At a time when people are getting super into the electrifying world of Destiny 2, some idiots are pottering about with voxel-based block building games that have been out for over eight years.
I, am one of those idiots.
It’s interesting – the announcement earlier this year regarding the massive crossplay plans between competing platforms has filled me with a strange enthusiasm for the game that I had long lost. It’s a bummer that Sony has decided to not play with the rest of the kids, but that really is a single entity in the grander scheme of things. In the eight years since Minecraft’s initial release to the public, all of my original block-busting mates have frittered off to either different platforms or simply stopped playing altogether. On occasion we might decide to boot up a PC server and play around – but we quickly lose interest as we lament different features we prefer dependent on platforms. One friend enjoys playing with his Xbox One controller, and has encountered a ton of issues trying to get it to work with his PC. Another makes a compelling argument that the “Drag n’ Drop” style of the crafting is far more suited to a touchscreen (though I still argue that basically EVERYTHING ELSE is not).
Strangely enough, we barely needed to chase each other up to discuss the crossplay possibilities. Instead we organically came to discuss the possibilities that it would offer us. My Xbox One playing friend immediately postulated that he could possibly show me his ‘sick ass buildings he has wasted too many hours on’, with the added benefit that I don’t need to buy an Xbox version of the game. ‘Touch screen’ mate exclaimed that he could craft shit for us while we do the gathering (because he is a nesting sort of player, content to tweak the home and make cool stuff with available materials). The biggest thing though – we were all clearly excited at the idea of playing together again. The odd fatigue that plagued our previous attempts was gone, instead we had renewed vigour at the thought of new possibilities that were becoming available to us. We hadn’t even started to consider the opportunities to even meet NEW friends in game, by way of more public servers.
The ‘Better Together’ update has finished its beta phases, with each iteration mooshing a new platform into the great tapestry of Minecraft accessibility. As of writing this article, Xbox, mobile, VR and Windows 10 are currently doing the established ‘Better Together’ release, with Xbox One previously added on the 24th of August. I am keeping a keen eye on Minecraft news sources for information on when I may be able to throw my Nintendo Switch into the mix – I have even connected it to the WiFi at work so I will have a new (old?) way to waste my lunch hour at work.
Has the game drastically changed? Not really. Minecraft is a game of constant expansion, rather than wholesale iteration. A returning player will struggle to feel alienated in the familiar blocky world, but opening the options up in such an incredible way really does promise to deliver some fun experiences. It also paints a fairly promising picture of the gaming landscape of the future – one of true unification across devices. I can imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands of COD players ready to teabag colleagues from another system.
Now if only I could use my Switch’s touch screen to sort my Minecraft inventory…