Minecraft is a strange game. Or at least it is to those who don’t play it, who haven’t been snared by its delights, who aren’t hopelessly addicted to its genius. You either love Minecraft, or completely to fail to see what all the fuss is about.
MakeUseOf exists to help people understand technology on all levels. And understanding the appeal of Minecraft is just as worthy as understanding the nuances of Windows 8. So, with the aid of the ever-helpful MakeUseOf readership, we set out to discover exactly why people play Minecraft.
Reasons To Be Crafty
We asked you, What Is The Appeal Of Minecraft? This was a deceptively difficult question to answer, hence the low number of people who commented. However, the people who did comment left lengthy and legible responses that helped demystify the inherent appeal of Minecraft.
These comments enabled us to compile a list of reasons to play Minecraft. Or, alternatively, reasons those of us who have so far failed to be convinced by the hype should give the game a chance. The suggestion seems to be, survive your first night and you’ll be hooked forever.
- Minecraft is an “interactive digital version” of LEGO.
- Minecraft is an incredibly deep game.
- Minecraft has a “fantastic mod community.“
- Minecraft offers a “never-ending adventure.“
- Minecraft is completely non-linear.
- Minecraft offers limitless possibilities for being creative.
- Minecraft is “immensely accessible.“
- Minecraft offers “infinite mechanics.“
I personally feel I understand Minecraft a little better even before giving the game another chance. Such is the value of having people who know the game, and understand why it’s so appealing, explain it to the rest of us. If you now try playing Minecraft after reading this article, please let us know all about your experience by commenting below.
Comment Of The Week
We received a lot of great comments, including those from Victor O, Imaduddin S, and our own James Bruce. Comment Of The Week goes to Tom W, who wins a T-shirt chosen from those available through the catalog for this comment:
There are many reasons why this game is so appealing and addictive. Many games share some of these qualities, but Minecraft combines them all together in one neat little package.
Firstly, there are no real objectives, no targets to meet, no distinct areas, no need to manually save, and no loading screens. This means that there is no point that the game stops you, breaks the immersion, or creates a natural resting point. It is the perfect environment for the “one more block” mindset, where you’re constantly trying to finish just one last thing before you exit and do something more productive. It’s far too easy to spend 8 hours playing without realising it.
The second reason that Minecraft is so popular is that it’s not a linear game in any way. There’s no end to the game. Even the most carefully crafted linear games will have a point where the replayability falls off, in single player at least.
There is also the randomness to Minecraft. One of my favourite games of all time is Just Cause 2, which is a massive open-world filled with chaos and craziness. I played Just Cause 2 for over 120 hours, and there’s still more that I could see if I wanted to, but there is a finite limit to it. Everything in the game is planned, designed, and created by the game’s developers. Eventually, I will have seen everything. Minecraft isn’t like that. I can keep going essentially forever and see something new every day. The terrain generator can produce endless variation, and there’s always a chance that you’ll come across a scene of pure, computer-generated, beauty that’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it for themselves.
Yet another reason is the possibilities that Minecraft presents. With just a handful of block types, you can create your very own masterpiece if you’re creative enough, or even replicate a real-life masterpiece if you so desire. Sure, the blocks are 1m cubes, but if you build big enough you can have all the detail you want. Command Blocks, available in creative mode, add to this by giving you a way to manipulate the game itself.
Then, just as you think you’ve done everything you want to in your world, everything is exactly how you like it, the mobs are no longer a threat, and you have seemingly endless resources at your disposal… you discover multi-player. You can build with friends, play mini-games, contribute to something awe-inspiring, become part of a community, and impress other people with your skills.
And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, there are an endless supply of adventure maps, texture packs, and mods (which will soon be an official part of the game). You could play an entirely different game within the Minecraft engine, and still have it feel like Minecraft.
Finally, and most importantly, Minecraft is immensely accessible. Almost anyone can play Minecraft, and play it how they like. From hardcore gamers, to casual gamers, to people who don’t even consider themselves gamers, and even people with disabilities who would struggle with other types of game. It’s open and welcoming to everyone at a reasonable price. Minecraft appeals to many different audiences, across many different platforms. It’s no wonder that it has sold so well.
Oh, and regarding Microsoft… I’m not going to speculate for now. Until we see what changes, if any, Microsoft are planning to make to the game and the community, there’s no point in getting unduly worried. Even if they do ruin the essence of Minecraft, there will always be the current version that we can play.
We chose this comment because it offers an extremely detailed-yet-understandable explanation of what makes Minecraft so eminently playable. The fact, as suggested by this commenter, that Minecraft is accessible to all, is probably the biggest reason it’s as successful as it is.
We Ask You is a weekly column in which you have your say about a particular subject. We ask you a question each week, with the results compiled and compressed into a follow-up article the following week. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Tim Pierce via Flickr