In our quest to determine video game trends, it is clear that when a game becomes very, very popular, it ceases to be a game. It becomes ‘Non-Game’. I saw this with Pac-Man, with Super Mario Brothers, with Tetris, with Pokemon, with Wii Sports and Wii Fit, and now with Minecraft. Who is making this determination? It is our friends, the hardcore gamers.
When I first played the Minecraft Alpha, I remarked very enthusiastically that the game reminded me of the NES classics like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid in having that FEEL, that feel of a massive world to unplug into, etc. etc. etc. It is no surprise to me that Minecraft has exploded with kids.
But if you look on threads such as this, it is clear that the popularity of the game baffles people. “It is like legos…” “It is just building stuff…” It most certainly is not. Sandbox would be a better analogy but non-scripted gameplay based on what you do is the big pull. It is why we still love playing Civilization and Tetris. In Tetris, every decision you make has ramifications. Didn’t make a line but covered up a hole? Oh oh! You will have to pay for it. The decisions the player makes in Minecraft has ramifications such as ‘where do I build my shelter?’ No one plays Minecraft the same way. Two different people will end up playing different ways. This is why Minecraft videos are so prevalent because the gameplay matches the personality of the player, not the personality of the developer.