How to Minecraft

So you've entered the pixellated world of Minecraft that everyone has been raving about for years... Now what?
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Before venturing into the pixellated, creeper-filled world of Minecraft you need to realise that this is unlike any game you will have played before. Yes, this game is just as successful (if not more) as the games you see being built by high-end companies who spend lots of time studying their target audience and tweaking the graphics and overall gameplay, but Minecraft was formed and created from the mind of a single man.

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“There was no successful marketing strategy to point to, no business plan that held the secrets to success. There was just one guy with his own, slightly odd idea of what the gaming world needed.”

-Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and the Game that Changed Everything 

This one man is Markus Persson, better known as ‘Notch‘. Building games was only his hobby before Minecraft sky-rocketed and led him to putting together a team, Mojang, who help him develop the game to become even better! What’s interesting about Minecraft is that it was created by a gamer, someone who cared for games and games only; it’s clear to anyone just by watching an interview of Notch that he had not once thought about the money or fame. This was just an idea that he thought would be fun, little did he know at the time that the world would agree and become captivated with this wonderful world!

With this being said, it’s obvious that the game is going to function a little differently; by-passing all of the usual side-quests, character companions (apart from some cute pets) and even a tutorial! (Unless you’re playing on console but we’ll forget that for now.) So anyone, gamer or not, is going to feel a little lost; I know I did!

Tada! This is it, you’ve hit ‘Play’! What happened to the graphics? Well, these pixels are what make Minecraft so special. Screw our retina displays with high pixel densities, this is how games looked back when I was a baby and now pixels are put into a whole new perspective. It’s a very simple concept, the world is made up of pixellated blocks and by collecting them and placing them on top of one another you can shape this world; deform it, blow parts of it up, turn it into a utopia dreamed up by yourself! The world is yours.

So here’s where I give you the secret of how to be amazing at MinecraftImagination!

In essence Minecraft is simply an online, more interactive version of Lego. But not the Lego we know nowadays with instructions on what to build; that handed-down box of Lego with all the odd bits given to you as a kid that forced you to use your imagination to create whatever was in your head at the time. When it was first launched that’s all it really was, with a pinch of thrill added when mobs such as Creepers would attack you and your creations.

So, to ‘start progressing’ in Minecraft you have to collect those building blocks by literally hitting them; gravel, trees, even stone! Steve, the character you control, is mighty strong! And now that you have your blocks you can sculpt them into items we use in the real world: torches, crafting benches and even swords to keep those bad creatures away. Because when it becomes night that’s when the fight for survival begins!

You must use those blocks you have collected to build yourself a steady stronghold; usually something looking a bit like the one to the right. A fortress of dirt where the skeletons, zombies and creepers (tip: creepers spawn during the day too) can do you no harm!

So you have your dirt fortress and you’ve gotten the hang of hitting objects and turning them into useful stuff. Now what? Minecraft is forever changing, listening to feedback from players to build upon the game, fulfilling the players wishes. Then there’s player-made mods but we’ll leave them alone for now. With these changes Minecraft now has so many routes for you to take if you just explore! Here’s a few:

The Creator

For those who played Minecraft near the beginning of its production this all that Minecraft used to be, a place to unleash your creativity! Killing mobs for XP doesn’t really phase you, all you want to do is collect those blocks and make the most amazing masterpieces known to man! This can be easily done through the ‘Creative Mode‘ version of Minecraft where there are no mobs to get in the way and all blocks and items are accessible to you through the items menu. You can go crazy! There has even been a replica of Minas Tirith, the site of the final and epic battle in Lord of the Rings.

Redstone has been a massive asset to all of the Creators within Minecraft, with it being used as electricity players can go wild using it to make booby traps, power lighting systems and even replicate an in-game computer!

The Explorer

Ah, the joys of exploring Minecraft for the first time! The world may seem simple at first glance but once you start to wander for a while you realise how complicated and vast it really is. Minecraft is filled with dungeons, swamps, abandoned mine shafts and so much more, including villages which are populated by people (odd-looking people, but they’re harmless!) With the game being updated constantly with new characters, locations and even weather changes the exploration of Minecraft seems never-ending!

If you get bored of one world you can simply start another as all worlds are randomly generated. I have to admit, I often start off as a creator but then give up and just wander for the rest of the night; I never regret it!

The Warrior

Minecraft has updated a lot from being just a simple creation game. It now includes levelling up, portals to other worlds (such as The Nether) and masses of deadly foes to attack! It even has a ‘Hardcore mode‘ where the players have only 3 deaths available to them until they are kicked from their world completely, unable to return. The warrior will find challenges within the game to overcome, such as killing Endermen to collect Ender pearls for their potions. These Ender pearls can form eyes of the Ender which help the player to reach The End.

This might all seem very strange but stay with me because when you reach the end you get to defeat… A dragon! The Ender dragon to be exact. If this isn’t a mission fit for a warrior then I don’t know what is!

Minecraft is so vast and has so much to offer that the gameplay possibilities are literally endless. Whether you want to create, explore, become a warrior or even mix between all three; it’s all possible in this pixellated world! That’s what makes Minecraft so special and loved around the world, this game does not need instructions to tell the player where to go or what to do, it simply offers complete creative freedom. For that I say, thank you Notch!

Now go forth and mold your own world within Minecraft!

Fun fact: A Creeper was created by accidentally getting the code of the width and height of a pig the wrong way around!  

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Yasmin Curren
Driven by Creativity, Inspired by Technology. Daydreamer, Game Lover, Maker of silly creations with Code and Film!