My Love/Hate Relationship With Minecraft

Minecraft is a great game. There is no arguing that. As someone who loved playing with Legos as a kid, I can totally see the appeal of a game that is essentially an infinite amount of many different kinds of Lego pieces, in video game form. I would love to just sit down in Minecraft and build to my heart’s content, mining stone, fighting creepers, and building my world. Yet when I started to play Minecraft, something happened. All of the ideas in my head of building castles and villages seemed less interesting now that I was actually doing them. With Minecraft, I love the idea, but there is something off about it.

Perhaps my biggest issue with Minecraft is that it combines a very open-ended concept with classic video game ideas. Most of the video games I play right now are very directed experiences. Unfortunately, when I play Minecraft, I feel like I am missing something. I feel like my experience is too open-ended, something that would never happen when I was playing with Legos as a kid. Perhaps it is just that I am approaching Minecraft the wrong way; I am playing it like a video game when it is really a tool for creation. Lately, my Minecraft existence has devolved from a short excursion actually in the game to watching Minecraft videos on the internet. Pathetic, I know. For the past several months, I have had to take solace in Rooster Teeth’s Minecraft Let’s Play videos instead of actually playing Minecraft.

But to me, Minecraft is not just a game, but something more. Minecraft represents an important step in the gaming industry in the transition from physical toys to video games. I am sure that the original intent of video games was to create another toy for children, and while video games have developed into much more than simply toys, Minecraft represents an important step, as it is a game that directly emulates a toy, and to most people (unfortunately I am not one of them), it is more fun than playing with building toys like Legos.

I am sure the creators of Minecraft realize the importance of the game they have created, but in my opinion, they must choose a direction for their game to go in. Right now, updates to Minecraft are giving the game even more video game-like features such as experience points, non-player characters (NPCs), and more unique items. The question remains, is Minecraft a video game, or a building tool? In my opinion, Mojang, the developers of Minecraft should keep this “game” more like a creation tool, because creation is what Minecraft does best. I love Minecraft as an idea, but the Minecraft I love is the one where I can build whatever I want, just like with Legos all those years ago.