The Games Of Christmas ’10: Day 24

By RPS on December 24th, 2010 at 1:07 pm.

Twenty four! That's the end.

You’ve already caught a glimpse of what lies behind the final window, haven’t you? You are so naughty. But then again, there was no hiding that particularly cubic outline, was there?

It’s… Minecraft!

Jim: Pedantically speaking, this isn’t a game that came out in 2010. It’s only just gone into beta. But then again, whatever label software wizards might put on their projects, if you are paying money to play it, then it’s out. And there’s no doubt that Minecraft has dominated this year. Here’s my list of Why Minecraft:

1) It’s an amazing demonstration of what can be done by a small team (essentially just Mr Notch) if the ideas are a good. It’s both the power of procedural generation and the beauty that can be found in lo-fi presentation. This is very much What We Were Hoping For when this indie revolution started to spool up for real.

2) It’s absolutely, fundamentally The PC. Digitally distributed, patched constantly – a rolling project supported by its community and the open-ended power of the internet. It’s about user-generated content at its core, and it’s a brilliant platform for modding.

3) This, in stark contrast to – say – Lego Universe, demonstrates just how much we like building and tinkering, and how valuable that can be if we’re allowed real scope to experiment. It’s not just about being given the tools for building, it’s being given the game design context to have real freedom to use the tools as we see fit. Minecraft is freedom to build.

4) Related to 3) It’s an awesome platform for crazy people to do insane stuff. There’s nothing better than that. (See the Minecraft CPU map, etc.)

5) Because there’s a real choice between playing single-player and multiplayer. So many games go the multiplayer route when they don’t need to, or don’t offer multiplayer when they clearly should. Minecraft has, albeit incompletely, supported both. When survival mode is a little more mature and totally supportive of online play then this will just be scintillating.

6) Survival mode. I’ve lost count of the number of times over the years I’ve read people say something along the lines of “Yeah, I wish there was just some sandboxy game where I could wander about, build my base, do a bit of a exploring, at my own pace.” And here it is.

It’s not over yet. There are potentially years of development left to go. There’s a real danger, I think, that Notch will evolve Minecraft into a place where it loses what makes it magical. Maybe not, perhaps he’ll avoid the shiny lures and pitfalls that take down so many other projects, but even if this game does stray down the wrong path, we can say for sure that in 2010, it was peerless. Good work, Notch. And here’s to digging straight down without a plan in 2011.

John: It’s been a while since I’ve had time to play Minecraft. In fact, I’ve not had a chance to return since the introduction of the biomes, portals, and all the accompanying extras. But for the last couple of days it’s pretty much all I’ve done, and I’m interested to discover that despite all the changes, despite ticking over from alpha to beta, I’m still playing it in the exact same way as I always have.

Wherever I appear, that’s home. If the starting area is some barren desert, I ditch it and start a new one. All I want is a mountain and a large patch of sea. I start off by building a tall tower so I can find my way back. Then pootle about, hopefully finding some coal along the way. I make sure I’ve got some basic stone tools. As dusk appears, I dig a hole, wall it up, and begin mining. (Except, coo, look at that! Dusk is so much prettier now!)

In what will be my home I build a storage crate, an oven, and a crafting table. And other than armour and a boat, it never gets more complicated than that.

I’m not sure what I’m mining for – why I care so much about finding gold, diamond, or especially redstone. But those are my goals – finding those rarer minerals. I’ve no intention of building minecart rails, elaborate mechanisms, nor super-computers. I don’t need any of them for anything I hope to do. All I want is to find the stuff, put it in a box, and maybe make a shirt out of it. Then get in my boat, aim for a different island, and start digging there too.

And it keeps me so happy. It’s such perfect fodder, entertaining me while I watch a TV show on the other screen (yesterday it accompanied Dr Katz, today The Trip), enticing me to find a path down to the glint of blue ore.

For me it’s about those moments when I’m just digging a staircase down into the rock and my pick goes through into a cave. The thrill of it, working out if it’s an indefensible cavern, a single room, or a network of caves leading to an all-important lava stream. There I’ll build a waypoint, a chest and a crafting table. I’ll put in all the stuff I don’t want to lose, then go exploring further.

And then, returning with pockets bulging, I’ll bring everything back to my main home with the plan to return there to continue my conquest. After lighting the correct route with many torches to make sure I ever find it again, I’ll process whatever I’ve found into gorgeous armour, take a handful of excellent equipment with me, get back to where I’d left off, and then immediately get pushed in the lava by a surprise zombie, lose everything, and never want to return to that world again.

It happens every single time. It’s literally just happened. I’m writing this now because it’s too upsetting to go back there. And this time I spent the first few hours making sure I’d definitely not lose my home base while exploring elsewhere. I can’t let this much effort go to waste:

Or I’ll just start again, like I always do. This is unquestionably my game of the year. Not just in terms of time spent, but contentment received. It taps directly into a part of me that’s always wanted a game. It lets me potter, aimlessly, with no pressure. That’s such a huge gift. It lets you do something completely different. And that’s why it’s magical.

Alec: The bloke who fixed my boiler plays it with his kid.

At least one PR with a complicated London haircut plays it.

One of the Apple-worshipping, PC-loathing designers in the office plays it.

Any games journalist with a genuine interest in gaming plays it.

Millions and millions of people are playing it, and I’m pretty sure quite a few of them wouldn’t call themselves ‘gamers.’

They’re out there. They’re everywhere. They’d never get along, but they think as one.

Minecraft isn’t such a surprise. It was always going to happen, because there needed to be a new Sims. We’ve often remarked on RPS how strange it is that so few games sought to challenge The Sims’ crown, but then along comes Minecraft, doing it by mistake. That universal appeal of self-expression, self-indulgence and construction is at its very core, and neatly proving that all those expensive action games don’t really understand the human urge to explore a digital fantasyscape.

FarmVille, which very, very broadly explores similar concepts of collection and construction, is all that really holds it back from unassailable world domination, but then the best may well be yet to come.

I could name a dozen tiny things Minecraft does which meant it was always destined to be so much more than an obscure indie building game – the way some blocks hover magically when their surroundings are carved away, spying a cow from miles away and haring off across the world to hunt it for its hide, the effect of the day/night cycle on enemies, the transformative texture packs… The key for me, though, is that it’s a game about recycling. Almost nothing is destroyed in Minecraft – instead, it’s turned to new purpose, or flat-packed down into blocks awaiting new purpose. The world doesn’t reduce, it doesn’t even grow – like energy, it simply transforms. That’s the real key to creation. Epic-scale plasticine, forever permitting as much as you can imagine.

Minecraft itself, on the other hand, is only going to get bigger. Like Jim, I worry one change too many will bring this good-natured Jenga tower crashing down, but I also suspect that we’ll see some sort of update that really, truly makes this a game for everybody.

Kieron: As Alec says, it really was a phenomenon. And I’m going to use a really cynical metric to prove this.

Minecraft was absolutely RPS’ game of the year. Not just because we loved it – and we all did – but because how much it contributed to the material existence of the site. In terms of sheer number of page impressions, nothing we covered managed to get as many people reading. And so, via the wonders of advertising, giving us money. Second biggest link of the year was Quinns’ Mine The Gap series. Taken as a whole, it was bigger than everything.

(The first was the revealing of the online-only Ubisoft DRM, for those who are interested.)

(And doing an article on the Top 50 stories at RPS of the year does appeal. They’re not quite what you’d expect.)

And the wonderful thing about this? For a good couple of months, we were the only fuckers covering it. Well, us and the other place. It felt a little the days before the mid-nineties, where you only really got music coverage in the music press, and the NME was selling something like 500K because it was the only place you could find out about the Smiths. How on earth could everyone else be so stupid? How could they be missing covering this enormous, generational, life-affirming THING?

Well, because to paraphrase the immortal words of Huggy Bear, it was happening without their permission. It didn’t come with a press release. It didn’t come on a corporate-approved console-DRM-box. It just existed, was inspired, allowed people to prove their own inspiration, and everyone who got it profited from the experience. It broke every single rule, and showed how nonsense those rules were. William Goldman’s line about Hollywood applies as much to games: NO-ONE KNOWS ANYTHING. It burns down civilization and revealed what an untamed landscape gaming really is.

We can build anything from here. And with luck, we will.

Quinns: Kieron already mentioned Mine The Gap, and through those articles I’ve already spoken and shouted and whimpered my piece about Minecraft, but there is one thing I have left to say. It’s this: Not an hour goes past where I don’t give thanks for whatever dark zap of imagination led to Notch putting Creepers in this game.

I love Creepers. I love the phenomenon they’ve become (nsfw). On the off chance you haven’t played Minecraft yet (you eventually will, by the way), Creepers are one of the few wandering monsters in the game. They do one thing, and one thing only. They get close to you, start hissing, and then detonate, taking their surroundings with them. More often than not you fail to notice their approach because you’re so engrossed in what you’re building, and by the time you hear the hiss you don’t have enough time left to do anything about it.

Creepers are the simplest of monsters, but it’s amazing how they work to make Minecraft so much more than a sandbox game. Everybody who plays Minecraft will have their own Creeper story, and their own pocketful of emotions towards the things, despite their lack of animations and single sound effect. They give me hope about what Notch plans to do with Minecraft in the long term. If Notch can implement his world and story as elegantly as the Creepers, it’s going to be a beautiful finished piece.

Of course, it’s already beautiful. Contrary to what Frightened Rabbit may believe, you will find love in a hole. There’s a lot to love down there- rock formations and lava flows, diamonds and monsters.

You’ll find love in a tree, too. You’ll find love at the top of a mountain. You’ll find love in a pitiful dugout, constructed in 15 seconds to escape from angry spiders that slide around the world like Segways. You’ll find love in your painstakingly constructed new cabin, built over 15 hours for no purpose whatsoever. You’ll find love behind a waterfall. You’ll find love crossing a river in a tiny boat. You’ll find love at sunrise, and sunset. You’ll find love in a snowstorm. But mostly, you’ll find love in a hole.

