According to Game Informer, the Minecraft creator was hard at work over the weekend: cranking his euro-dance music, typing esoteric code into his internet box like some over-caffeinated savant, and generally behaving like a showboating jerk. One might suspect (based on the lazy insult) a tinge of resentment on my part; such suspicions are indeed warranted. Partly it's because while many of us struggle with the basics of HTML, everyone's favorite Swede was programming with enough ease to create a video game: Prelude of the Chambered. Mainly, it's because said video game was, as one might expect, terribly addictive. Having pulled the 8-bit syringe out of my arm, I can report that the POTC is, in fact, rather fun. Those who have played Minecraft will immediately recognize the style - Notch & Co.'s old-timey style remains wholly intact - and as one might expect, the game's appeal lies in the simplicity of its design. Despite having no discernible story, visuals that make Wolfenstein 3D look like the pinnacle of visual grandeur, and and no soundtrack to speak of, Prelude of the Chambered has a knack for swallowing up an inordinate amount of one's time. I had expected to give the game a good 20-or-so minute run; an hour and a half later, my spree came to a close, due only to death at the hands of "floaty eye-thing." Unfortunately, said death results in starting the whole experience from the beginning -- the very beginning. One might argue that this increases the tension of gameplay, refusing the complacency afforded by modern titles which, through their frequent checkpoints and ample chances to save progress, have thrown skill by the wayside. While other developers are dumbing down the gameplay experience -- making games "accessible" to the plebeian masses while they chase the next dollar -- Notch refuses to compromise, instead giving a welcome nod to the truly hardcore. It could also be that he's just being a d**k.
For those interested in the charming, slightly surreal, and whimsically old-school frolic of Prelude of the Chambered, it can be played through your browser at this link.