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Game Info:

Blockland
Released: February 24, 2007
ESRB Rating: N/A
Available On: PC, Macintosh
Genre: Sandbox
Number of Players: 1 offline; Up to 99 online
Price: $10 new, Unavailable used.

Blockland is a game that has been around since 2007, predating its largest current competitor, Minecraft by half a decade, that started as a simple building blocks game and has since expanded into a community of creative artistic players. This game has proven such an effective tool to them that they've both recreated Seattle and coded city simulating scripts using this game as a platform. Its open-ended gameplay forces the player to carve out a goal for themselves, resulting in truly unique experiences each time you play. In parallel to this, it has a very well made add-on system that can add in just another block type to entire overhauls of many of the games integral systems.

Blockland has gone through 21 major revisions since its initial release, with many smaller revisions in between, and continues to be updated today thanks to its creator Eric Hartman (AKA Badspot), and his small team of developers. They've even gone so far as to overhaul the rendering engine in the most recent major revision, version 21, so that it may use an advanced shader pipeline, allowing shadows to be cast, and as seen through player modification, some faked global illumination. That isn't to say though that it hasn't faced any troubles. The game has an extremely aggressive and unforgiving user-base that will often scream obscenities and build inappropriate constructs, even having a history of harassing disliked players and they consistently work around the censoring mechanism. Thankfully, chat can be turned completely off, which will save you much woe, as it has for me before.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Great construction, small tight-knit community, encourages scripting and mathematics.
Weak Points: Community can be unforgiving, no goals can make it uninviting, and nearly no online moderation.
Moral Warnings: The online community is very unforgiving and childish; building obscene structures and purposefully irritating strangers.

Construction however is nearly limitless. Allowing players to place over 200,000 blocks, and download and create custom blocks, building and recreating structures is as simple as can be, as well as the ability to spawn vehicles and NPCs. There have in fact been cases where players had constructed entire cities, with interiors and exteriors, others making extremely detailed and extravagant mansions. If you, or your child has a desire to be creative this game can definitely excite that creativity.

Though, there is one extremely limiting factor that has burdened many of the 'builders' in this game. That is the 'colorset', or color palette that you are restricted to when building, is restricted to a paltry 64 colors excluding special effects. Even more disappointing is that while you can definitely download and use different colorsets, you must replace the original in order to do so, and it does not apply to servers with their own. Furthermore, the special FX have seen little attention since release and do very little aesthetically.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 64%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 3/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5/10

Personally, and I think it's necessary to disclose I've played this since 2008-2009 where-abouts, I've run into a very few amount of people who've actively made my experience difficult in-game, and turning the chat off is actually a very easy process and I have still enjoyed every minute on the game. I've worked with people to make entire cities and have taken part in roleplaying games akin to house and Risk. On the other side of it all, I've played ridiculously fast paced games where you slingshot yourself around in an effort to 'knife' or kill other players. I simply don't think it can be said enough that you will find something in this game you like, and coming back to it is always welcoming, since there will always be something new.

However, I believe in spite of all of this the community really does tear it away from being a great game and can sometimes make it more of a chore than fun. I've encountered players that are so difficult and hard to play with that I simply had to quit playing. Its graphical fidelity also does it no justice. It really is just mediocre, and to get it to look any better requires an expensive computer since the engine is in general inefficient. With that said, I think this is a great game if you can find a server that is nice and well moderated, and can also look past the less than modern graphics.

-Dusty Carrier

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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