Thanks for reading, everybody! And Merry Christmas.

__________________

« | »

, .

152 Comments »

  1. terry says:

    Hurrah!

  2. Will Tomas says:

    Was always going to be No1, and deserves everything it gets. The masterpiece of the year.

    Also, would love that 50 top RPS stories of the year article…

    • Colthor says:

      “Also, would love that 50 top RPS stories of the year article…”
      Yeah, that’d be interesting.

      Merry Chrimbletide, RPS :)

    • Jhoosier says:

      I third this. Somebody get cracking! I’m sure there’ll be a slow gaming news day coming up soon.

  3. parm says:

    I approve entirely of (a) Minecraft and (b) Frightened Rabbit.

    But you do know that song is kind of filthy, right? I mean, they’re not talking about a hole in the ground, if you catch my drift.

  4. Schaulustiger says:

    Minecraft deserves the top spot because it is basically everything that makes PC gaming so great.

  5. MadTinkerer says:

    Indeed. I am very much surprised. ;)

  6. Sander Bos says:

    “The first was the revealing of the online-only Ubisoft DRM, for those who are interested….. And so, via the wonders of advertising, giving us money”
    RPS, making money from DRM since 1876 (it wasn’t invented yet in 1873).

    Also, based on the tie in with the Steam daily sales of the last few advent posts, does this mean Minecraft will be available from Steam tonight, with a 50% discount?

    Also, although I never could get into the game, it is my favorite game *story* of 2010 (maybe well ever?).

    Also, Merry Christmas.

  7. Rinox says:

    Minecraft is sweet. I have learned to get over my initial John-like massive losses and am now enjoying myself immensely (and a little obsessive-compulsively). Merry Christmas everyone!

    P.S. New Vegas is not among the 24 games of Christmas – I am deeply disappointed! :-(

    • Colthor says:

      @Rinox

      I was surprised to not see Quinns singing New Vegas’s praises somewhere along the line.

  8. Tatourmi says:

    Ooooh, that is so UNEXPECTED. Nice article and nice ending anyway ;)
    I sure hope it will get more people to play minecraft.
    I would just say one thing to: “4) It’s an awesome platform for crazy people to do insane stuff. There’s nothing better than that. (See the Minecraft CPU map, etc.)”

    You forgot one small game: g-mod (Which already had simulated cpus before minecraft and a lot more, like friggin’ gian mechanical spiders that shoot lasers and catapult away explosive barrels. Do you have that in minecraft? Do you?)

    • MadTinkerer says:

      No, but as good as GMod is, it’s limited by the Source Engine. Which is a very good engine. But it can’t do:

      1) Solid, dynamic, terrain. Source is based on Carmack’s general 3D engine design where most everything is made of Brushes. This means you can make things in any shape you want, but barring some clever tricks, the level is going to be fundamentally immutable when the player gets to it.

      2) Unlimited, dynamic, lights. Pretty much every 3D engine uses Raycasting to some degree and for light sources that want/need to change for plot reasons (flickering lights, day/night cycles), plus BSP and other stuff designed for worlds that do not change. The flashlight in HL2? Gordon is the only character in the world with one because more than one flashlight would slow the game to a crawl. (Though apparently they’re doing something VERY clever with Portal 2 lighting, so this might change in Source after Portal 2.)

      3) Other Technical Stuff. I could go on, explaining about dynamic water flows, how dynamic lights completely change the day/night cycle mechanic compared to other games that have something similar, the way Notch borrowed techniques from text-based roguelikes (esp. Dwarf Fortress) but had the sense to keep everything nice and 3d… Garry’s Mod adds a bunch of fun tools to an existing engine, but Minecraft starts from scratch and does pretty much everything differently.

      4) Survival Mode. Garry’s Mod isn’t a game. Minecraft is an actual game on top of being a sandbox to play in and a development platform for people to add stuff to.

      Garry’s Mod was an awesome step in the right direction, but Minecraft surpasses GMod for effort on the part of the creator as well as potential for casual creativity.

      And besides, Garry’s Mod was released years ago. That’s why it’s not in this year’s Game of Christmas list.

    • JackShandy says:

      Um, clarification: When he says “There’s nothing better than that” I’m fairly sure that he’s saying that about Awesome Platforms for Crazy Stuff themselves- not saying that Minecraft is the best awesome platform for crazy stuff in existance.

    • Matt says:

      Minecraft doesn’t have dynamic lighting.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Actually you are right one some points (Even though 1) dynamic water in minecraft is REALLY limited, 2) the “garry’s mod is not a game” thingy isn’t heavy too as the definition of a game is a very foggy one and Minecraft isn’t one either if you put on the “goal factor” to the definition and 3) the light factor isn’t really convincing to me as the source engine IS more than capable of handling a lot of dynamic light sources) but you didn’t really answer to my point: Minecraft is a very high quality game (Mainly because of dynamic terrain, day/light cycle, rpg elements and random, unlimited map. Things that create the whole exploration experience) I still find it incredibly limited compared to G-mod in term of building possibilities. I agree that Minecraft have sort of more potential than g-mod for the adventuring gamer but not really for the creative one. Both experiences are different but I would not place Minecraft above G-mod on that particular point.

      Anyway: JackShandy you might be right. And I would then agree with point 4) ;)

  9. RegisteredUser says:

    I can’t get any sense of wanting to play this game at all.

    It seems to me utterly pointless, directionless and inferior to something that would actually include a tangible sensation, i.e. stacking up stuff and creating anything in real life at all.

    Seriously, I do NOT see the point of this even remotely. It seems worse than the Sims in this regard of “It is what you want it to be / make of it”.

    If there were something like missions to kill as many wandering sheep in an exploding, splattering bloodfest with falling block-traps in a visually gratifying way, then, yes, surely, that would be nice.

    If you had to mutilate humans, cause rock avalanches to destroy people and villages, burn down forests and people contained with it, redirect water to flood stuff, etc pp, all of that, then yes, there would be a semblance of a point.
    But rubbing object X against Y to get Z and writing John Was Here over extremely painful to look at gfx blocks just holds no fascination to me whatsoever.

    • Warth0g says:

      I am so with you… I hope this doesn’t make me less of a gamer… from the hyperbole in some of the review, you’d think so…

    • c-Row says:

      Count me in here. Guess I will keep the final window on this year’s Christmas calendar shut and enjoy Day 23 some more.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well this is the main appeal of Minecraft. It’s just so dang different.

      The problem with Minecraft for you guys is that the “point of it all” doesn’t exist until you play it. There is no set mission structure to play through until the world is generated. Then you are presented with the various dilemmas of Survival, Exploration, Construction/Crafting, and Learning And Exploiting The Rules To Their Fullest. What you’ll do will be similar to everyone else playing Minecraft. The order you do it in, and precisely how you do it will be unique.

      It’s like reaching the level cap in an MMO or beating the final Story Boss in a JRPG: there’s still a ton to do all over the place, just not a single defining goal. It’s not aimless, but I can’t tell you exactly what sorts of things you’ll want to do because your world will be different than mine.

      Minecraft currently does not have an “endgame” because Notch says he’s still figuring out what that would be. Minecraft currently does not have NPCs because Notch never intended to implement them in Alpha, but does intend to do so in Beta. Each world has many little goals to accomplish in the meantime.

    • frymaster says:

      for people who find it difficult to set their own objectives, find a nice friendly community that has a multiplayer server, find someone with a Big Project(TM) that needs help, and get your sense of purpose from them ;)

    • Wilson says:

      @RegisteredUser – Do you enjoy games where you create things (e.g. SimCity or Settlers type things)? I only ask because all your examples involve destruction, and if you don’t enjoy building stuff then Minecraft won’t appeal, since it is really just about building and creating random stuff of your own in a random landscape that you explore (it is at the moment anyway). This isn’t a criticism btw, it just strikes me as an obvious reason why Minecraft wouldn’t live up to the hype for you.

    • Fraser Allison says:

      There’s nothing wrong about what you say except the words “inferior” and “worse”. Other than that, you’re spot on: it’s currently pointless, directionless and barely a designed experience, and by the sounds of it, that’s not a game for you. I don’t get much out of it either, but that’s just me.

      Maybe the word “game” is a problem here. The appeal lies outside the traditional concept of a game.

      Oh, and it’s knobbish to slag something off before you’ve tried it, obviously.

    • Lightbulb says:

      My brother thought the same. Then he played it, I hung up the phone. Next day I phoned him to ask what he was doing. “Playing Minecraft” was his reply.

      Its amazingly compelling ONCE YOU TRY IT.

      People say “its about bulding” or “its about exploring”. Its not those things.

      Its about doing whatever you want.

      Put it another way: I have never heard of someone who has played it and not liked it. Plenty who say “this looks crap” but none who say it IS crap.

      I can’t see what’s not to like. In truth I have stopped playing for a while whilst he finishes off multiplayer support but its really FUN.

      Fun like no other game I have played in years is fun. Its fun the in “taking a childish delight in everything” way that I have not experienced for years.

      I can’t really put it into words. Its just…. …really really great.

    • ascagnel says:

      Minecraft is like the playground when you were a kid. There were monkey bars, so you said “I’m going to climb to the top.” There was a big slide, with steps going up the other side, so you said “I’m bored of the steps, I’m going to climb up the slide.” There was a swing set, so you said “I’m going to see how high I can go.” There was a sand pit, so you said “I’m going to dig to the other side of the Earth!”

