Minecraft has been around for over a decade now and it is one of the most iconic games in the world. Minecraft has crossed borders worldwide and the game has successfully become a household name. It has taken on many forms and is played by people of various backgrounds. This simplistic block based game has sold over 200 million copies and has 126 million active monthly users as of 2020. Minecraft is also the best selling game in the world with a lead of over 65 million copies sold ahead of Grand Theft Auto V. This game is said to never die due to its ability to retain such a high level of popularity in the gaming community after all these years.
Minecraft was created by Markus Alexej Persson who was born on the 1st of June 1971, he was also commonly known as Notch. He began programming at the age of 7 on his father’s Commodore 128 and he had started off by experimenting on text-based adventure games. His first professional job was as a game developer for King and then later for Jalbum. He only started seriously working on personal projects in April 2009 and this was also the time a game called Infiniminer was released. This game would later go on to become the inspiration for Minecraft due to the block like textures and the creative building aspect that makes the game so charming.
Later on the 10th of May 2009, Cave Game was under development and it was inspired by an earlier game that Notch had produced which was called RubyDung. The prototype was designed to visualize the internal cave system and generation, hence the name Cave Game. The name was later changed to Minecraft: Order of The Stone and finally shortened to become Minecraft. The first version, 0.0.10a of the game was finally made public on the 17th of May 2009 and it was called Minecraft classic. The game was received generally well due to the sandbox and free world concept.
The lack of storyline or agenda made the game almost timeless in a sense and it promised a bright future as a constant stream of updates could continue to keep the game interesting. The game was already considered addictive even during the earlier stages and the game initially had no logic or direction as the concept of Minecraft at the time was just a couple types of blocks and a flat world. Starting on the 21st of May accounts were being registered and multiplayer mode was added in early June and later survival mode was added to the game. As of the end of 2009, Minecraft had sold 3607 copies thus the game had generated a total of €18000.
The game would continue to undergo numerous updates and new items were added to the game every Friday. Finally Minecraft was fully released on the 18th of November 2011 and it was later expanded to mobile devices and consoles. On November 6 2014, Minecraft was acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion and Notch finally left Mojang altogether. The two most popular versions of the game is Minecraft Java edition as well as Bedrock edition. There are also variants of the game that are used by school systems, programmers and other professionals. Minecraft may be the brainchild of a talented programmer but there were many other external factors that contributed towards the success of Minecraft.
Design and Music
Minecraft has become iconic due to the block like nature of the game but the reality is the game was in fact far more advanced compared to others released at the time. The voxel pixel design provided a 3-D effect that many indie titles were lacking. The block design and pixelated aesthetic paired with various color palettes and textures allows the games to take a new form and provides a tremendous sense of freedom in regards to designing mind bending structures. World edit has allowed individuals to create the most iconic structures and the ambience that has been created is not too heavy on the eyes allowing people to embrace the world in VR as well.
Markus Toivonen and Jasper Boerstra were the main artists who worked on the primary textures we see in the game today. Minecraft has close to 400 unique items and with every major update over 20 new blocks may be added to the game. Some blocks may have static textures such as wooden planks, cobblestone stairs and dirt but some blocks are animated such as water, the nether portal and seagrass. Every block seems to live in unison and the plethora of blocks when used correctly are able to brilliantly compliment each other. All this was taken into account during the design process, allowing for players to create new structures that resemble real world architecture.
The music in Minecraft is designed by Daniel Rosenfeld who is a German composer who also goes by the name of C418. The music featured in the game is so easily recognized as well as timeless. The soundtrack has little to no percussions and the music is designed to create a peaceful atmosphere. Some his most popular tracks such as Sweden and Minecraft are composed with strings and synthesizers. These songs invoke a sense of melancholy and the piano creates a sense of infinity and allows the player to experience a wanderers mind. The soundtrack in Minecraft allows for a sense of immersion and over time the music is embedded into the back of the mind.
The music is played in intervals randomly and some are specific to the overworld or the nether but the soundtrack in Minecraft is paired brilliantly with the visuals of the game. Even the music discs in Minecraft are composed by C418 and some of the most notable ones are ‘Mellohi’ which is more of a waltz due to the 3/4 time signature. Mall features drums loops, bass synths and a soft piano while ‘Stal’ has a jazz vibe due to the saxophone being the main component. Finally, ‘Wait’ is a favorite amongst many as it was one of the earliest discs to be added to the game and it was originally known as ‘Where Are We Now’.
