Minecraft 1.0 Review — A Perfect 10?

The first time I played Minecraft, it was a fledgling alpha release buried in indie game obscurity. A friend of mine sent me a link and told me to try out this game he’d been playing, but offered no details on what the game entailed. Loading in, I found myself in an awful-looking grassy field dotted with trees. I walked around, unsure of what to do, until I realized I could destroy “blocks” of terrain. Remembering the game was named “Minecraft,” I dug a hole straight downward as deep as I could — until I fell into lava and died.

I didn’t touch the game again for two years.

Minecraft: PC (Reviewed)
Developer: Mojang
Publisher: Mojang
Released: November 18, 2011
MSRP: $26.95

Through its beta phases, Minecraft rose in popularity until it was officially released last Friday, November 18. Content has been continuously added over the years, and the game will continue to evolve into the future.

If I had to sum up Minecraft in one word, it would be “Lego.” A sandbox game in the truest sense of the term, Minecraft, at its heart, is a digital version of our favorite toy blocks. You control a character who inhabits a world built of different colored cubes, and can rearrange those cubes to your liking. But instead of yellow, white, and red, your blocks are sand, stone, and dirt — components of an actual world with generally plausible geographical features like mountains, caves, and lakes.

But there’s much more to Minecraft than rearranging blocks. It’s at once the simplest and most complex game you can play, depending on your choice of how deep to delve into its intricacies. The operative word here is “choice” — like any good sandbox, Minecraft presents a buffet table of activities; which activities you gorge on, which you nibble at, and which you avoid like the salad bar is entirely up to you.

As its name suggests, Minecraft allows you to mine, harvest, and gather resources, then use them to craft, build, and cultivate. The game’s item cycle goes full circle: build tools to gather resources; use resources to build better tools. While you can content yourself to simply move blocks around and build a Lego castle, the game’s crafting system is deep and allows for the creation of complex structures like doors, windows, fences, chests, levers, and even a primitive form of circuitry that can trigger moving pistons and allow for the creation of some remarkable inventions.

Yet, for all its depth, Minecraft is bashful. While the controls and interface are sleek and intuitive, no in-game direction is offered. Without resorting to the Minecraft wiki, there’s a staggering amount of content players can miss out on simply because they don’t know it exists. For instance, Minecraft does have an ending, of sorts — you reach it by killing a dragon in an alternate dimension accessible through a portal you must craft. But there’s no way you’d know any of that without some Google research.

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8 Comments on Minecraft 1.0 Review — A Perfect 10?

gofree

On November 23, 2011 at 5:00 am

I have always longed to play this game. But you know what, I am still scared!

Scared what? I am scared that I will spend too much time on it ;) Now am only following its news, but not into playing yet :(

Brandon J. Clark

On November 23, 2011 at 5:40 am

@gofree

WTF are you waiting for? You could get hit by a bus tomorrow! PLAY THIS GAME NOW!

superdefective

On November 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

Must admit I was a bit disappointed at first. It’s nice that survival mode has a true ending and shows a list of ‘achievements’ to hint what you should do but keeps you in the dark for most of the game. The Minecraft wiki is essential to figuring out what you need to do. Another complaint is the level generation of the caverns, strongholds, and mines in the game. My world has all three mixed and mashed into a chaotic mess with mine carts, chests, shafts, and mossy bits floating it the air.very strange. Still a great game especially if like to build tings.

Luther

On November 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

You don’t have to but to have a long lasting enjoyment with this game you need to play with other people.

Jonathan

On November 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

“Given its low price…”

$26.95 is low priced? E$$entially 1/2 of a new ‘blockbu$ter’ game? I think the price $hould be taken into account for the review of an unfini$hed game like thi$ and lower the $core dramatically. Non functional NPC$? Fini$hed game? 30 buck$? CHA-CHING $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Pre-Order your ticket$ for the next minecon, the early bird $pecial for only 259.95! I feel bad for the kid that’s going to finish the NPCs in a mod, only to get it directly implemented into the game with no acknowledgement or compensation. Not that making money is a bad thing, I just feel this is a huge rip off. If tens of millions in revenue cannot hire someone to make an NPC do ANYTHING at the time of ‘full release/finished product’ I don’t know what to say.

Not trying to knock Gamefront or the reviewer at all, I very much enjoy Gamefront.com and the videos you guys make. I just really wanted to rant about what I feel is the most overrated ‘finished’ game, ever.

minecraft4u

On December 20, 2011 at 6:10 am

on topic: the purchasing ended and i font know where the mineshaft volume alpha picture was. off topic: that was an snapdragon because i play dockland.

minecraft4u

On December 20, 2011 at 6:11 am

sol mineshaft volume alpha OFF: TOPIC: alfalfa

monster world cheats

On March 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

My short list for Beck’s replacement:Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham……………Megyn Kelly.