Part of the reason why Minecraft has drawn so much acclaim is the addictive simplicity of it all. The game’s concept of risk and reward is so unassumingly basic. Without shelter, you will die. But without venturing forth, expending some risk in exploration and expansion, the player can take no forward step in colonizing the land or building their empire.
To some creation (classic) mode will be the big draw. In it, entire teams of players are creating large scale, complex projects. In the same mode, another play style has evolved on the other end of the spectrum, focused not on creation, but on destruction. While wearing the engineering hat from time to time can be enjoyable, It was the main Survival Mode (Alpha, as its currently referred to), that hooked me in to Minecraft. Construction of enormous structures and tunnel networks is certainly a part of this experience, but when the player must balance their creations with resource management and survival, well, that’s when things get interesting. Your first full day and night spent in Minecraft will teach you this balancing act very quickly. As soon as the sun begins to set, you had better have your shelter built if you hope to survive the night- whether it be a simple hole in the ground, a free standing cabin, or a Helm’s Deep. Similarly, as you begin to tunnel underground in search of better, and rarer resources, so grows the risk of zombie infested caverns, lava flows, and underground flooding. Each day, though, you grow to become a more capable adversary against the abominations of the night, and your colony continues to grow in size and scope.
Its an addictive yet simple formula. The whole experience though is made strange by the game’s spartan visuals and gameplay mechanics. These will improve, surely, but one cannot deny that even in this early version, Minecraft is already an utterly engrossing experience. Check it out.