Gaming

Revisiting: ‘Minecraft’ (2011)

ScreenCritics Madison takes a look back at Mojang’s successful sandbox game, Minecraft, and how it continues to build its way into new territories.

Minecraft has come a long way in a short amount of time, setting the bar for sandbox games and arguably changing the very way open world games are crafted. Available on mobiles, PC’s and consoles – the game has formed an extensive community that loves all things Minecraft. So was the Minecraft juggernaut that Microsoft ultimately bought out Mojang for  $2billion, an eye watering amount for what is a one-game studio. Make no mistake – few games have made the kind of waves that Minecraft have in its short existence.

Yet it was all so different back 2011. Minecraft was just exiting its long BETA phase, which in itself hadn’t gone all that smoothly. Early adopters found a barebones experience, no real story and a heap of bugs within. Minecraft’s was simplistic and endless, a place where there was no such thing as the Ender Dragon or even the Nether. It was all about building and surviving in a never-ending world, and that was all there was to it.

While Minecraft does very few things truly new – what it does well is bring together the entire experience. The sense of discovery as you find a cave, the sheer panic as sunset approaches and the ghouls and critters emerge to terrorise you in the night. Minecraft is a game that builds its success on progression – pushing gamers to work harder to get better rewards. Digging deeper into the worlds core reveals rarer materials, which can be used to craft better equipment. Eventually those ghouls and monsters will be childs play as you beat them away with ease. This is arguably Minecraft’s greatest success.

This game received praise from fans and critics, and it set the platform for many other sandbox adventure games to take inspiration and come after it. As of today, Minecraft is still frequently getting new updates and new features. End cities, Elder Guardians, and even new mobs are just a few of these new updates that are building upon Minecraft and making it more of a goal-oriented game.

Realms are also a new feature, and even mini-games are being added for the avid Minecraft players to enjoy with friends. One of the best features of Minecraft is the multiplayer option, where players can join each other to survive, build, and play games together. The ease of connecting to servers and bringing gamers together under one banner helped to spawn a huge community – a community that exists all these years later. It was also arguably the introduction of mods and skin packs that helped to push the community – allowing gamers to bring in other themes and recreate their favourite games, movies or television series within the world of Minecraft.

Mojang themselves were also helping to grow enthusiasm for their game. Adding in new blocks and theme sets over the years which have only sparked this creative surge. Even Nintendo saw the value in this, granting Mojang the right to use their Mario themes and worlds within the Wii U version of the game. It speaks volumes to how well the game has been received that this has been allowed in the first place.

It also needs to be said that Mojang has added in a heap of content for free over the years. From new weapons, enemies, mechanics and loot – there’s never been a short of things for returning gamers to sink their teeth into. The core gameplay has remained largely untouched but the mechanics that surround it have not. Now there’s a proper end-game and a goal to work towards – all of which is completely optional.

Spin-offs for the game have even been created, such as Minecraft: Story Mode. This is a choice- based game based off of the already popular original Minecraft game. Many mods and fan games have been created by developers as well to have a fresh take on the original game.

Over time, Minecraft has come such a long way from the basic, simplistic, and endless game that it once was. Today, the game is more popular than ever and has a huge following by many fans, players, and developers. It is exciting to see which direction the game will keep developing in the near future. Minecraft will hopefully continue to mine its way to more success as the years come.

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