Resource packs are a way for the users to take control of the game. They allow players to customize textures, models, music, sounds, language files, end credits, splash texts and fonts without modifying Minecraft’s code and this feature primarily exists for the java edition. More experienced programmers are able to completely transform the atmosphere of the game and keep the game fresh and interesting by adding in new dimensions of depth to the gameplay. Minecraft Bedrock also offers this feature however the code is written using C++ thus less resource packs exist for this version.
Minecraft has been modified since the beginning even before the official release. One of the most historic mod packs in Minecraft is the Lucky Block mod and this basically brings in a gambling aspect to the game and is an appealing mod for those who like to take risks. The Pixelmon mod was also quite popular and as the name suggests, it imports the features of Pokémon into Minecraft and the mod was created in 2013 but it has since made a resurgence in many YouTube videos as of 2021 due to the sheer concept behind the gameplay.
The next one that has managed to gain a spot in history is the Girlfriend mod. This mod was used heavily in many YouTube videos and the original mod worked by giving the ‘girlfriend’ a rose and she would fight off mobs as well as other girls due to jealousy. The Biomes of Plenty mod adds a brand new depth to the game and the mod pack has over 35 million downloads due to it’s popularity on many SMP servers. The Aether mod was released in 2011 and it was a brand new dimension in the skies. The creator Kingbdogz has since been hired by Mojang due to the complexity of the mod pack.
The Twilight mod is also a perfect addition to the game as it adds on a a brand new dimension with dungeons and bosses to add new elements for a longer gaming experience. The Lost Cities is another mod pack that was added to a larger mod pack known as RLCraft and this mod was deemed to be the hardest version of the game to beat and a solid reason why is due to the addition of dragons and mutant creatures. Overall, mods really can bring a new breath of fresh air for veteran players to stay interested in a game after years due to the creativity of the Minecraft community as a whole.
Minecraft maps have become an integral part of the community and many talented players have released some of the most iconic maps in the past decade. Some take months to be created and are still played today by millions due to the creativity behind some of these ideas. One of the most historic maps to be created was the survival island map that dates back to 2010 and some other notable concepts that would crop up in the coming years were the dropper, sky block as well as prisons. Later in 2011, the Temple of Notch was released and it was downloaded over 920k times and it was one of the most popular maps at the time.
In 2012, the Hunger Games map held an extreme amount of influence especially since more people were playing Minecraft in multiplayer mode. This map was released following the release of The Hunger Games movie on 21st March 2012 as the concept seemed extremely functional for all multiplayer games. Another famous game mode was The Walls and this map was played by 4 individuals who were placed in their own quadrant to gather resources before the wall would be dropped and players were forced to fight to the death. Another popular adventure map was Herobrine’s Mansion and this map would take hours to complete due to the intricate puzzles and boss battles.
In 2013, Cops and Robbers 4 was all the rage and it was first made popular by SkyDoesMinecraft. This was another map that managed to showcase the fun of Minecraft maps when played with friends. Later in 2019, Diversity 3 was released and is is considered to be the most technically challenging map to be released. In 2020, Breakout was released and it was considered to be an iconic escape map. Another iconic adventure map at the time was Castle to None played by 3-6 players as a cooperative raid map. Overall map downloads truly gave the game a new light and it increased the playability of the game due to the creative worlds that were being created by the community.
Texture packs change the pixel based design of the game and often times this allows for the game to take on a brand new light. The color palette can be altered to fit the stylistic needs of every individual. Some may have more subtle changes while others take a completely different direction and choose to cater for niche groups. Some of the most notable texture packs are Quadral which is a vibrant texture pack that doesn’t stray too far from the default game aesthetic. Anemoia is a bit more extreme and this pack tries to achieve a psychedelic vibe changing the color scheme of most blocks.
Annahstas Beastrinia goes for a Pokemon aesthetic and most of the work is done for the textures of friendly creatures. There are even pokeballs added in this pack and the game loses the block like aesthetic as the resolution is bumped up to 32x. Sapixcraft allows the resolution to go up to 512x and the entire pack is extremely vibrant. RetroNES on the other hand goes for a retro look by emulating the design of old NES/ retro games. Finally on the list is JoliCraft which provides a whimsical or fairytale vibe to the game and this one is available on the Bedrock version. Ultimately, texture packs have allowed Minecraft to be seen in the most creative manner by millions.
