Chances are you've heard of Minecraft, the cult construction game created by Markus "Notch" Persson. It's a wonderful story that has been told over and over by passionate games journalists. Man makes game – game is good – loads of people buy it – man gets rich.
It's a strong contrast to what we have read of late. Publishers and developers desperate to claw some money back from the second-hand market, studios closing down, gaming talent being chucked out like used nappies; their job complete leaving no job for them to continue. It's all doom and gloom.
So, when Notch's story hit the larger gaming community it came as no surprise that journalists and bloggers ran with it. Everyone seemed to want to guess how much Notch had made and what he was up to next. Where he had come from? What the hell was he going to do with his new found fortune?
Although I enjoyed reading about the success of Notch, I was more interested in what was going on within every gaming community I checked in on. Each had a Minecraft
thread towards the top of its respective forums, yet not one of them was talking about the man himself. The only time he was really mentioned was during server downtime, when posters would quote his tweets in anticipation for the return of their beloved game.
They didn't have time to discuss Notch's fortune. They were too busy trading ideas for the next community project. They were too eager to see what their creations looked like on the rendered isometric map of their Minecraft
world. There was no time for background stories, there was mining to be done.
Your First Night
It's become a cliché to say, but everyone remembers their first night on Minecraft
. Mine happened to be a relatively simple affair. I had been warned of the learning curve to the game, so I decided to watch a few YouTube tutorials on how to survive my first night. I felt like a trained survivalist when I first loaded it up. I knew what I had to do to get through the night and how to go about doing it.
When the sun is out, all in the Minecraft
world is safe. It's bright and cheerful with cute pigs and chickens staring at you while you craft a living space. At night it's fucking scary. Zombies stride towards you from the blanket of darkness that can drop in moments. Skeletons fire arrows while monsters explode if they get close enough, not only hurting you but destroying your creations in the process.
I started my life in Minecraft
by using the wood from a nearby tree to create a workbench. I then used my new tool to create a wooden pick axe, something that would be an extremely important in my survival hopes.
My next task was to find some coal to create a torch to light my cave and keep the nasties at bay. The first night passed without a threat of trouble. There were a few scary noises echoing into my workspace but nothing more than that. So, with the sun rising I considered how far away from 'home' I was going to go in order to mine for new materials.
Speaking to SPOnGcast's Mat Murray
later I found out exactly how well well prepared I was.
“The sun went down and I found myself in the middle of nowhere surrounded by monsters”, he told me. “So I just dug a hole straight down and waited in it hoping that no one found me down there.”
Rule One Of Minecraft
The single-player offers something special for sure: you craft your own stories, work on your own environment and create your own quests to follow through. However, for me it was a mere side-project to work on when the servers were down. I was addicted to the multi-player, and I'm trying to understand why.
In fact I had popped onto the multi-player before I went in to the single-player. A forum I frequent had its own server hosting its own world created by the forum users. I thought that would be the best place to start. I logged on, walked into the massive cathedral that past players had built. However, instead of admiring their handiwork, I broke a hole in the floor and fell to the caves below. I was then called a “dickhead” and told to go and play the single-player for a bit.