      Minecraft is pure play. There is no goal, beyond basic survival. No deadlines, no achievements, no score, no final boss. You “make your own fun,” but the tools you have to modify the world you’re in allows you to “make your own fun” more than any other game out there. Yes, there is destruction. But where Minecraft excels is in construction: the afore-mentioned central processing unit; a cannon for cows; mine cart tracks on par with the meanest creations in Roller Coaster Tycoon; a hollowed-out mountain turned into a glitzy underground city.

      The only thing that scares me for the development of Minecraft is the pending idea of early- and late-game objectives. I doubt the game will be cut off after finishing the objectives, will I still want to play after finishing them? Will I still have that “just one more turn…” feeling?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      @registered_user

      This is irony, right?

    • jaheira says:

      “I have never heard of someone who has played it and not liked it”

      You have now. Directionless, content-free, awful looking and, worst of all, hyped to buggery. Can’t stand this horrid game.

    • Fumarole says:

      Minecraft isn’t a game so much as it is a toy, like Legos. You play a game, but you play with a toy.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Have to side with the nay-sayers unfortunately. I spent many a year model-mesh-skin importing in There.com and SecondLife, then using them and countless other creations in-client to build and make the minds eye “tangible” online for myself and others. Then you invite your friends over to oooh and ahhh, brainstorm even more ideas and you all expand endless brainchild visions further.

      Minecraft just seems like the Mario Brothers version of this without the added social functionality. Not to say it wasn’t fun, but it was fun *10 years ago*, then I just moved on.

      Now it seems like everyone has re-invented the wheel with mine craft, so more power to you and have fun but um. Yeah. Next game plz.

  10. Miles of the Machination says:

    Minecraft, alone with a few others, really seems to be a Pioneer for PC gaming; essentially the element of procedurally generated content that has created such an enduring experience for a relatively simple concept. Here’s to pretty block-mountains.

    Frightened Rabbit – Keep Yourself Warm, We Were Promised Jetpacks – Keeping Warm. Is Scotland really cold/sexy enough to justify all of these songs?! And Merry Christmas to you too, RPS Hivemind.

  11. Deano2099 says:

    It kind of bothers me that I have no interest in playing this, but I just don’t. And normally if something like this gets so much coverage then I’ll give it a chance, I feel like I owe it that, I’ve been playing games for 25 years and even writing a bit about them but everything I read about it screams to me the fact that I’ll hate it.

    I don’t like sandboxes, I have little imagination, and I don’t want to just build things without a goal. And I hate the idea that you can lose all your stuff just by getting sneaked up on by a monster. None of this sounds fun to me. It’s an odd disconnect, people talking about all the things that make it wonderful, and they’re the same things putting me off.

    I’m not slagging it off (I haven’t played it, how could I?) but I’m curious if anyone like me actually jumped in regardless and what they thought of it.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I usually play in peaceful mode (which removes all the monsters), because I mostly want to build stuff without have to worry about the monsters.

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Your mileage may of course vary, but initially I thought the same way you did.
      I’m terrible at sandboxes, I never knew what to do in Garry’s Mod, but in Minecraft everything came naturally. You need a shelter for your first night, a mine to get coal for torches that stop enemies from spawning in your little house, you need a wall to easily go out at night and a watchtower to see if there’s creepers nearby and a little farm to bake bread and heal your wounds and so on… Everything I built was derived from my survival needs and in the end I had lots of buildings that all served a purpose. Okay, the rollercoaster from my house to my mine was mostly fancy, but its purpose was transportation.

    • AndrewC says:

      Like you and Registered User, and probably a whole bunch of others, I tend towards preferring in-built goals, in-game rewards and progression, directed activity and so forth: An Epic Quest, a purpose, a reason.

      But I was surprised at how compelling the little, self-generated quests were – I must find some coal for torches, I must build a beacon so I can find my way home – and so on. It proper works, once i read the basic rules on ‘how to craft stuff’, anyway.

      So, you know, Epic Quest games are probably not going to disappear, but us Epic Quest-ers do need to understand that there are different ways to approach digital interactive thingies. i must admit, I’m still going to end up on the side of the Epic Questers:

      Why build a huge castle? or a Starship Enterprise? or a willy? The world suddenly feels empty and alone when you turn around to say ‘look what i just di…oh’.

      Survival mode seems like a world of battling off loneliness through activity, rather than activity-as-joy. There is sadness at the heart of this beautiful, empty world.

    • Zaphid says:

      I would say that people like you will never know the true happiness, but let me tell you this: Buy it, find a decent server and just wander around looking at all the things people have created. Or find out that dusk is coming, dig a hole, hide in it, light it with torches and start digging. Maybe you will find an enormous cave system with lava lakes. Maybe you will run into a small cave with nothing in it. Maybe you won’t find anything. But you will have a story, one told by your actions. When you emerge into the daylight, the world will be different, only because of the time you spent in it.

    • Lightbulb says:

      Its not about building – its about doing what you want.

      For me its mostly about exploring. Finding dark caves and taming them. Fighting monsters. Finding metal to craft swords and armour. Delving deeper into the dark risking everything I have.

      Its about walking over a hill top and seeing a mountain in the distance.

      Its about climbing that mountain and admiring the view. The challenge was to climb a cliff without building a ladder up there. All the more satisfying because the only person who made the challenge was me.

      Its about joining a multiplayer server, building a small house, returning 3 days later to find a city has sprung up around you.

      Its about marvelling at the natural world. Its about marvelling more about what people have built.

      I tried garrys mod once and I thought its pointless. Minecraft is not like that.

      There IS a point to doing it – its for the shear joy of doing it.

      Because its randomly generated you know that no one has been into this cave before. There may be nothing at the bottom of the cave. There may be diamonds. There may be miles and miles of sprawling tunnels. Or it may be a dead end.

      The possibilities are all there, waiting to be discovered.

    • Consumatopia says:

      The “lose all your stuff by surprise” thing is really a drag. You can build a huge amount of complicated stuff, but it never makes the task of exploring the world and surviving dramatically easier.

      There’s a reason so many people play the single player mode with monsters turned off, and it’s not just because they want things to be easy. It’s that the challenges posed by the monster don’t really seem well-suited to the goals of exploration or construction.

      If I wanted to make an exploration game, then instead of a day/night cycle that switches from nearly-zero monsters to hordes of creepers exploding all around you, I’d make the difficulty of the monsters vary across space rather than time. The further away from home or the more exotic the biome, the more difficult the monsters would be. Like nethack or other roguelikes, further exploration would be accompanied by increased difficulty.

      OTOH, if construction was the goal, then I’d model myself after Dwarf Fortress. As time passes, much more difficult monsters get thrown at my home base, so I need to have a larger, more sophisticated base to defend myself. Whereas in Minecraft, if you just dig a hole and cover it up, you seem to be safe for all eternity.

      The actual combat and obstacle avoidance in Minecraft is fun, but it just doesn’t seem to compliment exploration or construction very well. It’s like you’ve got three fun things–exploration, construction, survival–and for the first couple hours of playing MC they all seem to blend well together, but after that it just seems like work. On the one hand, it’s like nothing else I’ve played before, on the other hand, it could be much better.

  12. Dinger says:

    Yup. Minecraft. According to several reputable gaming sites, a game written in Java has earned the honor of Game of the Year. Inevitably, Notch will capitalize on the awards with a “Game of the Year Beta Release”.

    Players have built a wiki and hundreds of thousands of in-game videos showing off their high and low moments. Journalists have given MC unparalleled coverage. Quinns did a weeklong diary here; Tom Francis’ diary continues unflaggingly through day 16. Other indie dev had a piece-by-piece breakdown of the minecraft.net front page explaining why it helped the game sell millions. And academics try to explain it as a narrative revolution — “you awake beside the sea, alone in the world”.

    I’m left wondering just what the reasons were. The backlash has hit, as required: you can’t have an indie hit without backlash. Someone recently posted to Slashdot that Notch was a terrible programmer; how could he not be when he’s coding, posting to twitter, participating in 10 IRC chatrooms, all at the same time? He’s not coding, he’s having a conversation, and dropping bits of code between sentences. This never happened to Eskil Steenberg. Here this guy went and built something far more ambitious than Minecraft, with deformable terrain, an amazing look, sophisticated AI, and all this in a real programming language with a toolkit that other developers cannot but envy. Eskil’s written treatises on his game design. Yet, for all its merits, Love just hasn’t gained the traction MC has.

    For a Java programmer, Notch is terribly vain. For the Ludum Dare competitions, he streams his desktop and sets up a chat window where his fans take turns spamming the buffer with useless garbage. I checked in on him last weekend, where he decided to use the 48 hours to build a 3D, sprite-based dungeon crawler. A few observations:

    With the aid of Eclipse, he refined quickly: getting the water to have just the *right* amount of waviness took him 20 iterations, or about 2 minutes. The sprite graphics also went through several revisions. Under that crude world lies a lot of tweaking based entirely around the immediate visual and tactile experience.
    At 10 hours left in the competition, he had something feature complete: doors that opened when you pressed a button, potions you could drink, a death animation (again tweaked to look just right), UI — the works. But the result didn’t look fun. That’s when he abandoned the project.
    Technically, the things that matter most are the immediate experience of using the game and the bottom line: if it’s not fun in the first 5 seconds and after the first 5 hours, it’s not fun. To get the first, you need pertinacity in iterating the interface and visual aspects; to get the second, you need the willpower to toss whole sections of code, and sometimes entire games when it doesn’t work. Minecraft reflects both these qualities: the core of the game, banging on stuff until they enter your inventory and placing stuff from the inventory into the world, just works well. It’s fun. On the long term, it’s fun, but not all revisions have made things more entertaining. Notch rewrote the monster spawning system and then junked it, because it wasn’t a challenge.

    Of course, there’s more to MC than that. It’s a world where the rules are set by the way the map is laid out: each cube can have one of 256 values, water and lava flow out 4 cubes before needing to flow down, therefore water cannot flow through a doorway, and redstone actually occupies the space above the cube it appears to be laid upon. Heck, even the bugs become features in this rule set: just take a look at the youtube videos of minecart boosters and TNT cannons.

