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Found 33 results

  1. Jack Gardner

    Artist Creates Minecraft in Real Life

    Indonesian artist Aditya Aryanto recently made some waves on social media for his new Anicube or Animal Cube style. Like the name implies, Aryanto takes pictures of animals and then turns them into what they might look like if they had more cube-like designs. It started as a personal project that the artist found amusing, but after uploading a few creations to Instagram, Aryanto discovered that those pictures delighted others, too. Aryanto's process for creating the images was actually fairly simple. "I am interested in the cubical shape and trying to change some animal form into cubes," he explained, "First, I was afraid if it would be nicer than the original shape. I was really curious about the results, so I tried to find some funny animal pictures to be changed into Anicube." The artist put together the images together in a gallery under the title "Minecraft in real life (ANICUBE)" and they are all well worth the look. The result is a a plethora of strangely adorable animals that have been made into cubes. Perhaps the images give us an idea of what alternate reality animals might look like. Or they could just be a fun way to view life from a different perspective. Whatever the attraction, people can check out more of Aryanto's work here.
  2. Indonesian artist Aditya Aryanto recently made some waves on social media for his new Anicube or Animal Cube style. Like the name implies, Aryanto takes pictures of animals and then turns them into what they might look like if they had more cube-like designs. It started as a personal project that the artist found amusing, but after uploading a few creations to Instagram, Aryanto discovered that those pictures delighted others, too. Aryanto's process for creating the images was actually fairly simple. "I am interested in the cubical shape and trying to change some animal form into cubes," he explained, "First, I was afraid if it would be nicer than the original shape. I was really curious about the results, so I tried to find some funny animal pictures to be changed into Anicube." The artist put together the images together in a gallery under the title "Minecraft in real life (ANICUBE)" and they are all well worth the look. The result is a a plethora of strangely adorable animals that have been made into cubes. Perhaps the images give us an idea of what alternate reality animals might look like. Or they could just be a fun way to view life from a different perspective. Whatever the attraction, people can check out more of Aryanto's work here. View full article
  3. Jack Gardner

    Minecraft Teaches Kids to Code

    Minecraft: Education Edition has been available to teachers for almost a year now, but Mojang continues to add new features and patches to expand its use as an educational tool. The latest addition to the game allows teachers to use Minecraft to teach their kids to code in a unique way. This update, titled Code Builder, allows teachers to make interacting with the Minecraft world possible only through coding a robot to do it for you. Students make use of coding platforms like MakeCode, Scratch, and Tynker to tell the robot what structures it should make and with what materials. It's an easy way to teach coding to kids as they are essentially using their newly learned skills to write code for the robot while in-game. This method of learning, using games as a way to stimulate or facilitate interest in a topic, seems to be one of the best ways to help kids (and, let's be real, people in general) learn about new and sometimes difficult topics. Hadi Partovi, the CEO of Code.org, explains that, "learning can be done best when you don't think that you're learning, you just think that you're enjoying yourself." Code Builder isn't a fully completed addition to Minecraft: Education Edition just yet. It's available today, but still in beta, so Mojang has a number of bugs and kinks to squash out of their system. that being said, this is a fantastic idea that harnesses the creativity kids have while in Minecraft and helps them learn a skill that will only become more valuable in the future. The development team even says that the game goes farther than the in-game tools. If players want to use different languages to program, like JavaScript, Code Builder allows them to do that without any hassle at all. That leaves the option open even for more advanced lessons in programming. Teachers or institutions interested in obtaining Minecraft: Education Edition can find out if their organization is eligible for the expanding teaching tool on the Minecraft website.
  4. Minecraft: Education Edition has been available to teachers for almost a year now, but Mojang continues to add new features and patches to expand its use as an educational tool. The latest addition to the game allows teachers to use Minecraft to teach their kids to code in a unique way. This update, titled Code Builder, allows teachers to make interacting with the Minecraft world possible only through coding a robot to do it for you. Students make use of coding platforms like MakeCode, Scratch, and Tynker to tell the robot what structures it should make and with what materials. It's an easy way to teach coding to kids as they are essentially using their newly learned skills to write code for the robot while in-game. This method of learning, using games as a way to stimulate or facilitate interest in a topic, seems to be one of the best ways to help kids (and, let's be real, people in general) learn about new and sometimes difficult topics. Hadi Partovi, the CEO of Code.org, explains that, "learning can be done best when you don't think that you're learning, you just think that you're enjoying yourself." Code Builder isn't a fully completed addition to Minecraft: Education Edition just yet. It's available today, but still in beta, so Mojang has a number of bugs and kinks to squash out of their system. that being said, this is a fantastic idea that harnesses the creativity kids have while in Minecraft and helps them learn a skill that will only become more valuable in the future. The development team even says that the game goes farther than the in-game tools. If players want to use different languages to program, like JavaScript, Code Builder allows them to do that without any hassle at all. That leaves the option open even for more advanced lessons in programming. Teachers or institutions interested in obtaining Minecraft: Education Edition can find out if their organization is eligible for the expanding teaching tool on the Minecraft website. View full article
  5. Minecraft just received its eleventh update today. Dubbed 'The Exploration Update,' the world of Minecraft now has a host of new things to do and explore for those either currently or formerly enthralled to the world's foremost infinite block-world builder. The Minecraft community has been clamoring for more... well, everything, for quite some time now. Version 1.11 aims to deliver in a number of ways. First and foremost, Minecraft now has llamas. These alpacas can be ridden and carry supplies by equipping them with a carpet and chest, respectively. They can be leashed to create caravans that follow the play through the world. The ability to caravan a number of storage inventories together will surely be very handy for players on extended expeditions or working on large building projects. Another big addition to 1.11, woodland mansions now have a chance of spawning within the Roofed Forest biome. These large, foreboding structures hold two new enemy types intended to be end-game challenges for players. They hold many different traps and challenges for players to overcome and those who manage to prevail over the hostile home will face new adversaries - the Illagers. These tricky and dangerous Illagers come in two varieties. First, the vindicator mob wields an iron axe and attacks villagers and players on sight, acting as brute muscle to defend the mansion from intruders. They have a slight chance of dropping an emerald when slain. The second type, evokers, are much more dangerous. Mojang views them as something of a mini-boss in the world of Minecraft and has given the evokers otherworldly powers. Evokers can summon ghostly creatures known as vex to provide a distraction while they attack with snapping jaws they can summon from the ground. Vex are summoned in packs of two to four, can fly, and are capable of passing through any block without any resistance. Players who manage to slay an evoker are rewarded with a Totem of Undying - an item that, when held in hand, can resurrect a player instantly at the moment of their death. Mojang has also added the Shulker Box, a chest made with the shell of a shulker mob. This special chest retains its inventory when broken down, rendering a wide variety of inventory highly portable. These can only be made with materials gathered from the End, which now holds return portals to transport the player back to the main End portal. Another welcome addition to Minecraft: Cartographers! A new type of NPC, cartographers can be traded with to provide maps to various locations in the game world. Want to start a quest for a woodland mansion, ocean temple, or other interesting world location? The cartographer might just be able to point you in the right direction with a treasure map. Overall, The Exploration update seems to be a really solid expansion of Minecraft in all the ways players want. Head out there and get crafting! View full article
