The tools do little to make you feel any less vulnerable in this seemingly endless world around you. The silence is unnerving cut only from time to time by the moo of a cow or the snorting of a pig — or so you think. As you begin to work on your modest lodging for the quickly approaching night, a haunting melody fills your ears. There is no source. You cannot escape it. Yet, the heavenly tones continue to play. It’s as if something wants to assure you that you’re not alone and wants to imbue you with the strength to face what lies ahead.
Your first house is one built out of necessity. It’s carved into the side of one of the many towering mountains found in this world; you see several more off in the distance. You chose yours, however, due to the lake beside it. Squid swim joyously in its water, bringing one of the first smiles to your face since you’ve arrived in this place. Despite nightfall fast approaching, you feel the need to get a closer look at the aquatic animals. As you take a dip in the lake, night envelops the land. You have some trouble seeing, but all seems well with you and your squid friends.
That is, until you hear the slurping and the moaning. You look back to shore and see them: mobs, they’re called. To you, they look like giant spiders, zombie men, and a skeleton. It’s the latter that sends an arrow flying right past your head. You swim frantically back to your house, the monsters in hot pursuit. The whole time, arrows rain down around you, and spiders leap at you in an attempt to eat your face.
Finally, you narrowly squeeze through the door and slam it shut, locking out the mob menace. You now know one of the golden rules of this land: never go outside at night.
Looking around your room, you realize it’s a bit… plain. It’s not very large and it contains little more than a chest, your furnace, and a crafting table. It’s also unlit because you have yet to find some precious coals with which to make torches. Thus, you make a decision: it’s time to dig downward and hope for the best.
You start by hollowing out a stone staircase leading down into the underground. You’re extremely lucky. You immediately find a vein of coal and are able to craft yourself several dozen torches. With these, you’re not only able to light your house properly, but you can now continue your mining excursion.
You give up the stairs and, instead, opt for a series of ladders. You begin to find iron ore, a valuable commodity used to make stronger tools and armor. You also begin to make tunnels. Along the way, you come across stones you’d never found before. Redstone, Flint, Gold, Lapis Lazuli… all yours. All for the taking. You’re on a roll.
Then, suddenly, the tunnel gives way to a massive cavern. There’s a moment of awestruck silence the sheer enormity of the place settles in on you. Then the hissing begins. You throw a torch down illuminating the tall green and white creeper coming right at you. You try to get out your sword, but it’s too late. The kamikaze mob explodes, leaving you barely alive… but also exploding a wealth of blocks around you. Its path of destruction has not just harmed you, but unveiled a vein of diamonds. As you collect your five precious gems, you’re left to reflect on the double-edged nature of the world.
But there is little time to mull this over. There’s moaning. In the distance, you can see the dim flicker of a fire… yet you did not throw down any torches. Has someone been here before you?
As you walk forth, injured and nervously gripping your sword, you’re forced to fight off two zombies. You encounter a caged box with a flame at its center. A small image of a zombie spins in it and, within seconds, that zombie materializes. Again, you’re locked in a battle for your life and you emerge triumphant. Yet, there’s more images of beasts spinning in this demon box’s fire. You have one option: destroy it. You whip out your pickaxe and begin to frantically hammer at it. Your hands shake nervously as the seconds tick away. Your enemy spins, threatening to appear at any moment, but then — POP. It’s gone.
There’s a moment of darkness before your own torch is thrown down in place of the foul creation that had inhabited this mossy room. Then, you notice something that the battles had distracted you from: a chest. You move forward and, within, you find treasures the likes of which you’d never seen: a golden apple, a saddle, music discs, and… something else. The most holy of documents left by someone before you. The Ten Commandments of Minecraft.
I. DO NOT KILL THY SHEEP. SHEAR THEM AND LET THEM LIVE TO PROVIDE THEE WITH WOOL ANOTHER DAY.
II. DO NOT DIG TOO GREEDILY OR TOO DEEP. THE SKELETON MAN WILL APPEARTH AND SMACKETH THEE UP.
III. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE AT NIGHT. TO GO OUT AT NIGHT IS TO TEMPT SPIDERS FROM THE NETHER TO FEAST UPON THY ENTRAILS.
IV. MAKE USE OF THY ENVIRONMENT. TO WASTE IS TO PERISH.
V. THOSE WHO LIVE BY THE SWORD – TRIUMPH.
VI. ONE WHO VALUES THE PURSUIT OF THE DIAMOND AT THE RISK OF THEIR LIFE IS DESTINED TO LOSE EVERYTHING IN THEIR INVENTORY.
VII. TORCHES WILL GUIDE YOUR WAY – AND KEEP EVIL AT BAY.
VIII. A DUNGEON IS A BLESSING AND A CURSE. DO NOT BUCKLE UNDER THE ONSLAUGHT OF ENEMIES. FACE THE TRIAL AND CLAIM THY REWARD.
IX. DECORATE YOUR HOUSE WITH FLAIR. YOU DESERVE A COMFY PLACE TO RETIRE TO AFTER A LONG DAY OF MINING.
X. THE PIG IS THY FRIEND. HE IS A SOURCE OF PORKCHOPS AND A NOBLE STEED.
THOSE WHO DO NOT ABIDE BY THESE COMMANDMENTS ARE DOOMED TO ROT IN THE NETHER.
As you read over the pages, that haunting music begins to play again. It’s as if everything is now clear to you. Everything in this world makes sense.
With your loot and your new doctrine, you navigate the tunnels and ladders to return to your home. You safely tuck away your new loot into a chest for safekeeping, except for the saddle. Then, you venture out into the world for a new day — a new age — has dawned on the world of Minecraft.
Finding a pig, you place the saddle upon its back. Then, as girlish glee fills your heart, you leap upon its back and began to ride it. The wise animal takes you to the top of one of the highest mountains and, looking down at the world around you, you’re filled with confidence and optimism. This world is yours. It’s yours to shape and build, and you’re going to enjoy every moment of it.
You see a Creeper off in the distance as it bounces amongst some ledges. Yet, instead of running, you nod at it out of respect. Any creature willing to destroy itself out of determination to accomplish its goals is fine by you – as long as it stays ten feet away at all times.
RATING: None available.
BETA PRICE: €14.95 (approx. $21.00)
DEVELOPER: Mojang – http://mojang.com/
Notes: This is one of the most addictive games I have ever owned. Playing through it is pure zen! There is so much to do and build, and there are truly some tense moments when facing down mobs. Checking out servers is also amazing – it’s great to see the things others have built first hand.
Thank you to Natasha Stuhl for the INCREDIBLE art. You can find her at http://totenkunstler.blogspot.com/!
Visit me at twitter.com/ViraGunn!