    Discovering these rules, and the map, gives meaning to the world. There’s the pillar I built, Simon Stylites-style, when I was lost in the desert, night fell, and infernal creatures attacked. There’s my first cave dwelling. There’s my mesa greenhouse, amid an artificial forest high in the clouds, with a 1km-long minecart track leading across the sky and down to the spawn point.
    Pure awesome.

    • dadioflex says:

      “It’s a world where the rules are set by the way the map is laid out”

      No it isn’t. It’s a world that’s laid out according to the rules, like every other game out there. I should just TLDR, but I get a perverse satisfaction reading article comments which appear to be intended as an audition for a magazine job, but just twist themselves in logic knots.

      My favourite link from Quinn’s image link:

      http://www.epicminecraft.com/2010/10/26/minecraft-creepers-where-is-your-god-now/

      I want that on my wall.

    • Dinger says:

      Good lord, I have way too much writing to do to even think of writing for a magazine, let alone audition for such a prestigious and high-paying job. and yes, I do too much logic chopping in my day job to be arsed to do a pro job in a blog comment thread. So, sure, it won’t always make sense; that’s why it’s a discussion where we keep some things in our pants, and maybe we can work out our meaning.

      In any case, ‘world’ and ‘map’ are not synonyms. In this case, I use ‘world’ to refer to the (phemenological experience of the) gamespace. ‘Map’ refers to the data structure that expresses that world. What I meant was that there are two forces on the development process, the target experience (vision) and the means to achieve it. If you’re playing a game with some story about leading a mass revolution in a dystopia, and there are only ever 3 characters on screen, world is driving map. If the game focuses on discovering a ruleset dictated by the fact your word is composed entirely of voxels having one and only one value between 0 and 255, plus a few TTLd sprites,, then map drives world There’s of course some of both in every game, but MC is heavily on the map side in a manner not seen since the heyday of 6502 side scrollers.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Cheer up.

      Edit: Wait a minute, that wasn’t supposed to go there. Cheer up anyway. Always good to have more cheer.

    • Spookerton says:

      I waited for Love for two years.
      I suffered the horrifyingly painful graphics for a month.
      I suffered the awful network and latency handling for a month.
      I suffered the total lack of other players besides my own secondary for a month.
      I paid for Love despite the over-average costs and the never-to-be-finished-beyond-release product.
      I did not want to give Eskill another chance.

      Love was a rough game with potential based on rough concept tools with potential. Love was not a good game, a game worthy of praise or a game worthy of the money required to even test it. It suffered from a tragic lack of any support from its lone developer, who refused to hear anything but praise about his artwork – and that was indeed what it was. Unplayable artwork.

  13. Fede says:

    This Games of Christmas series was very nice and lovely, as always :)
    Thanks and Merry Chistmas, Hivemind!

  14. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    2010 seems to be the year of Minecraft. Along with many others, I’ve spent dozens of hours in it–almost certainly more than any other game this year, except perhaps TF2. I explored. I built castles out of stone, then out of obsidian. I died. I discovered new worlds. I accidentally drowned because I dug up under the sea. I built a string factory out of a spider dungeon. I carved a giant skull out of the side of a mountain, with secret rooms and passages within. And I saw the tremendously creative constructions built by many, many others, mostly on the unofficial RPS server.

  15. kwyjibo says:

    I called this like everyone else did on the very first day of advent, but I was secretly hoping that you’d pick something else. Something where we’d see the hand of authorship, something directed by an auteur.

    Instead, 2010 is the year of the second sandbox, Second Life b0.5, no game, just tools.

    • AndrewC says:

      You are being delightfully polemic with your definitions. The hand of the author is all over Minecraft.

    • JuJuCam says:

      If surviving in Minecraft isn’t a game then I don’t understand your definition of game. There are rules and a broad objective. The fact that you have the freedom to define your own momentary objectives makes it a sandbox, but in playing it I personally get a definite sense of there always being something vitally important to do at the moment, even if it’s simply to carve out an aesthetically pleasing defensible hole in the ground, or to see what’s beyond the next hill.

    • Lilliput King says:

      RPS have said that the list isn’t in any order, and it does include some pretty good ‘author’ games here and there.

    • Acorino says:

      Why do you think that Minecraft is not an author game?

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      I for one welcome our new Swedish A.I. overlords.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Minecraft was produced in an Indonesian sweatshop and designed by a marketing-focused committee called “Notch”. No authorship here.

  16. JackShandy says:

    “The bloke who fixed my boiler plays it with his kid.

    At least one PR with a complicated London haircut plays it.”

    A good friend of mine recently came back from a year-long trip to Vanuatu. Trying to fill him in, I go “Hey, there’s this thing called Minecraft that took off recently.”

    He plays it.

    God bless us, every one.

  17. Bloodloss says:

    I still haven’t played this. Heresy, I know. Unfortunately I missed out on the Alpha deal, so I’m a bit wary of buying it now, especially since they removed the clause that says you’ll get free updates of new versions or whatever.. what does that mean exactly? That when he comes out with a full version I’ll have to pay again if I buy it now?

    • Hematite says:

      The original alpha licenses came with an extensive promise of all future versions FOR EVAR!

      My understanding is that the beta licenses have been trimmed back to a more standard beta versions + 1.0 release, and after that you’ll still get free patches just like the regular customers, and pay for expansions/version 2.0 just like the regular customers.

  18. Tei says:

    I love the game and all the fantastic stuff that the people make with it. If I where to meet the man, I would hug him to give him thanks.

  19. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Well I for one never saw this coming… fair enough though.

  20. Out Reach says:

    I have lucid minecraft dreams.

  21. Wulf says:

    Kind of disappointed that New Vegas didn’t show in this. Though I’d imagine anyone with any sense and the bravery to try it out after RPS slammed it so should realise that it’s an absolutely amazing game, the sort of RPG that only comes along once every few years, of late, and the only thing that could come close to challenging The Witcher as far as RPGs of recent years go.

    Minecraft would be my game of the year, too. But New Vegas would be a damn close second. I’ve pumped a worrying amount of hours into that game, trying to find every branch there is, and after some 600~ hours in, I’m still finding new stuff that has no relation to the huge amount of mods I’ve dropped into it. It’s a testament to the quality, the heart, soul, and passion of old RPGs. And no one who could claim to love the older gems like Planescape and the past Fallout games, or even newer gems like The Witcher and Mask of the Betrayer, could genuinely dislike New Vegas. They’d be lying.

    To dislike New Vegas, you absolutely need to fundamentally dislike the very tenets of what makes up a PC RPG. Because at its core, that’s what New Vegas is, it’s like a romantic love poem to the RPGs of years past. It’s really a shame it wasn’t highlighted by RPS, but c’est la vie. I understand pride and all. But still… really. What a shame.

    • Deano2099 says:

      New Vegas will likely be my game of next year, and very look forward to playing it some time on October with all the DLC, a bunch of graphics mods, some other cools mods and all the bugs fixed. Reckon you can keep your mod list going until then? :D (I still have Fallout 3 to get through first…)

    • Wilson says:

      I was put off New Vegas because Fallout 3 didn’t work for me properly (crashed a lot), and what I did play of the game I found a little uninspiring. I gather New Vegas was way better, but I can’t recall reading why anywhere. I’d be fascinated to see some RPS people revisit it and see if their opinions have changed at all in light of the popular response/time/just having another go at it.

    • ado says:

      As an RPG Fallout 3 was mediocre at best, I highly doubt New Vegas is any better. Especially considering it’s made by the bug and glitch factory (aka Obsidian).

    • Tyshalle says:

      I pretty much couldn’t disagree more. As someone who counts the original Fallout as probably the greatest RPG ever made, I made it through just 43 hours (according to Steam) of New Vegas before getting completely bored and dropping it to go replay Arkham Asylum. I consider myself to be someone who really, really loves RPG’s, in all their forms. It’s easy to just shrug and assume that anyone who disagrees with you must either be hugely biased or “lying” (lol), but really I think we can just chalk this one up to taste and move on.

      For one, while the writing in NV was better than FO3, I found it to only be marginally better. It was better just to the point that I didn’t feel like I was assumed to be a complete retard, but I never felt like the quality of the writing rose to the point where I felt like I was being challenged, intellectually, morally, or even just in terms of game mechanics. The characterizations still felt wooden and hollow, and even in the extremely rare cases where they didn’t, the characters never rose to a level where I actually cared about any of them. Compare this to Fallout 1, where, even through purely simple characterizations, I felt a pretty significant loss when I accidentally got Ian killed by super mutants. Or Dragon Age, where I had become so attached to three of the companion characters that I felt my heart strings being tugged on for days after I’d finally beat it. Nothing in this game came even remotely close to that for me.

      Then there’s the problems with the engine itself. And I don’t just mean the fact that it’s buggy as hell, aging poorly, and pretty ugly. There’s just something about it that makes the entire world feel empty. Not physically, but like, spiritually. Even though I liked the world much more than I did FO3, I still felt like it was soulless. I enjoyed exploring it for a while, but that wore off pretty quick. Mind you, I dropped 43 hours into it, so it’s not like I feel like this game sucks, and even for 43 hours of entertainment I can safely recommend this game to anyone as it’s worth the price. But it is the first RPG I can think of that I did not finish. And considering that RPG’s are my favorite videogame genre of them all, I consider that to be a pretty serious black mark on the game.

      Though I will admit, had New Vegas not felt like basically an expansion of FO3, I probably would have played it to completion. The fact that the game basically looks identical to the other one probably played a significant part in why I got bored of it so fast.

      But my point is just that your argument that if you don’t like NV you’re either lying or you need to “fundamentally dislike” PC RPG’s is total nonsense.

