Why I Still Play Minecraft

I’ve been trying to work out how long it is since I started playing Minecraft. I wasn’t one of the first players to start playing when the original version came out, but looking through the update names I can remember the “Pretty Scary Update” coming out which was in 2012 and I was playing for a couple of versions before that. However, 1.2 and 1.3 also came out in 2012 so let’s just say it was ten years. This fits with what I remember about where I was when I started.

You would think after 10 years I’d have a pretty good grasp of the game mechanics and perhaps even have some sort of speciality, and area of gameplay that I could consider myself to be highly adept in. You would be wrong.

I am fortunate enough to to play on a couple of servers with other people who have such deep knowledge of gameplay and mechanics that I spend a lot of time feeling stupid (as I check how to craft and enchantment table for the 1,000th time). But despite my ocean of ignorance I still love playing Minecraft. The question is why? What has made this game so enduring for me and for thousands of other players?

1. Simple at the Core

Start a new world in Minecraft and the game is simple. Run around. Punch a tree. Craft some tools. Build a shelter. Get more materials. Get upgrades on tools and armour. And so on. All with a few clicks of a mo… CREEPER!
This simplicity is what makes the game accessible to so many players.

2. A Never Ending Story

Cue Limahl! Once you get your first base built (for me it’s typically a hole in the side of a mountain) then things start to expand. Consider building a bigger base, start farming crops and animals, explore uncharted biomes, collect more resources or, dare I say it, set off on a quest to defeat the Ender Dragon! The scope of activities is almost limitless in what is the only true sandbox game on the planet. And the best part of this never ending story is that it’s yours. You can set the rules by which you will play.

3. Always Something New

I spent my twenty bucks a long time ago for my Minecraft license – 10 years apparently and for that I have had hours, days – probably weeks or months – of gameplay. The game is now in version 1.19 (Caves and Cliffs update) and there have been so many additions along the way. Every year something new comes out that adds new items or blocks, modifies gameplay or in the case of the latest update – changes everything! All this for $20. Money well spent.

4. Extensibility

You can enjoy all that Minecraft has to offer on a simple world on a local computer and still have a vast sandbox to play in. Whether you’re and builder, an explorer, a red stone contraption engineer there is plenty to do. But the added benefit once your start to scratch beneath the surface is that of data packs and mods which can do everything from subtle game changes (like no more floating leaves) to change the way mobs behave or give you a mini-map so you can see where the mobs are in relation to you.

5. Community

Last but not least, you can’t mention Minecraft and not mention the community. It is one of the few games where both development and content is driven by the community of players. And of course it is a huge community. In 2020 it was estimated that there were 131 million active monthly users of Minecraft (across the various platforms) and that is more than the population of Mexico by about 5 million! And the community, for the vast majority of it, is very supportive, teaching and learning from each other.

So I think that’s five good reasons as to why I’ve played Minecraft for so long. What are yours?

1 comment

  1. Great thoughts on the subject. I love that it’s creativity you can play with without having to put it all away and clean up for dinner. I have lots of messy, clutter-filled creative hobbies. This has supplanted most of them. And, of course, the people. Minecrafters are a community like no other. I love playing with them, and you, Skelly! Thanks!

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