Minecraft Essays

January 4th, 2011 by Crusader

During the holiday break, I came across two great essays on Minecraft’s appeal and implications. The first, at Gearfuse, examines the loneliness of the long-distance (single-player) miner:

Obviously, for makers and DIYer types, the world of Minecraft is a fantasy land of possibilities. But for someone like me — who doesn’t even understand the base physical principle that allows a hammer to drive in a nail — Minecraft is instead steeped into a broad genre of fiction about both loneliness, immortality and the ironic futility of great works.

Then at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the site’s editors heap praise on the game, especially regarding it’s implications for indie game development:

How could they be missing covering this enormous, generational, life-affirming THING?

Well, because to paraphrase the immortal words of Huggy Bear, it was happening without their permission. It didn’t come with a press release. It didn’t come on a corporate-approved console-DRM-box. It just existed, was inspired, allowed people to prove their own inspiration, and everyone who got it profited from the experience. It broke every single rule, and showed how nonsense those rules were. William Goldman’s line about Hollywood applies as much to games: NO-ONE KNOWS ANYTHING. It burns down civilization and revealed what an untamed landscape gaming really is.

We can build anything from here. And with luck, we will.

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