So, what is Minecraft?

So, what is Minecraft?
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

October 28th 2010 at 10:38AM

Markus Persson attempts to cram his explosively creative game in a nutshell

While the logic of Minecraft’s dazzling success has left many observers somewhat bewildered, its simple freeform mechanic is a little easier for spectators of the phenomenon to grasp. So what is Minecraft?

“The easiest way to describe it is usually just to describe the gameplay,” suggests the title’s creator Markus Persson in a new interview with Develop.

“Basically, it’s a huge world made up of one-meter blocks of different materials, like wood or dirt or stone or water. You can pick up these blocks and use them to craft items or build houses with. Then there are monsters to fight, treasures to find, and mine carts to ride.”

Minecraft’s world is one where generating content is to all intents and purposes the end experience.

It is a virtual construction kit steeped in the jagged aesthetics of the 16 and 32-bit eras, and thrives in letting users build and destroy landscapes that make furiously enthusiastic nods to the kingdoms made famous by Miyamoto and his contemporaries.

But Persson’s creation is more than a paint set of sky blues and grass greens where fan-boys can sketch three-dimensional love letters to Nintendo.

It is a flexible pallet that lets users escape stylistic confines, and as an eager army of beta testers are already proving, it’s capacity for the original and surreal is immense.