Why You Should Get Back Into Minecraft

The last time I played Minecraft heavily was around the time of its release in late 2011, and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has taken an extended vacation from the sandbox classic. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed Minecraft — but so many games, so little time; am I right?

However, the beauty of a game like Minecraft — a game that has received numerous free content updates since release — is that when you return from some time off, there’s always something new to discover. With the release of Minecraft’s Horse Update on Monday, I decided to delve ones again into the mines.

I embarked on my journey to discover new content, and my first find was a Pyramid in the desert — a booby-trapped tomb filled with some of the game’s most valuable riches. When the sandstone structure first came into view, I had a brief Stargate moment and half-expected to find an alien settlement nearby.

My next stop was a new biome — the Jungle, a lush, tropical landscape dominated by towering trees. There, I encountered my first ocelot — a wild jungle cat that can be tamed into a pet that follows you around. I later found the Pyramid’s tropical counterpart, a Jungle Temple, looking vaguely Mayan and eerily covered in moss and vines.

It seemed just about wherever I went, there was something new to uncover. Bats fluttered by when I entered a cavern, giving me a good scare. A hook-nosed Witch chased me out of her hut by hurling potions at me. NPC villagers were able to trade items for emeralds — a Blacksmith sold weapons and armor, a Priest enchanted my equipment, a Farmer sold basic staples…

I saw skeletons pick up weapons and armor — and use them against me. I saw zombies infect villagers and help me reenact some of my favorite horror flicks. I saw Wither, the second boss monster introduced to the game, a fearsome three-headed beast that fires explosive projectiles. And I ran, and ran, and ran.

Bows can now be enchanted with magical powers, the most exciting of which is the ability to fire flaming arrows that set enemies ablaze. You can craft trapped chests to stop your friends from stealing your items. You can ride horses and saddle pack mules with gear. You can even celebrate the Fourth of July with some fireworks.

A year and a half post-release, Mojang continues to prove that Minecraft delivers some of the best value for your money. Still selling for its original $26.95 launch price, Minecraft has received a bounty of free content over the years, the likes of which would be reserved for paid DLC or expansion packs in the current industry climate. If you’ve been away from your virtual LEGO box for a while, go ahead and crack it open once more — you’ll be surprised at the freebies that came in your absence.

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