  6. Minecraft just received its eleventh update today. Dubbed 'The Exploration Update,' the world of Minecraft now has a host of new things to do and explore for those either currently or formerly enthralled to the world's foremost infinite block-world builder. The Minecraft community has been clamoring for more... well, everything, for quite some time now. Version 1.11 aims to deliver in a number of ways. First and foremost, Minecraft now has llamas. These alpacas can be ridden and carry supplies by equipping them with a carpet and chest, respectively. They can be leashed to create caravans that follow the play through the world. The ability to caravan a number of storage inventories together will surely be very handy for players on extended expeditions or working on large building projects. Another big addition to 1.11, woodland mansions now have a chance of spawning within the Roofed Forest biome. These large, foreboding structures hold two new enemy types intended to be end-game challenges for players. They hold many different traps and challenges for players to overcome and those who manage to prevail over the hostile home will face new adversaries - the Illagers. These tricky and dangerous Illagers come in two varieties. First, the vindicator mob wields an iron axe and attacks villagers and players on sight, acting as brute muscle to defend the mansion from intruders. They have a slight chance of dropping an emerald when slain. The second type, evokers, are much more dangerous. Mojang views them as something of a mini-boss in the world of Minecraft and has given the evokers otherworldly powers. Evokers can summon ghostly creatures known as vex to provide a distraction while they attack with snapping jaws they can summon from the ground. Vex are summoned in packs of two to four, can fly, and are capable of passing through any block without any resistance. Players who manage to slay an evoker are rewarded with a Totem of Undying - an item that, when held in hand, can resurrect a player instantly at the moment of their death. Mojang has also added the Shulker Box, a chest made with the shell of a shulker mob. This special chest retains its inventory when broken down, rendering a wide variety of inventory highly portable. These can only be made with materials gathered from the End, which now holds return portals to transport the player back to the main End portal. Another welcome addition to Minecraft: Cartographers! A new type of NPC, cartographers can be traded with to provide maps to various locations in the game world. Want to start a quest for a woodland mansion, ocean temple, or other interesting world location? The cartographer might just be able to point you in the right direction with a treasure map. Overall, The Exploration update seems to be a really solid expansion of Minecraft in all the ways players want. Head out there and get crafting!
  7. The three-part addition to Telltale's narrative take on the popular blocky building game comes to a close with the release of Episode 8: A Journey's End? this September 13. Minecraft: Story Mode proved to be fairly successful when it launched in late 2015 and Telltale began extending the series with new episodes as part of the Adventure Pass after the original five episode run came to a close. Three episodes make up the additional content. The first, A Portal to Mystery, offered players a chance to solve a spooky mansion mystery with characters voiced by popular Minecraft YouTubers. Access Denied composes the second episode of the Adventure Pass in which players face off against a haywire redstone AI. The final episode, A Journey's End?, follows the block-based adventurers as they battle their way through a gladiatorial arena in a bid to find their way home. Two voice actors have been revealed for the finale episode: Jim Cummings and Kari Wahlgren. Many might recognize Cummings for his work on Winnie the Pooh and Darkwing Duck. Meanwhile, Kari Wahlgren has made a name for herself on Rick and Morty and The Farily OddParents. The Adventure Pass can be purchased for $14.99 while individual episodes go for $4.99 apiece. It is required that players own Episode 1 of Minecraft: Story Mode or the physical season pass disc in order to purchase Episodes 6-8. Minecraft: Story Mode and the Adventure Pass episodes 6 & 7 are available now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, and iOS. Episode 8: A Journey's End will be available on September 13 for all consoles and PCs, with the mobile versions coming later that week.
  8. The three-part addition to Telltale's narrative take on the popular blocky building game comes to a close with the release of Episode 8: A Journey's End? this September 13. Minecraft: Story Mode proved to be fairly successful when it launched in late 2015 and Telltale began extending the series with new episodes as part of the Adventure Pass after the original five episode run came to a close. Three episodes make up the additional content. The first, A Portal to Mystery, offered players a chance to solve a spooky mansion mystery with characters voiced by popular Minecraft YouTubers. Access Denied composes the second episode of the Adventure Pass in which players face off against a haywire redstone AI. The final episode, A Journey's End?, follows the block-based adventurers as they battle their way through a gladiatorial arena in a bid to find their way home. Two voice actors have been revealed for the finale episode: Jim Cummings and Kari Wahlgren. Many might recognize Cummings for his work on Winnie the Pooh and Darkwing Duck. Meanwhile, Kari Wahlgren has made a name for herself on Rick and Morty and The Farily OddParents. The Adventure Pass can be purchased for $14.99 while individual episodes go for $4.99 apiece. It is required that players own Episode 1 of Minecraft: Story Mode or the physical season pass disc in order to purchase Episodes 6-8. Minecraft: Story Mode and the Adventure Pass episodes 6 & 7 are available now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, and iOS. Episode 8: A Journey's End will be available on September 13 for all consoles and PCs, with the mobile versions coming later that week. View full article
  9. You know that time you felt really accomplished in Minecraft because you managed to make a really big hole or a castle to the sky? I know I was proud of the time I hollowed out a mountain and did my best to create a mini Mines of Moria. Mere mortals can only dream of what YouTuber Reqaug did a mere three weeks after the 1.10 Minecraft update. Reqaug wanted to test the limits of a new block type called the "structure block." These pieces of magic allow players to save entire sections of a given structure. This allowed Reqaug to refresh the Game Boy Advance screen quickly enough to support actual gameplay. And what better game to translate into the digital world of Minecraft than Pokémon FireRed? To be perfectly clear, Reqaug made a functional GBA with a level editor and a basically functional version of Pokémon FireRed running within Minecraft. That is insane. Obviously, the Minecraft Pokémon FireRed is still incomplete, lacking battles and dialogue, but further functions will be coming in future updates as development continues. Those are things that are possible with this GBA construction. You can download the GBA map for yourself over on the mod database Planet Minecraft: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/working-pokemon-firered-gba/ The future is an insane, scary, wonderful place.
