Against the backdrop of multimillion dollar AAA games and fun-yet-bite-size downloadable titles, indie game Minecraft is an aberration. The product of lone developer Markkus "Notch" Persson, Minecraft has ancient-looking graphics, no plot, and generates massive, sandbox game worlds with seemingly infinite creative possibilities, but no clear instructions telling you what to do or how to get started.
Despite that seemingly user-unfriendly formula, Minecraft's buzz is so strong the server hosting its Web site crashed this weekend under the weight of the incoming traffic. Spend an hour with Minecraft (which can easily spiral into two or three) and you'll quickly understand the reason for the enthusiasm around this indie hit.
Minecraft puts you in the role of a nameless avatar. You begin the game in a randomly generated world of textured blocks that depict a gigantic, mountain-pocked environment bounded by water. You start with no inventory, and no clear concept of how to interact with the world. With a little experimentation you'll likely soon discover that you can gather resources from the vast blocky landscape.… Read more