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The Game

I've a bit of a confession to make: I still play Minecraft off and on (I can hear all the hardcore gamers laughing from here). I even quite enjoy playing it.

For those of you who don't know, Minecraft is a game about placing blocks to build structures in an infinite, 3D world. Basically, it's a discount LEGO set for computer-literate people. Much like legos, if you play it after you turn twelve, people assume that you're mentally incapable of dealing with anything more complex.

I hate the idea that you become to old to play a certain video game. Unless something involves physical activity that'd be impossible to perform once you cross a certain age, I don't see why it should be age-restricted. I'm seventeen years old, and if I want to spend a night binge-watching Tom and Jerry and consuming obscene quantities of potato chips, that's my god-given right!

I think people tend to assume that Minecraft is a simple game. Once you've built a squattish, squarish dirt house, you've exhausted all that the game has to offer you in terms of intellectual challenges. The fact is, though, it's not. Minecraft is an endlessly creative game. There are, of course, an infinite number of things you can build - I've seen people construct everything from cityscapes to, once, a scale model of the White House. The only limit is your imagination.

For those of us whose brains function best along more logical pathways - myself included - Minecraft also has an item called "redstone". Once you start messing about with redstone, you're permanently hooked to the game. Redstone, you see, is Minecraft's wiring system. It only has a few components, but with them, you can build machines of immense complexity. I've seen massive computers comprising thousands of hours of work built in Minecraft. My own knowledge of computer science comes, in part, from Minecraft - back when I was a noob (newbie), I used to play on a Minecraft server dedicated to building computer-related stuff. I learned how to build an XOR gate, a binary adder and finally an ALU - three of the primary reasons that your computer can, you know, compute.

Redstone and building themselves give hours and hours of gameplay, but the thing that really makes Minecraft amazing is the community. I've been gaming for about as long as I can remember, and I don't think I've ever met a community that's more willing to help you out if your game crashes or give you your items back if you accidentally fall in a pit of lava. What's more, there are tons of community-written "mods" or modifications that add even more content to the game. Some mods change the game so completely that the only remaining recognizable aspect of the game is the art style. Incredible.

Now, with any luck, the preceding 450 words will be enough to get Microsoft to pay me. Free advertisement for Minecraft can't be all that common, can it?

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