Minecraft (which is available at minecraft.net for 19,95€) is one of those games we get back to regularly. At first glance there isn't anything exciting about it: The graphics are simple, to say the least, and the main goal is to gather heaps of raw materials to craft or build something. Of course, there are some really nasty creatures like the notorious "Creepers", which can give you a hard time now and then. But the core of the game is building and gathering.
In spite of that simple approach, Minecraft can be really addictive. The reason for that are the immense possibilities the game offers. You can build nearly any building you can imagine - log cabins, cathedrals, an undersea palace, castles with automatic gates and trains between mountain tops. And in case you should run out of ideas, there are lots and lots of stunning examples and instructions on youtube. Just take a look at the following:
Of course we didn't come even close to those breathtaking buildings. Our most ambitious project so far has been a small village with two bridges and some nice streets with street lanterns.
But even without huge plans, cooperative gaming in Minecraft is a wonderful thing. You are able to plan and build all sorts of crazy and interesting things jointly. In fact, in our experience, the most extraordinary ideas arose when we did some brainstorming together. And of course working as a team speeds things up: While one player is gathering stone or wood, the other one is able to continue constructing. Often we spent hours and hours playing the game without even realizing it.
There are some minor problems, of course, like the lack of a minimap without having to rely on fan-created modifications (which makes it hard to orient oneself) or the fact, that it is impossible to teleport back to a certain point at the map (and you really, really start wishing for that, at some point - believe us!)
But there is always the possibility to set up your own server - and there you can install a lot of useful mods. (We will write more about that in a later post.)
Conclusion: Minecraft is a wonderful game, if you like building and gathering. You can play Minecraft again and again - because you can always start a new project. It is possible to pause playing over a long period without loosing the thread and you are able to switch between solo playing and coop playing in the same game world. The core mechanics are simple enough to learn. The graphics, however, aren't that entracing - even if one chooses to install one of the countless texture packs. And for experiencing the whole range of possibilities the game offers one has really to invest time and effort - for example by checking out some of the available tutorials.