There are few games that I’m able to come back to year after year and still thoroughly enjoy. Most of them are childhood favorites: Super Mario RPG, Metroid Prime, Majora’s Mask and such. There’s also Minecraft, a game which I never thought I’d like until I tried it. Despite preferring games that offer curated, structured experiences, Minecraft managed to charm me anyway thanks to the sheer freedom it offers. In a world filled with games offering a “you can do anything” experience, Minecraft feels like the only one that truly delivers. Perhaps that’s why I can never seem to stay away for very long.
I should preface all this by saying that I haven’t played the game solo in several years now. There was a time where I found a lot of satisfaction in simply building whatever project I could dream up, but nowadays I need friends involved to give it all some sort of meaning. Luckily, I have a few friends that are more than willing to play, and it’s still a blast even now.
I just love the collaboration that goes into it. We pick a project get to work, jumping into the our pick of the tasks that need to be done in order to see our creation become a reality. Building, mining, scouting, planning, farming, editing…you name it; everyone constantly steps into and out of all these tasks as we play Minecraft and it makes for an experience that’s still unlike anything else out there. I remember that there was a night where I did everything from mining diamond, to looting a Nether Fort, to expanding home base to accommodate all the extra materials we gathered, talking, joking and coordinating with everyone all the while.
The fact that Minecraft allows (and even encourages) this kind of open-ended play is a big part of why even just the plain vanilla version is still hugely popular after so many years. This isn’t even counting all the incredible creations, server worlds, and off-shoot games people have created with it too. I don’t have all that much experience outside of plain, vanilla Minecraft, so I can’t really say much about what exactly that sphere has to offer.
I’m tempted to call the game “simple,” but then a truly simple game wouldn’t be able to offer everything Minecraft does in its vanilla mode. What I should say is that it offers a very simple gameplay loop couched in a very complex game. If one wants to make something, all they have to do is mine some resources. To get better resources, they have to craft better gear with what they’ve already gathered, and it goes on from there. It’s easy to jump into, and it doesn’t take long for one’s imagination to run wild with possibility. It’s even easier with friends. All of this together creates a wonderful gaming experience, and it’s why Minecraft is still incredible after all these years!
What do you think of Minecraft? What’s your favorite thing to do in the game? Anyone know how playing on a server differs from local/shared play?
Lede image from Nintendo eShop page