What Is The Appeal Of Minecraft? [We Ask You]

Dave Parrack 18-09-2014

Minecraft is a hugely popular video game that can be legitimately described as a phenomenon. People who play Minecraft tend to adore the game, while those people who don’t play it can’t quite see what all the fuss is about. So, Minecraft players, it’s time for you to educate the rest of us about your beloved game. What’s the appeal?


Mining The Crafty Minds Of Minecrafters

We want to know, What Is The Appeal Of Minecraft? Because, to be perfectly frank, those of us on the outside looking in cannot immediately see why this game has grown in popularity to such an extent. We need answers, dammit.

Over 50 million copies of Minecraft have been sold to date across every platform you care to mention. This means there’s a high probability that some of you reading this right now will play Minecraft A Latecomer’s Introduction To Minecraft [MUO Gaming] Minecraft, the block-based sensation that took gaming by storm, is now well over three years old. It’s almost hard to believe it’s been that long since the first alpha was posted – and it’s equally... Read More . And even if you don’t, your kids may do so. Either way, you can tell us exactly what it is about Minecraft that keeps you (or your children) coming back for me.

This desire to learn more about Minecraft Is Minecraft Really That Great? [Opinion] Minecraft is quite possibly the most viral and addictive indie game that we've ever come to see. Who knew that a concept as elementary as playing with toy blocks could become such a sensation? I... Read More was prompted by the news of Microsoft buying Mojang for $2.5 billion Microsoft Buys Minecraft, How To Delete U2 From iTunes, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Windows 9 is incoming, iPhone 6 preorders, Kickstarter expansion, Surge is back, and texting Groot. Read More . Mojang, for the uninitiated, is the company responsible for creating and maintaining Minecraft. Well, at least it was. Now, it’s Microsoft’s responsibility to keep the franchise going for as long as possible.

Our main mission with this discussion is to discover from the people who actually play the game what keeps them coming back for more. Is it the open-ended nature of the game? Is it the desire to build the biggest and best constructions 6 Amazing Minecraft Creations That Will Blow Your Mind Alright. Maybe “blow your mind” is too extreme of an idiom for something as simple and not-so-mind-blowy as Minecraft. However, some Minecraft creations truly are jaw-droppingly awesome. In fact, there are quite a few Minecraft-related... Read More ? Is it the fun derived from surviving waves of monsters who visit your precious Minecraft world Are These The 5 Greatest Minecraft Worlds Ever Built? We're almost five years past its first public release and Minecraft is still one of the most played games in the world. Despite the primitive graphics, these worlds are so grand and so lively that... Read More every night?

We realize that dedicated Minecraft players may also want to take this opportunity to voice their opinions over the acquisition by Microsoft. Feel free to do so, but please also answer the question asked in the title. Perhaps you can tie it all in together by explaining why you think Microsoft might ruin the essential appeal of Minecraft. Sadly, it could happen. Because Microsoft.


Have Your Say

All comments will be read and most will be replied to, before a follow-up post is published containing the We Ask You Results. One reader will win Comment Of The Week, receiving a geeky T-shirt chosen from those available through the catalog for their effort.

We Ask You is a column dedicated to learning the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Related topics: Microsoft, Minecraft, Opinion & Polls, We Ask You.

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  1. Michael
    December 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    The creator of minecraft I am happy for you mate. You might feel bad but you made history. You became rich off one game. That sir is amazing. Thank so much for giving us a chance to watch these seed grow be apart of YOUR art and YOUR dream. Minecraft has changed gamer and the makers of games. Notch your brain is endless and pointsless like your game. Plant a new seed mate. Maybe open a school for game programming. Maybe open a camp for kids to build and create their own master peace. The chapter of minecraft is closed for you but a new one starts. Your story is powerful and knowing you got the resources now to create something bigger better and new. I bet you never though that weekend you made minecraft it lead you here. I feel made wright decision and know still you have fans. Notch every update every bug fix or feedback you worked threw we glad mate to had you behind. 32 million copyies sold 32 million accounts you looked over and cared for years. All them late night game launches and employees. Mate you busted you ass and worked hard to give kids and adults a game experience like no other. Every story has a end. It is sad but minecraft is needing a chance to change by a nother brain and full new ideas. That is what we do in the game. New ideas!

