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Minecraft: Yes, it’s still an awesome game

So for those of you keeping score at home, you may have noticed I haven’t done a game review in quite some time. Like the middle of November. That’s because during that time span I’ve only played one game. Well, there were a few days in there where I finally downloaded the RDR zombie expansion pack when it went on sale, but I still haven’t beaten it.

So what I’m getting at here is this. I am fully and unequivocally addicted to Minecraft. The game, like many of the applications developed in the only programming language I actually have feelings for, java, stressed my wife’s laptop to its breaking point. I could not stop playing, that was clearly out of the question. So instead I carefully monitored the CPU temperature and occasionally, ok frequently,  stuck the exhaust port out the window to ensure the little lappy didn’t go up in smoke.

Now I have my own homemade Linux machine with a processor, well six actually, that scoffs at the thought of overheating while running Sun Microsystem’s bastard child. Java was great before Flash, and Flash was great before HTML5, but the world has moved on, unless you’re running previously mentioned Linux. But I digress, as I often do.

Frank Lloyd's crowning jewel still looks fresh 75 years later.

Tophat and I have been busy building up our little world and rebuilding it when a rogue Creeper catches us off guard. We have made much progress since the construction of the hideous Sphinx of Christmas Past from the Future.  My personal crowning achievement is a relatively accurate 1:1 replica of Fallingwater. I enjoyed building that one so much that once it was completed I spent several weeks building a texture pack to ensure it looked correct. Tophat has built a number of unique and exciting projects, including  something we call Stilt Town.

Stilt Town is a gated community. No creepers here baby.

A Waterworldesque place built over top of the nearby bay which features a courthouse, a yacht club, a police station complete with locking jail, and my general store with rooms for rent above. It’s a humble little town that continues to grow as we come up with new building ideas. But what I’m most interested in is Tophat’s latest project, a temple built with the new sandstone block. Last I’d checked he had uprooted half the desert collecting sand.


Awesome third-party texture packs (a modified Painterly Pack) give the General Store the perfect look.

Notch has been busy since we started as well. The game has been in beta since just before Christmas and updates have been continuous. Aside from the aforementioned sandstone, we now have exciting things like squid, health, mobs, and note blocks which play music when you activate them on a circuit. My brain can’t process on the level necessary to plan out redstone on that scale, so I stick to architecture. Notch has also hired more goons to do sweet sweet programing with him, so features should continue and bug fixes should keep coming fast and hard. Although Notch just had a couple weeks vacation and he’s taking his whole crew with him to accept the Indie Game of the Year award, so that’s slowing things a bit. Honestly though if the game stayed in beta in perpetuity and he kept adding features I think I’d be in heaven.


First National Bank of Stilt Town. Hasn't been robbed yet, though there are suspicions that the manager is embezzling diamonds.

I still haven’t figured out why I like this game really. At it’s core it’s insanely simplistic, but I think it is this simplicity that makes the game robust enough for people all over the world to take the game in so many directions. Whether you’re building a scale model city of your favorite bits of architecture, building a 16 bit computer that you can walk around in, or simply making your own games within the game, it’s just fun.

The guy keeps the vault open all the time so anybody could just waltz right in if they can activate the iron door.


In fact, that is a neat aspect of the game I’ve yet to try, playing some of the games people have made up. Supposedly a few people have developed rules for a Minecraft based RPG game, which I don’t fully understand. There are of course survival games where set off on quests to survive a few nights or a dark cavern infested with all sorts of nasty mobs. There is also a very simple game I haven’t tried yet either. As I understand it, it has something to do with being on an elevated plane of cloth or something and trying to pull the block out from under your opponent before they pull the block out from under you.


Tophat's current side project is filling the sky with hot air balloons. As opposed to his normal trend of just filling it with hot air.

What this means is, even if Tophat and I get bored with running around building monuments to modern design while coming up with our own style, we will still have plenty to do in Minecraft. Plus, Notch has said he will eventually include support for third-party mods which will add all sorts of new and exciting aspects to the game. Can you tell I’m excited? I am.



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