Minecraft But Not: Minicraft


The latest Ludum Dare gamejam hit over the weekend, which means the internet is now awash with tiny experimental games created in just 48 hours. There are many we should nose curiously at, but a handy starting point is the effort from Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, who finished his game with hours to spare. He’s moved on from active Minecraft development himself, but clearly he hasn’t moved on from the design values of his zeitgeisty building and survival hit.

Minicraft is his LD48 entry: a game about chopping down trees, mining rock and stabbing zombies. YOU MAY BE SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR WITH THESE CONCEPTS. But Minicraft is not Minecraft, despite the clear self-referencing.

In fact, it’s a neat little top-down action game with a touch of the Zeldas to it. You’ll need to harvest the right resources to build a set of items, then go off in search of a boss to stab to death. Or, as the official description has it, “The goal of the game is to kill the only other sentient being in the world, making sure you’ll be alone forever.” Yeah, happy Christmas to you too, Notch.

It’s a good (and compulsive) time, and impressively complete for a mere 48 hours of crunch.

You can play it for free in a browser that supports Java here, or download it from here.

Also, all the Ludum Dare 22 entries so far are collected here – but 16 hours remain on the clock, so many more will join the frantically-coded ranks there soon.


  1. povu says:

    Jeb should sue him for that.

  2. Saul says:

    I’ve been involved in a Ludum game. It involves Romeo and Juliet, time travel and competitive multiplayer. I just hope we get the thing finished in time – turns out time travel is quite complicated.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      You don’t say.

    • kregg says:

      Love is more complicated.

    • TheTourist314 says:

      And you still have time to browse RPS? Impressive!

    • JackShandy says:

      Of course he does. He’s got all the time in the world…

    • The Tupper says:

      A word from the wise: concentrate more on the ‘wibbley’ and less on the ‘wobbly’ and you’ll be fine.

    • InnerPartisan says:

      Good advise, Tupper, although me thinks the “wimey” should be considered as well. It’s a common mistake to disregard the wimey entirely, in fact.

  3. September says:

    He did not have ‘hours to spare’ as he entered for the contest, not the jam (which features 24h more to crunch and also allows for teamwork). He submitted his entry just in time.

    • KoenigNord says:

      yeah, watched his live stream for a while, there were seconds left when he stopped coding ;)

      it was kind of fun, seeing a game being created, all the AAARGH’s and Hooray’s between coding and testing.

  4. Drayk says:

    Impressive little game… too bad there is no save option.

    • Damn You Socrates says:

      No save? You’ve screwed us again Notch!

    • AlexClockwork says:

      I would be fine with it if ores didn’t hurt you… It’s a stupid way to die, and it frustrated me that much that I stopped playing. >.<

  5. torchedEARTH says:

    The theme is “alone” so it is understandable that Notch would say that…

  6. OrangyTang says:

    Time for some shameless self-promotion – here’s my entry: Village Bastard.

    It’s a puzzle/adventure game where you have to make everyone else in your village leave through disgust.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I will play this eventually, but for now I’m content enough to just sit around and imagine what a game based around this concept might be like. Good show.

    • CMaster says:

      Was entertaining, although fairly straightforward and with a rather predictable ending. Good job!

    • Cvnk says:

      The concept alone deserves kudos. Finally an RPG that acknowledges what a prick the player-controlled protagonist can be (and inevitably is).

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Haven’t played it yet (at work) but the concept reminds me of Ghost Master.

    • OrangyTang says:

      CMaster: You finished it? Awesome! I was really worried I’d made it far too hard and scaled it back right near the end of the 48 hours. It’s hard enough getting difficulty right anyway, doing it against the clock is even harder. :)

    • CMaster says:

      Well, it had the classic head-scratching frustration moments of any adventure game with prescribed solutions – mostly regarding the cat lady. All in all though, it was 15-20 minutes of decent play I think though.

    • Wulf says:

      I love thee concept and I’m going to get around to playing all of these eventually. I have Enola installed and ready to test first as I mentioned on the forums that I would when I have time, so I’m going to do that, and then get around to the others.

      A bit off-topic: In regards to a comment above, as much as I love the concept, I think it would actually be much cleverer to have an RPG which actually allows you to not be a prick if you don’t want to be. See, I feel forced into being a prick by far too many RPGs, and Skyrim was one of them.

      “You’re a hero!” it keeps telling me. “You’re a savour!” it goes on. But I’m not, am I? The game wants me to be a conscienceless whackjob who’s out to slaughter half of the world for the good of the world. That makes me a much worse person in that game than Magneto. Magneto is a shining example of ethical conduct compared to what I’m forced to do.

      I’d much rather see more games that actually allow you to not be an evil, conscienceless, unethical prick. It’s a weird concept I know. Thus far the entire industry is built upon either letting us or forcing us to be pricks. I think that a game that actually encourages us to have our own ethical standards would probably be grossly unpopular thanks to that. :| But I’d appreciate it, at least.

  7. HeavyStorm says:

    Did someone got to kill the flying wizard? I drowned twice, so I quit.

  8. Crainey says:

    I watched a few hours of the first time of his coding which doesn’t tell much of the game, missed all of the game taking shape. I watched last time and I gotta say it’s really interesting watching Notch creating a game, it’s like having an open invitation to his brain where all his design secrets are revealed. The game itself is really quite impressive for a 48 hour crunch, compared to his last attempt it’s really worth playing, but then maybe I didn’t want to play last time because I had watched it being created and tested for 40 odd hours.

  9. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I really like the look of those simple graphics for some reason. The game itself could be clearer but it’s very well put-together for a 48-hour game. Also, you can farm.

  10. Gramarye says:

    I haven’t gotten to the wizard yet, but a really helpful tip: dug areas cannot be entered by monsters. This becomes really helpful when you enter the caves (although you may need an iron shovel inside caves).

  11. MythArcana says:

    It’s amazing that Notch can slap these games together within just a few days’ time, and did with the base of Minecraft, as well. Now if we can just get endings to these projects to match the enthusiasm of starting them, we’ll be alright.