A New Genre in the Making?

As posted in one of our previous entries, Minecraft created a gaming revolution that allowed gamers all around the world to expand their creative spirits above and beyond, but there’s an even more curious event happening. Minecraft set course to OFFICIALLY start a new genre, now I accentuate the word officially with an unnecessary level of capitalization because I am aware that games like Minecraft have existed previous to it –there’s one in particular that is rather infamous– but Minecraft opened course for games of this breed to be made of triple-A quality.

Now, before I get to listing games of a similar breed to the jolly buildtastic bonanza that Minecraft is, I’d like to get clear that Minecraft exists under the Genre brand as  an “Indie Sandbox,” but Indie Sandbox is something that is as defining as it is obscure. If I were to walk up to someone and tried to describe the game simply by it’s label I would get nowhere, especially considering that in today’s gaming generation many games are trying to implement sandbox elements. So, what exactly is a Sandbox game then? Well, here’s a definition by Technopedia.

“A sandbox is a style of game in which minimal character limitations are placed on the gamer, allowing the gamer to roam and change a virtual world at will. In contrast to a progression-style game, a sandbox game emphasizes roaming and allows a gamer to select tasks. Instead of featuring segmented areas or numbered levels, a sandbox game usually occurs in a “world” to which the gamer has full access from start to finish. 

A sandbox game is also known as an open-world or free-roaming game.”

I think it’s pretty clear that there are elements missing to simply classify Minecraft under this, especially since it’s missing the games greatest element: Creation. Then, what should it’s true classification be?

**Read the following in an elderly mans voice or as an epic mountain man!**

I christen thee, Creation Sandbox! (I like to call them Craftbox games for short.)

But, how has Minecraft finalized the creation of this genre then?

Well, I’ll give you evidence with games.

Space Engineers

SpaceEngineers 2013-12-15 16-42-23-57

Pretty game is pretty.

Space Engineers, though still in the development stages, is worth mentioning because of the sheer level of potential of the game. It’s pretty basic idea, a high quality space world where you can create anything your “space-savvy” mind can imagine. Want a massive space station? Done; Want an asteroid swallowing mining drill? check; Want to traverse the universe raining hell on innocent space goers? It’s there.

This is one game I’m particularly exited for, unfortunately the game is still in very early stages and though there are many promised features that are teased through the game itself with creation mode, “survival” mode is still in the works.

Guncraft

Guncraft

That BFG could come in handy right about now.

This one’s for those with an itchy trigger finger. Ever wanted to create a BFG of your own? Here’s your chance! It’s the perfect combination of your usual FPS, Minecraft and crazy party game elements.

You’re able to create your own weapons as well as customized stages that you can later use in the varied and similarly creative game modes, which include from the simplest like Team Deathmatch, to the more unpredictable Lava Survival.

If you’ve ever wanted to shoot your best buddy’s face with a phallic organ shaped gun, here’s your chance! Then… you’ll just get banned. TOTALLY WORTH IT, RIGHT?!

7 Days to Die

7DaysToDie 2014-01-13 18-52-41-11

Welp, you know what they say about the cat and curiosity.

This one is considerably different to the previous few mentioned in that it’s focused on survival rather than the creation aspect, but creation is still very prevalent. Your job is to survive the apocalypse by scavenging run-down buildings, killing zombies and making shelter for the night (Dem zombies get stupid fast once the moon rises). Be aware though that, much like the rest of the games on this list, this game is early alpha. Thankfully enough it offers a plethora of content a la Minecraft with crafting, farming and general survival, especially since you can die of hunger or thirst. If you’re looking for a very raw survival-craft- zombie riddled-not DayZ experience, this is your game!

Cube World

Cube 2014-01-02 16-21-16-38

Funny thing is not only was that Crow neutral… but I won’t get any xp.

Out of all of the games listed I’d say Cube World fits the mold of “Creative Sandbox” the least simply because it’s so focused on the Adventure RPG side of things.

Cube world is an open world action/adventure RPG that harkens back to games like Zelda, Secret of Mana, and Monster Hunter. So where’s the relation to Minecraft? Well, for one the world is produced much in the same way and can be equally as infinite; you are also able to customize your weapons and armor “Voxel by Voxel” (Think pixels) though to a certain degree of limitation.

The reason why I listed the game is simply due to it’s sheer potential. The classic and fun RPG elements are there, all it needs is to allow more of the “Creativity” aspect.

Rust

Rust

Followed by bullet to my face.

This one is quite a bit like 7 Days to Die, in fact it’s pretty much the same thing with two mayor differences: Player Kills and No block crafting. 7 Days to Die has a world that you can shape an shift much like in Minecraft, on the other hand Rust doesn’t have this, in exchange it has a deep inventory crafting system. Rust relies more on the creation of items for your survival –including housing that you can majestically forge with your bare hands– rather than shifting the world to your advantage. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier, quite the contrary, I’d easily rank this as the hardest of all of the game on this list for a singular difference: Players.

If you play Rust you’ll get the full experience from the get-go by joining one of the plethora of servers currently available were you’ll need to be aware that people want to kill you… Kill you for your stuff (If you get teabagged, that was probably me.) Thankfully enough this isn’t always the case, but if you’ve played enough Day Z you’ll know that your best chances of survival are “Shoot first, ask questions later”.

So, in summary, contrary to 7 Days to Die Rust is survival-craft-zombie-riddled-DayZ type game. Enjoy.

8BitMMO

This is a pic of just the map. I'm that invisible blip over there in the corner.

This is a pic of just the map. I’m that invisible blip over there in the corner.

The image you see to the left is just a fraction of what this games capable of. This is a world were everybody has the liberty to create and almost everything IS created by the players, and different to Minecraft it has a Top-Down perspective so you can take in all of the beauty. In fact this world is so big that there a map that you can access directly from your browser at their website (Click this if you want your mind BLOWN… Stop being nasty!) so that you can see what all of the players have been up too creation wise.

Another upside is that the game has more to it than just world creation with it’s simplistic yet entertaining combat/quest system. There is a level up system and a considerable level of depth to the quest systems since you don’t come into the world ready to build. You need to equip yourself with the blocks necessary to build something which requires gold, and quests lead to gold.

Though like almost ALL of the games mentioned before this one is still in development and constantly being updated so for now it’s a very simple FREE java game that you can play either through your browser or through steam to have fun with your friends, and the thousands of players online.

More Craftbox Games

Also, there’s about a billion games that end with the suffix craft… Just Google that. The End.

-TumblerPiston

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