The iconic legacy of Minecraft
Building the legacy of Minecraft... one block at a time.
Let me tell you a story. Of a young Internet Pirate who hadn’t paid for a video game in years, stumbling across a YouTube video. The video showed a world of blocks, skeletons, and a search for diamonds. The young pirate did what he did best, found the game for free and gave it a try. And such was the enjoyment of that game that he quit his pirating ways and spent his hard earned dabloons to buy and support the new indie title.
Minecraft came a long ways since then, and I’ve been with it ever since. From Pre-Alpha when creepers were new, to the acquisition of Mojang by Microsoft, to now with the newest title of Legends on the horizon. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of what is possibly one of the greatest and revolutionary games of the last decade.
This is the iconic legacy of Minecraft.
Born of Blocks and Dreams
On May 17, 2009, Minecraft made its initial release on Java, launching on a TIGSource forum, which is a forum for Independent game developers. After receiving feedback and a few updates here and there, the first Major Update was released as Alpha 1.0.0 on June 30th, 2010. Throughout the life-cycle of Alpha, the game saw the addition of many features. This version of Minecraft differed significantly from the versions with which we are familiar. By Alpha 1.2.6, the game had introduced new features such as Boats, Cows, Chickens, and Slimes, while the Nether was implemented from a Halloween Update that had taken place months previously.
Entering Beta unlocked the doors for the introduction of all new features throughout the versions life-cycle. The world saw the addition of Rain and Snow. The implementation of Creative Mode provided players with new opportunities for creativity. Redstone, the game’s power source, was given all new functionality with Pistons, Trapdoors, and more. Moreover, players were able to sleep through the night with the help of beds, assuming there were no monsters nearby. Beta for Minecraft lasted almost a year, from December 20th to November 11th, and during that time, the game took the Internet and gaming space by storm.
Diggy Diggy Hole
On YouTube, Minecraft was thriving. Everyone was playing the game, everyone was reacting to the content. Some people were telling whole stories within the confines of the blocky game. Others were using it as a method of expression. With Creative Mode people could build gargantuan and highly detailed structures. The brilliant, or insane depending on who you asked, could utilize Redstone to make increasingly complex contraptions, up to and beyond a functional Game Boy. Whole careers were built on the backs of Minecraft Lets Play channels, the freedom of creativity running rampant for the masses to enjoy.
This was also a time of the Minecraft Parody. Back in August of 2011, a talented mind with a creative idea released ‘Revenge’, a parody of Usher’s DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love. A fully rendered Minecraft Music Video, probably not the first, but definitely what sparked the fire of other creatives coming and making their own works. Today Captain Sparklez video has over 281 Million views, and still awesome to listen to.
Changing of the Guard
Nobody likes change, especially gamers. When rumors circulated that Microsoft was seeking to acquire Mojang Studios, many people did not welcome the news with open arms. Many believed that Minecraft was doomed because it would be being bought out by a large corporation. November of 2014 the deal went through and… The rest is history. Minecraft continued to receive updates. Over the years Bedrock Edition, the version made for consoles and mobile devices, would receive numerous updates as well, becoming just as big and more accessible than its Java counterpart.
A true measure of a games success is its ability to go beyond its genre, and not be a flop. During MineCon 2018, the masses would be introduced to a new title under the Minecraft IP. Minecraft Dungeons, a hack and slash dungeon crawling experience that blew fans out of the water. New locations, new enemies and weapons, fast and fun combat all wrapped in a Minecraft package that just worked. In 2020 we got Minecraft Dungeons in our hands, have been trailblazing ever since.
A New Frontier
And now we come to the end of our tale. Recently Minecraft Legends was announced, again branching off from the sandbox world and leaning more into an RTS adventure. I’m looking forward to trying it out and seeing how well it stacks up to its predecessors. The history of Minecraft is dense. Outside of just it’s own gameplay and development, it fundamentally changed gaming for a span of time. It defined genres and spawned influence. Careers in music, art, and coding are birthed in the wake of Minecraft’s creation. Communities formed and friendships forged.
All thanks to a silly little block game.