Another integral aspect that contributed to the rise of Minecraft is multiplayer servers. Minecraft is the game it is today due to the cross platform playability that exists between console, mobile and pc versions of the game. Servers have existed in the game since the official release and realms were later released in 2014 allowing for users to play together on a subscription model. The size of servers vary as some servers may only cater for a small group of friends while others may be available for players worldwide. One of the most popular servers in Minecraft as of 2021 is Hypixel with admins earning nearly $100k annually making the job as server operator or admin quite desirable.
The oldest Minecraft server to exist was nerd.nu and the server was released in June 2010 which ran on version 0.0.16a_02. The map is currently on the 35th revision due to multiple updates that happened since 2010. The oldest anarchy server on the other hand is 2b2t and it is still running to this day. The server was started by ‘Hausemaster’ in 2010 and the server has literally no rules with many considering the player base to be tremendously toxic. The server was heavily popularized due to 4chan and Reddit, roping in individuals with hacking and coding knowledge.
Today there are many more Minecraft servers that cater towards more niche groups such as SciCraft which focuses on the technical side of Minecraft with many of the members being engineers and programmers. Other SMP servers that have grown in popularity are SMP Earth, SMP Live and Dream SMP in which all those servers are merely a a group of friends having fun and creating fully blown out character arcs much like modern day TV soap operas. Other technical vanilla servers include Hermitcraft which was created in 2012 and popular modded servers include X Life or One Life.
Other popular servers follow common concepts involving skyblock, tnt run, prisons, hide and seek as well as bedwars. There are of course many other popular server concepts which have come and gone over the years. Some have stayed due to the fanbase while others have perished as the trend died down. Minecraft servers may just be the best addition to the game, allowing users to interact in their own space and have a good time. Both survival and creative servers have their own appeal and cater towards different groups of people. Minecraft servers were definitely the cause of success when it came to the game blowing up on YouTube.
Minecraft gained popularity on YouTube during the early days in 2009 and during this time even YouTube was still quite a new platform. Notch had first uploaded the video of what would be Minecraft on YouTube and titled the video ‘Cave game tech test’. Even during the early release, users had uploaded videos on the game on the version 0.011.a which wasn’t even a playable version due to the non existent game mechanics. Most of the early videos on the game were tutorials or advertisements to explain the concept of the game to viewers. The concept of the game may get stale soon but people continued to watch the content due to the personality of creators.
Minecraft commentary Lets Play started in 2010 and some of the most renown names at the time were davidangel64 (X’s Adventures in Minecraft), SeaNanners and YOGSCAST. As the block palettes became more extensive, the game slowly became more appealing to create expansive builds. It took hours to create a simple build in survival due to the lack of enchantments and sprinting. When Beta was released, Youtubers got the opportunity to review modded maps and check out custom content made by their subscribers. Minecraft was a game with no direction and it was up to the content creators to come up with their own storyline to reach the end and build up meaningful characters throughout the playthrough.
YouTube would also introduce the music videos genre for the game and bring in an aesthetic appeal to the game due to the sandbox concept in which the creators could build specific settings to tell a story through Minecraft animations. Some creators catered towards kids while others may be a little less PG. Creators such as ExplodingTnT managed to garner 5 mil subs without even speaking a single word in his videos. Minecraft slowly became a huge multiverse containing many plotlines with collaborations along the way but every high has a low and for YouTube content, that happened in 2018.
When Minecraft hit bedrock, many creators started to feel shameful of their content as Minecraft was considered to be a child’s game. As creators grew up, many decided to step away from Minecraft and also during this time Fortnite had experienced a huge increase in popularity. The game later peaked once more and was revived in 2019 due to creators such as CallMeCarson and Pewdiepie. The community started getting more technical when it came to content production with many personally coding their own data packs in the game to add in new features.
The Crackhead Side
A game that exists for a decade surely has a weird side to it and some trends have surely died over the years. The crackhead side to Minecraft is often times the most nostalgic aspect of the game with many content in this genre threading the line without being too edgy. Many original creators would push the boundaries and do insane things to set themselves apart form the rest. Players would also go through a weird rebellion stage during the growth of the game over years and it can be considered the teenage years of the game.
Minecraft trolling started off in 2012 but trolling in general had existed since the 1980s. Trolling would sometimes be harmless but other times it’s a bit more cruel. Trolling amongst friends was popularized by SkyDoesEverything in his series called MinePranks. This type of trolling was done for a couple of laughs and some other channels that would continue on this same formula would be ZexyZek. Later on there would be a toxic aspect to trolling in which people would destroy other people’s creations and posting the reaction of kids crying on YouTube. This would be considered bullying today but it may just be a beta move to cry over a videogame.
