For those who find Minecraft doesn’t offer a goal clear enough to qualify as a game, here’s one that you can strive toward on either version: Wall off a 20×20 area directly next to a cavern opening, from which much grumbling and clacking can be heard. I spend most of my time building up and maintaining my personal little bubble, which generally consists of a glass house built into the side of a mountain, a waterway, garden, rail line and entrance to a massive cavern system, which I call “the basement.” When I’m feeling frisky, I’ll build a castle and call it “Bogwarts.” The size of XBLA Minecraft’s worlds is an unavoidable constraint, but it doesn’t alter the basic premise of the game itself: A sandbox.
In the PC version of Minecraft, the world is limited only by the size of your computer’s memory, meaning if you strap enough RAM into one PC, you could live forever in your own boxy world and never visit the same place twice. The inventory is presented in the same format as in the PC version – and that’s the problem in itself.
I would contort my fingers trying to look around and stay above water at the same time, telling myself that Mojang designed it that way on purpose to simulate getting a swimming cramp, and I would like it. You can craft brewing items in Minecraft such as a brewing stand, blaze powder, cauldron, fermented spider eye, glistering melon, magma cream, glass bottles, water bottles, potions, splash potions or lingering potions.
A good tip: you can make up to 3 potions at once by adding 3 bottles of water to the Brewing Stand. But in order to make these mixtures you’re going to need some special brewing equipment and know-how. This means that you need to build a brewing stand first before making the actual Fire Resistance Potion. This means the raid has started. Swimming in the XBLA edition requires players to keep the A button pressed, limiting the freedom of the right thumb and making it difficult to look around with the right stick.
Split-screen requires you have an HDTV, a necessity omitted from the game description and marketing. Lastly, rather than using shears, you have to hit sheep with your fists, weapons or household items to farm their wool. This dream dies on XBLA, as the worlds are exponentially smaller, taking a matter of five minutes to hit an invisible wall from the central point on the map. It’s a voxel-based PC-only sandbox game with choppy graphics and no defined goal, which some argue makes it the opposite of a “game.” Minecraft was never supposed to be a hit.
Xbox 360 boasts just over 500MB of memory, and the game was clearly built within that limitation, with little hope of overcoming it. Guthrie: All I can say is I certainly hope not. Clicking on items and boxes is easier with a mouse than with a statically scrolling reticle, and organizing items can be a tedious process with a controller. 12:32PM “Please reconnect controller” says the Xbox as we get bumped out to a menu. Minecraft on XBLA does promise updates, but with Xbox’s track record there, I’m not holding my breath (unless I get stuck underwater again). Minecraft on XBLA isn’t a “lite” version of the game, although it is smaller in scope.
However, the PC version does exist, and a few things are readily apparent. Despite the fact that most precision games are more easily controlled with a keyboard and mouse, I gravitate to a gamepad in most situations, and Minecraft proved to be a natural fit for the Xbox control scheme. If I didn’t already know that inventory and swimming were more ergonomic with a keyboard, I wouldn’t notice such a disparity on Xbox. Minecraft on Xbox Live Arcade is surreal. Personally, I don’t need an infinite on-screen world to find Minecraft enjoyable.
To craft an End Crystal, one will need seven blocks of glass, a Ghast tear, and an Eye of Ender. Building one will protect you from mobs. Nothing beats spending the afternoon building your own windmill in the sky to recreate Feel Good by Gorillaz. Or an architect sim, if that makes you feel like more of an adult. This is another Nether farm, but it’s a solid way to gain some more XP.