  10. You know that time you felt really accomplished in Minecraft because you managed to make a really big hole or a castle to the sky? I know I was proud of the time I hollowed out a mountain and did my best to create a mini Mines of Moria. Mere mortals can only dream of what YouTuber Reqaug did a mere three weeks after the 1.10 Minecraft update. Reqaug wanted to test the limits of a new block type called the "structure block." These pieces of magic allow players to save entire sections of a given structure. This allowed Reqaug to refresh the Game Boy Advance screen quickly enough to support actual gameplay. And what better game to translate into the digital world of Minecraft than Pokémon FireRed? To be perfectly clear, Reqaug made a functional GBA with a level editor and a basically functional version of Pokémon FireRed running within Minecraft. That is insane. Obviously, the Minecraft Pokémon FireRed is still incomplete, lacking battles and dialogue, but further functions will be coming in future updates as development continues. Those are things that are possible with this GBA construction. You can download the GBA map for yourself over on the mod database Planet Minecraft: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/working-pokemon-firered-gba/ The future is an insane, scary, wonderful place. View full article
  11. There is a gallery for any pictures from last nights meeting. Feel free to go an upload anything you want to add to the gallery from last night. 2016 Extra Life Boston Guild Launch Meeting Gallery
  12. A terrible evil threatens to consume the fabric of the world and only the scattered Order of the Stone can even hope to halt its inexorable advance. Jesse and company must set out to find the remaining members of the Order in Episode Two - Assembly Required. That episode becomes available digitally for consoles in North America today. Physical copies of the game will be making their way to retail today, as well. Retail discs of Minecraft: Story Mode cost $29.99 and come with Episode One on-disc. The disc will then grant access to all future episodes as they are released by Telltale Games via online updates. "Premiering 'Minecraft: Story Mode' this month, we've been overjoyed by the reception from both the Minecraft community and fans of Telltale across the world diving into the all-ages adventure and making key decisions that will craft their own stories throughout the rest of the season," said Kevin Bruner, CEO and Co-Founder of Telltale Games. "This week, we're happy to offer the game on a special disc at retailers worldwide, including access to the thrilling second episode, 'Assembly Required,' which will feel like a completely different chapter for players depending on their paths taken in episode one." Minecraft: Story Mode Episode Two - Assembly Required is now available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Later this week the second episode will make its way to PC and mobile devices. The series will also be coming to Wii U and PlayStation Vita, but no word yet on release dates for those systems.
  13. A terrible evil threatens to consume the fabric of the world and only the scattered Order of the Stone can even hope to halt its inexorable advance. Jesse and company must set out to find the remaining members of the Order in Episode Two - Assembly Required. That episode becomes available digitally for consoles in North America today. Physical copies of the game will be making their way to retail today, as well. Retail discs of Minecraft: Story Mode cost $29.99 and come with Episode One on-disc. The disc will then grant access to all future episodes as they are released by Telltale Games via online updates. "Premiering 'Minecraft: Story Mode' this month, we've been overjoyed by the reception from both the Minecraft community and fans of Telltale across the world diving into the all-ages adventure and making key decisions that will craft their own stories throughout the rest of the season," said Kevin Bruner, CEO and Co-Founder of Telltale Games. "This week, we're happy to offer the game on a special disc at retailers worldwide, including access to the thrilling second episode, 'Assembly Required,' which will feel like a completely different chapter for players depending on their paths taken in episode one." Minecraft: Story Mode Episode Two - Assembly Required is now available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Later this week the second episode will make its way to PC and mobile devices. The series will also be coming to Wii U and PlayStation Vita, but no word yet on release dates for those systems. View full article
  14. Microsoft held a two-hour press conference today centered around Windows 10 and what they envision for the future of the operating system. Also, they announced holograms. Holo-freakin'-grams. As you might imagine, two hours of a corporation revealing new software and hardware is a lot to parse through. Here are the highlights as relate to the gaming world: Windows 10 will include a Game DVR function for Windows games, modeled after the Xbox One's DVR capabilities. While third-party software already exists to provide that same functionality, this service will be free and possibly run more efficiently than what's currently available. Designed to offer more opportunities to game developers, the upcoming DirectX 12 consumes half the power of DirectX 11 and offers improved performance on existing hardware. This extend to mobile devices, which will now be able to run more intensive programs without trouble. Windows 10 PCs and Xbox Ones will be able to play with each other online via cross-play functionality. Xbox One owners will be able to stream their games to any Windows 10 device in their home. Microsoft unveiled their hologram initiative: HoloLens. The HoloLens is a head-mounted computer with a variety of sensors that allows it to "see" what its user sees and overlay digital data via the built-in HUD. It includes a third processor built specifically to help it interpret holographic space. The pres conference included a live demonstration of the HoloLens and how it can be used to design digital objects. They announced that HoloLens currently runs Skype, Minecraft, and will be used as early as July for scientists working with the Mars rover. Honestly, that is a lot of really cool information, but it comes with so many questions. Will game DVR functionality be as curtailed as it is on Xbox One? What are the limits to game streaming? Will players be able to stream Destiny to their PCs from their Xbox Ones? Will cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC be universal or a feature of some games, but not others? Obviously, HoloLens is the most intriguing, but a with most new technology, it is best to treat it with a grain of salt before it has had a chance to prove itself. As cool as the concept of the device is, remember the troubles people have had with Kinect for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. This could be a revolutionary step forward in computing, or it could be remembered as one of those goofy gizmos that never really got off the ground. In the meantime... HOLOGRAMS! AWESOME! You can watch the full press event here. View full article
  15. Jack Gardner

    A Summary of the Windows 10 Conference

    Microsoft held a two-hour press conference today centered around Windows 10 and what they envision for the future of the operating system. Also, they announced holograms. Holo-freakin'-grams. As you might imagine, two hours of a corporation revealing new software and hardware is a lot to parse through. Here are the highlights as relate to the gaming world: Windows 10 will include a Game DVR function for Windows games, modeled after the Xbox One's DVR capabilities. While third-party software already exists to provide that same functionality, this service will be free and possibly run more efficiently than what's currently available. Designed to offer more opportunities to game developers, the upcoming DirectX 12 consumes half the power of DirectX 11 and offers improved performance on existing hardware. This extend to mobile devices, which will now be able to run more intensive programs without trouble. Windows 10 PCs and Xbox Ones will be able to play with each other online via cross-play functionality. Xbox One owners will be able to stream their games to any Windows 10 device in their home. Microsoft unveiled their hologram initiative: HoloLens. The HoloLens is a head-mounted computer with a variety of sensors that allows it to "see" what its user sees and overlay digital data via the built-in HUD. It includes a third processor built specifically to help it interpret holographic space. The pres conference included a live demonstration of the HoloLens and how it can be used to design digital objects. They announced that HoloLens currently runs Skype, Minecraft, and will be used as early as July for scientists working with the Mars rover. Honestly, that is a lot of really cool information, but it comes with so many questions. Will game DVR functionality be as curtailed as it is on Xbox One? What are the limits to game streaming? Will players be able to stream Destiny to their PCs from their Xbox Ones? Will cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC be universal or a feature of some games, but not others? Obviously, HoloLens is the most intriguing, but a with most new technology, it is best to treat it with a grain of salt before it has had a chance to prove itself. As cool as the concept of the device is, remember the troubles people have had with Kinect for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. This could be a revolutionary step forward in computing, or it could be remembered as one of those goofy gizmos that never really got off the ground. In the meantime... HOLOGRAMS! AWESOME! You can watch the full press event here.
