It’s kind of amazing to me that Minecraft is over a decade old now and yet is still very relevant in today’s gaming landscape. How many games can boast a similar feat? I mean sure there are games that still inspire today’s works and plenty of games that people still play, but how many games can claim both of those qualities and still be a legitimate major force in the business? Precious few, that’s to be sure. A major factor is almost certainly the sheer freedom and creativity allowed by the private server systems and indeed fans’ own ingenuity, but I think the core of Minecraft is just that plain good. I’ve only ever engaged with the vanilla game, and I still can’t help but come back every so often to explore and build within a new world.
I find that most sandbox-style games often get old really quick. Some make certain things like resource gathering and building overcomplicated. Others will layer-on too many survival features or be too annoying in terms of enemy strength and frequency. And some games are just plain too ugly to look at for long periods of time. Somehow, despite being the first major completely open sandbox-style game to hit the market, Minecraft avoided all of these pitfalls and even went so far as to set the standard. No game does sandbox building/survival quite like Minecraft, and so none have been able to do it nearly as well.
Personally, I feel like there’s something really satisfying about moving up through the technology tiers and watching as your base (and eventually bases) of operation grow in scale, scope and detail. Dirt shacks become houses, become mansions, become fortresses. Small railways grow into interconnected networks linked by switches and powered by redstone. Outposts are established, built up and eventually linked with Nether Portals. The pattern is more or less the same, but roads taken to get there are always a little different.
The first time I ever went through the vanilla Minecraft process, I wound up ending on a tower that looked out over all the surrounding area, a nether portal that didn’t really lead anywhere, and an enemy farm that didn’t really work. The second time I played with friends and we each wound up with our own bases, mines and equipment all linked by rail. The most recent one was the most complex and labor-intensive of them all. My buddy and I poured over 300 hours into the world.
We built a base, made it bigger, styled it up, added farms for veggies, fruits, sugar cane and nether wart. We made sea base, a mountain layer complete with lava falls, a massive wooden mansion with turbo lifts automated furnaces, a massive storage bunker, an arboretum and even hidden rooms. We had outposts all over the map, linked them with nether portals and linked those portals with a completely covered rail network! We had even had all the amenities to boot too! It was an absolutely massive project and I actually miss working on it.
It’s been a couple of years since then, and I’m now feeling the need to dive in and build once more. Hopefully I can get a crew together again like before, because I don’t think there’s anything in gaming that’s quite as satisfying as building out a world in Minecraft. Perhaps that’s the real secret sauce that’s kept so many thousands on the game for over a decade now.
What’s your experience with Minecraft been like? What aspect of it do you enjoy most?
Image from the PlayStation store