Minecraft (series)

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Minecraft Logo.png
Basic Information
Mojang AB
Mojang AB, Microsoft Corporation
Digital Download
Android, Fire TV, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Java, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Windows 10, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
United Nations International Release Date(s)
Microsoft Windows, macOS and GNU/Linux
November 182011

Minecraft is a sandbox game created by Swedish game developer Markus "Notch" Persson and released by Swedish video game company Mojang AB in 2011. The game allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D randomly generated world, requiring creativity from players. There are multiple game modes that alter gameplay - including but not limited to Survival Mode (players must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health) and Creative Mode (players have unlimited resources to build with). On November 6, 2014, Minecraft and all of Mojang's assets were acquired by Microsoft for US$2.5 billion.[1]

The gameplay is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and especially Infiniminer.[2][3]

The game is split into four modes: survival, hardcore, creative, and adventure. In Survival, the player needs to eat food to regenerate health, and fend against monsters that appear at night. In Hardcore, the game is locked at the highest difficulty and the player only has one life. In Creative, the player has unlimited resources and the ability to fly and create whatever they desire. In Adventure, blocks cannot be broken unless a proper tool is used.

Minecraft was developed for about a week before its public release on May 17, 2009 on the TIGSource forums, where it gained a considerable level of popularity. It has been continually updated since then.

Java Edition is the original computer version of Minecraft developed by Mojang on the Java programming language.

Bedrock Edition is the multi-platform family of editions of Minecraft developed by Mojang AB and Xbox Game Studios. It encompasses the iOS, Android, Windows 10, Gear VR, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Fire TV platforms. Bedrock Edition was initially released as Pocket Edition for Android on August 16, 2011 and for iOS on November 17, 2011 until the release of version 1.2 (dubbed the "Better Together Update") on September 20, 2017 combined those versions as well as the digital Xbox One, Windows 10, Gear VR, Fire TV, and Nintendo Switch. The final platform to join Bedrock Edition is PlayStation 4, which was released on December 10, 2019.

Legacy Console Edition is a series of Minecraft editions for consoles, was first released for the Xbox 360 as Xbox 360 Edition; December 17, 2013 for the PlayStation 3 as PlayStation 3 Edition; September 5, 2014 for the Xbox One as Xbox One Edition; October 14, 2014 for the PlayStation Vita as PlayStation Vita Edition; and December 17, 2015 for the Wii U as Wii U Edition.

Purchase and availability[edit | edit source]

Java Edition can be purchased through Minecraft's official website, and gift codes can be bought for others.

Bedrock Edition can be purchased from the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Amazon App Store, Microsoft Store for Windows 10, Oculus Store, Xbox Games Store, Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, and the Fire TV App Store.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Minecraft features four separate game modes, each focusing on the core mechanic in a different way: Survival, Hardcore Survival, Creative and Adventure.

Creative is mainly a building simulator, playable in single and multi-player mode. Initially, Creative had no mobs or crafting, but later updates added both. In Creative, mobs that are normally hostile will completely ignore the player.

Survival gives the player a health meter and limits on the number of blocks they can carry or place. Blocks must be acquired in the world before they can be used.

Hardcore Survival locks the player into the hardest difficulty and forces the player to delete the world upon death, similar to many roguelikes. In online multiplayer, hardcore mode automatically bans players from the server upon death.

Adventure originally disallowed mining, but has since been changed to allow block removal using an appropriate tool.

In multiplayer, operators can use a command to switch individual players between Survival, Creative and Adventure modes.

Development[edit | edit source]

The original Minecraft logo and menu.

Minecraft went through six phases of development.

Indev, Infdev, Alpha and Beta are no longer available, and are no longer supported or updated, and the official game has become the main version of the game, with the free version being renamed Classic.

In Minecraft Classic, there was a 3D anaglyph mode where the player could wear a pair of basic "3D" glasses and view the world in a true 3D format.

Classic[edit | edit source]

Classic is the first version of Minecraft. It was dubbed "Classic" to distinguish it from Alpha.

It features a bare-bones version of the creative mode found in later versions, allowing players to build and destroy any and all parts of the world, either alone or in a multi-player server, without the need to worry about being attacked by mobs or avoiding hazards like lava or steep falls. It also lacked the crafting system found in later versions.

