My son is such a diligent little budding Catholic.     Full disclosure : I am not Catholic.    But he was determined to give up the right thing for Lent, and so he set aside his Ipad, and played around with legos for a day or so.

Then he ended up mucking around with the PC instead.    Not exactly accomplishing zero electronics, but he is accomplishing broadening his electronic horizons.    I’d rather sit with him as plays Universe in a Sandbox anyway, smashing Shoemaker Levy into Jupiter, and making the Moon crash into the Sahara desert.

He’s also back to Minecraft on the PC.   Apparently tonight I am going to run an obstacle course with him which he spent a day or so building, with full redstone circuitry and probably lots of tricks I am not aware of.    I am proud to see him passing me up on knowledge of something, even if its as limited as the huge World of Minecraft.

My personal Minecraft time has been a bit limited, but I did go ahead and build a nether portal :

Comfortably ensconced in a cave I can wall off if needed.

Comfortably ensconced in a cave I can wall off if needed.

And I was very fortunate to find a nether fortress right near my spawn point.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

I set out to take it apart, brick by brick, because what says wealth like having a nether fortress in the overworld ?

After a few days of gathering bricks I have about one large chest filled with nether brick, found myself bored, and haven’t been back into Minecraft since.

Now, Minecraft is a sensation in the real world.    That kid of mine has a bunch of T-shirts, that foam pick, and the Lego set.    (It appears there is even more mechandise out there now, including a Nether Set and a Village)

With money like that getting into this IP, knockoffs and perhaps better games were inevitable, but nothing has bubbled up to my attention, except an Android game.

I managed to play Survivalcraft for Android, which looks like a worthy competitor and something with a piece Minecraft lacks – you don’t have to have aggressive monsters to attack, but you can have animals you better not disturb.    I quit playing it quickly because it’s too difficult playing such a game on a mobile.     And when it’s dark at night, I can’t see anything.    Gameplay, though, was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.

Survivalcraft on the Play Store

Survivalcraft on the Play Store

I wonder who will come up with a worthy competitor to the game, like others are asking.     Could it be Landmark ?    I’m not touching that one until it’s farther along in the development process.     Trove might be interesting; but I’m again going to wait until it’s more fully baked.    Despite many posts about it, I’ve never installed Wurm Online to check it out.

I guess I am waiting for the “next big sandbox” game to catch on before I even find out about it.     I got into Minecraft really early, didn’t like it, and came back a year later.     This time I’ll wait for the gaming world to hit me over the head.