Minecraft Creator Markus "Notch" Persson reveals the secrets of those crucial first few minutes.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that's true when you're meeting an attractive co-worker, or playing a videogame. A lot of games open with a tutorial, but Minecraft throws you in at the deep end, and forces you to learn for yourself. In Issue 288 of The Escapist, Michael Fiegel discusses those first fifteen minutes of Minecraft with the person who arguably knows them best, creator Markus "Notch" Persson.
Find a tree, punch it and collect logs. Turn the logs into wood and sticks. Create a workbench and make a pick. Find some coal and make torches. Mine some stone and make a home. Make a sword and wait for the monsters to come.
If that all made sense, you've obviously played Minecraft and know that the above is pretty much an encapsulation of how the game begins - not just on your first playthrough, but every time you create a new world. It's an introductory experience that's informative, representative, and actually somewhat intuitive, teaching you almost everything you'll need to know in about 15 minutes.
Minecraft's introductory experience can seem a bit harsh. You enter the game without any introductions or tutorials, and the random map generator might drop you into the middle of an Eden full of resources, or on a desert island in the middle of the ocean. The first 15 minutes teaches you navigation, mining and crafting, and gives you just enough of a taste of the game's creative potential to keep you enthralled, but it doesn't hold your hand.
"I briefly had a spawn house thing with a chest and some tools," says Persson. "The house felt like it limited the player by encouraging them to spend their first couple of nights there, but it did add a nice sense of security. In the end, I decided in favor of keeping everything player made."
You can learn a lot about Minecraft in that first day, and thankfully there's plenty of material online to fill in any blanks. You can read more about taking those faltering first steps in in Fiegel's article, 15 Minutes of Minecraft."