I’ve heard Minecraft described as “Legos for adults.” That’s a fairly good generalization to the uninitiated player. However it’s more - it’s getting to live, explore and create in that Lego-like world you inhabit.
And it’s why I don’t really get the excitement around Minecraft using Microsoft's new HoloLens.
The demo looked really incredible, and I can’t deny that there is a charm to interacting with your MC world from a new perspective, as if they were actual blocks in your home. Tabling the criticisms of the HoloLens around its small viewport and orientation procedures, the gameplay in Minecraft with the HoloLens overall doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, the HoloLens kind of ruins the fun.
Take the far-off perspective available with the holograms. The flying perspective native to Minecraft doesn’t let you slice the level as shown in the demo and only occurs when in creative mode. Albeit, this is a feature beyond what’s currently available, however, discovering fortresses and caves, along with their resources, using this feature takes away the fun. If you can just zoom out and spot what you need, there goes the excitement of finding it. Part of the addictive nature of Minecraft is the feeling that there’s something special just beyond that next block, but with the HoloLens, you won’t anticipate, you’ll just see.
Watching and tracking players from a real third-person perspective is, again, novel, but is antithetical to the immersion of the existing game, or really most games.
Seriously - if I am trying to enjoy a game and my wife is making dinner in the background or my cat jumps on the table, I can’t really get into that game. I don’t require a first-person perspective for immersion, but now the real environment can affect my focus on the game.
I can see some value to the holographic perspective. First, if features like drag could be added to allow players to quickly set a line of blocks, or even a wall, this would save a lot of time for creative builders. Second, when playing with other people, it would be a lot of fun to have a “dungeon master”-like player would add some fun multiplayer gaming scenarios and adventures.
However, that’s really the core of it. The gameplay that is the joy of Minecraft - immersion, exploration, and laborious creating a huge structure in survival - is removed by the HoloLens and we as players can think of some places where it might work, but ultimately, I just want to get back to my laptop screen.