  16. In the years since Minecraft's release, one of the communities most requested features has been some sort of narrative. Mojang struggled internally on how to best deliver on a story set in the world of Minecraft. Today, they announced that they are working with Telltale Games for a 2015 release of their five episode Story Mode series. Though due sometime next year, not many details have been revealed about the game. Here is what we do know. The game will be primarily developed by Telltale with input from both Mojang and the Minecraft community. It will not be about Minecraft's mascot, Steve, rather it will focus on completely new characters. According to Mojang, Story Mode will not be establishing any sort of official lore, just presenting Telltale's interpretation of the world. Despite Mojang's recent acquisition by Microsoft, Minecraft: Story Mode will be released on PlayStation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, as well as Xbox systems. For more information or clarification, check out the Telltale blog, Mojang blog, or play the interactive announcement, Info Quest II. View full article
  17. In the years since Minecraft's release, one of the communities most requested features has been some sort of narrative. Mojang struggled internally on how to best deliver on a story set in the world of Minecraft. Today, they announced that they are working with Telltale Games for a 2015 release of their five episode Story Mode series. Though due sometime next year, not many details have been revealed about the game. Here is what we do know. The game will be primarily developed by Telltale with input from both Mojang and the Minecraft community. It will not be about Minecraft's mascot, Steve, rather it will focus on completely new characters. According to Mojang, Story Mode will not be establishing any sort of official lore, just presenting Telltale's interpretation of the world. Despite Mojang's recent acquisition by Microsoft, Minecraft: Story Mode will be released on PlayStation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, as well as Xbox systems. For more information or clarification, check out the Telltale blog, Mojang blog, or play the interactive announcement, Info Quest II.
  18. While rumors have been spreading through the industry since early last week, today Mojang confirmed that they are indeed in the middle of being bought by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion. That's billion. With a B. For some perspective on that rather large number, Microsoft values Mojang at 62% of what Disney paid to acquire the entire Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm. That's more than Oculus VR was worth to Facebook and almost three times what Twitch, the fourth highest ranked website in the US for peak internet traffic, was purchased for by Amazon. What does this mean for Minecraft? For starters, it doesn't seem like the versions that are currently available will be going away anytime soon. According to Mojang's Owen Hill: There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future. We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together. Owen can't speak for Sony or Apple, but it seems for now that Microsoft has no intention of locking those versions of Minecraft away. Minecraft itself is going to remain the same. It will receive periodic updates and slowly continue to develop over time. It is uncertain whether the same people will continue to work on Minecraft going forward, but as of right now it is confirmed that the founders of Mojang, Carl Manneh, Markus "Notch" Persson, and Jakob Porsér, are leaving to pursue their interests elsewhere. Thus far, Notch has released a statement about leaving Mojang and Minecraft, which you can read here. His goodbye post boils down to a few key details. First, Notch doesn't view himself as a game developer; he develops games because he loves to code and play around with game concepts. Second, he doesn't want to be an abstract concept that people hate and the target of hateful comments. As he says in his message, "I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter. [...] I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them." Finally, he gave a deeply heartfelt thank you to everyone that supports Minecraft. In his post, he also mentions watching the video This Is Phil Fish as something influential in his decision to sell Mojang. &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c" data-mce-href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c"&amp;amp;amp;gt;0x10c by C418&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; Musician C418, creator of the Minecraft soundtrack, posted the music he made for Notch's 0x10c For anyone who might still be worried about Minecraft or the future of Mojang or its employees, let me end with a quote from Owen Hill, "It's going to be good, though. Everything is going to be OK. <3"
  19. While rumors have been spreading through the industry since early last week, today Mojang confirmed that they are indeed in the middle of being bought by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion. That's billion. With a B. For some perspective on that rather large number, Microsoft values Mojang at 62% of what Disney paid to acquire the entire Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm. That's more than Oculus VR was worth to Facebook and almost three times what Twitch, the fourth highest ranked website in the US for peak internet traffic, was purchased for by Amazon. What does this mean for Minecraft? For starters, it doesn't seem like the versions that are currently available will be going away anytime soon. According to Mojang's Owen Hill: There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future. We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together. Owen can't speak for Sony or Apple, but it seems for now that Microsoft has no intention of locking those versions of Minecraft away. Minecraft itself is going to remain the same. It will receive periodic updates and slowly continue to develop over time. It is uncertain whether the same people will continue to work on Minecraft going forward, but as of right now it is confirmed that the founders of Mojang, Carl Manneh, Markus "Notch" Persson, and Jakob Porsér, are leaving to pursue their interests elsewhere. Thus far, Notch has released a statement about leaving Mojang and Minecraft, which you can read here. His goodbye post boils down to a few key details. First, Notch doesn't view himself as a game developer; he develops games because he loves to code and play around with game concepts. Second, he doesn't want to be an abstract concept that people hate and the target of hateful comments. As he says in his message, "I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter. [...] I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them." Finally, he gave a deeply heartfelt thank you to everyone that supports Minecraft. In his post, he also mentions watching the video This Is Phil Fish as something influential in his decision to sell Mojang. &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c" data-mce-href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c"&amp;amp;amp;gt;0x10c by C418&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; Musician C418, creator of the Minecraft soundtrack, posted the music he made for Notch's 0x10c For anyone who might still be worried about Minecraft or the future of Mojang or its employees, let me end with a quote from Owen Hill, "It's going to be good, though. Everything is going to be OK. <3" View full article
  20. During the month of May, Extra Life’s current top fundraiser, Aureylian, worked with Twitch to set up the event Mining for Charity. Four teams totaling forty-eight Twitch broadcasters competed in ten different Mineplex minigames. Each team represented a different charity organization: AbleGamers, Child’s Play, Extra Life, and Stand for the Silent. The team that racked up the most points over the course of the month of Mineplex games won a $5,000 prize for their charity. Unfortunately, Extra Life came in third place, but even third place received a pretty nice chunk of change courtesy of some Twitch auctions. I had the opportunity to ask Aureylian some questions regarding Mining for Charity and her own involvement in Extra Life. --- How did you first get involved in Extra Life? I was invited to go along to the Celebration last year in Orlando along with some other gamers and Twitch employees to learn more about Extra Life. After meeting all of the kids, and being a gamer and mom myself, it seems like I was meant to be there. I have become so passionate about Extra Life, because it literally hits every major aspect of my life. What is your goal for this year and what are you going to try differently to achieve it (besides Minecraft charity tournaments)? My goal for this year is $25k. I've done a few shorter livestreams already this year and am planning at