It is a world where everything is a cube and physics are not what is expected. This world is the world of Minecraft, a sandbox-style video game that can be bought from the Internet and downloaded to a computer.
Minecraft was created by an unemployed man in Stockholm, Sweden named Markus Persson, but it wasn’t always known as Minecraft. Originally, Minecraft was called Cave Game and was inspired by a now discontinued indie game called Infiniminer created by Zachtronic Industries. Both games, Cave Game and Infinminer required players to journey across the world to collect materials. In 2009, Minecraft was first created to replace Cave Game.
The basic concept for the Cave Game and Minecraft was to dig in a 3D world of blocks made to be destroyed and placed to build different things. The earliest version of Minecraft was solely in a creative mode where building was easy. Subsequent updates introduced a ‘survival’ mode to make the gameplay more dangerous, multiplayer capabilities, the Nether – a hell-like dimension filled with lava and monster not found in the over world, and hunger mechanics that made it possible to eat in game and starve. Players have the capability to farm for pumpkins and potatoes and raise cattle such as cows, chickens, and horses. Various monsters roam the world of Minecraft like giant spiders, zombies, witches, and skeleton archers. To help the player battle these monsters and others, enchantments for weapons and armor and magic potions were added. Some blocks are even resistant to fire or can defy gravity when placed a certain way. The most recent update, Minecraft 1.7.2, introduced stained glass, new kinds of fish, new trees and flowers, and new biomes.
Minecraft is a versatile game, allowing players to take an adventure to find diamonds and slay the End Dragon to win the game or fly around in ‘creative’ mode to build structures without the hassle of having to search for the materials.
“I haven’t played in a long time,” said Robert Botelho, junior, “but I like how [Minecraft] is open ended with the only limit being the coding. I liked to build real world buildings like castles and churches. I tried to build St. Peter’s Basilica once.”
“I like being creative without having to worry about realism,” said Joseph Gonzalez, senior, “it is a fun sandbox experience with friends. I like building in Minecraft, but I prefer playing on ‘survival’ mode with friends.”
The popularity of Minecraft has grown since its first appearance to the public as an indie sandbox game. It is the subject of many YouTube videogame ‘let’s play’ videos and animation shorts. According to minecraft.net, the official website for Minecraft, 12,596,461 people have bought Minecraft worldwide since its beginning and this number grows every day. In the early stages of Minecraft, surges of players would cause server crashes and slow frame rates in game.