Minecraft 3D takes block building back in time with retro shareware graphics

It seems that Mojang has decided to head down memory lane with the recent uncovering of Minecraft 3D, the classic version of their massively-popular block-building game that was recently unearthed and coincidentally released on April Fools’ Day. Compared to the core Minecraft experience, Minecraft 3D features fewer colors, more 2D sprites, and a boatload of flaming barrels for some inexplicable reason! (Back in those days, pretty much every game had flaming barrels.)

While this is indeed one more April Fool’s joke to throw on top of the pile, Mojang stepped up and delivered an actual product to owners of the game. A news post on the game’s official website details the fictional lore of the devs discovering this version of the game. More importantly, it tells players how they can access it and play it for themselves right now.

To play Minecraft 3D, you’ll have to start up the Minecraft Launcher, go over to to Launch Options, and activate the “Enable Snapshots” switch. Once that’s done, you can head back over to the News tab and click on the up arrow next to Play to select your version. Pick “Latest Snapshot – 3D Shareware v1.34” and it will download. The game will be ready to go in short order.

Minecraft 3D features several notable differences from the core game. The most obvious difference is the reduction in graphical fidelity across the board; Minecraft 3D makes use of fewer colors in an effort to replicate the sort of graphical style one might expect in the mid-’90s. The snapshot also emulates many conventions of shareware from that era including an obnoxious message that says “UNREGISTERED VERSION” scrolling across the top of the screen. Occasionally, the game will prompt players to insert another disk and press Enter.

In addition to the lowered graphics, many creatures have been converted to 2D sprites. (Suffice it to say, riding a horse looks weird.) There is also a bunch of flaming barrels peppered throughout the world, many of which contain valuable loot that the player can immediately make use of. Mojang even went to the effort to include a text file order form for fictional games like Minecraft 2Fermented Herring Simulator VII, and Doom 2 (which they note is “completely not related to other games named Doom“).

You can download and play Minecraft 3D right now. If you don’t own Minecraft, you can instead watch the trailer below.