Since Minecraft‘s parent company Mojang Studios got bought out by, ugh, (holding nose) Microsoft, your humble penguin has been keeping a reserved distance from it. I’ll still play it, and I have to admit that Minecraft is still every bit the best-seller game it was when Markus Persson and his jaunty little fedora owned it.
But now Minecraft takes on the subtle mildewy smell of Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, and Hot Dog Stand Windows 3.1 desktop themes. It doesn’t feel the same. Also the user base somehow went from 4chan to mainstream and back to something close to 4chan but not quite, like 9Gag. Take the recent mob poll.
You nicknamed MooBloom WHAT?!?
October 1st, Minecraft developers put three mobs up for a user poll to decide which one to introduce into the game during the next update. I believe the next update is supposed to be the “Caves and Cliffs” one. The three mobs were MooBloom, a passive cow with flowers growing on it like the MooShroom on mushroom islands; the Iceologer, a hostile Illager mob who inhabits snowy peaks; and a Glow Squid, a water-borne – wait for it! – squid which glows.
So far, so normal, for Minecraft. But then Twitter users who were checking the feed in a blind panic for news about Trump’s hospitalization were confronted with a strange trending tag…
I’m saving these screenshots in case any of you primitive savages out there ask me why it is that we cannot have nice things. Look, calling something “Piss Cow” was fine back when Notch was in charge, but Microsoft runs this rodeo now. There’ Minecraft books in the kids’ section a book retailers. You can’t call something “Piss Cow.”
Those are daisies growing on her back. You could have just nicknamed her “Daisy”! But no. Your minds went straight to the men’s room.
What else is in the Caves & Cliffs update?
Since we’re here already, we might as well run through the rest of the update features:
- Mo’ better caves – underwater waterfalls, underground lakes, different cave biomes, more variety in how caves generate
- New blocks – “Sculk Sensor” detects nearby movement to trigger redstone
- New stalactite and stalagmite blocks
- Many more new mobs, passive and hostile
- Cliffs – Snowier and with more mountain goats
- Archaeology system complete with a new brush tool
Watch the whole bit:
Which is not the official announcement, because the official announcement takes place with the Swedish accented hosts in their own studio. Minecraft gets its own studio now. There’s a movie coming too, allegedly.
The archaeology system shows that you take the brush and swipe it at a block of gravel, revealing a find within. Apparently there will be cool little idol statues in there. There is also a “deep dark” cave with apparently its own minotaur mob, as you see in the video! I will never quite comprehend how a game drawn with pixelized blocks can be so damn unnerving.
The bigger news for some is that we’re supposed to see cross-platform play come to Minecraft Dungeons, so that XBox, PS, Nintendo Switch, and Windows players can all play together in one big happy family. While leaving out Linux PCs and Android mobile native, because Microsoft. I think Bill Gates prints it right on his birthday party invitations: “everybody invited EXCEPT U L1NOX LUZERS U R TE S0XOR LOLOLOL!”
I was there when Minecraft was born…
But I remember when it was an underground indie game, with a Beta playable in the browser. It’s called “classic” now and still right here. I remember how excited everybody was about things like the World of Color update, which added so much decorative stuff and really kicked the building community into high gear.
I remember when Notch added minecar trains and everybody went bananas building Minecraft roller coasters. There was no mechanism for accelerating cars then, just a cruddy little coal engine that would chug along at barely walking pace, but we exploited a bug called the “booster cart bug” which made two carts go faster when they were side by side.
That’s how simple and to-the-point Minecraft videos used to be. When you’d figure out a few new tricks in the primitive versions of Minecraft, you’d make one of these kinds of videos to tour people around:
The game used to be a hacker’s toy. Diving into the Java source code and modifying the artwork was half the fun. I made so many painting art packs and put them up on my old blog. You had to experiment and discover things on your own.
The community has been steering the game for too long now. It doesn’t feel the same. Minecraft was an open source anarchy there, but now it belongs to someone, there’s rules on what you can’t do. Granted, it belonged to Notch from the beginning, but all he ever did at first was call it “cave game” based on another miner-block game he’d found years ago. Notch never objected to the modding and hacking community, he liked it that other people enjoyed playing with his toy.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love Minecraft, but some novelty has to wear off after a decade. And then you go on to other games and only think to revisit when you see “Piss Cow ZOMG!” trending on Twitter.