Every so often, I’ll stumble on a game that seems rather simplistic and boring at first, but becomes incredibly addictive fast. When a friend linked me to “Minecraft”, I wasn’t sure what to think. Each level is generated on the fly, and it’s there for you to alter. You’re given various blocks to work with, and you can destroy and build whatever you want. Sounds simple, right?
Well, it is, but it’s that simplistic nature that makes the game such a blast to play. The graphics are modest and pixelated (though still fully 3D), but despite that, it still makes your imagination whirl, and I gotta say, this is one game that seems to be on the right track. It’s currently in alpha, and free to play, but will cost once the final version gets released (pre-orders are less-expensive, €20 (~$28 USD) at launch).
There’s even a multi-player mode, and that definitely seems to be where all the fun is. Logging into a server, you’re able to see what others took the time to build, and some of it is simply incredible. There are small buildings, large buildings, humorous text, and even video game characters, like Mega Man.
The game’s premise might be simple, but it’s a little difficult to portray just how much fun it is to goof around, so I recommend you just try it out. Java is required, but the game runs well. For examples of some things people are building, check out a thread at the Something Awful forums. Just be warned, there’s a lot of NSWF language and content there.
I’ve got a few plans and visions, but my only true design decision is to keep it fun and accessible. There’s no design doc, but there are two lists; one for bugs, and one for features I want to add but think I might forget. I make sure to play the game a lot, and I’ve built my share of towers, and flooded my share of caves. If something ever doesn’t feel fun, I’ll remove it. I believe that I can combine enough fun, accessibility and building blocks for this game to be a huge melting pot of emergent gameplay.