Guy Burstein

(Mar. 10, 2011) — As I look down upon the vast pixelated landscape, I think to myself that I need to punch that landscape. As I mine stone and punch trees, I gather thousands of perfectly cubic building blocks. No, it is not the journey into the mind of an insane asylum attendant. I am playing Minecraft, the independent computer game phenomenon that is sweeping across the Internet. Upon loading a new world in Minecraft, which costs 15 euros or about $20, a seemingly endless terrain is automatically created in front of you for you to excavate. In the game, you take control of an unnamed character who has apparently been stranded on this vast world, and it is your responsibility to gather resources, create tools and make a shelter for yourself in the limited time available before night. Once nighttime arrives, several monsters, including zombies and spiders, will attempt to kill you. You must hope that before this occurs, you have already built a well lit shelter. After this first night however, Minecraft stops being as much of a survival game and becomes a creative sandbox game where you can build anything you can imagine. Part of the appeal of Minecraft is the near endless amount of activities available to perform. One can be unleashing their creative side with the construction of massive skyscrapers one moment and the next moment be fighting off zombies deep in disorienting and lava-filled caves. If you manage to exhaust the possibilities of the game, which you probably will not, hours of more game play open up with the multiplayer servers. In this mode, players can either work together to build even greater accomplishments, fight monsters or fight each other. Also, due to the fact that Mojang constantly updates the game with new content, there is always something new to try or build. One complaint about Minecraft is the graphics. Due to the style of game play, the entire world must be split up into low resolution blocks. Although this causes it to be far from a graphical masterpiece, there is a certain charm in Minecraft’s retro based graphics. Nethertheless, those used to playing more graphically intense games like Call of Duty might find Minecraft somewhat off-putting. In addition, there is a moderate learning curve due to the lack of an in-game tutorial. Despite these mild problems, Minecraft manages to be a very addictive game which has entranced millions after only several months.