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Minecraft gets iOS release and an alt-pop anthem

Minecraft: Pocket Edition is available now on iOS devices. Like the recently-released Android version, the iOS port strips out the game's wildlife, time cycle and crafting facility but retains local wi-fi multiplayer, allowing players to get a diggin' and treasure-huntin' fix when the full-featured version's not immediately available. That version's due to update to Version 1.0 this weekend, with developer Notch set to officially bring the game out of beta at this weekend's MineCon.

Minecraft's Pocket Edition enters a veritable world of knock-offs, with titles like Eden: World Builder and World Explorer scurrying from the shadow of the genuine article. At least one clone, the unsubtly-titled Minecrafted, has already been pulled from sale. The real Minecraft's legendarily good-natured ruler has said that while ideas like Minecraft are “meant to spread,” he wishes fans would “try to make [their version] original rather than a straight clone.”

 Above: Click Play and allow Shigihara to soundtrack your reading of further Minecraft news

Notch joins other Minecraft fans this weekend at Las Vegas' convention. However, plans to take up pixelly pick-axes and burrow underneath the casino capital were halted when gaming chanteuse Laura Shigihara released her new song, Cube Land. Shigihara's wistful ode to the game would be hard to hear over the incessant clanking of pickaxes, so everyone decided to stay above-ground with the new versions and content updates instead. If you're there, tell us how it goes.

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