Minecraft – the most popular game in the world

Source: Silicon Alley Reporter, Feb 2017

how does a world go from a flat, grassy meadow to a pixelated re-creation of Westeros’ capital city? The answer to that question is half of the reason people love “Minecraft”: creation. The castles above were built block-by-block.

Think of “Minecraft” as virtual LEGO. LEGO does.

It’s a system for fitting pieces together to create something — sometimes amazing somethings — from nothing. “Minecraft” provides endless building blocks and a blank canvas. It’s up to you to create something incredible, or silly, or referential, or whatever, using the tools it provides. The tools are blessedly user-friendly, as are the systems for employing those tools.

The other side of “Minecraft,” sadly not encompassed in the game’s title, is exploration. Every time you start a new world in “Minecraft,” it’s unique. That is, levels are randomly generated based on a set of parameters. There are some constants:

  • The levels always contain the same materials (dirt, trees, water, etc.)
  • There is a day/night cycle
  • At night, enemies appear and will attack you
  • You can only dig so deep below the world’s surface before hitting bedrock
  • The world that spawns always has stuff to discover, whether it’s crazy jungles or mountains or underground caves or whatever

“Minecraft” is so incredibly successful and popular because it’s delightful. It’s relaxing. It’s joyful. It’s goofy. It’s an amazing interactive canvas to build anything you want.

Yeah, you’re “just punching blocks and placing them in different combinations.” And here’s a re-creation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous “Fallingwater” home:

You can play “Minecraft” online with friends, with strangers, or all by your lonesome. Some of the more complex worlds were created by whole teams of people working for months. Westeros wasn’t built in a day, you know!

Unlike so many other games, “Minecraft” enables an outlet for artistic expression — however shallow — that makes time spent in its worlds feel meaningful.


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