  2. minecraft
    September 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

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  3. likefunbutnot
    September 20, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    As far as I can tell, it exist to perpetuate the installation of Java on machines belonging to the people who would otherwise be least well served to have Java on their PCs. Show me a computer where someone plays Minecraft and I'll show you a computer that has all the herpes the internet has to offer.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Ooh, that's nasty! I'll stick to playing it on my PS4 then.

  4. Victor O
    September 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    What makes you come back for minecraft is the fact that there are NO rules, but there are PLENTY of rules! You can make and do anything you could EVER want, but you have only the tools, resources, crafting recipes, and objects you can make at your disposal. Need cobblestone? Make a generator! Need an automatic farm? Use water, pistons, and redstone! The intricate mechanics of the game REQUIRE you to think about what you are doing, how to do it, and what you need to do it! If you were to build things on creative mode, it would still take a long time, and you would be constantly improving, but if you built things in survival mode, you would take the time to look for resources, make your buildsite clear, and most importantly, making the buildsite safe!

    Overall, the appeal of Minecraft (for me) is the fact that you alway want to go back to your build and IMPROVE on it. You can always add some functionality here, aesthetics there, and the amount of projects you can do it only bounded by your imagination! The goal for me is to be able to build machines and mechanisms that make minecraft easier, but I'll have to work hard to attain that goal :)

    It's also why I love MODS, another integral part of minecraft. They add so much extensibility to the game itself. Some of the best mods add more machinery and mechanisms to the game, such as industrialcraft or buildcraft. Some just add a random touch of fun, like the lucky block mod. But what makes me come back to minecraft is the excitement of doing something new. Of finding new places. Of making new things. That is why minecraft is doing so well.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      I guess Minecraft would be a pretty dull game if you had limitless resources and could just build whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. Do you still find it relaxing despite the obvious need to think about what you're doing at all times?

    • Victor O
      September 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Nope, actually! Creative mode does give you limited resources, but if you are creative enough, the inventions you can make with redstone, command blocks, and other mechanics are infinite! Just hop on over to SethBling's channel to see the kinds of stuff he does!

      I don't play minecraft to relax, actually. I play it to have fun, even if that means not relaxing. I usually play on a private server with friends, goofing around, killing each other in fun, and building simple and advanced things. Currently, we're rediscovering minecraft, as the new 1.8 update came out and brought a plethora of new features!

  5. Xoandre
    September 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Having only ever spent 10 minutes trying to play the demo, I do not immediately see the appeal myself of this game.

    However, over the past couple of years I have seen how Minecraft has become - essentially - the Ultimate Lego Building Environment, without having to step on thousands of individual plastic pieces, swear and curse until the pain goes away, and always need more pieces to build your dream.

    Like Lego, Minecraft allows anyone to build anything they can dream of building using endless cubes, squares, specialty squares, and - with added functionality similar to Lego MindStorms - functional devices and entertainment.

    Certainly, getting to the level required for building something as complex as a 1:1 scale Starship Enterprise ( ) takes endless dedication, patience, attention to detail, and pretty much having no life outside of the game.

    The capacity for anyone to do virtually anything in this world is exciting and limitless, if you have the patience and free time to dedicate to the game.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      I must admit I haven't got the patience to build anything on that scale. In the same way I never really built anything magnificent playing with Lego as a kid. But yes, the lack of sharp plastic pieces is definitely a bonus ;)

  6. Tom W
    September 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    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.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Wow, that's a truly epic comment.

      I love sandbox games, but is there not a negative aspect to having no ultimate goal, no end to aim for, no Game Over screen?

      Your point about accessibility is solid. I see Minecraft as a game anyone can (and does) play. I mean, it looks to be designed to appeal mainly to younger gamers, but most of the comments here suggests that is a false assumption.

    • Tom W
      September 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

      I guess that Minecraft is what you make of it, and is limited only by the imagination. Anyone who, as a kid, would play with legoes long after they'd built everything in the instruction manuals will get along fine with Minecraft. For everyone else, mods and adventure maps will add objective-based gameplay to the game.

      I don't think that Minecraft is designed for any particular audience. The graphical style started out as simply a limitation of Notch's artistic skills, but now it's become almost a calling-card of the game. The lack of blood, gore, or other explicitly adult content is simply because the game doesn't need it in order to be fun. I guess the old adage applies: Never judge a book by its cover.

  7. Imaduddin S
    September 18, 2014 at 11:09 am

    The Appeal for Minecraft is "Never-Ending Adventure".

