It is rare for a title to demand so much of my attention at the mere mention of its name, however, Minecraft has stolen a cue from that invisible god whom video game developers hold dear: ‘fun’.
Yes, fun. What did you think I meant?
I am suggesting that Minecraft captures that whimsical notion that ‘you are capable of completing any task if you set your mind to it’ while clinging to a single ounce of reality which allows for an experience like no other. Incomparable to the world builders that I have invested dozens of hours into as a kid for its emphasis on simple, orthogonal renditions of what gamers seek day and night: ‘fun’. If the repetition of the latter term wasn’t clue enough as to what the contents of the rest of this article entaiy then I may be forced to ask you politely to stop reading further.
If you have been blessed with the intellect to comprehend the aforementioned emphases of the word ‘fun’ then, please, allow me continue…
Minecraft captures the essence of what kids and adults alike who loved playing with Legos adore for adoration’s sake. It takes what I myself have deemed ‘the inalienable rights of gamers everywhere’: strict emphasis on escapism through interactive entertainment. However, would it surprise you that I was not a believer in the product until I tried? I didn’t think so.
At first, hearing the term ‘Minecraft’ move from mouth-to-mouth of the most ardent gamers in my circles of friends filled me with an incredible degree of apathy towards the property in all respects of the word (apathy that is). It is with a tad bit of regret that I admit to having insulted a number of people to their faces concerning the incredible ‘geekiness’ surrounding the property (for all intents and purposes; these acts were in good fun).
Boy was I surprised to find that the game met all my internal guidelines concerning what a title should possess in order to be fun.
First and foremost, Minecraft was simple to understand yet not exactly devoid of all forms of difficulty. Sure tedium may be your greatest ally when navigating the in-game world; however, playing the very same map with a squad of your closest friends may force you to change your perception on exactly what bugged you about the title in the first place.
At first glance, anyone can admit that the title resembles every nerd’s dream: a 16-bit revitalization of what is arguably the greatest era in gaming (Genesis fans anyone?). Although an hour into the title may force you to find yourself humming the catchy world-building music to yourself while constructing an immensely large, underground-based, dungeon with a toolset so simple a toddler would have no difficulty employing it’s intricacies. However, that’s not the cherry on top; the most humbling experiences I have had in recent past would be venturing into another ‘Creative’ mode server only to stand, both virtually and literally, mouth agape at the landscape spawned from another group of individuals’ minds. Sprawling hills and valleys in the shape of popular characters in video game fiction only added to the allure that this completely unknown team of authors had forged. It is in these moments that ‘fun’ really takes a grip because, as a player, you know your own limitations yet it is apparent all around you that, with a bit more time and effort, the next Minecraft masterpiece may very well belong to you.
This brings me to my second point of interest when considering why Minecraft is such an incredible addition to any individual’s library: the developers.
Mojang, the team of developers responsible for the game, provides content on a regular basis, tending to fans’ needs, and allowing for a degree of player creation that may rival the work of some of the most prominent names presently in the industry (not to say that Mojang isn’t at the forefront already). These three elements culminate into the delicious dish that is Minecraft. It is an interesting venture to even entertain the thought of one day rivaling the creative prowess that Minecraft veterans possess; however, it is the knowledge of knowing that your Minecraft skillset can never stop improving that can partially be accredited to the allure that the title holds for fans worldwide.
Mojang, along with the community they helped create, are what Minecraft is all about: ‘fun’.