Looking back through my emails, I’ve found that I purchased the full version of Minecraft on October 4, 2010… a little over a year ago. Back then, it was Alpha 1.1.2_01, as this ye olde archival lithograph illustrates:
It’s been a heck of a year for Notch, Mojang and the Minecraft community. Who would have thought that a game which has not yet been released would sell over FOUR MILLION COPIES? And the whole operation has grown from just Notch, to the creation and growth of Mojang – which has also resisted overtures from a number of “bigger” game companies to absorb them into their own operations. (I still love Notch’s comment in response to Valve inviting him to join them: “I don’t want to join Valve – I want to be Valve!”)
I’ve said it often during the past 13 months, but those people who “get” Minecraft really get it. It’s an acquired taste, but the game really appeals to their sensibilities, and pulls them in. I think my favourite aspect of the game is the beauty of the landscapes which you can find in the game, even before the update to the terrain-generation algorithm 🙂
I still continue to be amazed by the sheer creativity and ingenuity of the community. Whether people are creating astounding mods, constructing epic builds or even using the existing game mechanics in interesting (and sometimes devious) ways, Minecrafters take the game beyond Notch’s original intent, and are generous enough to share their creations with the rest of the community.
And when you get right down to it, there are some truly outstanding people out there in the community, who are not only talented, but are genuinely nice, grounded people (a good number of whom I’m proud to call friends) – and a lucky few enjoy a well-deserved meteoric rise within the community 😀
The two best examples of this latter point that I can produce for you are MinecraftChick and HAT Films. Consider that, from a gaming point of view, MinecraftChick had only played The Oregon Trail, Lydia Winters has come a heck of a long way within the game alone. But her popularity within the community (plus, I’m very inclined to suspect, proper business acumen in her “real-world” life) resulted in Mojang recruiting her to become Director of Fun, enabling her to bring her skills to organising Minecon, and more besides 😀
And then there’s HAT Films… Their funny, cheerfully irreverent Let’s Plays, backed up by their high production values, led to Mojang approaching them to create the trailers for the new releases – and more recently, Trottimus and DJH3Max got to fly to Sweden to meet the Mojang team themselves, and interview them… the first part of which can be seen here 😀
But some of the biggest developments in the community happen outside the game itself. Minecraft has been used to teach mathematics, history, and even English, with Joel Levin (MinecraftTeachr) being at the forefront of this movement to get Minecraft into the classroom. And then there’s community gathering-points, the most notable of which is perhaps The Shaft. Over the past year, Brent Copeland, Wes Wilson and Eric Fullerton have brought listeners some of the biggest and best personalities within the Minecraft world, while the chatroom fills up with still more, gathered from the different centres within the community.
Minecraft has grown from being an amazingly addictive game to a thriving community and culture. It’s an awesome place to be (and to write about), and being part of this is an incredible, unforgettable experience. I’m really looking forward to what the future holds for Minecraft and its wonderful community 😀