    • Jhoosier says:

      If anyone wants to try, RPS commenter Wulf has compiled a set of mods that add quite a bit to the NV game experience: http://rockpapershotgun.com/rpsforum/topic.php?id=3692&replies=94 Some highlights are: many of the old weapons (and armor, perhaps?) from Fallouts 1&2, the capability to kick down doors or blast open safes with dynamite, and a weather system for rain, sandstorms, etc.

      I’d recommend anyone interested give it a look. I’ve got 44hrs logged in the game so far and am nowhere near anything resembling a finish. I’ve been distracted by Just Cause 2 and the Steam sale, but eventually over the break I’m sure I’ll settle in and see if I finally make it to the casinos.

      EDIT: I didn’t even realize Wulf had made the original comment. That’s it, I’m cutting myself off from the nog.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “To dislike New Vegas, you absolutely need to fundamentally dislike the very tenets of what makes up a PC RPG.”

      No, you don’t. That’s a ludicrous statement.

    • Torgen says:

      Ludicrous statements are Wulf’s stock and trade.

      And, if New Vegas is the epitome of RPGs, why has he felt compelled to stack multiple mods into it to enjoy it?

    • Jhoosier says:

      Torgen: most of the mods are about adding to the world and making it a more interesting experience. He didn’t say it was the epitome of anything, just that it had what makes a great PC RPG. The story covers quite a bit, has a few different paths to follow, and there are lots of little things that are much like the little things in Fallouts 1&2 that made it so much fun. Despite it using the same engine as FO3, I think I’m enjoying NV more.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’m perpetually behind, but I’m sure New Vegas will be near the top of my list for games I played in 2011, if not the top. I find RPS’s hostility to the likes of Fallout 3 and New Vegas a bit hard to parse in light of their affection for Minecraft, as for me the two scratch so many of the same itches. I suppose it’s a matter of whether you’re more in it for the survival (like me) or the building, though.

    • ik0n says:

      I happen to find RPS’s Wot I Think on Vegas quite a bit more ludicrous than any of Wulf’s comments, to be honest. It’s a shame that plenty of readers won’t take some time to at least try the game, based on some very controversial opinions of one of your writers. A big shame, indeed.

    • thesundaybest says:

      Wulf is the most eloquent troll I’ve ever read.

      Bought it because I knew I would play it just based on what you were writing about it. Mine the Gap was one of my favourite reads all year, not just about games but in general.

    • Archonsod says:

      I felt New Vegas was pretty much Fallout 3 how it should have been. Of course, the fact that it borrows heavily from the Van Buren design might have something to do with that.

    • Tyshalle says:

      Admittedly I found the RPS review a bit intellectually dishonest myself, even though I wasn’t particularly in love with the game. I seem to recall him pointing out an in-game crop field that NPC’s constantly lauded over being enormous, but then he showed us a screenshot of it and it was like a 15 x 10 foot square of sparsely grown corn. When I showed up to that area, I realized he’d positioned the camera in such a way that that’s what it looked like, but if he’d turned around he would have found about 20 other crop squares just like the first, plus at least two indoor barracks filled with crops as well. So that kind of put me off of the review somewhat myself too.

      But that said, 90% of the facts he states are completely accurate, even if you don’t wind up drawing the same conclusions or coming to the same opinion as Quintin, I think that it’s hard to argue the accuracy over the things he chose to pick on. There were no snowglobes, even though the dialogue would have you believe they were everywhere. The hardcore mode was thoroughly not hardcore. You may have still loved this game, but anyone without bias can surely admit that there are some pretty big flaws you have to look past. Flaws that some people might be able to easily get over, but others could very easily find themselves unable to do the same.

      Just sayin’.

    • Wulf says:

      @Tyshalle

      I see the scuffle from the other thread resulted in a little ego bruising and has progressed to some predatorial chasing. As you will, then.

      I stand by what I said because I honestly feel it’s true. The quality of RPGs of recent years has degraded. People tend to sing the praises of more mindless action games whilst ignoring those that offer something that the RPGs of old did: Choice and consequence. This is clearly what I was talking about, since I mentioned branches, but you go off with your own red herrings in regards to the gameplay mechanics and dialogue. I’ll ignore those, they’re not relevant.

      The reason I feel that you can’t dislike New Vegas if you like RPGs is because New Vegas does so much to offer what is at the very heart of an RPG: Choice and consequence. It branches so often that I almost begin to question the sanity of the developers at Obsidian. Every little thing you do has some kind of visible, tangible consequence in the game. Not the more illusionary consequences we get in Bioware games, but you actually have to man up to every little thing you do. There really are ‘bad endings’ to New Vegas, and they go so far beyond the cop out of ‘everyone dies, that’s a bad ending!’.

      Due to your actions, the wasteland can really go to shit and become a far worse place than it would’ve been because you were there, but you can also make things a little better. What you can’t do is be a shining saviour, and you can’t really be a demon either. Your impact is felt though, and you can create massive change, but it’s not as black & white as, say, a Bioware game where you’re out to save the world or the Universe. So you make all of these decisions, and despite your best intentions, youc an really screw things up, or with lots of hard work and instigating massive change, you can only make things a little better. You can turn the wasteland upside down and make your footprint felt everywhere, but you’re still not the shining hero. Sometimes, in trying to be a hero you’re given things to deal with that will weigh on your conscience, and you’ll realise that it might’ve been better had you not been present in the first place.

      THAT is what New Vegas offers, and that’s very much the fare of RPGs of yore. If you value that most core tenet of the old RPGs, then you can’t honestly dislike New Vegas. I say this because New Vegas offers you this so well, much like the best RPGs you could name. Name a great RPG, go on, name a great old one. Fallout? You’re a fan of the original Fallout you say? Then you should realise that Fallout did this as well, in fact, this was one of the most important things that Fallout did.

      And then you go onto the bugs. There have actually been threads on the Nexus and New Vegas forums about how this is actually not all that buggy, nowhere near as much as it could have been. It was many hundreds of times more ambitious than Fallout 3, but it didn’t actually have more bugs than Fallout 3. It was buggy, yes, but then any ambitious game is. Still, when the same people who put together things like the unofficial patch and such are saying that the game isn’t that buggy, then I can’t attribute much validity to your words. Lots of people have been saying that New Vegas is very buggy. But is it? Is it really? Frankly, I’m calling shenanigans.

      As far as the dialogue and the characters are concerned, I can’t argue. Those are your tastes and there’s no objective grounds on which I can disagree with you. All I can say is to each their own. But that you thought Dragon Age was something of a height of characterisation whilst New Vegas characters were wooden and emotionless, well… that speaks volumes to me. I’ll just disagree with you on a subjective level. There was nothing quite like the emotional impact of Lily and her medicine in Dragon Age, nothing that came even remotely close to that for me. That was an emotional double-whammy, and I still don’t know if I’ve done the right thing. There have been threads of debate as to what the right thing to do with Lily was, and were there any choices with any Dragon Age character that spawned such?

      I’ve had quite a long discussion with a few people over whether it’s best to provide Lily with a happier future, or whether her identity should matter more. And there are so many variables involved, such as whether Doctor Henry would ever find a permanent cure, and is happiness truly worth it at the cost of one’s memories and identity? These are BIG questions, I can’t recall Dragon Age ever tasking me like this, and nothing in your post gives me the inclination that it does. I -feel- that compared to my words, here, yours feel hollow. You’re saying these things but you’re not telling me how Dragon Age had these things.

      So there you have it, I suppose we look for fundamentally different things in our games. You look more for the Dragon Age approach, and I look more for things that will actually make me think. I can’t just have something pull a cheap tear jerker and have that work for me. A lot more effort has to be put in in my case to get a reaction out of me. And New Vegas certainly managed that.

      @Jim Rossignol

      Saying the sky is blue is also a ludicrous statement if you say it to a person who’s always perceived it as being green. I think ‘ludicrous’ is kind of like ‘pretentious’ these days. One thinks that if they attach a buzz-word like that to something, it’ll automatically either give their words meaning, or strike away the meaning of another person’s words.

      @Torgen

      Of course they’re ‘ludicrous’. I mean, one voice against the many, how could that possibly be right? There’s never been a moment in history where one person has been right and a large audience has been wrong, has there? Nope. Not one!

      The thing is, the only reason my opinion seems ludicrous is because it’s so contrary to the accepted opinion of the clique. And I’ll get to that in a moment. But any opinion shared, on matters serious or silly, that’s contrary to a clique is going to look like the most absurd thing ever.

      The sad part is is that you’re biting my head off but I seriously doubt you’ve tried the game yourself to find your own truth in it. Therefore, biting my head off for sharing my opinion about something I’m innately familiar with (while, contrarily, you are not) is something of a joke. You’re parroting an opinion that isn’t yours, and you don’t really have a reason to have that opinion.

      What’s worse is that you made something of a straw-man out of my modding project. I admit that New Vegas wasn’t polished, but it was still glorious, and it was an absolutely amazing feat of an RPG, the closest thing I’ve seen the gaming mainstream get to a work of art in a while. In fact, I daresay that the Vault 34 Choice IS art. My modding project was actually designe dto expand upon the game, fix it a bit, and tweak it a little whilst keeping the vanilla experience as intact as possible, because I have so much respect for the vanilla experience.

      But you woulnd’t know that, would you? Your comment comes across as incredibly shallow to me, because all I see is a snide sideswipe backed up by a parroted opinion. I see no worth.

      @ik0n

      I wrote about the nature of normalcy and human cliques before. It’s the way of things. You see, ‘normal’ is decided by the head of the clique, and all those who wish to be part of that clique tend to mimic the perceived normalcy of the clique as best they can. This is, ultimately, human nature. You really don’t get more human than that.

