From the sandbox to the web, Minecraft sweeps across the world

By: Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

In the video game industry, a game’s graphics and difficulty are what set it apart. For Minecraft, it is the simplistic sophistication of both the graphics and the free building concept that allows players to build a world from their imagination.

In May of 2009, Swedish creator Markus “Notch” Persson released the alpha version of Minecraft. The game is set so that players can create a world of their own using the resources of their environment. There are woods, animals, snow-capped mountains and caverns; there really is no limit to one’s creativity in Minecraft.

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In December 2010, Minecraft was released in its beta form, opening to a wider range of players in different countries. The full game was released last November at MineCon 2011.

The game mechanics are simple. Players collect resources, and then assemble them on a crafting table to create new items such as shovels, swords, bows and arrows.

Players can get lost in the simple rhythm of building; a player could start by constructing a simple fence and end with an entire city.

The game allows a person to free themself from the confines of conventional thinking, and lets them ask the question, “what can I do to make my mark on this world?” and “what can I create that might better help me make something else?”

The seemingly instantaneous rise of Minecraft’s popularity is astonishing. It offers players the same feeling one would get playing with a set of Legos, for a fraction of the cost. The game’s retail price is $25 and the amount of time spent on creative design is unlimited and very much worth it.

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