I understand I have a tomb in Minecraft. I haven't been to see it yet, but they tell me it's there, waiting for me should those who care for me, upon my eventual demise, decide to inter me in a digital game world. The game may not yet be complete, but at least I have a tomb. I'm as proud as I can be.
The Minecraft phenomenon has been startling to observe. This massive, participatory experience came seemingly out of nowhere, created by a lone programmer, and even in its unfinished state, it has garnered more support form more gamers who have logged more play hours with it than most other online games combined. Not since Second Life has the game industry been so abuzz about such a seemingly simple, yet massively revolutionary creation. Unlike Second Life, however, Minecraft can actually be fun.
Minecraft is teaching us all over again that most people, if given a chance, will participate in an actively creative experience. Most people want to build and do, but lack the tools to start from scratch. Enter: Lego, Lincoln Logs, Play-Doh, finger paints, Erector Sets and now Minecraft. What are the limits of this new medium? I look forward to discovering.
This week we dedicate our magazine to Minecraft. Brendan Sears explains how Lego's evolution made room for Minecraft, James Bishop identifies four distinct types of Minecraft players, Michael Fiegel describes the harrowing first 15 minutes of the game and our own John Funk tells the story of a group of players who're spending countless hours painstakingly recreating Oblivion's Imperial City in Minecraft. Enjoy.