, the atmosphere and the creative freedom given to the players caused most of the reviewers to praise it. On the other hand, from its early development until today there is still a complaint that the game feels incomplete and that the developers could add much more content to it.
The title, despite not having any commercial publicity, sold 800,000 copies in its alpha phase and one million in its time as a beta version. Moreover, before its full release, it registered 16 million users and 4 million purchases. By the end of 2019, with all its versions and ports included, Minecraft registers more than 112 million active monthly users.
Fresh and innovative gameplay
One of the main reasons why the games occupy the pedestal it was given today is because of its gameplay. Although it has certain objectives intrinsic to the adventure, the most distinctive feature is the freedom given to the players. At the beginning of the game, there is not a specific objective, tutorial, or even a plot. The user is simply thrown into a randomly generated world to survive as best he can. The player’s priority quickly becomes building a shelter and getting food so he doesn’t starve. With almost no clues to this, the ultimate goal of the title is to defeat the Ender Dragon, a mythological beast that is in another dimension. But even after the victory, Minecraft is true to its nature and continues, allowing players to discover other secrets and continue to develop their world.
The game has several game modes that despite having a similar premise, the experience is different. The three most important ones are the creative mode, survival, and hardcore. On the other hand, the player can opt for other modes, such as spectator, adventure, or even other custom modes.
Survival is the classic form of the game. Before it starts, the user creates and names a world, where he then appears randomly in one of his biomes. In the beginning, the day goes by in real-time and is cyclical with regards to the night and day. In late hours, several creatures spawn and attacks the protagonist. To avoid this, one should gather elements such as earth and wood to build a temporary refugee. Then, the player must excavate in order to find more valuable elements, such as gold and diamonds, which are necessary to build things that will help him on his journey. In this way, the neophyte player is more and more prepared to face the dangers of the night or other places that unlock as he progresses in the adventure.
The creative mode is the most distended of the installation. The user can access all the items of the game from the menu, is invulnerable, and does not suffer from hunger. This style is oriented to those who want to focus on building without having to be aware of external factors. Also, it is possible to rotate between creative and survival in the same playthrough.
Hardcore, on the other hand, is similar to the survival mode, but with the difficulty set to the maximum. Furthermore, there is a permadeath system in which if the main character dies for any reason, the game ends and the world can only be seen in spectator mode. Also, the option to switch to creative or survival mode is blocked during the whole game.
Several alternatives to the main experience
There are even other modes that allow the gamer to enter a spectator menu, in which he can fly and see the map without being able to interact with it. It is also allowed to enter the body of other inhabitants of the world, such as their animals or villagers. On the other hand, the game has an adventure mode. It is aimed at server creators, private or online, where they can create their own rules and use commands to alter the experience of their users. Finally, these modes can be played in multiplayer, either locally with split screens, LAN, or with a server in between.
Because of its growing popularity, the title received many spin-offs. Among them is Minecraft: Story Mode from Telltale Games, a company famous for the video game series The Walking Dead and Tales From the Borderlands. Also, the already mentioned Minecraft Classic that has the features of the game in its release. In addition, Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Dungeon are announced for mid-2020.
Crafting: an endless source of resources
Another great achievement of Minecraft is the number of tools available to the player. They can hardly be found around the map, so the best method is to craft them with simple elements such as wood, wool, or charcoal. Despite the wide variety of items that can be created, the most commonly used are swords, spikes, and armor. They can be manufactured very early in the adventure. On the other hand, as the user advances in the journey, the elements for what they are constituted will be very superior. For example, the player can start mining with a wooden pick, but over time he will obtain a diamond one, with much more utility and resistance.
Graphics and sounds, the secret formula that Minecraft doesn’t try to hide
The original version of the title is developed in java. It is commonly believed that Minecraft is a game that runs on 16-bits. This is incorrect, the delivery has much higher processing power. Instead, it is stylized like the games of that type, maintaining a pixelated atmosphere. Far from the graphics causing user rejection, it was received very positively. Today, this is the reference point for even those who do not know the mechanics of the title, identifying this as the trademark of Minecraft.
The sound has a fundamental role in Minecraft. The German musician Daniel Rosenfeld, better known as C418, was chosen for this field. The title features purely ambient music with a rather reduced volume. The lighthearted tones surround the player in a peaceful environment. This brings out a sense of urgency and encourages the user to take his time to bring out his creative side. This same trend is reflected in the sound effects. By constantly breaking things to get resources, louder and more violent sounds are expected. Otherwise, the entry moves away from reality and eliminates all kinds of sound pollution, making all the noises and blows dry and pleasant to the human ear.
A world with endless maps and possibilities
Every world that is generated at the beginning of the adventure is filled with maps. First, the player can start randomly in any biome, whether it’s a jungle, desert, forest, or plain. While exploring, the player can build a boat and navigate an endless water sector and explore other regions, such as glaciers and mountains. Then, with the appropriate items, is opened the option to enter unreachable destinations. One of these is the nether, the equivalent of hell in Minecraft, and the door to many more dimensions that the player will need to explore to continue with the adventure.
For the multiplayer mode, the title has an endless number of servers in which their creators are responsible for their maintenance. They can set their restrictions and rules and even ban players with only their IP address. They also have their own customizations and game modes, such as a Minecraft version of The Hunger Games. The most popular server today is Hypixel, where it registers more than 14 million unique users. On the other hand, there are also a variety of alternatives, such as 2b2t, MinecraftOnline, Mineplex, The Uncensored Library, or Vatican City server, the last two being created in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
With regular updates, the universe continues to expand
The game receives updates in an estimated time frame of 2 to 3 months. Usually, these are just small patches with bug fixes. However, approximately once a year there are major updates, such as new game modes or extensions to the current one. Also, new maps are created for the main adventure, more secret locations, and new recipes to craft new items. In addition, due to the high number of players who defeated the Ender Dragon, it was decided to add several hidden bosses. The objective was that these remain motivated to continue the development of the world they created.
In summary, this game is made for both casual players and more experienced gamers. Its huge map gives the user the possibility to wander for countless hours to discover all the secrets it hides.
Other titles that are sold as non-linear games have several restrictions regarding the map or the objectives of the story mode. On the other hand, the title created by Mojang is accompanied by total creative freedom that no installation in the story dared to grant. For this and much more, far from being just a game, Minecraft is an experience that everyone should allow themselves to try.