What is Minecraft?

Minecraft made a massive impact on the world of gaming. Traditional games had a linear, goal-oriented style: You had to walk, jump and duck Mario through a selection of levels to reach Bowser, defeat him and rescue Princess Peach. As technology improved, games became more open-ended and less linear, but elements of the original style of gaming persisted. Minecraft is something different altogether. It's more like a virtual Lego set than anything older generations would recognize as a video game.

What is Minecraft?
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What Is Minecraft?

Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game, where players mine objects and the environment for blocks, which can then be used in the creation of new objects, a process called crafting. It's an open-world game because you can go wherever you want in the virtual environment with no predetermined path to follow and no pressure to pursue any specific goal. Calling Minecraft a sandbox game means you can modify the game world as you play.

Minecraft essentially allows you to create your own game and make your own fun by offering the player a great deal of freedom. Playing in "Creative Mode," you can use materials freely without having to mine them first, and all survival elements of the main game including hunger and health aren't included. Minecraft allows you to build whatever you like with few limitations.

"Survival Mode" requires you to collect resources and blocks before you can use them, and you have a health bar and hunger. There are enemies in Survival Mode, which spawn as the light level decreases at night. To survive, you may need to battle or hide from enemies, and you a steady supply of food to stave off hunger. To build structures or craft objects including tools for mining or weapons, you collect the necessary materials from the game world by mining. This adds more of a traditional game element to Minecraft, making survival through scavenging and crafting the closest thing to an aim hard-wired into the design of the game.

How to Get Started

Getting started on Minecraft requires gathering materials and creating a shelter. Find wood first by locating a tree and punching it since you don't have any tools yet to release blocks of wood. Gather as much wood as you like but chop at least a few trees with your bare hands before you get started.

Locate any animals you can while you're looking for wood too. Killing pigs, chickens and cows may cause them to drop meat, which you can use to reduce hunger and to heal your character.

Find a location to build a shelter. Choose somewhere next to a wall or other solid structure to provide some natural defense. Break your wood into planks through the Inventory menu and use them to create a crafting table. This table opens up many options for things to build, and it forms an essential part of getting started. Create a storage chest and also make a few tools such as wooden swords and pickaxes by first turning some of the planks you created into wooden sticks and then crafting at your table.

To find more materials, use your pickaxe to break stone and gain cobblestone, a crucial early game material. You can also dig down to find coal, which can be used to create a torch when it is combined with a stick. Make a rudimentary shelter using your materials, even if you only use dirt to protect you for the first night or two, leaving a 1 by 2 opening so you can construct and attach a door made from wood planks. Build this shelter around your crafting table or move it inside so you can continue to create objects. Construct a furnace using stone and use it to cook some of the meat you gathered, although you'll need some coal to use as fuel.

At this point, you are started with Minecraft, and you can freely explore, gather new materials, build new things, and fight enemies as you see fit.

How to Build a House in Minecraft

Building a house forms an essential part of the early game, and there are many ways to approach the task. However, finding a mountain or rock face simplifies building a house. Use a pickaxe to dig a two block tall opening into the rock face. This forms the opening for the door of your house. Now continue digging into the mountain to create a cavity that will become the main room of your house. Make the space fairly large but not too big; 10 blocks by 10 blocks is a big enough floor area for a simple shelter, and three or four blocks tall is adequate. Put torches on the walls to light the area – they prevent enemies from spawning in your house – and add a door to the opening. Move your crafting table, furnace, bed, a chest and any other items you want to keep into your house.

If you have more materials, you can build your house on the open land. Use essentially the same process but create the perimeter walls of the house by laying blocks rather than digging into a solid piece of landscape.

How to Make a Saddle in Minecraft

To ride a horse in any direction you want, you need a saddle to put on it. Unfortunately, you can't craft a saddle; you have to find one in a dungeon or a Nether fortress. Assuming you haven't created a Nether Portal and entered the Nether dimension, you need to find a dungeon in the standard Overworld where you start the game. Dig underground to find a dungeon, which is a small room containing a block that spawns monsters and one or two chests. Locate and open a chest to see if it contains a saddle. You have to be lucky to find a saddle this way, but even if you're unsuccessful on one attempt, you obtain other valuable items in the process.

How to Tame a Horse in Minecraft

Find a horse on the plains, which are the flat, green sections of the map. Approach the horse without an item selected, because you can only tame it by hand. The button you press depends on the specific version of Minecraft you're playing, but for PC and Mac editions, right-click on the horse, and for console versions, use the left trigger button. The horse will kick you off. Keep attempting to do this until the horse no longer bucks you off, and red hearts appear around it. When you have tamed the horse, open your inventory and move your saddle onto the saddle spot beside the image of the horse. When you leave the inventory screen, your horse is wearing the saddle. Mount the horse again, and you can freely ride it around the map.