      I don’t know why, perhaps it’s because I have a craptacularly broken brain, but I’ve never understood the appeal of cliques or trying to fit in with them. I wouldn’t want to be part of RPS’s clique or any others. I have a family, and that’s far more important to me than any social clique, as such things are ultimately meaningless according to my own perceptions.

      Though the reason you’ll not find many people wanting to find their own truth in things is because that would go against the clique. It’s like organised religion, if you think about it. People just want to fit in, so they accept the laws of normalcy according to the head of the clique. They don’t really think for themselves beyond that if they want to remain part of the clique. This is why whenever you visit a certain site, you’ll find a vast majority of people sharing the same opinion.

      This is, of course, why I chose to bark so loudly about New Vegas. The clique is wrong to paint New Vegas negatively. And a great game could be sacrificed because of the vainglorious pride of the clique. I think Quinns was wrong. I honestly believe Quinns was objectively wrong. And I truly feel that New Vegas was one of the better RPGs I’ve played. I’m passionate about that, and for this I’ll be called a troll (I’ll get to that in a bit).

      To me, that such a great game, and one of the best RPGs we’ve had in years, will be brushed under the mat just for the sake of social circles is somewhat sickening. I was glad to see though that this opinion is confined to RPS, and every other corner of the Internet I’ve visited seems to share my opinion. So the game was a success contrary to RPS and its admittedly sizable readerbase. So there were people who recognised that it is a great game.

      It’s just annoying that because of the clique here, there are so many people that won’t even try the game to see whether the opinion of the clique is true. But to most people, sharing the opinion of the clique is more important than having a well-formed opinion of one’s own. So much more.

      @thesundaybest

      Anyone who’s ever been passionate about anything, ever is labeled a troll. Personally I felt that Quinns was trolling in his review because he seemed fervantly inclined to slam the game, there was emotion in that review that went beyond analytical games journalism.

      The troll is an interesting construct, really. And from what I understand of what people label as troll, then the greatest and worst writers of any period of our history could be called a troll. One could call both Shakespeare and Stephenie Meyer trolls.

      As I said, it encompasses anyone who’s ever written anything with a degree of passion. To ‘troll’ is to speak boldly, in an empassioned way, and to pull no punches in regards to the feelings of anyone. So in that regard, I suppose I’m a troll.

      Like I said, the troll is an interesting construct. And I’d be the first to say that troll is only ever used seriously by those who couldn’t articulate a counter-argument as passionate and realised as the so-called troll. That’s why when I called troll on Quinns at the time, I wasn’t being at all serious, which I kind of hoped was obvious.

      Troll isn’t a word you use with any degree of seriousness, and it’s certainly not a label that carries any intellectual worth.

      - Wulf (Just waiting for the defensive edit/delete.)

    • AndrewC says:

      Oh Wulf.

    • The Hammer says:

      Are you going to make a blog post this year, Wulf?

    • Qjuad says:

      Now I know how Iraq feels. Or something.

    • Wizlah says:

      “To dislike New Vegas, you absolutely need to fundamentally dislike the very tenets of what makes up a PC RPG.”

      Or you may just fundamentally dislike the writing, and the portrayal of the world. Choice with consequences is a mechanic. lots of choices with lots of consequences is a start, but it means fuck all to me unless I relate to the writing, art direction and atmosphere of the virtual place I’m making the choices in. When Quinns wrote that Obsidian was phoning it in, I instantly became concerned, not because of the bugginess, not because of the graphics, but because the writing and the world didn’t sound like a place I would want to explore.

      And I have to say, playing through alpha protocol, I can see why those concerns might arise. I’ve yet to play mask of the betrayer, and I understand that it is exquisitely written, and I’m looking forward to the day I can start at it, but alpha protocol’s writing leaves a fair bit to be desired. I’m enjoying the game, but it’s not a place I’m losing myself in.

      I do not want to get lost in choice. I want to become engrossed by a place with people. If Quinns felt it was coming up short on those accounts, given how well he’s described other games in those terms, I felt I wasn’t in a hurry to check out New Vegas.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Wow, that’s quite an ego.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      There are many reasons to loathe FO3 and NV, but I shall cite only one: the quest arrow is a fucking insult (yes, that bad, honest) to the player’s intelligence, it smacks of dumbing down, and almost discourages exploration.

      If you like the game Wulf, fine, but you’re steps away from stating that people who don’t are idiots that don’t “understand” what an RPG should be. With all due respect mate, would you kindly piss off? *goes and plays Venetica, because sometimes total freedom in a game isn’t a requirement to enjoy it.*

    • Vinraith says:

      @Casimir

      An insult to the player’s intelligence? Considering how convoluted downtown DC is in FO3, I don’t think you’d ever find anything without that quest arrow. It’s not like it’s narratively outlandish, either, you’re practically carrying around a GPS unit on your wrist. All that said, though, the beauty of Bethesda games is that it’s trivial to change almost anything you’d want to, something like getting rid of the quest arrow doesn’t even require a mod IIRC.

    • Ateius says:

      Wulf: “Lots of people have been saying that New Vegas is very buggy. But is it? Is it really? Frankly, I’m calling shenanigans.”

      Yes. Yes, it really is.

      By the way – people are still allowed to hold different opinions than you, so pack up that “If you don’t like New Vegas, you don’t like RPGs” business.

    • drewski says:

      @ Tyshalle – 43 hours sounds like a pretty fair chunk of gaming before getting bored to me!

    • bill says:

      “THAT is what New Vegas offers, and that’s very much the fare of RPGs of yore. If you value that most core tenet of the old RPGs, then you can’t honestly dislike New Vegas.”

      Not a big RPG player, but the few RPGs of yore that I tried didn’t seem to have much in the way of Choice and Consequence. Or much in the way of every action having an effect on the world. They tended to be much more simple, and put most of their effort into combat mechanics. And collections of linear quests that were generally self contained.

      Maybe i missed them, but other than Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, where were all these classic RPGs where your choices mattered? The whole thing about choices affecting the world seems a more modern trend to me.

    • Tyshalle says:

      @Wulf –

      Yes, because posting at least half-agreement with you on finding RPS’s NV review to be somewhat intellectually dishonest, and admitting that I still managed to play the game for over 40 hours before getting bored, yeah, proof positive that I don’t actually believe anything I’ve said, and instead am just trolling you because you’ve “bruised my ego” with your pseudo-intellectual strawmen and complete inability to see past yourself.

      But your 4-page, 2,000 word response, there’s no ego there. Nope!

      Forgive me for not reading it all, by the way. I tried for 43 hours, found the quality of the writing to not be very intellectually honest or engaging, got bored, and quit. But from what I gather, you pretty much ignored everything that I said in my response to you, and instead went back to your strawmen. BS like me thinking that Dragon Age is the pinnacle of all RPG’s or some nonsense like that, but completely glossing over the parts where I in fact said that I felt like the original Fallout was probably my favorite RPG of all time.

      And mentioning the dialogue and gameplay mechanics are not red herrings, they’re other equally plausible reasons for why I didn’t like the game. The basis of your original argument wasn’t “to dislike choice and consequences is to fundamentally dislike the very tenents of blah blah blah PC RPG’s!” It was that if you don’t like New Vegas, then you “absolutely NEED” to dislike PC RPG’s. Which I already disproved, but you completely glossed over. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but choice and consequences are not the only thing that makes up New Vegas. The writing quality, and the game mechanics ALSO are completely relevant to people’s experience. So don’t try to back-peddle like a coward now and try to act like what you said isn’t what you really said. You even go on to repeat yourself again, saying that if you value choice and consequence-style gameplay, you “can’t honestly dislike New Vegas.” Sorry but I do value that stuff, and I do dislike New Vegas.

      The only time you actually talk about anything that I actually said is just to prop them up as strawmen. Yes, the original Fallout has “choice and consequence,” or whatever, but that’s not the only reason why I like the original Fallout. It also had quality writing, and the choices and the consequences were far more engaging and stimulating for me than anything I managed to find in New Vegas. As far as Dragon Age goes, I’ll agree that it’s not a classic RPG like you go on and on and on about elsewhere. But the writing, IMO, is way better on the whole than New Vegas. And the voice acting is so much better, and helped breathe actual life into the characters.

      And lol at: “You look more for the Dragon Age approach, and I look more for things that will actually make me think.” What a douchebag.

    • Tyshalle says:

      And really, let me just home in on one point, because it completely destroys the entire premise of your argument. You keep saying that if you dislike New Vegas, you must dislike “the fundamental tenets” (lol) of what makes up a PC RPG. You also agree that the original Fallout is one of these games. And you go on and on and on about how it offers choice and consequences and blah blah blah.

      Well, I love Fallout, and I hate New Vegas.

      Boom. I win.

      According to your arguments, such a thing should be IMPOSSIBLE. It clearly is not. At this point, all you can argue to try and stay in the right is that I am lying my ass off right now. But if you do that, then you seriously have got to stop talking about other people’s egos.

  22. Tartychops says:

    Minecraft certainly grabbed me when I tried it that free weekend when the auth servers were down. It had been a while since I’d played a game that kept me up until silly-’o-clock on a school night, and it’s definitely my game of the year. It pushes all the right buttons for me, the curiosity and urge to explore, the desire to build something grandiose (so proud of my obsidian castle!)

    Surprised to not see New Vegas on the list as, despite its problems on release, it’s been a wonderful game for me and immensely enjoyable. You’re a bit more dedicated than I am, Wulf! I think I’ve got everything I wanted out of it in 4 playthroughs and 151 hours. It has excellent gameplay that kept dragging me back for another quick blast, and there were genuine laugh out loud moments.

    • noobnob says:

      The “free weekend” certainly did boost Minecraft’s popularity. I hope Mojang considers doing more of this in the future.

