MINECLONE – Major Copycat Fail

January 25, 2013

If you scroll through anything that offers games these days–the iTunes app store, the Xbox Live Marketplace, or anywhere you purchase digital PC games (I would say Steam but I highly doubt they’re on there)–you can find Minecraft clones. This is fascinating to me in a number of ways.

CastleMiner & FortressCraft

castleminerLet’s face it, Minecraft made its mark on the world because of its creativeness and its originality. The look, the feel, the whole package attributed to it being so well received because it was unlike anything we’d seen before, which–let’s be honest–is kind of rare these days in gaming. So, Minecraft is kind of like the cool kid in high school who’s nice to everyone, and the clones are the uncool kids who sit at a table and try and be exactly like Minecraft. Minecraft gets invited to all the parties and gets all the girls, while CastleMiner and FortressCraft sit at home watching reruns of MTV reality shows.

fortresscraftAnd as I said, there are literally dozens of these things, and I just named two of the big ones above. CastleMiner is available on the XBLA, or rather, the indie section of the arcade. Now, I’m not sure where else you can get the game, but that’s where I first saw it and that’s what I’m going with. These games are outright copies. In CastleMiner, you can play as your XBL avatar, but that’s about the only difference. The blocks are exactly the same idea except worse, and the world isn’t even interesting, it’s got no plant life at all really and it’s like a blank map.

At least Minecraft has trees, and animals and water. CastleMiner just has you, a pickaxe and some mountains and sand that look like they came out of an 80’s nerd coloring book.

Why this is fascinating to me is because, as I said before, Minecraft made its mark for its originality, so to make a copy based on a game that is hailed for its originality is kind of destroying the entire statement. It’d be like taking the original Call of Duty and making Call of…oh. Wait. Nevermind. But COD joke aside, it’s true. It’d be like taking a film that rallies against capitalism and remaking it and selling tons of merchandise. You’ve completely misinterpreted and ruined the original intention of the film.

What these clones should do, outside of not being made, is have additions that Minecraft DOESN’T have. At this point, I would have no idea what that could be because what DOESN’T Minecraft have? It’s got a Dragon, for god sakes. A DRAGON. How do you top that? Maybe a Dragon wearing a Sombrero? Actually, that sounds like a great game in and of itself. But it’s a good idea nonetheless, if you could think of it. But they should either come up with new stuff Minecraft doesn’t have OR improve on things Minecraft has fallen a bit behind on, idea-wise.


BUT…then I hear the questions start.

“Well, wait, isn’t Minecraft a rip off of something called Infiniminer?”

Well, in a way yes, it was said to have been inspired by that. But, the difference in that situation and the Minecraft clones now is that Minecraft did what I am suggesting these other clones do. Minecraft took the base of Infiniminer and made it BETTER. It improved upon it. Not only was Infinimer’s original concept to be a team based game (and only became open world like with creations when the users decided it was more fun to do that instead), but it lacked a lot of fundamental essentials that make Minecraft so great. Now, I can’t say that it never intended to add some of those things, as Infiniminer went into the toilet about a month after launch, so we’ll never get to see their plans, but it shows that it launched Minecraft which took the idea and ran with it, and if you want to make a difference, that’s how you do it correctly.

You need to make it your own, and Notch made sure that he did. I think it’s time others started following that formula.

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