Sunday, November 27, 2011

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Minecraft has become a phenomenon. If you haven't heard of it yet, you have been seriously missing out. Minecraft is a sandbox style game where you have the ability to shape the game world around you and construct anything your imagination can come up with. Oh, and when the sun sets, you get attacked by zombies. It is the only game I know of that started selling butt loads of copies while it was still in Alpha. It has multiplayer modes and the ability to save and share worlds you have created.

The Pocket Edition is the new mobile device version available for Android and iOS devices. It lacks most of the full versions features and scales back the number of block types you can use to build with but with that being said, it is still one of the best games I've played on a mobile device and I'll tell you why.

The game starts and you are in a vast open world that has been randomly generated just for you. You are all alone and your goals are not defined. Most would wonder what fun you could possibly have playing a game that seems to have no purpose. The appeal is in exploring, seeing what is out there and building cool stuff. The goals are really set by you. You decide what to build and take pride in building something truly impressive. It would be worth noting that building impressive stuff is disgustingly difficult and time consuming.

There is something profoundly old-school about Minecraft PE. Something that is lost in most modern games. When the original Legend of Zelda was released the game simply started. You were standing in the middle of a vast world and had no weapons or direction as to where to go. It was hard. Very hard. You had to FIND the objectives. You didn't need to complete the dungeons in any specific order. You didn't even need to get the first sword if you didn't want to. You could skip it and still finish the game by getting a different sword later on and doing so was a badge of honor amongst gamers. Back then, gamers did things BECAUSE they were hard. It took dedication, time and skill. It wasn't enough to beat the game itself, gamers would invent new challenges like beating it without dying or doing it in a small amount of time or doing it without the primary weapon. Why would they do this? Simply to say they did.

For a game with no objectives Minecraft PE has absorbed a great deal of my time since I got it. I started by tunneling deep into the ground and hollowing out a series of chambers. My own personal dungeon to lord over. Then I spent a few hours making all the rooms aesthetically pleasing to me with uniform floors walls and trim. Then I built a stairway back to the surface world (which took a considerable amount of time). Then I added a second level to my dungeon. Then I decided to build a massive sculpture of the 3D-ized 8bit Darknut I had once made. It now stands, a colossus, at the edge of my lands as a testament to my glory. Then it dawned on me that I haven't yet explored the vastness of the world I posses.

So, long story short, I'm in love. This old-school gamer gives it two-thumbs-up.