The player is given an unlimited number of blocks with which to build, and can place and remove blocks instantly regardless of type. Classic is free to play, though it is not updated.

An official version of the Classic server software is available from the Minecraft website, but several fans have created their own custom servers with extra features.

In Classic, placed sponge repels water, unlike in later versions. Additionally, all water is infinite.

Indev[edit | edit source]

Indev added a number of new features, including an inventory, a crafting system, dynamic lighting, third-person view toggle via the F5 key, farming, and a day-night cycle.

Infdev[edit | edit source]

Infdev added an almost infinite playing surface, as well as more craftable items, more complex cave systems, a dynamic fluid system, and dungeons.

Alpha[edit | edit source]

Only featuring a survival mode – albeit with single and multiplayer variants – Alpha required that the player use the building and mining mechanics as a method of protection from hostile monsters, and as a way to uncover useful ores in the ground. Alpha also included limits on the number of blocks that can be held by the player, using an inventory system, and required that all blocks be mined first rather than giving the player an unlimited supply as in Classic's creative mode.

Different blocks can be crafted into items such as chests, minecarts and tracks, and buckets. There were also plants and animals, which can be farmed and hunted for other resources. The player had an inventory in which to hold blocks and items, as well as a health meter. Health can be restored upon eating certain items and is lost from long falls or attacks by monsters. Upon death, the player respawns at their original spawn point with an empty inventory, though items can be recovered if the player reaches the point of death before they disappear.

Alpha also placed a heavy emphasis on creativity. Players must devise methods of building functional and navigable structures that can withstand the nightly assault from various monsters. The player's short reach and short jumping ability forces players to plan structures carefully, lest they trap themselves or fall to their death during construction. More advanced players can create complex traps and mechanisms using the game physics as well as primitive electrical circuits and logic gates.

Alpha allowed for an effectively infinite horizontal playing surface, though limits existed on vertical movement both up and down. The game world was procedurally generated as the player explores it, with the full size possible stretching out to be nearly eight times the surface area of the Earth before running into technical limits dubbed the "Far Lands".[4] Alpha can be played either with a stand-alone client or in a browser and in either single or multiplayer mode (which is still under heavy development). Minecraft Alpha was expected to move out of alpha status into beta soon, along with a name change.[5]

Some of the features introduced in Alpha include Redstone circuits, the Nether dimension, biomes, new sounds and music, and improved AI pathfinding and spawning

Beta[edit | edit source]

Features in Beta included achievements and statistics, the reintroduction of Creative mode, weather effect (rain and snow), new lighting mechanics, new graphical effects, new combat mechanics, a hunger bar, new naturally generated structures such as strongholds and villages, and maps.

Official[edit | edit source]

On November 18, 2011, Minecraft was officially released under the version number 1.0.0. This phase of development continues to receive updates and improvements, and as of July 2020, the current version is 1.16.1.

Editions[edit | edit source]

Java Edition[edit | edit source]

The original platform of Minecraft that runs on Windows, MacOS, and Linux and started through its launcher. The game was initially released for an "early private singleplayer alpha" on May 16, 2009, with the full version being released on November 18, 2011.

Bedrock Edition[edit | edit source]

The Bedrock Edition (also known as the Bedrock Platform, Bedrock Codebase, or Bedrock Engine) refers to the multi-platform family of editions of Minecraft developed by Mojang and Xbox Game Studios. The engine originated with the Pocket Edition, and has been referred to as "MCPE", "Pocket Edition", or "Pocket/Windows 10 Edition".

Minecraft, with no subtitle, is the title of all Bedrock editions of Minecraft. It includes the Windows 10 Edition, Pocket Edition (for all mobile platforms), Gear VR Edition, and Fire TV Edition.

It was initially released for the Xperia PLAY as exclusive on August 16, 2011 for US$6.99; later it was released for other Android devices on October 7, 2011, and for iOS on November 17, 2011. On September 13, 2012 the Pocket Edition was made available for purchase on the Amazon Appstore. The Windows Phone version was released on the Windows Store on December 10, 2014, followed by a Windows 10 version on July 29, 2015, a Samsung Gear VR version on April 27, 2016, and a version for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV on December 19, 2016.