least two more (including the National Game Day). I've started integrating incentives in my game play (like renaming missions in Minecraft to donators of certain levels) and stopping livestreams to sing karaoke when someone donates $25. It's a continued effort throughout the year and a big part of my daily life, not just something I do once a year. You are currently our top fundraiser (which is so flippin' amazing). How have you gone about raising money and what do you think other people do to emulate your success on that particular front? Or, to put it another way, how can other people be as fantastic as yourself? Haha, well, not sure I'm THAT fantastic. Like I said before, Extra Life is something I am so passionate about that I speak about it and involve it on an almost daily basis. I work in my local office to donate my time, as well as raise funds and involve as many people I can. I don't know that anyone [could exactly] emulate my success, but I did help write a pretty cool tips piece on the blog for Extra Life last year that seemed to help a few people. You work at Twitch, so can you speak to how Twitch has gotten involved with Extra Life on a company-wide level? Twitch supports many charities. As an organization, we donate many resources to help promote and ensure the success of streamers who choose to stream for charity. Specifically for events like Mining For Charity, we leverage our user base to help nonprofits get exposure and involve content creators in the promotion of great causes. Okay, I pay follow eSports a fair amount and I've played many more hours of Minecraft than I'd care to admit in polite company, but I've never really heard about a Minecraft tournament. Could you explain how that works, where did the idea come from, etc.? I came up with the idea and Mineplex made it come to life. For Mining for Charity, we had four teams of 12 players (8 full time and 4 alternates). They competed each week in a series of Minecraft minigames for four weeks. Depending on their placement in each round, they received points, and at the end of the day, the place of their points determined the daily points they received. At the end of the tournament, two teams tied for first, so they went into a tiebreaker round. The goal was not only to have our content creators collaborate and help grow their audiences, but to help support charities we are passionate about in the process. Prior to the start of the tournament, each team was allowed to pick their own charity to play on behalf of, and we of course were thrilled when one of our teams chose to play on behalf of Extra Life. Twitch donated a designated amount to first place and funds were also raised by auctioning off a rare White Twitch hoodie and limited edition Twitch Minecraft shirt, both signed by Minecraft content creator. Those proceeds were all divided among 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams. As Mike said in that introductory email, who were the casters that got involved so we can shower them with praise? AnikiDomo - Bashurverse - BlameTheController - ChaosChunk - Fyrflies - RubenDelight - Darkmalmine - Siyliss - tehneyrzomb - TerasHD - thejarren - wyld --- A huge thanks to Aureylian, he co-workers at Twitch, and all of the amazing people who participated in Mining for Charity!
  21. During the month of May, Extra Life’s current top fundraiser, Aureylian, worked with Twitch to set up the event Mining for Charity. Four teams totaling forty-eight Twitch broadcasters competed in ten different Mineplex minigames. Each team represented a different charity organization: AbleGamers, Child’s Play, Extra Life, and Stand for the Silent. The team that racked up the most points over the course of the month of Mineplex games won a $5,000 prize for their charity. Unfortunately, Extra Life came in third place, but even third place received a pretty nice chunk of change courtesy of some Twitch auctions. I had the opportunity to ask Aureylian some questions regarding Mining for Charity and her own involvement in Extra Life. --- How did you first get involved in Extra Life? I was invited to go along to the Celebration last year in Orlando along with some other gamers and Twitch employees to learn more about Extra Life. After meeting all of the kids, and being a gamer and mom myself, it seems like I was meant to be there. I have become so passionate about Extra Life, because it literally hits every major aspect of my life. What is your goal for this year and what are you going to try differently to achieve it (besides Minecraft charity tournaments)? My goal for this year is $25k. I've done a few shorter livestreams already this year and am planning at least two more (including the National Game Day). I've started integrating incentives in my game play (like renaming missions in Minecraft to donators of certain levels) and stopping livestreams to sing karaoke when someone donates $25. It's a continued effort throughout the year and a big part of my daily life, not just something I do once a year. You are currently our top fundraiser (which is so flippin' amazing). How have you gone about raising money and what do you think other people do to emulate your success on that particular front? Or, to put it another way, how can other people be as fantastic as yourself? Haha, well, not sure I'm THAT fantastic. Like I said before, Extra Life is something I am so passionate about that I speak about it and involve it on an almost daily basis. I work in my local office to donate my time, as well as raise funds and involve as many people I can. I don't know that anyone [could exactly] emulate my success, but I did help write a pretty cool tips piece on the blog for Extra Life last year that seemed to help a few people. You work at Twitch, so can you speak to how Twitch has gotten involved with Extra Life on a company-wide level? Twitch supports many charities. As an organization, we donate many resources to help promote and ensure the success of streamers who choose to stream for charity. Specifically for events like Mining For Charity, we leverage our user base to help nonprofits get exposure and involve content creators in the promotion of great causes. Okay, I pay follow eSports a fair amount and I've played many more hours of Minecraft than I'd care to admit in polite company, but I've never really heard about a Minecraft tournament. Could you explain how that works, where did the idea come from, etc.? I came up with the idea and Mineplex made it come to life. For Mining for Charity, we had four teams of 12 players (8 full time and 4 alternates). They competed each week in a series of Minecraft minigames for four weeks. Depending on their placement in each round, they received points, and at the end of the day, the place of their points determined the daily points they received. At the end of the tournament, two teams tied for first, so they went into a tiebreaker round. The goal was not only to have our content creators collaborate and help grow their audiences, but to help support charities we are passionate about in the process. Prior to the start of the tournament, each team was allowed to pick their own charity to play on behalf of, and we of course were thrilled when one of our teams chose to play on behalf of Extra Life. Twitch donated a designated amount to first place and funds were also raised by auctioning off a rare White Twitch hoodie and limited edition Twitch Minecraft shirt, both signed by Minecraft content creator. Those proceeds were all divided among 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams. As Mike said in that introductory email, who were the casters that got involved so we can shower them with praise? AnikiDomo - Bashurverse - BlameTheController - ChaosChunk - Fyrflies - RubenDelight - Darkmalmine - Siyliss - tehneyrzomb - TerasHD - thejarren - wyld --- A huge thanks to Aureylian, he co-workers at Twitch, and all of the amazing people who participated in Mining for Charity! View full article
  22. Jack Gardner

    Minecraft Realms Goes Live

    Mojang's long awaited private server hosting service for Minecraft is finally available for PC and Mac users. Starting at $13 a month, Realms is a paid for service that allows people who are interested in hosting a Minecraft server to do so both conveniently and safely. The servers will run 24/7 whether the host is online or not, meaning everyone can participate on the server at any time. Servers are limited to 20 players with only 10 allowed onto the server at once. Data will be backed up often so if some disaster strikes your Minecraft server, loading an earlier world state should be a simple matter. If $13 seems to be a steep price, there are options for longer subscriptions or recurring payments that bring the cost down a bit. Though Minecraft recently launched on PS3, Minecraft Realms is currently only available for PC and Mac. Mojang plans to eventually make the service available to players on other systems.
