I recently sunk $10 and a 10-hour overnighter into a game I stumbled across.
What do you get when you combine:
- Hyrule Field from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Rogue-like dungeon crawl randomness
- Diablo II's Horadric Cube
- Art-style of Settlers of Cataan
You get the fiercely-addictive Minecraft. In alpha development for $10 from www.minecraft.net, Minecraft showcases a subtractive design that removes all unnecessary game elements (including almost all text!). In that spirit, I'll let davidr64yt walk you through his initial discoveries in Minecraft:
And the big reveal:
As you've seen, the single player content lacks many things you'd expect in a modern game:
- Story to show context
- Names to properly label things
- Stats of various items/attacks/abilities
- Quests to guide the player towards goals
- Instructions of any kind
While the lack of a tutorial and basic instructions is a detriment (presumably fixed soon through the grayed-out Tutorial menu option), removing so much baggage basically boils the game down to:
The threat of death (which drops your items then respawns you at your beginning point – it's more like "the threat of inconvenience") taps into your primal urges. Survival means finding, gathering, and storing a surplus of:
Luckily, all humans come preprogrammed desiring to do such things, and Minecraft has analogs and tech trees for all three. Due to the Lego-like nature of building materials, you'll find yourself compelling to build elaborately designed structures either for practical purposes or for your own admiration. As a kid, I played with Legos and Construx for thousands of hours.
I haven't delved into this, but this YouTube video suggests that Minecraft multiplayer servers are like cooperative ant farms that strive to build extraordinary things:
After all, building things is how humans came to dominate the planet.
I read a rumor that Notch (Minecraft designer/programmer) had his PayPal account frozen when it inexplicably skyrocketed plus $600,000. Not inexplicable – play some Minecraft and you'll see why!