Honestly, I sometimes wonder how Notch and the rest of the Mojang staff can find the strength to get up in the morning to work on their products, in the face of wave after wave of ill-informed, raving criticism. Especially when the most vehement criticism seems to come, not from those who don’t “get” Minecraft, Scrolls and the like, but from Mojang’s own userbase…
“Why didn’t you add the feature I told you to add?”
“Why are you still charging money? Minecraft should be free!”
“Why are you such a lazy programmer?”
“Why haven’t you fixed the bugs yet?”
What bugs me, when stuff like this is reported in online media, is that there almost seems to be a suggestion that we’re all being tarred with the same brush. I truly don’t know if that’s the intention of the article writers, or if anyone else feels this, but it’s how it seems to me.
So, I’d like to say this: I’m a fan, not a fanatic. And though I can only accurately speak for myself in what you’re about to read, I’m pretty certain that most of my Minecrafting friends are of the “moderate” variety.
When I bought Minecraft, I thought I was just getting a game, albeit one that I really liked the look of, and quickly became hooked on. But I ended up with so much more as a consequence.
I learned about, and became a devotee of, The Shaft podcast – which in turn led to meeting a slew of fun, interesting, cool people. And (given my own self-esteem issues) I was stunned when I found out that a number of them liked me. This truly isn’t false modesty: I honestly feel like I’m a nerd who was invited to the cool kids’ party, but not for them to make fun of me – it’s because they actually appreciate me. I’m proud, and fortunate, to count them as friends – and even though I’ve not met them in person (yet), I hold them all in the same high regard that I hold my “IRL” friends. We hang out in chat, on Skype or Mumble, and follow each other on Twitter (I don’t do Facebook); we play all kinds of computer games, into the night (which works really well with my messed-up sleep cycle). I have a blast, and they’re happy to have me there. This (no offense, Mojang) is perhaps the most delightful part of owning a copy of the game.
As for Minecraft itself, it’s not just a game – it’s proved to be an incredible, ongoing journey. Features are added, taken away, broken, and mended, and I get to be one of those taking this amazing ride, because I paid for a ticket (as it were). I’ve cowered in a hole, with a single heart of health, as I waited for morning (and then died from a single spider attack, the moment the sun rises). I’ve stood atop many a hill in the game, looked down at the vista below me, and marvelled that the blocky landscape I see is so beautiful. And, as I’ve migrated from SSP to SMP, I’ve been inspired by others’ astounding creations, and made blocky creations of my own – as well as making still more friends.
And, of course, it gives me something to write about, and that in itself is something I really enjoy.
[Much of the above, or a similar experience, is quite probably old hat to many. But this is my first time that I’ve been properly part of a game community, so I hope you’ll allow me my enthusiasm.]
But although I’m hugely grateful to Notch for all of these exciting happenstances, there’s something else I’d like to make clear: I’m no butt-kisser, and I never have been. There have been occasions when I’ve disagreed with – and been frustrated by – a change that’s occurred in the game, or in the policies that Mojang has instituted. Some of them, I’ve written about, right here on this blog. But at the same time, I’m pretty sure that I’ve not ranted and raged and screamed about entitlement, or Notch’s so-called shortcomings. And, when I’ve found that my position on something is wrong (as with Jeb keeping the compass pointing at the original spawn point, rather than a new one set by a bed), I’ll happily, willingly, apologise – again, right here in the blog, just as public as my criticism.
I know that there are others out there who are also “moderates” within the Minecraft community, not just within my aforementioned circle of new friends. People with enthusiasm, and a more measured, reasoned way of airing their views than the ones who practically bay for Notch’s blood.
It’s my fervent hope that, in the face of the screaming mob, Notch and the rest of the Mojang team can take heart from those of us with less vehement attitudes.