  23. Mojang's long awaited private server hosting service for Minecraft is finally available for PC and Mac users. Starting at $13 a month, Realms is a paid for service that allows people who are interested in hosting a Minecraft server to do so both conveniently and safely. The servers will run 24/7 whether the host is online or not, meaning everyone can participate on the server at any time. Servers are limited to 20 players with only 10 allowed onto the server at once. Data will be backed up often so if some disaster strikes your Minecraft server, loading an earlier world state should be a simple matter. If $13 seems to be a steep price, there are options for longer subscriptions or recurring payments that bring the cost down a bit. Though Minecraft recently launched on PS3, Minecraft Realms is currently only available for PC and Mac. Mojang plans to eventually make the service available to players on other systems. View full article
  24. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from writing in the video game industry it is that people go bananas for top ten lists. Since console generations don’t come along every day, I thought I would take this opportunity to reminisce on the past few years of gaming history and write a list. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you the top ten video games of the previous console age. 10. The Stanley Parable The strength of The Stanley Parable isn’t in its gameplay, which consists only of movement, or aesthetic, which is that of a bland office building. No, the strength of The Stanley Parable lies in the high-caliber writing and the fantastic voice acting by Kevan Brighting as the Narrator. The Stanley Parable explores the issues of game design in a hilarious fashion and makes its points by responding to whatever the player does. The difficulties of creating for an interactive medium are so clearly illustrated by what players decide to do that it is hard, or even impossible, to imagine The Stanley Parable in any other medium because so much of what it has to say is told through a player’s interaction with it. And that is something that I have never experienced to such a degree with anything else in this medium. 9. Sid Meier’s Civilization V It is by no means an overstatement to say that Civilization is one of the best turn-based 4X strategy franchises on the market. While Civilization IV also came out during this generation, the dramatic shift away from squares in favor of hexagons and the elimination of unit stacking opened up more interesting combat scenarios and paths to victory. The end result of revising these mechanics was a much more fluid and exciting game relatively free of massive stacks of units entrenched against each other. Smaller empires became more viable and more mechanics were added later through hefty expansions that deepened the gameplay and added unique paths to victory such as espionage and faith. Civilization V strikes a great balance between the various methods of victory: combat, culture, diplomacy, and science. Other turn-based 4X games that follow in Civ V’s footsteps will surely be taking cues from this shining example of strategy for the foreseeable future, which earns Civilization V a place on this list. 8. Red Dead Redemption One of the biggest problems inherent to the design of open world games has always been effectively conveying impactful stories. Allowing players to goof off or pursue side quests between important plot points often diminishes the effectiveness of an open world game’s storytelling. Red Dead Redemption seems to be the exception to the rule. While there are sidequests and plenty of distractions to keep the completionists busy for years, the main focus of Red Dead Redemption never wavers from protagonist John Marston’s quest to escape the specters of his checkered past and save his family. That dedication to story eventually pays off with what ranks as one of the best video game endings ever that is shocking, sad, anger-inducing, and ultimately satisfying all at once. The ending alone would be enough to elevate red Dead Redemption to a position on this list, but toss in solid third-person shooting mechanics and leaving it out would be a crime. 7. BioShock Infinite I’m just going to come out and say it: BioShock Infinite had the most interesting narrative of any first-person shooter released this generation. Some people might argue that the first BioShock was better in some respects, but Infinite had so much more to offer on a narrative level that it makes the original look like a pale reflection. Themes of racism, isolationism, overzealous nationalism, religious persecution, predestination, and more pervade the game and open it up for interpretation on numerous levels. Furthermore, carrying on BioShock’s tradition of meta-comments on gaming and gamers, the ending of Infinite not only takes into account all of the players of BioShock Infinite, but also retroactively the players of the first BioShock and provides a new perspective on the material in both games. On top of that, Infinite’s city in the clouds was astoundingly beautiful which provided a great contrasted with the horrific violence and bigotry that lurked just beneath the surface of Columbia. Remember, there is always a lighthouse. 6. Mass Effect 3 The culmination of the Mass Effect trilogy was the ultimate payoff for players who had spent years of their lives, two games, and several packs of DLC building up to the final conclusion of a galaxy in peril. After carrying over the same Commander Shepard from game to game along with the baggage of all the difficult decisions made along the way, the finale carried so much meaning for players. Mass Effect 3 was better for all the time spent developing the characters in Mass Effect 1 and 2. The ending left people so vehemently divided because they cared so deeply about the universe of the series and the ending wasn’t what they expected. Was it bad? Personally, I enjoyed the game before the extended ending was released and I enjoyed it afterward. The game was more than its ending, though. Mass Effect 3 was a vast improvement over the first and second entries in the series: the story was more focused, the sidequests were more interesting, and combat was drastically improved to the point that an enjoyable multiplayer could be built around it. More than any of that, though, I loved Mass Effect 3 because after all of the choices I made as a player over the course of five years, the story came to feel personal, like it belonged to me. And, well, that was special. 5. Braid Jonathan Blow’s masterpiece was one of the first big indie hits and became a symbol for what indie developers could achieve in a modern market via digital distribution. What many people found appealing about Braid isn’t hard to see: fantastic art design, interesting time warping mechanics, and an abundance of clever puzzles. At first glance, Braid appears to be a traditional 2D platformer in the vein of Super Mario Bros. However, anyone who believes Braid to be nothing more than a pretty game with cunning mechanics is sorely mistaken. Tim, Braid’s protagonist, becomes the most interesting element of the game by shrewdly playing with the commonly accepted conventions of the platforming genre. By the time the credits roll, Braid has introduced the concept of the unreliable narrator to video games (or would that be the unreliable avatar?) and left a feeling of uncertainty. I’ve played through Braid multiple times and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand it, but I am sure that it is one of the most influential games of this generation. 