Prepare for Retail-Ready Minecraft

MINECRAFT: If your gamer is under the age of 16, the chances are excellent you’ve heard of this incredibly popular E10+ digital download for PC and Xbox (PlayXBLA).  This week, PlayXBLA announced they`ll be unleashing Minecraft on parents disc for Xbox users who aren’t connected to the game through XboxLive.  Ready yourselves to see Minecraft on disc hit the US retail market next month — April 30.

According to IGN the disc version of the game will have the same features and content found in the current digital version and players using both game formats will be able to join each other in multiplayer mode. As well,  retail Minecraft will include the highly anticipated additions from the ninth update.

So what IS Minecraft anyway?

Let me start by telling you what it isn’t: it’s not a campaign and there’s no narrative guiding the action, per se (although the final goal of the game is to fight and slay the Enderdragon). I’ve heard it referred to as a sandbox game, meaning the player has tools to modify the world they’re playing in, and to create how they play in it. The overarching goal of Minecraft is to build whatever captures the imagination from the highly stylized and pixelated Minecraft world.

Your child will choose between Creative play mode and Survival play mode. Both play modes experience day and night play, but in Creative mode the player is invincible and in Survival mode, you guessed it — players are required to survive attacks from creepers, enders, spiders and other monsters that reproduce in dark crannies and spaces of the game.

During the day in Survival mode, players will be conscious of feeding themselves and maintaining a level of health that is above 30%.  There are animals that drop meat throughout the game and players need to pick this food up when they find it, but they’ll also need to pace themselves because animals don’t frequent the Minecraft terrain! Also, GamerBoy emphasizes the importance of sheep for their wool — you can make a bed of their wool and sleep safely through the night (this is the only time I’ve ever heard him talk about the importance of sleep to his quality of life).

At the start of the day, players need to build well-lit structures and weapons with the resources they find through their explorations. Weapons are helpful in defeating and fending off monster attacks. But both modes have players searching for and accumulating resources.

As the game’s name suggests, crafting is central to Minecraft. Players will be able to craft some items from the inventory provided to them at the start of the game, but a craft table is necessary for the heavy-duty crafting that intense Minecraft play demands. GamerBoy tells me that the bread and butter of the game as far as resources are concerned are stone and coal. You’ll use these resources to craft your first, most important tool — the iconic Minecraft pickaxe. Once a player has this tool they can go on to mine cobblestone, which can be used for even stronger tools!

Minecraft play is chock-full with details of mining and creating and I’ve really only scratched the surface here. One of the best (and most entertaining!) tutorials I’ve seen on Youtube — and there are LOTS — is Conan O’Brien`s Clueless Gamer review. Also, Conan appears to have and advance copy of the retail disc Minecraft in this video!  *Edit: GamerBoy drew my attention to Conan’s LIVE version, so, like, no advanced copy. Still — Enjoy:

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