    Haven't we all played several games that had a "specific" goal or objective and after that the only thing you could do was to repeat the same game ( only if you loved it ) and try to complete in less time ?

    Minecraft , is different from all others . It is a game in which there are "randomly" generated blocks , of wood , coal , iron etc. and you have to use your thinking to utilize whatever you find , the best part is you don't find what you are looking for and viceversa .

    That is one of the reasons why I love it . Another reason is that you can continue where-ever you left off , not like some games in which you can only save after you have finished the mission or like .

    Some may say that Mine-craft is addictive , but in reality it is the complete opposite , unlike many other games such as GTA San Andreas Multiplayer ( or others , which have you tuned in the game and if you turn off the game during an epic police chase , you are in jail , Minecraft lets you exit the game whenever you want and you can continue off later . For example if you suddenly realize an assignment tomorrow , then you can quickly turn off the game ! That are just some of the Plus for Minecraft as a game for Productive People.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      It's literally limitless then? As in you can keep playing forever and ever without reaching anything that could be described as The End?

      I love sandbox games, but doesn't having no ultimate goal mean Minecraft feels a little pointless?

    • Imaduddin S
      September 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Yeah , you're kind of right there Dave , that no goal seems pointless. (And you've mentioned the same thing in other critics also ) . But in Minecraft "Creativity" defines your goals . I mean like for example my 7 year old brother created a huge tower inside Minecraft and trapped monsters inside it . Similarly he builds beautiful structures using different colored blocks . So the point is that when you are not given "one" specific thing or goal to perform , you can perform everything your heart desires ( or at least what Notch made possible :D )
      P.S There is something like Ender portal or other boring things that mark the end but they are not worth doing .

  8. Amrit K
    September 18, 2014 at 10:46 am

    It's like LEGO.
    It doesn't have polished graphics like Call of Duty or interesting storyline.
    Infact Minecraft has no point.
    You simply go at it and build things (Just like what you would do with lego blocks).
    There are plenty of games that offer similar experiences just like Minecraft.
    And they're usually more polished to boot but those games would count themselves lucky to sell half that many copies as of Minecraft.
    Terasology, Terraria , Guncraft , CubeWorld ,3079 , Don't Starve are few games which provide similar experience.
    But few, if any indie games ever got as popular as Minecraft has.
    With no advertising budget, it has become one of the biggest and most popular games in the world (with nearly one million copies sold before it's even out of beta.).
    Reason it's popular because it's well made, has a pretty fantastic mod community, and continued developer support.
    I think that people may love Minecraft, but many of them love the idea of Minecraft more.

    "There is Minecraft, there are people who play Minecraft, and there are people who talk about Minecraft."

    It really is that simple.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      "Minecraft has no point" isn't selling it to me! ;)

      You're the second person to mention its similarity to LEGO, so there is clearly something in that. Aren't the other games you mention just clones of Minecraft trying to make money off the back of it?

  9. James B
    September 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

    If you ever played with Lego as a kid, you really ought to understand why an interactive digital version of it is awesome!

    But anyway - I completely dismissed it too the first time (and the second). I think the lack of an obvious objective was a big turn off - it just throws you into this world, tells you nothing, and says "have at it". There's no fun in that.

    Then I figured that there MUST be something more to it - so I read a few tutorials, watched some videos, and realised how deep the game can be with its elaborate crafting system and list of resources. And there is actually an immediate objective: survive the first night. You need to build a shelter, craft some tools, amke some torches to brighten the place up, then bake some food ... and thats it, then you're hooked. But where you take the game from there - that's up to you. You can build epic castles and sky farms, or roam the lands looking for new things, or go mining to the depths of hell and beyond.

    Apart from which, it's probably the best Oculus Rift experience so far!

    I highly encourage everyone (and you) to read my "Latecomers Guide To MineCraft", scheduled for 24th September.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      I used to adore playing with Lego as a kid, which is probably why I'm refusing to give up on Minecraft.

      You've hit the nail on the head with the biggest problem with the game: that lack of an immediate (and well signposted) objective. They should put "Survive the first night!" on the box.

      I'll definitely read that article. And then give the game another go.

  10. John C
    September 18, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I'd like to know too, I tried it and just could not get into it, at all.

    • Dave P
      September 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      There seems to be a tipping point where if you stick with it the magic is revealed. I haven't reached that point yet though.