Review by 09w on Sunday, February 12th 2017
Click to play minecraft

minecraft is a game created by boytucker

minecraft by Boytucker; A brief commentary on the importance of aesthetic and its existence in Sploder games by Konnichiha

Hey, my name is Konni. I haven't written a review in awhile. Just kidding, I wrote one yesterday. Read it before it's deleted. Today I'd like to call attention to the word "aesthetic". If you've been on the internet long enough, you've surely seen this word floating around. I'd be willing to guess that you associate it with meme culture and the word doesn't carry much weight to you, as is a common and unfortunate fate of words once they've been overused into oblivion.

Aesthetics refers to the philosophy of what makes a work of art pleasing to the viewer, be it visual, auditory or any other form of sensory reception. The word has evolved during its time on the internet, and the singular form 'aesthetic' can be used to describe consistent design traits and the feelings evoked by said traits. If you've ever liked a song either without lyrics or with lyrics you're unable to decipher, or admired an abstract painting that you don't grasp the actual meaning of, you simply enjoy their aesthetic.

Boytucker's game has an aesthetic that I like. It's expressed through 3 main outlets; art style, dialogue, and placement. All of which are humorous, and all of which add up to a game that may not seem intelligently designed at first glance being impressive to me. All three of these are cleverly composed in reference to Boytucker's original comic strip 'le boof'. That even includes the placement, which may not make sense considering the gameplay-less nature of a comic, but I'll get into that later. I recommend checking out 'le boof' by the way, it can be found on the forums and I'll include a link to it at the bottom of this review.

Let's begin with art style. The graphics in minecraft are simple, they have many cartoonish characteristics and almost look like a child's drawing. They have a crude appearance, but the way every graphic compliments each other expresses that it's a stylistic choice rather than merely being poorly drawn. There isn't a single tile or enemy in this game that doesn't have an original graphic placed on it, excluding objects that you're unable to edit the graphics for. Nothing sticks out or looks out of place, the entire game's appearance holds a consistent silly, innocent atmosphere. It's pleasing to the eye and immersive.

The dialogue of minecraft is direct, and occasionally unassumingly mean-spirited, all mimicking the art style's childish nature as to not break the immersion it sets up. It weaves non-sequiturs and juvenile insults together with broken English and grammatical mistakes in every sentence to create a narrative that doesn't really make sense, because it doesn't really matter. Comedy is possibly the most subjective thing out there, so if you don't find it funny, you don't find it funny. What can be admired regardless of your sense of humor is the consistency - the game feels immature visually; the game feels immature linguistically.

And then comes the wrecking ball that is the game's placement. If the previous two paragraphs' description of this game gives you the idea that playing it is thoughtless and easy, good - that's the mask the game purposely puts on. I mentioned Boytucker's comic 'le boof' earlier and how the placement translates the feeling of the comic, and its method of doing so is through its blunt, rude architecture. You begin the very first level right next to a thor, a relatively difficult enemy that can drain a large chunk of health with a single hit, conveniently hidden by a tree, for no real reason. The irony is made apparent by the immediate following of an enemy encounter that's actually given a reason to be there, in fact being what sets the plot of the game in motion, yet it being an easily beatable mutant. You begin almost every level a few blocks away from an enemy, you're given an uneven amount of health (none to be specific) for the amount of type of enemies that appear, and thors are consistently placed on blocks above the player, patiently waiting to swing their hammer and slam dunk you back down as you try to jump up and get around them. My favorite instance is when you receive a Blast Gun and Mouse Gun before being forced to fight a mech. You're given "just enough" ammo so that you run out of bullets from the Blast Gun right before the mech runs out of health, and if you happen to have your mouse pointed anywhere but in the direction that the mech is standing (which is unlikely given where it's placed) you'll have to scramble to point it in the right direction once it switches to the Mouse Gun as the mech begins attacking you. All of this personifies the immature aesthetic of the game and its humor. To put it simply; the enemy placement is a punchline.

Good game design isn't always what you expect. It can be stupid, it can break rules. While PPGs are free of this issue for obvious reasons, shooters and platformers in particular have been in an era of continuously doing similar things and taking inspiration from other games rather than doing their own thing. Boytucker made a game using his own form of humor that possesses a unique aesthetic uncommonly held by Sploder games, expressed through every possible facet of the creator, and it entertained me.

le boof comics for anyone interested: http://forums.sploder.com/index.php/topic,491456.msg6261429.html