    • The Tupper says:

      I can’t quite explain it, but the free weekend (as I recall coinciding with ‘Mine The Gap’) not only made me try the game, but something about the sheer decency and apparent naivety of making the thing available to all-comers matched the guileless spirit that pervades game itself.

      It inspired me to put my virtual hand in my virtual pocket and it’s the best gaming investment I’ve ever made. If Minecraft didn’t develop by one single line of code from hereon it would still be the bee’s baws.

    • Dominic White says:

      The chain of events leading up to that ‘free’ period were fascinating. Penny Arcade cover the game, and it brings in a lot of sales, but eventually causes the login server for the game to burst into flames. It was going to take quite some time for Notch to get hold of a replacement, so rather than just leaving people to deal with offline mode or lose functionality on a game they’ve paid for, he just put in an official bypass for a few days so everyone could play.

      I’d imagine that his lawyers would have all had heart attacks over this, if he’d had them around at that point. It was just a complete indie sorta move. “Oh, people are having trouble logging in? Login server is being a problem? Ah well, no need to log in anymore, guys, just come in and play til I get this fixed”.

  23. ado says:

    Well deserved, best game I’ve played in years.

  24. Severian says:

    Thanks for yet another great advent calendar guys – Happy Holidays to all of you and all RPS regulars.

  25. bwion says:

    I’m kind of over Minecraft at the moment, but I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those games I come back to every three months or so for a feverish two weeks.

    As with all the best games out there, I’m glad every game isn’t like it (and I fear we’ll see every game for a while attempting to be like it), but I’m equally glad this one *was* like it.

  26. Jason Moyer says:

    Minecraft is the best immersive sim I’ve ever played. I’m actually sort of shocked no one ever mentions it when they’re talking about that particular genre, because it would seem to me to be the prime example of the absolute basic things an immersive sim should have. Imagine if you took the building/crafting/mining ideas from MC and put them into a proper game like Thief. Mmm.

    • Acorino says:

      I guess that the word “proper” in the last sentence is a substitute for “linear” and “goal-based”?

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Goal-based more than linear, I think. Thief might be a bad example. A better choice might be something like Arx Fatalis, or actually, the last 2 Elder Scrolls games. Imagine something of Oblivion’s scope, with the writing of New Vegas, with the resource-gathering/crafting mechanics from Minecraft. I think you’d have something really special.

      Edit: Not that Minecraft isn’t really special on its own merits of course. I find I play a lot like John does, although mostly on a peaceful SMP server. Mining and exploring the procedurally-generated world, both above and underground, is compelling for some reason. It’s also very relaxing.

  27. tomnullpointer says:

    Totally deserved. Like a few of the posters above, I wasn’t too sure when I first heard of MC. The low-fi gfx, the no story gameplay, the lack of any ingame directions.

    But woah, once you get past the first few crafting concepts and the first few nights it owns you. Or maybe you own it, or rather you own whatever jumbles shelter you have made, and the next one and the next one, until its a floating skygarden where the pigs accidently open the doors and let the creepers in at night.

    MC is amazing, some peopel wont get into it, perhaps just because it doesnt fit into the more mainstream definitions of ‘game’ that we seem to be promoting nowadays. I only played COD4 last week and it made me cry with its transparent alton towers film-envy no-brain theme ride. IM just glad games like MC are around, however quirky or lowfi, to show that there are still plenty of ways to make an immersive game/world that people actually feel attached to.

    Just youtube for minecraft videos and the proof is right there.

  28. Cosmo Dium says:

    Kieron mentions that “other place” covering Minecraft. Excuse my denseness but what is it? PCG?

    • Sander Bos says:

      I don’t know whether RPS means this one, but I believe Notch thinks this TF2 blog post put a big spotlight on Minecraft:
      http://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=4130

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The TF2 blog post was part of it, but what originally crippled Notch’s authentication server was the Mine The Gap coinciding with a week long series of Minecraft comics by Penny Arcade. PA does do the occasional comic that is just about a particularly quirky game (my favorite being the Puzzle Quest strip), but they actually cover a pretty broad range of subjects from lawsuits to movies. Dedicating an entire straight week of comics to a single game in the main strip NEVER happens, especially because they actually have a side-business of making comics for games as multi-page ads/comics. So it wasn’t free advertising, so much as “ALL OF YOU WILL CHECK OUT MINECRAFT RIGHT NOW AND YOU’RE STUCK WITH MINECRAFT COMICS UNTIL YOU DO.”.

      So I assume Keiron is referring to Penny Arcade.

      I first heard about MC from the VG Cats comic much earlier in the year.

  29. westyfield says:

    Merry Christmas, RPS!

  30. Torgen says:

    I’m still searching for a tileset that “does it” for me. I’ve tried Painterly and Quandry, and customizing Painterly with that ultra-nifty page he has set up, but funny enough, it’s always that doors that I don’t like. All the doors seem too modern. The over-wrought fantasy containers/tools in Painterly are also a bit of a turnoff. I suppose I’ll have to figure out how to make a door skin on my own and hack an existing pack.

    Oh, the 12 “seasonal” Quandry packs are great. I especially like how the creepers change with the seasons, as if they’re changing their “coats” (scales? skin?) to match the environment. I’ve been playing with the “December” pack.

    • Dominic White says:

      I swear by the community mash-up GeruDoku pack here:

      http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=77619 – Higher-res than the normal textures, but it upgrades it from NES-like to SNES-like. The extra detail looks lovely up close, which helps when you’re in claustrophobic environments.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Oooh, Quandry looks awesome.

    • Torgen says:

      Dominic, that pack looks nice, but I’m avoiding any packs that aren’t “drop and play” (i.e. require patching code,) as that locks out being able to try other packs without deleting and re-downloading minecraft.

      Also, am I the only one that tries to “take over” the mouse view when watching videos like the one about this pack?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      It’s funny how the first result on Google for “Painterly” is the Minecraft graphics pack.

  31. jaheira says:

    Just realized none Call of Pripyat, Alpha Protocol, or sieve five made the list. Troubling. There may be …. consequences.

  32. strange headache says:

    Merry winter solstice y’all.

    • Harlander says:

      That was Tuesday, big fella.

      Tommorow’s Yule, though. And the festival of Sol Invictus.

      All hail the immortal sun!

  33. MadTinkerer says:

    My original comment was marked as spam for some reason when I tried to edit it. So here’s a copy of what I wrote, in response to RegisteredUser, jaheira and a couple others (hopefully it won’t be eaten by the filter this time) :

    It IS a game, but one where the objectives are perpetually discovered by the player. There are invented activities, the playground stuff, but there are activities to be discovered that have been designed as particular things to be “done”, “conquered”, “beaten”, and that makes it a game.

    The Nether, for one, is at the end of a particular quest chain that you have to discover for yourself: Portals require either buckets and intermediate knowledge of lava and water or a diamond pick. Crafting a diamond pick or a bucket requires iron and a smelter and figuring out how to operate the smelter. Getting iron requires basic crafting knowledge of at least picks. Basic crafting requires you to figure out that you need to punch trees, and you’re pretty much going to have a few combat encounters during all this time so there’s random battles in there too. THIS IS ALL BY DESIGN.

    It’s like a card game.

    “What card do you start with? Which card is at the end?”

    “They are shuffled before they’re dealt.”

    “WHAT!?! How can you know what cards are going to be dealt if they’re shuffled!?! You just play whatever cards you get? That’s pointless!”

    “No: kings are placed on top of aces, queens on kings, jacks on queens, tens on jacks and so on until deuces. There are still rules to follow.”

    “But what if you don’t start with kings?”

    “You usually don’t. So you need to discard and draw cards-”

    “Wait. So what you’re telling me is instead of giving me kings at the beginning and deuces at the end, you mix them all up and expect me to do all this busy work.”

    “Er, yes? That’s the point?”

    “This game obviously sucks. I don’t care how many people like it, I’m not trying it. It’s just too pointless and boring for me to waste my time.”

    • D says:

      Really, Solitaire? As your analogy? As no big fan of Minecraft, I can totally see what you’re saying. But I don’t think that was your intent ;)

      But I actually just wanted to say that I also *consistently* get “spam error, deleting post” when I try to edit. I use it to my advantage, mostly to spare the people (like me) who always skim through the full comment threads. I love the commenters here who keep the genuinely interesting and hilarious posts coming. Merry Xmas to all of you, and to everyone else too.

    • Torgen says:

      Actually, I kind of liked that analogy. When I play Minecraft in single player mode (admittedly not often any more,) it very much serves the same purpose as Solitaire, but on a much higher level.

      Not only do I find it relaxing in a “solve a puzzle at my own pace and in my own way” way, I sincerely enjoy the exploration, and discovering the sometimes breath-taking (in a low-fi way) vistas that the game can randomly generate. So, it actually provides a much greater, but similar enjoyment/relaxation for me that Solitaire formerly provided.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “Really, Solitaire? As your analogy?”

      I was going to use Texas Hold ‘Em, but it would have made the example at least twice as long. Additionally, Windows Solitaire is the most played game of all time according to some official statistic or other, which was the point of “I don’t care how many people like it,”. (Yes it’s the most played game of all time because it’s packaged free with the most popular OS in the world, but the point still stands.)

    • D says:

      I wouldn’t know anything about that, because I bought Minecraft on the recommendations here and everywhere else, and quickly felt it was a complete waste of my time. But I very much don’t like how you’re trying to make it a stigma to not have played this game – is it so hard to believe that a person can know him or herself well enough to make correct purchasing decisions?

      Like Solitaire, there is just nothing I can take from this game, other than exploring my inability to come up with creative ideas about how to waste my time. It is not a game that everyone would or should like, and your fondness for it doesn’t make it any less awful for me.

  34. Hybrid says:

    Hear, hear!

  35. Wulf says:

    Huh, now I know what causes reply fails, leaving the reply window sitting around for too long.

