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Creeper Fever is Spreading
More than likely a friend of yours has suggested or at least brought up the current flavor of the month game: Minecraft. To be honest, it is devouring time itself at this point and has readily become the game of the season, though the coveted title of 'game of the year' is hardly out of reach. If your friend told you anything about the game at all, you probably ended up messing around with the Creation mode (now dubbed "Classic" mode officially) on the main page. While this mode is free for anyone, it is extremely limited and has not been updated in quite some time. It is a basic imitation of the potential fun to be had, and the only way to access the full gaming goodness in all of its glory is to purchase a Minecraft premium account. I'll go over how to buy the game first as that is really what purchasing a Minecraft premium account is all about, and then I'll detail the cool things you'll have access to that you could not have fun with before.
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Purchasing Your Very Own Minecraft Premium Account
Wouldn't it have made more sense to call it a "Premium Minecraft account" instead of a "Minecraft premium account?" Eh, I digress. The process of purchasing is short and sweet, assuming you already have a Paypal account. Load up www.minecraft.net and click the "Buy Now" button, register a new account, and fill out your Paypal information. It's more simple than buying an item off eBay. Feel free to use the picture on the left as a visual aid.
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So... What Did I Just Unlock?
You just bought the game! A Minecraft Premium Account allows access to a whole host of things, namely the Minecraft Alpha. Within the Alpha is all the updates the game's creator, Notch, has been working on for the past few years. Day and night cycles, while seeming arbitrary, not only add dynamic lighting and changes to the scenery, but they also add completely different game play mechanics. You'll need to defend yourself at night from legions of undead, or your could opt to bunker down and wait out the night. Generally this means you'll need to gather supplies in the morning, which leads to crafting tools which was something else you were not able to do, let alone access, within the freebie Creation Mode on the site. You will also be able to edit and apply your own skin, or the look of your character once you've purchased the minecraft premium account.
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How to Find and Apply the Official Minecraft Download
With a game as popular as Minecraft, it is sadly also a prime target for hackers trying to infect innocent and unprepared people who believe they are downloading the game. The only safe method is to go to www.minecraft.net, or, conversely, to google "minecraft" as it should be the option at the top of the page. Once you are sure it links to the official website properly, load up the site and press the "Download" link near the upper middle of the page. This is the only secure way to acquire the contents of the Minecraft download.
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Installing and Running the Minecraft Download
Select the proper download for your computer, (choose Mac for a Mac, Windows if you have Windows of any version, etc.), then decide the destination of the program. A good tip would be to make a new folder titled Minecraft once you find a suitable location, or even downloading it directly to the Desktop as this is the entire program. Once you are happy with the location, press Save. The Minecraft download is extremely fast as the game itself is not that large as the textures used are extraordinarily small, verging on microscopic. (This is not an issue as they appear much larger within the game itself.) All you have to do now is to open the program and the game will run, automatically downloading any updates to the game and instantly applying the new information, keeping your version of the game up to date. This is, of course, assuming that you are connected to the internet at the time you run the program.
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Gaming on the Go
A nifty fact for Minecraft is that, as long as you load up the game once and sign into it with your account information, you can play the game whenever you like, wherever you like! It remembers your account information and allows you to play offline at the time of your choosing, meaning if you have a laptop and are constantly on the go, you can play whenever you find the time! Stuck in traffic, or waiting for a train? Load up the game and pass the time away as you craft your own continent in any way you desire!
Now that you have the Minecraft download installed and ready to go, build extravagant buildings and passageways! Redirect rivers to create lakes or beaches filled with towering sand castles! Have a blast as you entice and impress your friends with your blocky creations! Check out the picture to the right to see an example of how one player made a roof of glass to allow sunlight to illuminate her mining areas during the day! No matter how far down she mines, the sun will continue to brighten the mineshaft as long as it is during the daytime. Torches will need to be sufficient at night to prevent enemies from appearing, however!