Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Building Creativity

Minecraft logo.svgIn May of 2009 Markus "Notch" Persson took the gaming world by storm with his release of the very creative Minecraft. Minecraft is a sandbox video game in which the player is tasked with a simple mission: Be creative. When you start the game you are immersed into a random world that the game generates for you with nothing but your hands and feet. The world is composed of an infinite number of blocks, which can be made of just about anything (grass, sand, trees, stone, minerals, and even animals). Minecraft takes the phrase "The world is what you make it" absolutely literally. The point of the game is to destroy certain blocks in many disperse locations (collect resources) and then use those blocks to create whatever your creative mind desires while defending yourself from monsters.
The creator of the game, Markus "Notch" Persson, has always had a passion for indie games, which are essentially just video games created without the backing of a large publishing company. He actually quit his job at two of the largest game companies in Sweden, Avalanche and Midasplayer, in order to pursue indie games. His explanation for this is that he believed the lack of funding fostered creativity and allowed for game developers to "focus on new and interesting gaming concepts rather than on elaborate graphics and expensive manuscript." He was also swayed by the fact that the developers had complete control over their projects. His intrinsic motivation to create "the best game possible" was far greater than anything any extrinsic motivation could give him (money, fame, etc.). 

Example of a player built world
The game was initially inspired by another Indie game by the name of Infiniminer where the object of the game was to collect more resources than the opposing team. What especially inspired Persson was the layout of this game. It was a first person game in which the graphics consisted of cube blocks made out of different materials. Persson had to build off of this. He created a game with the similar block designs but expanded greatly on the game. Instead of having an objective competition based game he changed the format into a game more focused on exploring a never ending world, creating extravagant contraptions, and fighting off monsters at night. 

This also goes a long way for people that aren't very interested in video games. Parents often quarrel with their children over video games that are too violent. Parents are afraid that children will pick up on some of the violent behavior they see in these games or at the very least become more aggressive as they are exposed to a vast amount of aggression and violence. Children, on the other hand, don't want to give up their fps (first-person shooter) games because they are arguably the most fun to play. As a pretty seasoned gamer, I can attest to this. Minecraft is a win-win for the parents and the children. It lacks any serious violence and even promotes creativity. Players compete to see who can have the "coolest", most creative world. The children win because the game is a blast. As a prior skeptic of how fun a building block game could be, I can proudly say that I have spent more time playing Minecraft than any other game I have played. Once you get started on a project you simply cannot step away from the controller. The game is a reflection of your creative self, which is truly the beauty of it. Here are some cool creations by strangers united by a common goal: To build.

How cool is this??????

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  1. I have played my fair share of this game, but had no idea the creator of the game had to risk it all on this game by quitting his job. I am glad that he took that risk because of the great game he ended up creating.

  2. I think it is really special that this man's creativity allows so many others to be creative. I don't play this game myself, but my brother does and I have heard a lot about it. I have also seen some of the amazing worlds that users have built, such as King's Landing from Game of Thrones, lands from Lord of the Rings, and various replicas of major cities. The possibilities in this game are endless and it amazes me how one person's idea can result in so many other great creations.


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