Will Preston

Night of the exploding green dildos

by on Apr.27, 2011, under Review, Video Games

It’s not often that my social life is politely asked to leave the party because it might interfere with my crippling videogame habit. You’d think so, but it really isn’t. My bastarding social life has pulled me out of the party on many occasions, but I have no idea why. Was it because of the promise of people and fresh air, or was it because the party (metaphorical party full of videogames, that is) wasn’t that impressive to begin with? Of course not. The party’s always buzzing, but I often leave before eleven. Games just aren’t as harmfully addictive like they used to be. Even some of the more addictive ones by today’s standard fail at turning me into a pale skinned reprobate. It’s sad times for all.

Not THAT much time on my hands, I'm afraid

However, I found hope. I say I found it: it found me and wouldn’t let me go. Not even for a poo. It’s not often I review indie games. Actually, I don’t think I’ve reviewed any indie games so far, but I think we’ve now reached the point where some of the better games are coming elsewhere than the main publishers. Minecraft is a game from Mojang, but the thing is, there’s no real object to the game. So is it a game? Yes and no. It’s a game the same way that Sim City is a game. There is no concrete objective, but it’ll keep you busy. I’ve spent entire days on here so far. As soon as I retreat to my room, I’m back on and working away.

Now that's just silly

At this point, you might wonder why I refer to it as work. The game revolves around resource gathering and building. There’s a survival element as well, which pushes you to gather more resources. Or it would if there was more pressure to do so, but the makers are intending to work on that. This is a beta game after all. Each new game starts off in a randomly generated landscape featuring hills, rivers, mountains, trees and vast underground caves. All rendered in fantastic Lego Duplo blocks. But that didn’t put me off. Each block you can see can be manipulated, and considering the size of the map, anything is possible. That horrible crushing feeling of freedom occurs right about now as a million and one things to do crowd into your head, each pushing for space at the front of the queue. But there’s no time for that now! First thing you need to do is build some shelter.

This was probably the hardest bit of the game for me. As it’s a beta game, there are no helpful tutorials that more mainstream games saturate you with. I had to find the nearest wiki site and familiarise myself with learning to build items and all the things I can possibly make. To this day, I’m still learning new things, partly because the game gets updated occasionally and new things get added. Once you have a few goes at building a house and all of the relevant house based paraphernalia, then you can start on bigger projects. But you’ll need to learn about where to find the materials. So you wander the countryside looking for a resource stuffed mine, but before you find a gaping stony hole to penetrate, the sun buggers off before turning into Jason and the Argonauts.


So it turns out that time passes in this game and darkness attracts monsters. Fine. You can learn to make a sword and take them on. You have your zombies and arrow firing skeletons to deal with, but then there’s another thing causes a swearing heart attack at the first possible sighting. One of the most bizarre monsters I’ve ever seen out of the Final Fantasy series: The Creeper. Otherwise known as the Suicide Shrub, this green bastard walks at you with its dead face and does its best impression of Libya. That’s right, it blows itself up, taking out anything nice you’ve made nearby, possibly killing you as well. During one unlucky afternoon, I was building a bigger house (the other one had lost its pizzazz, so it was relegated to shed). Night fell down and I forgot to block any entrance to my new house. This didn’t seem like a problem, but at the next moment one of those green dildos walked in and blew apart half my house. Luckily, you can make doors, but I forgot to in this case.

Minecraft is a fantastic idea that has been executed brilliantly. As we speak, I have a five story building that I live in, with a boat house, farm and a network of mine cart tracks that allow fast access to all the mines that I’ve discovered so far. And I’m still playing it obsessively. You can buy the beta version right now for just over a tenner, but it’s not a question of money, it’s a question of time. Can you provide the ample time out of your life needed to play this blocky behemoth? This review has taken far longer to do, thanks to Minecraft’s seductive gaze and not because of my social life, for once. The full version is out at the end of this year, so why not download the beta now and build that Cliffside mansion you’ve always wanted, until some green fucker vaporises the well constructed entrance hall.


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