Minecraft's Popularity

"Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either."
-Markus Persson (Notch)

I'm going to assume that you have at least heard of Minecraft, even if you don't know details about it. If you haven't even heard of it, I could explain it, but odds are you wouldn't find this post interesting anyway. However, if you've heard of it but don't know details, that's another matter, because this post will attempt to answer a question about Minecraft from those who don't play it. I've been asked (by those few people I know who haven't played Minecraft) why Minecraft is so popular. So I shall attempt to break it down.

Minecraft is a block-based sandbox game. Block-based means that the game is made of blocks. That may sound stupid at first, but think of it this way- your computer screen is also made of blocks called pixels. They're very small, so we don't typically notice them unless we're looking for them. In the same way, while Minecraft's blocks are a bit more noticeable, they still tend to work out when they're put together in the right combinations. Not everything is exactly one block. There are stair blocks, fence posts, doors, glass panes, flowers, half-slabs, and more. "Block-based" really just means that when you place something down, it will fit in a 1 meter x 1 meter x 1 meter area. (I suppose doors, beds, and some paintings actually take 2-4 blocks, but they're the exception.)
Minecraft is a sandbox game because it doesn't really have a set storyline. Of course, there is progression as you harvest better materials, but you aren't restricted to one path. In RPGs (Role-Playing Games) you take on the role of [character] and go on [quest] to do [task]. There are aspects that keep you from going down one trail or another, because you're playing a story. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that style of game. I enjoy RPGs. But a sandbox game means that you go where you want and do what you want. If the game has a boss (or several bosses) you typically choose when to fight it by going to its dungeon or summoning it. But if you don't want to fight the boss, the game will never force you to do so.

The appeal of vanilla Minecraft (as opposed to modified Minecraft) is in its versatility. You can go wherever you want and build whatever you want. You can fight monsters or set the game to peaceful mode. You can survive the depths of caves in survival mode, or you can build with unlimited resources (not to mention the power of flight) in creative mode. You can play by yourself or play with friends. You can build a simple hut in the woods or a grand palace on a mountain. (In my current Survival world, I'm actually building my house inside a mountain. I've been told it looks almost like a dwarven hall.)

But Minecraft doesn't stop at vanilla. You can also modify it, either by writing programs as add-ons, or by using command blocks (in-game tools for programming). You can install texture packs that make your blocks and tools look like whatever you want. This gives the game even more diversity than it had before. Sandbox games are only one style, after all. While they are very broad in their capabilities, some people like direction and story. But Minecraft has that in the form of custom maps. People write mods and commands that enable Minecraft to take the form of pretty much any other game you can think of, while others wrote their own original stories meant to be played in Minecraft.

On one hand, Minecraft can be almost anything you want it to be. (It can even be round, with mods.) On the other hand, Minecraft grants each player a new experience and the options to do whatever they want with that experience. This is why I think Minecraft is popular- because nobody goes into it looking for the same thing. If you don't believe me, go to YouTube. PaulSoaresJr roleplays a survival adventure as a knight or a viking, while Mumbo Jumbo uses redstone to automate anything he can get his hands on. Grian jumps into creative mode to fly around building amazing structures that would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to make in survival mode, and Logdotzip hops around on custom parkour maps. Each of them has over 100,000 subscribers (which is my long-term YouTube goal). These players show why this game is so popular. Because no matter what kind of game you're looking for, odds are you can find it in Minecraft.
"Minecraft is to a large degree about having unique experiences that nobody else has had. The levels are randomly generated, and you can build anything you want to build yourself."
-Markus Persson (Notch)

'Minecraft' certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/markus_persson.html
'Minecraft' certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/markus_persson.html
'Minecraft' certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/markus_persson.html

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