It’s a simple game. You build little constructions one 1×1 block at a time. The graphics are clunky at best.
Yet Minecraft has captured the imaginations of more than 100 million players around the world. What’s different is that the game has become a generation-spanning phenomenon. Adults, as well as children, are spending hours playing the game, participating in discussion groups, and attending conventions.
What is it about the game that has captivated its players?
Minecraft is a deceptively simple game, and that’s intentional. You begin your adventures by learning how to master the basic tools and techniques. Time is of the essence, as nightfall in the game brings with it creepy critters, meaning you need to create a shelter quickly.
In mere minutes, you’ll be carving out a cave from a mountain to create some security and shelter. Need a bed and a torch? You learn to build them in minutes.
One of the beautiful features of the game is its focus on self-preservation. You really perceive the importance of learning skills, constructing new objects, and exploring the work of others. Keeping the zombies away may feel daunting, but it focuses you on skill acquisition.
Players move quickly from basic subsistence to creating the objects that provide more comforts: a storage chest and furnace are important. Food gathering is important (you slow down if you aren’t fed in most modes). Your choices range from gathering apples to killing a cow for its leather and steaks.
You can progress to planting and harvesting crops and collecting animals. Do it quickly because the zombies appear when the sun sets.
There is tremendous flexibility and creativity in the game. Players have so many choices to make, making multiple playing modes and an immersive experience limited only by the player’s creativity.
In response to an early 2016 query on reddit.com, user neewom put it well.
“I play because it’s an open world with a nearly infinite capacity to escape. Someone can start up the game and play custom-made maps with excellent stories (and impressive user-made programming of a sort) or build their own worlds,” neewom wrote.
“It’s…it’s just a lot of fun. Plus, the developers are incredibly involved with their user-base (fanbase? It’s a blurry line). It’s a big game that…we’ve been able to watch and help build with our input. They’ve taken ideas from the community and built them into the game.”
That community is another reason the game is popular with those of all ages. The user community allows players to participate and tap into a collaborative culture. Players eagerly share their builds, creating YouTube videos that teach others how to build things. Sharing has become a part of the Minecraft ethos, providing ample opportunities to learn from others.
For more gaming fun, check out LEGO Worlds!