Saturday, 30 April 2011

Minecraft - What is it?

Anyone vaguely interested or involved with the online gaming community will no doubt have heard about the new and somewhat unexpected popularity of the latest indie game sensation - Minecraft!

Written by Swedish Indie game developer commonly known as 'Notch', Minecraft became somewhat of an overnight sensation. Sweeping across the gaming community, Minecraft reached thousands and eventually millions of hits and continues to grow today.

So what IS Minecraft? I'll explain.

Minecraft is an infinite world, randomly generated and populated with NPCs. A player can spend hours forging out their own homes, buildings - whatever comes to mind. But to do so requires dedication, raw materials such as wood and stone come from the environment itself, so a player needs to collect and craft equipment to efficiently gather the resources they need to build their constructs.

"You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum"

To quote Saruman from Lord of the Rings, Minecraft is all about collecting resources, some of them more rarer than others. The further you dig down into the earth, the more unique resources you can collect; such as diamond and gold. But as you go down deeper, you risk your entire inventory as you encounter strange noises and sudden movement. Oh yes, not only is Minecraft populated with cows roaming the rolling green hills and sheep bouncing over the horizon, but there exists a more sinister threat to exploring this terrain.

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The risk of encountering zombies, skeletons and red-eyed giant spiders is always a concern as you scramble to traverse entire cave systems to gather that little bit of diamond somewhere in the patchy darkness. These monsters can and will attack you, and if you die - you lose everything.

But with risk comes great rewards, and indeed, players are rewarded for their bravery as they attain items and rewards that can be used to add to their special 'project'. Red-stone (commonly found deep underground) can be used to power automatic door-ways and traps - you get the idea.

Players can really experience this game in their own way. Difficulty settings can be adjusted to fit play-style, mod-packs and texture-packs can be installed to always keep Minecraft looking fresh and different. This game always presents the player with a lot of fun challenges and so much creative possibility!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Gaming - Battlefield 1942 / 2

So today I got to wondering about the many games that I have played throughout my life. The ones I have enjoyed playing for years and the ones I feel have made an impact on the gaming community.

The very first game that REALLY got me hooked was EA's Battlefield 1942, a First-person based shooter set within the World war 2 era. This game was truely fantastic and a testiment to the what would become a series of Battlefield games.

This game was great, it allowed you to play it in many different ways and really allowed you to develop a playstyle. For example, clans were formed at the time whereby they needed experienced pilots for dog-fights. I was a pretty good pilot myself, and the expanse on some of the maps really allowed some great air combat.

Other maps like Berlin were more infantry based which required stealth and precision. Usually I took up the sniper-rifle kit and scouted ahead feeding back to my clan on teamspeak the enemy's movements and allowed for some fantastic team-work and gameplay.

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When Battlefield 2 was announced, I really anticipated the core qualities, which made Battlefield 1942 a great game, transfering over to a much more modern combat scenario. EA did this perfectly, and with the introduction of squads and in-game communication, team effort really became the driving point of my experience.
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Thursday, 28 April 2011

So here is to starting!

For a while now I have been anxious to start blogging and begin the process of writing down my inner thoughts and ideas onto a site like this. It is something I have always wanted to do, something I want to experiment with, and to give myself a platform on which to express myself. So here goes!

The Royal Wedding.

To begin with, I want to talk about the recent media hype concerning the Royal wedding. There has been among many people a lot of debate as to whether or not the British and other international media are making too big of a deal out of the situation.

I'm no historian, but after reflecting upon some of the things I had learnt about the 'Royal Monarchy' in my earlier years at school, I have come to realise that Royalty today is very different to what it was just a few hundred years ago. The Monarchy of those times stood at the heart of the British economical structure, royalty was more prominently regarded in the eyes of the people than it is today.

I look to the royalty of today and find it synonymous with celebritism in a sense that british people take more of an interest in top figures like footballers, pop stars and other people that are so often in the public eye. I asked my friends and family whether they actually take an interest in royalty, and they simply responded with 'no'.

I suppose it takes a Royal wedding every so often to 'freshen up' the public image of the monarchy, and with top football and pop-singer icons reportedly receiving invites to the wedding, it leads me to assume that the entire reason for all this hype is to boost the monarchy's somewhat already low reputation. Instead, give seats to the people that have served their country in one way or another, and not just the top generals or health-care figures, but to the soldiers on the front line and to the people who save lives.

That is my opinion, and with all that said, I do wish Prince William and Kate Middleton a happy marriage. One that won't end up a disastor!