Getting Started with Minecraft

Image by Mike Prosser on Flickr

Minecraft is a fun game to play and a way to learn about games and programming. But first you have to learn the basics.

If you’re into video games, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about the game called Minecraft. Taking the internet by storm, Minecraft is a game about exploration, creativity, and daring adventure. Perhaps you’re looking to get started playing, or perhaps your friends have already jumped in and are begging you to join in the fun!

But what exactly is Minecraft about? And is it the game for you?

What Minecraft Is

Unfortunately, the title ‘Minecraft’ doesn’t really give away much of what the game is about. The game does contain mining and crafting, but what does that mean? And why are so many people finding the game fun?

In actuality, there’s a lot more to it than simply mining and crafting! Minecraft is what’s known as a sandbox game, where there is no pre-set game conditions or story that the player has to follow. There is a way to ‘end’ a Minecraft game, but it’s entirely up to you if you want to chase that. Otherwise, the game simply hands you a world to explore and lets you do whatever you please. As such, Minecraft isn’t a game you play expecting it to tell you what to do. You’re the one that takes the initiative and decides what you find fun, and ignore what you don’t.

So, what kind of things can you do?

Build and Create

Because a Minecraft world is made up of blocks, this allows you to build anything you like. It’s sort of like using building blocks, but on a much larger scale. Want to build a house you can live in? How about a castle? Fancy designing a fountain? How about finding a cliff-face and making a cave fortress within it, complete with traps? It’s up to you!


Minecraft’s world is never the same between two people. That’s because it’s created by what’s called ‘procedural generation’, where the world is randomly created using set rules rather than being designed by hand. The worlds are also gigantic in size, so you’ll always have somewhere new to explore! Take a sword, a shovel, and a pickaxe, and collect valuable ores and items as you go.


If regular exploring is not for you, why not adventure instead? Minecraft contains dark caves, abandoned mineshafts, and even alternate worlds full of danger and peril. You’ll need to use the ores of the world to forge powerful weapons and armour, enchant them using magic, then brave the depths and see if you can make it out alive again!


One interesting element to Minecraft that will appeal to computing types is its redstone mechanics. You can find redstone while mining, which you can then spread on the ground as powder. Using torches made of redstone, you can send a charge down this powder like a wire, activating any pistons and devices connected to it.

If you want to get more advanced, it’s entirely possible to create basic logic gates using redstone. You can browse the official wiki for more information on redstone, as well as how to make logic gates with it.


If Minecraft gets boring for you, the fun doesn’t have to stop there! Minecraft is open for modding, which is the ability to download (or even create!) additional content for the game for absolutely free. Many players of Minecraft around the world have made mods and uploaded them to websites such as Minecraft Mods and Curse.

Because a lot of the game is moddable, you can enhance the area of Minecraft you find most fun. If you enjoy building and designing, you can download furniture, coloured materials and patterns to decorate with. If you like exploring, mods can add additional worlds to explore. If adventure is your thing, download mods that add more weapons into the game. If you enjoy redstone, you can download mods that add electricity, steam power, and even mana to power automated machines!

Online Play

If playing by yourself sounds boring, Minecraft comes with the ability to play with others, too! Jump into servers with other players and build, explore, and adventure together. What makes online play particularly fun is the combined effort of a lot of players over a long time, meaning you can find some very impressive structures that would otherwise be a chore to make alone!

As with all online games, be careful when entering a server for the first time. Minecraft servers can be occupied by ‘griefers’; people who take fun and amusement in destroying the creations of others and insulting them in the text chat. If you can, make sure you join a server with mods installed that prevent other players from ruining your creation. A lot of Minecraft online communities have their own servers, so if you find yourself in one, it’s a good idea to join it and meet up with likeminded players!

How To Get Minecraft

So, if you want to join in on the fun, how do you get started?

First of all, head over to the Mojang website. You can click the ‘Buy Minecraft’ button on the website to continue, or head to their store to see the other options you can use when buying Minecraft, including Xbox and mobile versions.

After you’ve selected what you want to buy, you’ll need to make a Mojang account. This will be used to connect your purchase to you, as well as act as a way to login to Minecraft after you’ve bought it, so make sure you create a safe, memorable password!

Once done, you’ll be able to purchase Minecraft for $26.95 at time of writing. If you don’t own any methods to buy goods online, ask your parents to see if they will buy it for you. Mojang supports PayPal payments, so you won’t have to worry about fraud!

Once bought, you can then download the Minecraft installer. Install it onto your PC and you’re ready to go! Feel free to play through the game and get a feel of what you want to do and achieve. Next time, we’ll discuss some in-game activities you can do.

Learn More

Official Minecraft Website

Minecraft Wiki

Minecraft Beginner’s Guide

Minecraft Gameplay and Game Modes

Minecraft Tutorials

The Parents’ Guide to Minecraft

Share your ‘Minecraft’ creations in 3D


  • Simon Batt

    Simon Batt is a UK-based tech enthusiast and all-around geek. His favourite things are cups of tea, cats, and new gadgets, even though they never mix well.

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