In a world where developers are continually striving for excellence when it comes to graphical prowess you might think that a game like Minecraft wouldn’t have much place. It’s not unattractive but the blocky design of the title does take you back to the early days of computer gaming. More than that though, Minecraft is a game that doesn’t really have an aim. It’s a sandbox environment meaning what you do with the materials placed in front of you is really up to you. Using the textured cubes you can build, you can craft and you can design as many wonders of the digital world as your heart desires. Although there are threats in the form of the monsters that spring to life at night time, there’s not too much danger to worry about. Aside from the ever-present risk of plummeting to your death in a mountainous biome that is!
So where’s the appeal? Why has this indie game first released for PC back in 2009 swept through the world, won numerous awards and sold more than 20 million copies? No matter what type of gamer you are, there’s no denying the addictiveness of something that initially seems so simple. From gathering enough resources to survive a zombie rampage in your first night, to setting up a farm to keep you supplied with food, to planning and crafting your very first hill top castle; the lack of a definitive aim means that your imagination is set free to create your own missions and aims. A wealth of different materials is available to you within Minecraft, and all can be used for your creations. From initially hacking a cube of wood out of a tree to putting together a crafting bench, to making yourself an axe to speed up the process of chopping wood; there are so many different items to create and different ways to put the stock list of items to use. What seems simple at a first glance soon reveals itself to be far more complex as you spend the first few hours of your in-game life working out exactly what you can make.
Minecraft debuted on PC, but with the success that it saw it wasn’t long before other platforms were granted access to the sandbox title. Pocket editions found their way onto smartphones, and though these were slightly limited in certain areas such as the inability to link them into a server to play with friends, they still proved successful. It was in May of 2012 when Minecraft first made the port to a console, launching on the Xbox 360, though not on the PlayStation 3.
Differences between the PC and Xbox 360 version of the game were obvious. On the PC title your world is infinite – as long as you keep exploring the world will keep expanding, whereas due to the limited processing power within the 360 there had to be a boundary to the expansion. The process of crafting was also simplified for this console port, meaning you don’t need to remember the exact positioning of items required to create an item, but instead can create it simply if you have the required materials within your inventory. Some extra editions to this version were well received, such as a tutorial mode to introduce you to the fundamentals of Minecraft, and split screen functionality to allow you to play with friends. It’s also possible to play the game online via Xbox Live.
You can spend all day arguing as to whether the PC version or the Xbox 360 port produced the better game, but both have sold incredibly successfully. It’s no surprise therefore to learn that Mojang, in conjunction with 4J Studios and Microsoft Studios, will be bringing Minecraft to the Xbox One. The announcement was made at E3 2013 and although we weren’t shown any actual gameplay at the time a reveal trailer did confirm that Minecraft will be available in the next generation of console gaming.
The greater power of the new console means that larger worlds will be able to be created within the game, though it’s doubtful that they’d be unlimited as on the PC version. There are also rumored enhancements to the multiplayer mode of the game across Xbox Live, and suggestions that we may see additional features made possible by the new console. If you prefer the PC version of Minecraft as things stand at the moment then you’d do well to stick with it, as the new Xbox One game will function in a similar way to the current Xbox 360 one, but with more functionality slated for the upcoming release it’ll be interesting to see how it plays.
Microsoft’s decision to insist that game developers must have official publisher backing to launch on the Xbox One could rule out some smaller indie titles, so it’s nice seeing Minecraft making its presence felt here. With such an enormous fan base this is bound to sell successfully as soon as it launches onto Xbox One.
Article by - Rebecca Waterman
Insert Date: 07/15/2013
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