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As a games enthusiast, designer, player and reviewer I have read many gaming books and played a myriad of all manner and types of games, but there is one game amongst all of these that has never really done anything for me, and that is MINECRAFT. From the beginning I was never a fan of the retro graphic based build-an-adventure game, but despite my misgivings I have been proven totally wrong when it comes to me thinking this is a game that would never catch on. It is now, in fact, just about everywhere you look. Tee-shirts, toys, all manner of merchandise are available loaded with images from MINECRAFT - the blocky sheep and pigs, the ducks (which I am assured are actually chickens - that's how poor I believe the graphics are) everything about the game is, in my opinion a joke. It is as if the designers were sitting around after a few beers and thinking to themselves "what if we put out a game with the worst graphics ever over the past ten years and then hyped it to the highest degree possible?" Could they pull the wool over the public's eyes ? Well they couldn't pull any wool from their sheep that's for sure.

All this goes to prove that if I had been asked to put any of my money into MINECRAFT from its inception I would now be in the same position I am now instead of being on my way to being a millionaire, as I am sure the actual designers are. I couldn't have been more wrong!

It is not only why people would even bother playing MINECRAFT that confuses my tiny brain cell, it's the fact that there are just as many, if not more, people who don't play it, they WATCH it !!! Yes, they actually sit there for hours watching other people play this game on YouTube or similar. One of my grand-daughters used to sit at her PC or tablet for hours on end just watching other people's MINECRAFT games unfold.

Well now, thanks to those nice people at PRIMA BOOKS have published a Guide to MINECRAFT: REVISED and EXPANDED as a 250+ page volume in full colour and on good quality (not glossy) paper. This means that people like me (surely I am not the only one who cannot understand the hold MINECRAFT has on so many people) can read all about the game and (hopefully) learn enough to become one of its followers. Even if, after reading this volume, you are still unlikely to join the MINECRAFT cult, you will at least have a working knowledge of what it is all about.

Of course, if you are already a MINECRAFT aficionado, then this is a wonderful way to ensure that you aren't missing any of its possibilities, its "easter eggs", its game modes, building formats, animals, creatures, monsters and people. This is the essential guide to understanding everything that is MINECRAFT, and it is laid out in an easy to follow, page by page walkthrough. The guide also includes original artwork and a short précis of the origins and history of MINECRAFT. There is every tool, every resource, every animation all positioned around strategies for easy play, beginners play right through to expert mastery. I would like to say that from the art gallery you can see how the game has evolved. I'd like to be able to say that, but actually it doesn't seem to have evolved at all, at least not in the graphics department.

MINECRAFT does have a child-like quality and first glance would suggest that it was designed not only for, but also by, children. Of course this isn't the case, for MINECRAFT is, in fact, a very clever and deliberate business plan, a well executed long game. With a game so brilliantly conceived and publicised who better than PRIMA BOOKS to produce as near to an official book on it ? Written by Michael Lummis, Christopher Burton and Kathleen Pleet with illustrations from Daz Tibbles and screenshots from the game this Guide comes to the stores at a very reasonable £12.99 (unless you have a "The WORKS" store near you in which case you may be lucky to find it for just £7.00, making it extremely superb value).

Anyone with any interest whatsoever in MINECRAFT should do their utmost to find and obtain a copy of MASTERING MINECRAFT REVISED and EXPANDED from PRIMA BOOKS

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015