The Windows Phone version and the Apple TV Edition is discontinued as of September 2018.

Legacy Console Edition[edit | edit source]

Legacy Console Edition refers to the edition of Minecraft for consoles, which was continuously updated by 4J Studios. It was initially released for the Xbox 360 on May 9, 2012, and has since been expanded for Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch. As of December 18, 2018, all versions except the PS4 Edition have been discontinued.

New Nintendo 3DS Edition[edit | edit source]

An edition of Minecraft for the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 2DS was released on September 13, 2017 developed by Other Ocean Interactive. It was available on the Nintendo eShop. Multiplayer is limited to local play. The New Nintendo 3DS Edition was discontinued on January 15, 2019.

Education Edition[edit | edit source]

The Education Edition of Minecraft is designed for classroom use, and is available for Windows 10, macOS, and iOS.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Minecraft has received generally favorable responses. It has been praised for the creative freedom it grants its players in-game, and for how dynamic its overall gameplay is.[6] PC Gamer listed Minecraft as the fourth-best game to play at work in issue 200.[7] A review of the alpha version, by Scott Munro of the Daily Record, called it "already something special" and urged readers to buy it.[8] Jim Rossignol of Rock, Paper, Shotgun also recommended the alpha of the game, calling it "a kind of generative 8-bit Lego Stalker".[9]

On January 12, 2010, the number of registered users reached 100,000.[10] As of September 2010, it has surpassed 620,000 registered users and 140,000 purchases.[11]

Notable Events[edit | edit source]

In September 2010, PayPal froze Notch's account due to "a suspicious withdrawal or deposit". At the time, Notch said there was about €600,000 in the account (about 750,000 US dollars).[12]

As of September 12, 2010, the account has been unlocked.[13]

Herobrine[edit | edit source]

Herobrine is a fake NPC rumored to be Notch's dead brother and also claimed to be a bug. It is claimed that Herobrine is capable of mining and building structures, making 2x2 tunnels, large cobblestone pillars, large 5 block tall, 3 block long letter "E"s out of Glowstone and pyramids filled with torches and deathtraps.

The legend of Herobrine began as a creepypasta but has mushroomed in popularity since then. Although the official Minecraft version changelogs refer to having "Removed Herobrine" from a number of versions, Notch (and later, Dinnerbone) has plainly stated on a number of occasions that Herobrine was never in Minecraft and there are no plans to add him.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mojang AB. Yes, we're being bought by Microsoft. Published September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  2. Persson, Markus. Credits due. Tumblr. Published May 26, 2009. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  3. Handy, Alex. Interview: Markus "Notch" Persson Talks Making Minecraft. Gamasutra. Published March 23, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2019
  4. Persson, Markus (2010-03-19). How saving and loading will work once infinite is in.
  5. Persson, Markus (2010-07-29). I’m going all gaga now, 1000 sales in 24 hours!. Retrieved on 2010-08-03
  6. Reinhart, Brandon (2010-07-28). Is that an Equalizer in your pocket?. Valve Corporation. Retrieved on 2010-07-28
  7. Rossignol, Jim (July 2010). "50 Games to Play at Work". PC Gamer (Future plc). http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/07/05/50-games-to-play-at-work/5/. 
  8. Munro, Scott (2010-07-27). Minecraft (Alpha Review). Daily Record. Retrieved on 2010-08-03
  9. Rossignol, Jim (2010-08-10). Chockablock: Minecraft Revisited. Retrieved on 2010-09-03
  10. Persson, Markus (2010-01-13). 100 000 registered users!. Retrieved on 2010-08-11
  11. Persson, Markus (2010-08-28). Minecraft Stats. Retrieved on 2010-08-28
  12. Quintin Smith. PayPal Freezes MineCraft Dev’s 600k Euros. Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved on 2010-09-10
  13. http://twitter.com/xnotch/status/24378510692 PayPal called. They're going to require a 5% "reserve" of all sales. Unacceptable. But at least they're going to unlock my account.

External Links[edit | edit source]