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Friday, October 22, 2010

Minecraft Is Ridiculous

Posted by on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 2:34 PM

We've been avoiding Minecraft for the same reasons that sensible people avoid meth. We witnessed the Minings and the Craftings on the Penny Arcade server, saw how very, very, very much people liked it, and we were afraid. We haven't loaded it on our machines, and we don't even like to talk about it, for fear of invoking dark powers we can't understand.

For those who know nothing of it, Minecraft is a game that's garishly old-school in appearance and interface—and despite still being officially in alpha, the ultra-low-budget game earned nearly $3 million in a month (and has probably earned at least triple that by now). Its sole developer, a sweet and now-bewildered 31-year-old Swedish nerd named Markus “Notch” Persson, has barely had time to buy himself a new hat.

Persson describes Minecraft as "a game about placing blocks while running from skeletons." It's pretty much that simple, with a shared-world, open-ended premise that's ridiculous and brilliant: you mine—breaking down rocks, trees, whatever, into more rudimentary components—and then you craft, combining those components into more complex items—torches, walls, homoerotic Mario and Luigi statues, the USS Enterprise, Planet Earth, a fucking functional 16-bit computer. Every ten minutes, the sun sets on your low-res world and the monsters come out, bent on destroying you and everything you've built. The game has no stated object, and there is no way to win. (Although this bit of unintended comedy comes close.)

The state of the art in ridiculous Minecraft meta-nerdery (as of Tuesday) is this ridiculously (again with the ridiculousness!) painstaking recreation of Bioshock's iconic opening:

Some people have called Minecraft the future of MMOs. If you sign up, you can play right now in your browser. But better first to watch a tutorial on how to survive your first night....

The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.


Comments (16) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
you're months late, hipsters!
Posted by fith on October 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM · Report this
MineCraft is popular because it's VERY simple for anyone to make stuff in it. It also came at the right time for a generation of people who are too young to have experienced the boom in user-created levels and maps for games like DOOM and Quake 1 in the mid-90s. It also appeals to people who feel nostalgia for that era, and were probably to dumb to contribute to those games at the time.

It's a perfect storm of simplicity and timing to become wildly popular. But much like Farmville, people will get bored after a while and people will realize how fucking retarded it is to spend a ton of time on something so lame.
Posted by Dave M on October 22, 2010 at 2:55 PM · Report this
It's not really shared world. Well... It's complicated.

There's kinda two Minecrafts. There's the multiplayer Minecraft, where you set up a server and your friends connect and you all build homoerotic Mario and Luigi statues. It's limited to just the people who connect to your server, so it's by no means massively multiplayer.

Then there's Minecraft Alpha, which is much more in-depth. There's more crafting, enemies that can hurt you, and it's much more of a game.

And fuck off, Dave M. It's fun to build shit and explore.
Posted by Ben on October 22, 2010 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
Sounds way more interesting than WoW or LOTR or any other MMORPG, now that you mention it.

Here's a news flash - the world won't end if you don't buy games.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 22, 2010 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Chip McShoulder 5
@4 What do you mean about not buying games? Minecraft isn't free, if that's what you are referring to.

And testing department: if you really want to avoid going down a rabbit-hole on a free-form game with shitty graphics that cannot be won, Dwarf Fortress is the one to avoid.
Posted by Chip McShoulder on October 22, 2010 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
Yes, but does it blend, Chip?
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 22, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
thanks #1 :)
Posted by ddecounter on October 22, 2010 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Dee 8
Jesus. I've stayed away from Minecraft for the exact same reasons, but daaaaaaamn that is an impressive re-creation of the start of Bioshock. It must have taken a lot of time to create something so exact... which doesn't really make me more compelled to try Minecraft. But I do suddenly want to play through Bioshock again :P
Posted by Dee on October 22, 2010 at 4:41 PM · Report this
It'll will ruin your life.

I've never, ever been addicted to a game. I don't even play the MMO version.

I have spent probably 40 hours in the last month building the most ridiculous castle and I can't stop. Almost every night. 3 hours at a sitting, gone just like that.

Be affraid.
Posted by Minecrack on October 22, 2010 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Chip McShoulder 10
@6 Yes, Will. It blends rather well with bong hits, ambient techno and alienated girlfriends.
Posted by Chip McShoulder on October 22, 2010 at 6:27 PM · Report this
Baconcat 11
Guessing the STD doesn't worry about girlfriends OH FUCK FOURTH WALL BROKEN
Posted by Baconcat on October 22, 2010 at 7:13 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 12
Oh God why is it so addictive.

THIS is worthy of video game discussion. None of this "voting about discussing WoW" baloney.
Posted by Unregistered User on October 22, 2010 at 8:02 PM · Report this
fastasleep 13
I want to try it now. Thanks, junkies!
Posted by fastasleep on October 22, 2010 at 10:00 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 14
Gross, I know some of those people.
Posted by DeaconBlues on October 22, 2010 at 10:24 PM · Report this
while watching the irish guy's house burn down, i had a moment of clarity.
Posted by dale hotep on October 25, 2010 at 10:14 AM · Report this
I host a minecraft server that is based in Seattle. It is one of the top ten minecraft servers in the world. If you guys would like to give it a try, based upon this witty review, go ahead and follow the instructions to get whitelisted so you can log in :)
Posted by tsrapture on February 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM · Report this

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