Minecraft is what the kids these days call a sandbox video game. When Markus Persson developed Minecraft he put aside the need for high-end visual effects opting instead for a large 3D procedurally generated world where a player’s creativity determines what the world will look like thus, sandbox.
The game uses 3D objects called blocks. These represent a range of important elements or materials that can be mined and placed at will to build in an almost infinitely large world. It is limited to 30,000,000 blocks which a number of people have managed to traverse.
Minecraft exemplifies the age of media and even more so social media. It owes much of its popularity to MineCon (a Minecraft convention), parodies, merchandise and YouTube. The game is available on almost every platform imaginable and was listed by PC Gamer as the fourth-best game to play at work (2010). The idea that other people are playing a game that you aren’t just doesn’t fly anymore.
It has evolved beyond most other games and is now used as an educational tool. There is no goal and allows almost complete freedom in building the world you envision. In a way, it looks like Tetris come to life but it is a refreshing change from the hack and slash games that dominated gaming.
Over 176 million copies have been sold up to now (May 2019), making it the best-selling game of all time. As these stories tend to go… they were bought by Microsoft for $2.5bn in 2014.
A Warner Bros film adaptation of the game was initially expected to be released on 24 May 2019 but this has now been delayed to 2022. If only half of the Minecraft game owners play this would become one of the highest watched movies of all time.