Over 500,000 People Play MineCraft: Meet One of Them

Four hours. This is the amount of time I spent playing Minecraft today. But I had only intended to load up the game to take screenshots for this very article; obviously, that didn’t go as planned. However, I managed to break away, at least long enough to write this article, but I’m already missing it. Why? What makes this game so different than any other? And why would a hardcore gamer like me even bother?

Trust me when I say that I never thought a game about blocks, zombies, and building things — with no apparent objective whatsoever — could be so addictive. The concept is simple and the objective is nonexistent: do what you want to do. But it is more than that. It is the kind of thing that keeps you up hours into the night, wanting to play a bit more to perfect that creation you spent hours working on, yearning to explore the hidden depths of yet-to-be-discovered cave systems, and fighting the endless hordes of zombies, spiders, and, well, cows, that populate the Minecraft world.

Minecraft is like the sandbox you always wanted as a kid but could never quite produce. It’s your own world, with unlimited possibilities. In fact, every single game of Minecraft is completely unique, as the worlds you explore, craft, and transform are randomly generated. Replayability is never in doubt, as there is always something new that can be explored. With in-game worlds that are said to be three times the size of Earth (at least, that is what I’ve heard mentioned from several Minecraft players), there is never an excuse to not have something new to explore.

 

How I Play

When you begin the game, you start out with nothing. You have yourself and a blocky looking thing that is your hand. And the first thing people typically do is chop down wood. They collect the wood in order to build a workbench. And then the possibilities are endless. Some may build pickaxes in order to mine metal materials to build better tools. They might build stronger weapons. They might also craft armor to protect themselves from the creatures that come out to play at night. Then again, others might collect materials simply to build impressive looking structures.

I typically find a place to call home fairly quickly, which is usually the side of a mountain, and then I craft some pickaxes to mine my way into the side to build out my place. If I’m lucky, I not only have picked a good place to live with a great view, but I will also have picked a place that provides a nice chunk of resources that I need to survive, including livestock, wood, coal, iron, and more.

I then take advantage of these resources to create more powerful tools, and I also make sure to stockpile any extra and valuable resources in a chest I crafted just in case I happen to die, which can be a bad experience depending on where you are and how many resources you have on you — it’s never fun to lose those diamonds you spent hours searching for in dungeons.

I usually continue to do this, and I’m always on the hunt for better resources so that I can create better defenses against the outside world, impressive buildings that I can call my own, and more unique objects that I have yet to create.

I’m also taking the time to see how other plays play the game online on YouTube, where many users are happy to post their experiences with Minecraft. I especially enjoy seeing how other players build impressive structures that I couldn’t even imagine having the patience or imagination to create.

YouTube Preview Image

But the amazing part is that I’m not even the type of person who would associate myself with this type of game: first-person shooters, real-time strategy, and simulation racing games are my cup of tea. I am what the gaming industry likes to refer to as a “hardcore gamer.” But Minecraft, in a sense, is a game that would normally appeal to casual gamers, which most people are typically labeled as. However, this too I am finding is not necessarily the case.

 

It's A Blockbuster! (See What I Did There?)

This game, created by Markus “Notch” Persson, took all but about a weeks worth of work, and it was released to the public in May 2009. But it quickly gained traction. After awhile, Persson found a way to monetize his efforts, and it is said to be generating around $100,000 per day alone from sales. And as time has passed, the game has improved an incredible amount from its simple beginnings.

Now, for around $10, the game can be purchased for relatively cheap with updates and future content provided for free in the future (the price of the game is planned to increase after it leaves alpha). And there are plenty of people who are anxiously anticipating those updates. With over 675,000 players listed as purchasing the game and over 2.1 million users registered on the site, the Minecraft fan base is clearly growing. Not too shabby for what started as a one-man operation.

In essence, what started as a week-long project has clearly become something far more than what anyone could have imagined. It’s turned into something far more interesting, with so much more possibility.

 

It's Cool!

And sure, it won’t win any awards for impressive graphics, sound effects, music arrangement, or story lines. It won’t win every single person over. And it most certainly will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But Minecraft is, without question, worthy of a try.

It is the type of game that is so simple with what it offers but so intriguing with what can be done. It is the type of game that relies on the creativity and imagination of its users to make it what it is. One quick search on YouTube will reveal hundreds of thousands of videos with people sharing their creations and experiences within the Minecraft universe. It makes me think that if the creator makes efforts to possibly integrate social connectivity and simple movie-making tools within the game, that the popularity of the game explode even further.

Either way, I’m glad to have started playing this game. I was skeptical at first, but I am now more than impressed.

To summarize: Minecraft is cool. It might not look the next Call of Duty: Black Ops, but it certainly has won the hearts of many hardcore gamers. I’m happy to be one of those players. Maybe you should be too.

Do you play Minecraft? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Sound off in the comments!

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
SEE MORE ARTICLES BY "James Mowery"

Related posts
Comments
  • TravisK

    This game is more addicting than crack!

  • Casey

    Here’s a tip:
    If you die you drop everything you have where you die. If you die close to your spawn point you can run to where you died and pick your stuff back up.

  • Joseph

    I love minecraft. If you need a good builder im here. I’ll help you with anything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000637621309 Luis Fernando Gonzalez Sanchez

      lets play

  • Laura

    i want someone to play with on multiplayer but i have n one plz smeone tell me there server name so i can connect plz?