Minecraft is an open ended multiplayer 3D game world with creative, social and role-playing features.
It has a vibrant global community of players and contributors who create custom modifications and extensions to the basic game and has a large number of fan media like blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels devoted to exploring Minecraft gameplay.
The game is a record-breaking, independently-developed, downloadable game compatible with most computers (Mac, Windows and Linux) and also XBox and iOS devices.
Minecraft is often described as having “bad graphics” and a low-fi style that is both a deliberate “retro” art style and a practical compromise of limited resources, having originally been developed by one guy, “Notch” (Markus Persson from Stockholm).
Minecraft is considered by many to have strong educational potential as players are invited to pursue their own creative goals such as building a house out of raw materials and crafting tools and machines – sometimes with complex electronic “redstone” circuitry. Hunting, fishing, farming and of course mining are what players spend much of their time doing.
The game’s essential appeal is clearly its flexibility and represents a challenge to mainstream video games which typically sink massive effort and expense into movie-quality visuals but a more rigid gameplay that follows a set storyline. Ultimately this means those games can only be played through once or twice.
Minecraft is a “sandbox” game which means it allows players to decide what the goals are. Some like to create, others like to role-play or socialise.