More or less Minecraft is a throwback of sorts to old school gaming very reminiscent of UO (if it was single player). The game is an infinite sandbox game where the world is generated around you and you'll never "wrap" around if you go off and only walk in one direction. The game also allows you to create gear, buildings, and mechanisms using the basic and humble resource "blocks" that make up the entire world. It reminds me very much of playing with Lego's as a kid, and that alone is a big draw for lots of folks.
The other main aspect of the game is its a survival game in which there is a day and night cycle and to survive the night, where evil creatures spawn and want to eat you alive, you must build a shelter! Once you get the basic shelter down you feel compelled to create more elaborate tunnels and rooms to hang out in, decorate, and scheme in. You'll find yourself saying "just one more steel bar and I can build X" multiple times for various things. Once you do get more complex items you can start crafting ladders, minecarts, mine cart tracks, mine carts powered by coal that will go around and around, you can create switches, logic gates and other mechanisms to which to astound your friends. To do all this, you again must mine for your resources and watch out for the evil creatures trying to kill you! Its a vicious cycle of fun!
There is a physic engine too, in that water will flow along a path if you create one, you can also drown if you tunnel under a lake and hit the wrong stone flooding your mineshaft, or if you hit a vein of gravel or sand you could be suffocated as the loose material rains down on your head blocky head. You can also create devious traps for protection or to "harvest" the goodly creatures of minecraft such as the mu-cows for hides, the sheep for wool blocks, pigs for their BACON, and the infamous chickens (which look like ducks!) that provide feathers. These creatures hop around the world care free and constantly let you know where they are by various sounds. You can also harvest seeds and grow crops if you've decided an all vegetarian diet is the way to go and these can be cultivate deep underground in your own personal terrarium free of zombie infestation!
The game is only in Alpha and is deceivingly complex even in its current state, and of course highly addictive. I had been following the news of the game but was never interested until the penny arcade article, when it was said there was to be a free weekend because of the server crashing as a result of the influx of people from the PA exposure. I decided to sit down and play, which ended up getting me hooked and so purchasing the game for $13.60 (he's charging 9.95 euros so exchange rates will vary the actual rate).
I'd recommend getting in on the game now as the developer indicated that he will be raising the price once it goes into beta, and if you purchase now you get free updates and releases for the life of the game (how ever long that is) and its not a subscription based game either! Take that WOW, WAR, etc,.
I'll post a another article with some videos I've taken showing you how to survive your first night and just how dangerous minecraft can be, and this is just single player! Once multiplayer evolves a bit more and I'm in a world with others with the same killer instincts I'm guessing I'll have some severe dejavu of UO and the cold sweats you would get venturing out in the wild not knowing if danger lurked around a corner or if the fellow you just happened upon mining in his underwear is a blood thirsty killer just waiting for you to turn your head so he can drive that diamond pick axe into your skull! Mwhahaha!
Hope you enjoy the article and thanks for stopping by!