“Minecraft” is quite possibly one of the few rare games that transcend generations. Not only is it popular among different demographics, but it is also cross-cultural and easily recognizable in today’s pop culture. Its longevity is truly a remarkable feat, a testament to its serotonin-stimulating, highly addictive nostalgic factor.
“Minecraft” was created by Markus “Notch” Persson in 2009. After being officially released to PC and iOS in 2011, Jens “Jeb” Bergensten of Mojang took over the lead development. In 2014, Mojang shifted gears and sold its company and game to Microsoft.
With more than 200 million sales across multiple platforms, “Minecraft” still reigns as the best-selling video game in history. With its first-person, infinite sandbox gameplay, players can unearth their innermost creativity and begin to lay down the foundations of their own personal adventure. The game also boasts over 130 million monthly active users who appreciate and enjoy the slice of escapism that it offers.
Picture this — 98. 99. 100% — plop. You are generated into a world unlike any other. You look around and gaze at the marvel of the creation around you. Forged by blocks and foraged with blocks, reality can be whatever you want. No structure of authorities to challenge your autonomy. No divine agencies to hinder your volition. You are the main protagonist of this world, and you write your own story.
I remember my very first experience of logging on to a new world and starting out with nothing but a full health bar and endless possibilities awaiting me. I saw cubic trees, cubic seas, cubic animals. It was simple, maybe even primitive, but there was an appeal to this form of minimalism, unlike popular first-person-shooters or MMORPGs that tirelessly tried to reach realism.
Yet, this felt more like the real world where the sun governed the day and the moon governed the night, and I had the reigns to make the most out of it. In the game, I was a farmer and blacksmith by trade, but an architect and warrior by design. I made my own shelter, gathered my own food, crafted my own necessities, and survived against monsters and mobs through sheer self-determination. This game was truly monumental for a ten-year-old who wanted to feel competent at something and escape reality after school.
Back then, “Minecraft” was limited to single-player and multiplayer modes. Single-player itself had two modes which were survival and creative game modes. Hardcore mode was a variant of survival where the game settings are locked to the hardest difficulty. When a player died, he or she experienced permadeath. Since then, “Minecraft” has developed more game-mode variants such as adventure and spectator mode to spice up the single-player experience.
As for multiplayer mode, “Minecraft” servers were the way to go. Players could log on to popular servers like Hypixel, Mineplex and Desteria with special and unique server addresses. These servers a many mini-games such as parkour courses, spleef, prop hunt, survival games and bed wars. Some were dedicated fantasy worlds where politics and established factions were the premises of the game. Others were fan-made servers to emulate pop-cultural worlds like “Pokémon” or “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
In 2013, Mojang released “Minecraft Realms”, a subscription-based server hosting service that eased the pain of people trying to manually create online servers within the confines of their homes and their internet service providers’ restrictions. This expanded the multiplayer mode, which helped cultivate a rapport with its users, especially with the recent onslaught of the pandemic.
Periodically, Mojang delivers new updates that fix in-game bugs and glitches. Sometimes, they respond to fan feedback, as they did by adding more creatures or expanding the innate gameplay with the Village Pillage update on “Minecraft”’s tenth anniversary back in 2019. The most recent update was the Nether Update of 2020, which added four new biomes and mobs with distinct interactions. With such an ever-growing community, “Minecraft” tries its best to be an ever-evolving game. This is surely the case with its newest announcement of the Caves and Cliffs update which comes out this summer and has fans on the edges of their seats.