4. Portal Portal is the textbook example of near perfect game design in the modern era of video gaming. Its simple-yet-complex gameplay slowly escalates in difficulty along with a gradually revealed antagonist who is delightfully sadistic and entertaining. The game world similarly reflects the gameplay design by going with a deceptively simple aesthetic. Sterile environments surround the player initially, but eventually cryptic warnings in nooks and crannies start to peel away the benign façade. One of the best parts about Portal is that it knows not to overstay its welcome. The game is long enough to be satisfying and feel like an adventure, but short enough so that the mechanics of the portal gun don’t start to feel overused or gimmicky. Portal isn’t just one of the best games of this generation, but it can hold its own as one of the best video games ever made. 3. Journey The minimalistic, “less is more” approach to game design has always appealed to me since Ico made waves back in 2001. Thatgamecompany has taken a similar design philosophy to heart with fantastic titles like Flow, Flower, and ultimately in their Opus, Journey. Journey is a simple platformer with some minor points of open exploration and only the barest hints of online play, yet its sophistication and subtlety set it so far ahead of most games that it feels transcendent. The animations and art direction are so well crafted that every time you jump you can feel the joy radiating from your character or the tense fear of being hunted. The musical score of Journey can touch even the stoniest of hearts and dredge up considerable emotion. All of these are great, but one of the most remarkable aspects of Journey is the inclusion of drop-in online co-op. Other players online can walk into and out of your game, drastically altering the experience with their presence. Some people are friendly and helpful, others lone wolves with no time to spare. Journey can be funny, sad, angry, lonely, and joyful all at once. Quite simply, Journey is a beautiful game in every sense of the word; a game that everyone should play at least once in their lives. 2. Bastion Developer Supergiant Games is one of the most amazing developers to spring into being this generation. They have a knack for crafting amazing games with a signature artistic and musical flair. Bastion’s quality is obvious from the first minute of gameplay. Playing through the shattered fragments of Bastion’s world is like stepping into a fantastical storybook unlike anything you’ve ever read. The similarities to a story book are further reinforced by the compelling narration that follows players’ every move, emphasizing the simultaneously wonderful and sad fairy tale feel. The amazing soundtrack by Darren Korb is a huge credit to Bastion and works with the other audiovisual components to enthrall players. The story takes unpredictable turns as it gradually unfolds and ultimately leaves players with a heartbreaking choice. Bastion is a fairy tale that spellbinds players and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. 1. Minecraft The sheer genius of Minecraft is that it gives players a set of tools and then unleashes them within a world that is practically infinite. That world, and by extension the game, can become pretty much anything the player wants it to be. Feel like building something without having to worry about pesky things like deadly monsters or dangerous falls? You can play in a creative world where you have the ability to fly and have access to infinite resources. Do you want a more adventurous experience? Start a survival world and brave the horrors of night and Nether to find the gateway to The End. Content update after content update have been added to the game for free since its release, leading to more blocks, more monsters, more… everything. While offline Minecraft certainly shines, playing online with friends and tackling a colossal project or deciding to journey together into the unknown begets a spirit of camaraderie and excitement unrivaled by many triple-A releases. On top of that, Minecraft’s simplistic aesthetic strikes me as incredibly beautiful, to say nothing of the endless supply of texture packs which add new visual effects. The massive popularity of Minecraft speaks to how much it resonates with its players, and while popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate quality in any form of media, in this case it is not hard to see why so many people have fallen in love with the title. No other games this generation come remotely close to what Minecraft offers its audience: The chance to unlock pure imagination. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, agree with me, or even better share your own lists in the comments. View full article
  25. Jack Gardner

    The Top Ten Games of the Generation

    If there is one thing that I’ve learned from writing in the video game industry it is that people go bananas for top ten lists. Since console generations don’t come along every day, I thought I would take this opportunity to reminisce on the past few years of gaming history and write a list. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you the top ten video games of the previous console age. 10. The Stanley Parable The strength of The Stanley Parable isn’t in its gameplay, which consists only of movement, or aesthetic, which is that of a bland office building. No, the strength of The Stanley Parable lies in the high-caliber writing and the fantastic voice acting by Kevan Brighting as the Narrator. The Stanley Parable explores the issues of game design in a hilarious fashion and makes its points by responding to whatever the player does. The difficulties of creating for an interactive medium are so clearly illustrated by what players decide to do that it is hard, or even impossible, to imagine The Stanley Parable in any other medium because so much of what it has to say is told through a player’s interaction with it. And that is something that I have never experienced to such a degree with anything else in this medium. 9. Sid Meier’s Civilization V It is by no means an overstatement to say that Civilization is one of the best turn-based 4X strategy franchises on the market. While Civilization IV also came out during this generation, the dramatic shift away from squares in favor of hexagons and the elimination of unit stacking opened up more interesting combat scenarios and paths to victory. The end result of revising these mechanics was a much more fluid and exciting game relatively free of massive stacks of units entrenched against each other. Smaller empires became more viable and more mechanics were added later through hefty expansions that deepened the gameplay and added unique paths to victory such as espionage and faith. Civilization V strikes a great balance between the various methods of victory: combat, culture, diplomacy, and science. Other turn-based 4X games that follow in Civ V’s footsteps will surely be taking cues from this shining example of strategy for the foreseeable future, which earns Civilization V a place on this list. 8. Red Dead Redemption One of the biggest problems inherent to the design of open world games has always been effectively conveying impactful stories. Allowing players to goof off or pursue side quests between important plot points often diminishes the effectiveness of an open world game’s storytelling. Red Dead Redemption seems to be the exception to the rule. While there are sidequests and plenty of distractions to keep the completionists busy for years, the main focus of Red Dead Redemption never wavers from protagonist John Marston’s quest to escape the specters of his checkered past and save his family. That dedication to story eventually pays off with what ranks as one of the best video game endings ever that is shocking, sad, anger-inducing, and ultimately satisfying all at once. The ending alone would be enough to elevate red Dead Redemption to a position on this list, but toss in solid third-person shooting mechanics and leaving it out would be a crime. 