Thursday, December 1, 2011

Minecraft: In the Eye of the Beholder...

Minecraft is a strange one. I consider it art, but it’s a very different type of art from most other games. Most games create art in the form of story and emotion-driven conflict, but Minecraft is much more… interpretive. The game is what you make of it.

In Minecraft, there are no characters. There is no story, there is no end goal, and there most definitely is no emotion-driven conflict. When you start the game, it generates a randomized blocky world, drops you in it, and says “go”. So where do you go from there?

That is why Minecraft is what you make of it. You can do what you want, when you want, and how you want. The only thing you have to do in the game is stay alive, because if you don’t, you can’t play. So while you’re alive, what can you do? First and foremost, explore. While the game’s world is blocky, it can be strangely beautiful. The sun rises and sets, weather changes, and there’s plenty of wild life wandering around the world with you. It’s actually quite atmospheric.

Minecraft © Mojang 2009-2011

The most notable aspect of Minecraft is its building system. Almost every block in the world can be destroyed, and when you destroy one, you take its material and can place it back down in the world anywhere you want. This is how you create things—you mine materials, and then build things out of them.

Want to build a house? You can do that. Want to build a mansion? You can do that. Want to build an underground tunnel, a castle, a lighthouse, a river of lava, or a pyramid made of glass? You can do all that too. Minecraft is a game of freedom and creativity, which allows players to shape their experience into anything they want. This is what makes Minecraft an interactive work of art.

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