Games of 2010: Minecraft

Posted in games of 2010

One new thing I’d really like to do this year is to write about other indie games I like on this blog. It’s something I used to do years ago, but at some point I let it slip… Anyway, as a place to start, I thought it might be a good idea to write about some games I really enjoyed in 2010. I’m gonna try doing one a day for the month, but we’ll see how it goes.

First up: Minecraft! I’m not doing these writeups in any kind of order, but even if I was, Minecraft would probably still be the first post.

My first “real” minecraft world was a pre-biome frozen winter world, covered with ice and snow. I’d played the game enough to understand the basics, and liked my spawn point in this one enough to call it home.

Before I’d really established any kind of shelter, I came across an open cave directly below a sheet of ice, and decided to explore. It led all the way down to magnificent lakes of lava near the bedrock. But I got so lost on the way down that I wasn’t able to find my way back. I was stuck underground, carrying precious materials I’d gathered over the course of a few hours, and dangerously low on health and torches before I discovered a huge vertical shaft that just seemed to go up forever – so, I slowly scaled it, making a staircase of cobblestone as I went. Eventually, though, I hit a ceiling.

I figured I had to be pretty close to the surface, so I decided to punch through it – only to come up under the ocean floor. Feeling brave and lost, I swam up.

Right away, I knew I’d made a mistake. It was pitch dark underwater where I emerged, and I couldn’t even find the tiny hole I’d punched for myself to get back into the cave. So, I swam up. Only to knock my head against a huge sheet of ice. I desperately tried to smash through, but it was no use. I drowned.

If you haven’t already “gotten into” Minecraft, it can be kinda hard to explain why it’s so compelling. Mostly it comes down to stories like this – the time I spawned beside a floating island, or the first time I found a mossy green tile and what I found after that, or the time my portal back from the Nether unexpectedly sent me right into a dungeon swarming with skeleton archers…

Minecraft’s story doesn’t come from clumsy cutscenes, it emerges directly from its mechanics; it’s a game where you make up stories for yourself as you go along, a world where unexpected and wonderful things happen as you build in it. This game is revolutionary. It’s without a doubt the game I’ve played the most of this year, and the one that’s most inspired me as a game designer.

Minecraft is in beta, and costs 14.95 EUR. It’s available at