The 18th of November, 2011. For many people it was a completely normal day of no consequence. But for the world of video games, everything changed on this date with the release of a game that, on the surface, seems fairly simple. We are of course talking about Minecraft.
Now you might be thinking that it is hyperbole to say that the world of video gaming was changed forever because of Minecraft. But we can assure you that few games have had quite the impact on, not only the world of gaming, but the entirety of modern society than Minecraft has. Most people still think that Minecraft is just another video game. But today I aim to prove to you why it is so much more than that.
The World’s Most Popular Game
The hobby of gaming has become incredibly popular over the last twenty years. A recent study found that there are roughly 2.96 billion gamers on the planet now. That is a huge percentage of the total population of the planet. So if gaming is that popular it would be safe to assume that the most popular game on the planet would be a very impactful and influential one, right?
Well it might shock you to learn that Minecraft is considered the most popular game in existence. Factually speaking it is the most sold game, having sold a staggering 238 million copies since its release. Most games could only ever dream of achieving sales like that.
Pioneering Survival Multiplayer
If you have logged into Steam in recent years you will have noticed a trend of survival multiplayer games appearing all over the place. Most people assume they were made popular by DayZ or Rust, and it’s true these titles did a lot of good for the genre. But the real spearhead of the survival multiplayer genre was Minecraft.
At its heart, Minecraft is a survival multiplayer game. While the single player experience is very fun, the game is designed to be better with friends. And you need only take a look at this list of Minecraft survival servers you can play on to see just how popular the gamemode still is. The big inspiration that a lot of survival games took from Minecraft was the addition of crafting and building. These days you’d struggle to find a single survival game that doesn’t feature these two key elements.
Changed The Education World
It isn’t uncommon for video games to be utilized in the world of education. Heck, even Mario had a game that taught young children how to type properly. From learning history from the Total War series to improving their logical thinking skills with Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, children have been learning from video games for years.
And Minecraft is no exception to this. So much so that many schools have actually started incorporating Minecraft into their curriculums. But what benefits does Minecraft have in education terms?
Minecraft encourages children to use their imagination to build complex creations out of blocks. It also teaches them organizational skills and problem solving. The redstone systems within the game can help children learn the fundamentals of computing. And the worlds of Minecraft can provide a basic education about nature. It’s no wonder the game is so well received by teachers.
There are hundreds of games released every year that fade into obscurity within a few months. Destined to sit on the shelves of the second-hand games store forever more. But Minecraft has had such a huge impact on popular culture that it will never be forgotten. Even when I was traveling the world I always saw a child wearing a Minecraft shirt or a market stall selling Creeper plushies. If you ever wanted proof that Minecraft is more than just a video game, this would be it.
It Created Social Spaces
Socialization can be hard for a lot of children. Millions of kids struggle to fit in at school due to shyness or any number of other social disorders. And previously there was no refuge for these kids. But Minecraft changed that.
The popularity of Minecraft paired with its emphasis on multiplayer teamwork lead to a new social world being created. Suddenly the kids who had nowhere to call their own were making their own worlds. The kids who struggled to make friends in real life were bonding with their new crafting companions.
It Spawned Multiple Spinoffs
When a game becomes as popular as Minecraft it is only natural that the parent company, in this case Microsoft, wants to cash in on that popularity. And sometimes merchandise isn’t enough. This is where spinoffs come into play. And Minecraft has seen its fair share of successful spinoff titles.
Minecraft dungeons was a unique take on the Diablo style dungeon crawler. This genre had always been quite inaccessible for younger audiences. But Minecraft dungeons bridge that gap. Minecraft Story Mode took a game with no narrative and created a compelling and engaging story that let players choose their own path. And I guarantee we will see more Minecraft spinoffs in the years to come.
The Boundless Creativity
The true testament to Minecraft being more than just a video game is the incredible things people create within it. Just recently someone created a model of the entire universe out of blocks. Another group managed to build the entirety of Middle Earth. Minecraft is more than just a game. It is a tool for true creative expression. It allows people to channel passion into something beautiful. So if you need more proof of how important Minecraft has become to the world as a whole, just take a look at some of the amazing projects people have created.