Like many players, I usually move on to the next conquest when a new release comes to my doorstep. That are some games that you go back to over and over even though your game library keeps growing. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition has the magic stuff that keeps me coming back for more. I sat down pondering why this is so when many games seem to have some sort of shelf life in my personal library.
Doing It Right
Perhaps the most differentiating aspect of Minecraft versus other Xbox Live Arcade counterparts is how the game continues to be updated. This helps keep the game fresh because the updates not only correct issues but add completely new elements to the experience without spending money on it. Minecraft originally came in at a higher price point than 98% of all XBLA games, and I decided to take a chance and make the purchase. Since then the game has been updated 3 times, and each time has introduced something new. Each time it didn’t cost anymore out of pocket. Many games charge for new elements through DLC. I have to commend all involved for making this a painless process to keep adding to the game.
The only paid DLC is optional elements such as character skins. The skins are tied to your user account and have no effect on other players in your worlds. This allows me to play with players who don’t have the optional DLC, and the consistent updates for everyone allow everyone to have the same experience from game to game without worrying about not being able to play with friends.
Survival mode in Minecraft adds just the right amount of danger. I love trying to collect, build, and fight off enemies. The latest update added hunger, and while I can see it cumbersome to most, I find it completely worth it. The fear of going too long without food keeps things in perspective. If you’re attacked or deep below the surface with no food, things get awfully hairy. It forces me to think of the big picture at all times. This feeling causes me to try to accomplish just one more thing because I know when it’s complete it was challenging and in a lot of ways – worth it.
Staying Up Too Late
Minecraft has one of those redeeming qualities to make you literally say “just 5 more minutes.” My friends and I often find ourselves working to a goal, and if that goal is not complete we don’t turn off the game. This could be finishing a building, terraforming, exploring a cavern, or acquiring specific items. Case in point, the other night as I worked on adding on to our little farming village, two friends were mining below. As they explored the recently discovered abandoned mineshaft, they stumbled on a stronghold. I wasn’t complete with my original task, but all of us dropped what we were doing to explore it. We navigated through all the halls, stairs, and passageways and often getting lost as we tried to find our way out. We originally planned on stopping the game before the stronghold was discovered, and by the time we were done and found our way back to the surface in our town it was more than an hour later. This is not an uncommon occurrence.
Mark of a Good Game
The best games bring you back to them time and time again. If you can beat a game and come back to it to finish it again you know you have something special. When you know you need to log off but the allure of the possibilities of the next 5 minutes keep you going, the game has the “it” factor. Minecraft coming to console was what I needed to get caught up in the phenomena which exploded in popularity on PC. I can’t change the past to discover my love for the game sooner, but what I can do is eek out every bit of those 5 minutes to discover or build something new.
Just 5 More Minutes – Anecdotes and memories of when we didn’t want to put a specific game down.
Giant Bomb (images)