Minecraft Canonization

Minecraft is a sandbox-building video game developed by Mojang, whose head developer Markus Persson at the beginning programmed the game single handedly. In Minecraft you build anything you want using a variety of 3D cubes. There are two game modes: Survival, where you need to build a shelter to protect yourself from mobs (things that spawn everywhere such as spiders and skeletons), eat to survive, and build things by crafting from materials you have gather or mined. In Creative mode, where you have every building block, the ability to fly, and no need to eat, it just lets you use your imagination to build anything you want without any worries. You have the ability to create your own world in Minecraft to play by yourself; you also can play online with others if you join a server or rent your own through several providers.  Minecraft is a fairly young game; it recently became its full version on November 18, 2011 after spending the past two years in alpha and beta. After a few patches it is currently in version 1.4. The current platforms for Minecraft include PC, the Mac, Xbox 360, and the Android phone.

In a blog entry by Persson’s, he announced that he was influenced by a “mixture of Dwarf Fortress, Rollercoaster Tycoon and Dungeon Keeper” (Perrson). Having only played Rollercoaster Tycoon, of the previous game listed, you can see the resemblance where you have the ability to create what you want in both. In Rollercoaster Tycoon it’s creating your own rollercoasters and deciding where your shops will be with what money you have to build. In Minecraft it’s the same idea, but you build what you want and where you want with the supplies you have gathered. The last thing to influence Minecraft was Infiminer; this changed a great portion of what Minecraft would have been like. Perrson’s realized that this was what he had wanted the game to be like. He saw some flaws in it and knew he could improve upon it.

Minecraft’s had its own influence on other games too. In an interview with Persson’s he announced that clones of his game had been created “Both FortressCraft and Terraria appear to be inspired by Minecraft…” (Webster). Persson is not direct because he lacks the hard evidence, but as the developer of a game you know what a copy of your own work is. Minecraft appeared in the Smithsonian exhibit Art of Video Games, this exhibit was just recently taken down a month ago.

Modified servers are quite common to find in the world of Minecraft. These servers allow you to expand on the game where you do have a set of rules. A server out there allows you to take part in the hunger games, which is from the notorious novel The Hunger Games. There’s also a mod that’s based off of DayZ, which itself is a mod using Arma 2’s engine, this game is call MineZ. The easy implication of reworking Minecraft’s engine allows users to create endless ideas, which pushes forth the playability of the game.

When Minecraft was released to the public in alpha stage on May 17, 2009 it had a great following. This following had learned of the game by the power of word of mouth. There had been no publisher for Minecraft, so there was no marketing in Minecraft’s budget to allow there to be advertisements. So with no advertising budget, it’s grown from its release in 2009 to one of the biggest and most popular games in the world, with nearly one million copies sold before it even hit beta stage (Plunkett). Minecraft was released to the public in beta stage on December 20, 2010.  The official release came on the PC on November 18, 2011. As of October 1st, 2012 combined sales of both the Xbox 360 and PC versions of Minecraft have sold just over 11.5 million copies.

Upon the release of Minecraft, it has received favorable reviews. Minecraft won 3 awards from the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2011 for: Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game, and Game Innovation Spotlight. Metacritic gave the game a 93 rating, this is considered to be “Universal Acclaim” in their eyes. IGN gave a 9 out of 10, Eurogamer gave a 10 out of 10 (Meer), Game Informer gave a 9.25 out of 10 (Biessener) and lastly GameSpot gave Minecraft an 8.5 out of 10 (Meunier). Gamespot’s rating happened to be the lowest of the most popular gaming sites.

The simplicity of the texture in Minecraft’s design allows the user to create a world that they believe is real. Much of today’s games go to easy and don’t frustrate the gamer like they once did. The past decade has been primarily driving the character through narration, along with a storyline. In Minecraft you create the rules, a beauty in the idea of the game itself. In an article from GameSpy by Nathan Grayson he says “Minecraft is what you make of it, and that makes it pretty damn special.” (Grayson) From just standing still and looking across the landscape you can see clouds, oceans, vast mountains, jungles, and forests. The list could go on forever but just sitting there, you appreciate seeing this universe that your avatar is placed in and you have the power to change it to how you feel appropriate. In other words, you alone can change what you see fit, and if you realize this or not you are also creating your own beauty or art.

Awh the view.
*Screenshot credited to the author.

Whether or not you like Minecraft, its endless playability; from which you use your own mind to forge ideas into the game, cannot be argued. When a world is generated and untouched by the user, it is a beautiful sight already. If you’d like to argue that past statement, just remember the user has the ability to create what they want and can judge what they just created to be art. Minecraft has taken the gamer community by storm; its monstrous sales form just in Alpha stage, which was a result of just being talked about, with no marketing needed. Minecraft deserves to be canonized because of its non-structured gameplay which is a great influence to allow the user to create the rules and how to play a game.


Works Cited

Persson, Markus. “The Word of Notch.” The Origins of Minecraft :. Tumblr, 30 Oct. 2009. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.

Abent, Eric. “SlashGear.” Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition Hits 4 Million Sales -. Slash Gear, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.

McDougall, Jaz. “Community Heroes: Notch, for Minecraft.” PCGamer.com. PC Gamer, 29 July 2010. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.

Webster, Andrew. “Living under a Blocky Shadow: The World of Minecraft Clones.”ArsTechnica. Ars Technica, 27 July 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.

Epstein, Mike. “The Smithsonian Has Picked the Games of Its Art of Video Games Exhibit.”Kotaku. 5 May 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.

“Minecraft for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More – Metacritic.” Minecraft for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More – Metacritic. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.

Meunier, Nathan. “Minecraft Review.” Gamespot.com. Gamespot, 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.

Gallegos, Anthony. “Minecraft Review.” IGN. Imagine Games Network, 23 Nov. 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.

Meer, Alec. “Minecraft Review.” Eurogamer.net. Eurogamer, 18 Nov. 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.

Plunkett, Luke. “Why Minecraft Is So Damn Popular.” Kotaku, 5 Jan. 2011. Web. 05 Nov. 2012.

Biessener, Adam. “More Toy Than Game, But That’s Okay.” Gameinformer.com, 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 05 Nov. 2012.

Grayson, Nathan. “Minecraft Review.” GameSpy, 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 05 Nov. 2012.


  1. Anthony Waldner says:

    Hey its anthony waldner from VGC class I am interested in working with you on Minecraft for the exhibit.

  2. D.J. Wernitznig says:

    Yeah sure your’e in.

  3. Minecraft is a game that has so much complexity to such basic principles, it shows why it has been a top game for so long.

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