7. BioShock Infinite I’m just going to come out and say it: BioShock Infinite had the most interesting narrative of any first-person shooter released this generation. Some people might argue that the first BioShock was better in some respects, but Infinite had so much more to offer on a narrative level that it makes the original look like a pale reflection. Themes of racism, isolationism, overzealous nationalism, religious persecution, predestination, and more pervade the game and open it up for interpretation on numerous levels. Furthermore, carrying on BioShock’s tradition of meta-comments on gaming and gamers, the ending of Infinite not only takes into account all of the players of BioShock Infinite, but also retroactively the players of the first BioShock and provides a new perspective on the material in both games. On top of that, Infinite’s city in the clouds was astoundingly beautiful which provided a great contrasted with the horrific violence and bigotry that lurked just beneath the surface of Columbia. Remember, there is always a lighthouse. 6. Mass Effect 3 The culmination of the Mass Effect trilogy was the ultimate payoff for players who had spent years of their lives, two games, and several packs of DLC building up to the final conclusion of a galaxy in peril. After carrying over the same Commander Shepard from game to game along with the baggage of all the difficult decisions made along the way, the finale carried so much meaning for players. Mass Effect 3 was better for all the time spent developing the characters in Mass Effect 1 and 2. The ending left people so vehemently divided because they cared so deeply about the universe of the series and the ending wasn’t what they expected. Was it bad? Personally, I enjoyed the game before the extended ending was released and I enjoyed it afterward. The game was more than its ending, though. Mass Effect 3 was a vast improvement over the first and second entries in the series: the story was more focused, the sidequests were more interesting, and combat was drastically improved to the point that an enjoyable multiplayer could be built around it. More than any of that, though, I loved Mass Effect 3 because after all of the choices I made as a player over the course of five years, the story came to feel personal, like it belonged to me. And, well, that was special. 5. Braid Jonathan Blow’s masterpiece was one of the first big indie hits and became a symbol for what indie developers could achieve in a modern market via digital distribution. What many people found appealing about Braid isn’t hard to see: fantastic art design, interesting time warping mechanics, and an abundance of clever puzzles. At first glance, Braid appears to be a traditional 2D platformer in the vein of Super Mario Bros. However, anyone who believes Braid to be nothing more than a pretty game with cunning mechanics is sorely mistaken. Tim, Braid’s protagonist, becomes the most interesting element of the game by shrewdly playing with the commonly accepted conventions of the platforming genre. By the time the credits roll, Braid has introduced the concept of the unreliable narrator to video games (or would that be the unreliable avatar?) and left a feeling of uncertainty. I’ve played through Braid multiple times and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand it, but I am sure that it is one of the most influential games of this generation. 4. Portal Portal is the textbook example of near perfect game design in the modern era of video gaming. Its simple-yet-complex gameplay slowly escalates in difficulty along with a gradually revealed antagonist who is delightfully sadistic and entertaining. The game world similarly reflects the gameplay design by going with a deceptively simple aesthetic. Sterile environments surround the player initially, but eventually cryptic warnings in nooks and crannies start to peel away the benign façade. One of the best parts about Portal is that it knows not to overstay its welcome. The game is long enough to be satisfying and feel like an adventure, but short enough so that the mechanics of the portal gun don’t start to feel overused or gimmicky. Portal isn’t just one of the best games of this generation, but it can hold its own as one of the best video games ever made. 3. Journey The minimalistic, “less is more” approach to game design has always appealed to me since Ico made waves back in 2001. Thatgamecompany has taken a similar design philosophy to heart with fantastic titles like Flow, Flower, and ultimately in their Opus, Journey. Journey is a simple platformer with some minor points of open exploration and only the barest hints of online play, yet its sophistication and subtlety set it so far ahead of most games that it feels transcendent. The animations and art direction are so well crafted that every time you jump you can feel the joy radiating from your character or the tense fear of being hunted. The musical score of Journey can touch even the stoniest of hearts and dredge up considerable emotion. All of these are great, but one of the most remarkable aspects of Journey is the inclusion of drop-in online co-op. Other players online can walk into and out of your game, drastically altering the experience with their presence. Some people are friendly and helpful, others lone wolves with no time to spare. Journey can be funny, sad, angry, lonely, and joyful all at once. Quite simply, Journey is a beautiful game in every sense of the word; a game that everyone should play at least once in their lives. 2. Bastion Developer Supergiant Games is one of the most amazing developers to spring into being this generation. They have a knack for crafting amazing games with a signature artistic and musical flair. Bastion’s quality is obvious from the first minute of gameplay. Playing through the shattered fragments of Bastion’s world is like stepping into a fantastical storybook unlike anything you’ve ever read. The similarities to a story book are further reinforced by the compelling narration that follows players’ every move, emphasizing the simultaneously wonderful and sad fairy tale feel. The amazing soundtrack by Darren Korb is a huge credit to Bastion and works with the other audiovisual components to enthrall players. The story takes unpredictable turns as it gradually unfolds and ultimately leaves players with a heartbreaking choice. Bastion is a fairy tale that spellbinds players and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. 1. Minecraft The sheer genius of Minecraft is that it gives players a set of tools and then unleashes them within a world that is practically infinite. That world, and by extension the game, can become pretty much anything the player wants it to be. Feel like building something without having to worry about pesky things like deadly monsters or dangerous falls? You can play in a creative world where you have the ability to fly and have access to infinite resources. Do you want a more adventurous experience? Start a survival world and brave the horrors of night and Nether to find the gateway to The End. Content update after content update have been added to the game for free since its release, leading to more blocks, more monsters, more… everything. While offline Minecraft certainly shines, playing online with friends and tackling a colossal project or deciding to journey together into the unknown begets a spirit of camaraderie and excitement unrivaled by many triple-A releases. On top of that, Minecraft’s simplistic aesthetic strikes me as incredibly beautiful, to say nothing of the endless supply of texture packs which add new visual effects. The massive popularity of Minecraft speaks to how much it resonates with its players, and while popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate quality in any form of media, in this case it is not hard to see why so many people have fallen in love with the title. No other games this generation come remotely close to what Minecraft offers its audience: The chance to unlock pure imagination. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, agree with me, or even better share your own lists in the comments.