Today trolling videos no longer exist as many of these trolling channels were shut down by YouTube due to edgy content. Such videos were considered bullying and it violated community guidelines as more users started forming their own moral compasses. YouTube had successfully eradicated trolling from the platform due to policy changes and social guidelines so it is safe to say, Minecraft trolling will never return. Trolling has unfortunately become synonymous with bullying. This genre peaked in 2013 and will continue to be at an all time low for the foreseeable future.
Hacking is popular in pretty much every game, but Minecraft has some of the most sophisticated hack clients. In 2009, a client called World of Minecraft was used to fly faster in creative mode but later when survival was released, inventory edit slowly gained popularity and this was abused for SMP servers. Invincibility was pretty much the most OP hack for a survival server and Nodus was later developed as a free hack client allowing players to gain some of the most technical hacks. Nodus also worked well due to the lack of anti cheat plugins for servers with the exception of 2b2t which is a server that basically existed on the premise of hacking.
Hacked clients with kill aura and block hitting truly changed the PvP game mechanics as players without a hacked client didn’t stand a chance at all. Later on more plugins were created to battle the cheats and client developers had to tweak their hacks to bypass anti cheats. Currently Baritone is the most high tech hacks that works based off AI allowing players to do pretty much anything whilst being AFK and this program was originally designed by Impact. As cheats become more advanced, players will continuously try to abuse the game so it is up to no cheat plugins when it comes to maintaining the fairness of multiplayer servers.
Glitches are the more socially acceptable version of hacking and glitches in Minecraft have long been exploited by technical players. Minecraft Classic 0.30 only had creative mode and the first glitch to exist was used to crash the game by using a flying glitch. Lave and water were capable to flood the entire world due to extremely fried game mechanics early on. Minecraft Infdev has what is known as FarLands and this was created when maps in Minecraft were infinitely generated. Players who managed to make it to the world border, would end up stuck as the blocks did not allign due to to a coding error and it is considered as one of the most cursed ‘biome’ in Minecraft.
Flying pigs were also a glitched game mechanic for Minecraft Alpha alongside flying minecarts and wood duplication through the boat hack. For Minecraft Beta 1.7 the first useful glitch was discovered and sticky pistons would allow for block duplications. Nether portals would also allow for item duplication when items are crafted while travelling through he portal and the duplicated item would in fact be infinite. Water could also be smuggled in the nether through the use of ice blocks causing huge lava lakes to be easily traversed.
The X-Ray glitch was created through the use of glowstone and this glitch today is found in popular hack clients. For the console version, the manual save feature allows for takebacks when it comes to enchanting tools or armor. Later, the ender dragon farm was created to gain insane amount of XP allowing players to reach the max limit of 21863 levels. Glitches exist due to the creativity of players and it’s safe to say, there will never be a Minecraft version without a glitch but that just makes the game even more charming.
Minecraft remains a timeless classic due to the flexibility that exists and the amount of potential probabilities that exists within the game. Minecraft will continue to become a more intricate game as more updates are released and the community that plays the game will allow for more content to be continuously created. Minecraft is such a sustainable game due to the creators who are able to introduce new players of all age groups by creating various forms of content on YouTube and Twitch. So long as people are able to capitalize on the sandbox concept of the game, Minecraft content will never get stale.
There are very few video games that have managed to withstand the test of time as it is understandable that the initial hype of a game cannot continue for numerous years but Minecraft has managed to exploit that algorithm and remain on top. Even at the lowest point, Minecraft was far from dead due to the loyal player base and the game continues to keep players interested even after many years. Such a timeless classic will surely go in the history books assuming the game eventually disappears into oblivion due to lack of support. The acquisition by Microsoft however promises a long life expectancy for the game due to infinite resources available at the hands of a billion dollar company.
Minecraft successfully combined different aspects of videogames into an intricately designed system. Building, PvP, survival, coding and many more exist in one package allowing Minecraft to appeal to virtually anyone. It may take quite some time before another developer manages to incorporate the same level of flexibility whilst maintaining the same level of quality into a brand new game. Markus Person may have started of the game with humble beginnings but he was definitely a visionary in his own right. Minecraft may just be the game that will never die as even after a decade, it continues to increase in popularity worldwide.
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