Minecraft isn't the first game you think about when you hear the word "immersion." No, it's the first one you think of when you hear "surprisingly popular," or "construction-based," or "Notch made more money than Solomon's divorce lawyer." But even so, it's been tied to the new virtual reality trend more than once, most notably thanks to new owner Microsoft's HoloLens platform. That said, a little platform competition isn't going to keep them from making ungodly amounts of money, so check out Minecraft for Samsung's Gear VR headsets.
Minecraft is great, but it's even better when playing with others, and better still when played with people you know. To that end Mojang introduced us to Realms in 2013, an always-on server that enables play with friends or family. Since then Realms has been available for Windows and OS X, but Mojang today announced it's bringing it to Android in the form of an opt-in alpha (although support was actually added for Realms back in 2013).
Realms is a paid service costing $7.99, although for the moment it will be free on Android's Pocket Edition while testing is underway. Mojang says that to use Realms an Xbox Live login will be required, which makes cross-platform play possible between Android, iOS, Windows, and Windows Phone.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we have a first-person casual dungeon crawler, a driving game where you destroy everything with a giant mace, another dungeon crawler with top-down shooter controls, a platform-shooter, a casual shake-sliding game, and one more bonus dungeon crawler.
Minecraft comes in many forms, but the Pocket Edition is the only one that fits inside your Android phone. The experience isn't all that dissimilar from what you see on desktops, but it does lag behind on some features. Fortunately for players, more have made the transition. Version 0.14.0 has gone stable, bringing additional Redstone components such as comparators, repeaters, dispensers, droppers, hoppers, and more.
There's no limit to what you can build in Minecraft. From a one-to-one scale model of the Starship Enterprise to a working CPU, the block-based video game has seen practically everything. Fans of the game like to spend time on large-scale constructions, and the engineers at Verizon seem to be some of the biggest fans around. Staying true to what the company is known for, they've taken it upon themselves to extend the network's wireless coverage into the virtual world and build a working smartphone in Minecraft. The result is admittedly very cool.
The phone may not have all the conveniences of a modern smartphone: the roughly 2000-inch display has a screen resolution of about 40 by 30 pixels, which gives it a rather lowish pixel density of around 0.0254 ppi.
Minecraft v0.13.0 for Android entered beta earlier this month. Gamers downloaded the game. They tested it. They played with the new Redstone components. They dealt with bunnies. They opened and closed new types of wooden doors. Everything checked out, so now the latest version has gone stable. Non-beta testers are free to download the update straight from Google Play.
The idea of making a story-based point-and-click adventure based on Minecraft, which is more or less the definition of open-ended, unscripted gameplay, might seem odd. And it is. But if anyone can pull it off it's TellTale, the studio known for making awesome adventure games based on other people's intellectual property. You can see for yourself in just under a month: Minecraft: Story Mode will hit the Play Store with its first episode on October 15th, just two days after it's available on the PC and consoles. Nice.
Minecraft: Story Mode uses the block-building game's unique voxel graphics and build-it-all setting to tell a science fiction story.
Minecraft Pocket Edition updates are often filled with minute changes that you have to be familiar with the game to understand. Version 0.12.1's changelog includes a number of these tweaks. For example, there's "Ocelots! Try taming one with a fish" and "Golems. We recommend you approach with caution." Also, "Sneaking and sprinting! Express yourself through movement!"
You might think that a game like Minecraft, where there's no story and you essentially build an entire world out of complicated digital LEGOs, doesn't lend itself well to the adventure game format. You might be right. But if anyone can make a licensed story out of Mojang's phenomenal open-world title, it's TellTale Games, who have successfully adapted such diverse properties as The Walking Dead, Borderlands, Game of Thrones, and Back To The Future into episodic adventure games with near-universal appeal.
TellTale showed off the first footage of Minecraft: Story Mode at Minecon 2015. That's a Minecraft convention, if you're wondering.