Popular PC title Minecraft spreads to more Android devices

by Phil Hornshaw

Indie PC game sensation Minecraft has sold more than three million copies to date. It has a huge community, and players are gearing up for the first MineCon convention in Las Vegas next month. The game has become so huge, it has even spread to the mobile platform.

And for Minecraft fans who own Android devices, I’ve got good news for you: The game is now available to every tablet and phone running Android 2.1 or higher.

To those of you unfamiliar, Minecraft has mostly hit it big because the game allows for players to do some insane stuff. There are currently two modes, a “creation” mode and a “survival” mode. In survival, players need to harvest resources by mining, cutting up trees and doing other things to gather stuff and then use it to build houses and fortresses, which protect them from monsters like zombies. In creation mode, you get unlimited resources to just build awesome things.

Some of the things that have been created by Minecraft players are truly staggering. A group created a scale model of Penn Station in the game, and another player meticulously reconstructed the fictional Enterprise NCC-1701 D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The only thing holding back players in Minecraft and the things they can create, it seems, is their imaginations. Oh, and also the amount of time they want to put into the game.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition, the version that you can now get hooked on playing on your phone, doesn’t include survival mode and is limited to creation mode. That’s a bit of a bummer for the true Minecraft fan, but it leaves the huge, pixelated door open for spending all kinds of time creating amazing things in the Minecraft universe, no matter where you are. Say goodbye to your weekend.

Another big boon for the mobile app: it includes multiplayer. This means you can not only build incredible stuff in the Minecraft universe, you can do so with the help of your buddies. And you can also save multiplayer worlds to your device, so you can see the things others have created and mess around with them again later.

Mojang, the developer behind Minecraft, hasn’t quite released the full version of the game on PC yet – it’s still in beta testing, officially – but already it has had a massive impact on the video gaming world. The fact that that power is ported to the mobile platform is kind of inspiring; you don’t need to be shackled to a computer to enjoy popular (if somewhat simple-looking) games. And now your smartphone or your tablet has a new way of unlocking your creativity.

Hopefully more developers follow Mojang’s lead and spread their innovations out onto the powerful computers we carry around in our pockets.

The game will run you $6.99 in the Android Market.