With both the highs and lows of last year already (somewhat) covered, the next instalment of RKD’s 2010 retrospective series tackles a game that needs no introduction. Seriously. It’s right there in the title of the post.
Fraser: What will be remembered most from 2010? Perhaps Minecraft, although it has a ways to go before it becomes the kind of game that will interest a great number of people as a traditional game, rather than a generator of stories and funny videos.
Tristan: We could just as well fill this post with our favourite Minecraft-related YouTube clips, and it’d say a lot more than we’d ever muster.
Harry: The argument for Minecraft’s current worth could go either way. Personally, I think the spread of personal accounts and amusing videos hold all the more weight and fascination when it takes place in a world someone has constructed on their own. That you don’t even have to be interested in playing the game to eke some entertainment out of this phenomena is an all the more noteworthy evolution of videogames as a “spectator sport”, or a form of public play.
It’s one thing to create a narrative of sorts in an already rigidly defined game, but it’s a completely different thing when such player-created experiences are the whole point of a game. With promises of a ‘story’ and ‘goal’ to eventually be patched in, I’m concerned that future updates to Minecraft might ruin that magic.
Tristan: The most interesting part about Minecraft is not so much the game. Rather, it’s the seemingly unintentional grassroots (dare I say ‘viral’) marketing and how ridiculously well the game has managed to insert itself into the online collective consciousness; and as a result just how many copies it has managed to sell. That’s the really interesting story. I’ve got friends who are ‘occasional gamers’ and even they’re into it. In many ways it’s perfect for the types of people that don’t keep up with the general gaming landscape but are prepared to throw all their time into one game in a Sims-like manner.
Daniel: As I’ve been saying for a while now, the ‘game’ part of videogames is often the least interesting, and Minecraft again proves my point. Videogames are experiences above all else, and I think you’ll be waiting quite a wait before Minecraft offers up a game as well designed and balanced as something like poker or Counter-Strike.
Harry: In a year where a game like Minecraft sweeps the compulsion and free time of so many, and yet — come ‘Best of’ awards time — is still relatively ignored in light of the brick-and-mortar best-sellers… that says a lot more about the structure of games criticism and its audience, than anything.
There definitely seems to be this strange division between hard-copy games that are bought in a store and games that are purchasable exclusively via digital means. As if the delivery of the product should automatically restrict it’s merit and scope.
Fraser: Would you consider giving an award to a game that’s barely a month out of its alpha stage of development?
RKD’s 2010 retrospective series has barely started and already we’re making demands. Tomorrow we tone down our self-service and word counts, as we pay tribute to the portable games that saved so many public transport trips.
- RKD on… 2010: Part 1 – The “meh” year that was?
- RKD on… 2010: Part 5 – Dealing with death
- RKD on… 2010: Part 6 – Social constructs