    • D says:

      I liked you better just before, when I was under the assumption that your mile-long posts were written in short bursts of 2-minute frothing-at-the-mouth type frenzies!

  36. Tyranny says:

    I forgot to buy this before it rolled over into beta, and now this article has upset me further.

    • Torgen says:

      It’s only 5 euro more, and development should be speeding up now that there are more than one person working on it.

    • Tyranny says:

      Yeah, I’ll have to leave it for a while. I’d dwell on all the benefits I could of had if I’d got in on the alpha for €10 just a week ago if I pay €15 now. Anyway, there’s still the rest of the Steam sale to get through in the meantime.

  37. malkav11 says:

    It’s also much like the Sims in that fundamentally it doesn’t much click for me. I’ve bought it as it has all the signs of eventually developing into something more closely approaching a game than the current form (not to be dismissive – it doesn’t have to be a game, with rules and goals and things, to be enjoyable. or at any rate enjoyable by people other than me), but at present I’m not enraptured.

  38. fuggles says:

    Sadly I’m in the camp who really couldn’t care less about Minecraft, and no, I haven’t played but yes, I’ve read and seen enough youtube to know that I couldn’t get the least bit excited about hitting a cuboid landscape into shape.

    I could get morbid about how I don’t fit into the future of PC gaming, but frankly I’m too busy playing the void. Happy Xmas RPS readers, may you continue to spam all threads with rambles about New Vegas (coincidentally another game I have no interest in playing)!

    • Urthman says:

      I love Minecraft as much as anyone in this thread, but if there’s one thing that exemplifies PC gaming even more than Minecraft, it’s the fact that PC gaming is so incredibly varied that you can be an utterly hardcore PC gamer and not give a damn about 2/3 of the games on anybody’s Greatest PC Games EVAR list.

      Enjoy The Void. I’ll enjoy Minecraft, and we’ll all enjoy RPS! Merry Christmas.

  39. Deano2099 says:

    Actually the lack of New Vegas and Alpha Protocol here is quite understandable but also sort of a shame. They’re both flawed games, but also both really demonstrate what can be done when the whole choice/consequence angle in games is really played up. They’re games that do one single thing extremely well, and that’s kind of been the sort of thing RPS liked to highlight in the past.

    • drewski says:

      I didn’t expect New Vegas because nobody at RPS likes it, but I thought someone might have championed Alpha Protocol a little.

  40. drewski says:

    Minecraft is a game that I really enjoy reading about but have absolutely zero interest in actually playing. The survival mode sounds OK, but I think I’d find it frustrating. The building doesn’t appeal to me at all – I’ve never had any desire to build a cave, or a roller coaster, or a boat, or armour. I don’t even craft in RPGs, I just buy whatever the merchants are selling.

    Some great stories are written about it, and I think it’s great such a game exists, but I don’t think it’s for me.

  41. frenz0rz says:

    I tried it, and found it to be nothing more than a glorified voxel editor. Its Wurm Online, but without the complexity, the grandeur, the sheer community spirit of a bunch of people eeking out a meagre peasant’s existance in the middle of nowhere. Which is fine if people enjoy it anyway, and I can see why so many people find it appealing. But the best thing in PC gaming right now? Really?

    What really gets me is the pretentious following this game seems to be gathering. I’ve had someone accuse me face-to-face of not being a ‘true’ PC Gamer for disliking Minecraft. Its the next big indie thing, the bandwagon to jump on that makes you one of the elite; better than the console kiddies and poor saps still playing Black Ops. In my experience, Minecraft – due to no fault of Notch who is an outstanding developer and all-round lovely chap – is a haven for conceited hipsters who have to play something non-mainstream and indie on their £1000 PC, just to feel that bit more important than the rest of us.

    But maybe im just being a grumpy bastard on Christmas day whilst I wait for my turkey to cook.

    • Dominic White says:

      News At 11: Man on internet doesn’t like something lots of other people like. Calls it pretentious. Fails at internets.

    • D says:

      That’s a trollish reply Dominic. He didn’t call the game pretentious, or the people playing it, but just the attitude of “accuse me face-to-face of not being a ‘true’ PC Gamer for disliking Minecraft”

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s still completely failing to use the word ‘pretentious’ correctly. The new meaning, as far as I can gather, seems to be ‘something on the internet I do not like’. Look at any thread where people are complaining about something, and you WILL see it.

    • Dinger says:

      I dunno. In this case ‘pretentious’ is measurable. We’re talking about hipsters who allegedly play MC to be part of the in crowd, rather than from any real interest or passion.
      So, if you suspect you’re talking to a MC hipster, ask to see his Ziggurat. If he’s got nothin’ to show you, he’s a poseur.
      Of course, the irony is that the pretentious folk are the ones fleeing the popular stuff because it’s popular, all the while asserting they liked it when it was Avant-garde
      You know, the whole “I used to like Tears4Fears before they went trendy” thing.
      That band always blew donkey balls

    • D says:

      @Dominic: I just looked it up and you’re right, it’s not exactly the correct word by the original poster or me. Apparently I (we) thought it was synonymous to elitist, and it’s pretty obvious this is the intended meaning. Especially after the fleshed out explanation in the same paragraph.

      In other news, I’d really appreciate for 2011 if people would be more generous in their understanding of internet discussions, instead of just latching onto the first incorrect word or statement, and choosing to ignore the meaningful content of the conversation.

  42. bill says:

    This sounds like a great toy. I hope they don’t ruin it by turning it into a game.

    It also REALLY needs a christmas/new year sale!

  43. Hideous says:

    My creeper story:

    As I was standing outside our fortress, just after dawn, rifling through the options menu, a friend yells to me on mumble: “Hideous, creeper!”. In my panic I used the mouse to navigate the menus, so I presses back, moved my mouse towards continue but hit disconnect just as the fucker exploded. After the initial confusion, I reconnect – I am standing in the big hole that was supposed to be my grave.

    • Torgen says:

      Being hearing impaired, I never hear the rat bastards coming, which means I have to to maintain a higher level of alertness/paranoia. That’s probably why I enjoy building monster abattoirs and leading them to their deaths so much.

  44. omicron1 says:

    I remember trying Minecraft back in May… 2009. Back then it was just the creative mode, and not very advanced at that (although it was multiplayer)! It’s been an amazing experience watching it evolve since then… but most important, it gives me the chance to say, “I was into Minecraft before it went mainstream!”

  45. The Tupper says:

    I’ve been gaming since the original ‘Pong’ days and Minecraft counts as one of the best things I’ve ever played. That the aesthetic of the game is evocative of 8-bit computing is entirely apt, since it fulfils the promise that the earliest titles (Elite especially) hinted at but never fully delivered. It’s simply sublime.

    Oh – and the ‘Mine The Gap’ articles were what inspired me to investigate it in the first place. Truly great journalism.

  46. Vinraith says:

    Minecraft manages to be almost everything to almost everyone, which is why it’s so wildly popular. It’s a building game, it’s a survival game, it’s an open world exploration game, it’s a collecting game, and if any of those (and especially if several of those) appeal to you it’s going to hook you for at least a little while. I enjoyed my time with it, and easily got my money’s worth out of it. However, it’s not a very deep game in any of those respects, dabbling a bit with each rather than providing a great deal of substance in any. Survival’s pretty trivial after the first night or two unless you willfully put yourself in harm’s way. Collection’s a bit limited since there’s simply not that much stuff to find. Exploration loses it’s luster because there’s not a lot of point to it beyond seeing new pixelated vistas, again there’s not a lot of reason to seek out new areas. And as far as building, there’s both a poverty of motivation and a poverty of interesting tools to make that worthwhile.

    Ultimately what you get out of it is what you put into it, and I personally hope to see an expansion of all these dimensions as the game continues to evolve. As it stands, though, it’s more addictive than fun, and more limited than I’d like. It’s enormously entertaining, however, until you wear out the tools available to whatever niche(s) of the game appeal to you.

  47. Mooglepies says:

    Not entirely surprised at this. It deserves it for the breadth of what it tries (and often, manages) to achieve. And all this from a single person (mostly). Congrats, Notch.

    I don’t much like it myself though, because I’m not really that into pure sandbox games. I’m weird like that.

  48. cuchufluru says:

    I agree with DigitalSignal X and Kwyjibo. Second Life is far, and i mean way far down the road more open and creative than Minecraft. And it has been like that for years. Plus, as DigitalSignal X said, it has a huge social interaction: put in simple words, you actually live and build with other people, in the world people have created.
    I’m not saying Minecraft is bad. It’s just not a new concept.
    I’m glad many people are playing this kind of games, instead of the usual propaganda-games from the Eternal Arch known company/ies…………. wink wink
    But it is quite surprising that RPS writes SO many articles about ONE game. Isn’t it? Weird. And if you search Second Life on RPS, you’ll find uuuum… 1 article? Guess what’s that article talking about. I’ll give you a clue: Eternal Arch known company.

    • dadioflex says:

      Second Life isn’t a game. It’s online Vegas for people who would never do the things in Vegas that they can pay for in Second Life. Second Life is failed Vegas.

      When a creeper starts acting nice towards me and then tells me it’ll have to charge me real bank of Linden money so I can talk dirty to it, then, and ONLY THEN, will you have a point.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Whenever I tried Second Life, I’d always think “cool I can make anything I want the future is now!”

      Then I’d go to make something and realize that this was actually work and if I was going to work I might as well work in the real world.

      Admittedly, sometimes Minecraft feels that way too.

    • Nick says:

      Its also a horrible, laggy, frequently disgusting place.

  49. afarrell says:

    I dunno, maybe I’m just comparing it to Cata, but I like my games to be designed by a game designer.

    In fact, I suspect that the leap Alec is looking for can’t come – The Great Unwashed have already sorted out the critical dilemma: when they buy a game, they do want art (even if they’d balk at calling it such), not a box of lego bricks.