Minecraft: 7 Years Later
For many of those part of Generation Z, Minecraft was one of the first survival video games ever played. It was something casual and easy for everyone to play, but throughout the years, it has become exponentially more complex. From its beta release in 2009, to 11th version update this year, Minecraft has changed drastically, aesthetically, conceptually since its founding.
I started playing Minecraft in 2012 using my mom’s now-obsolete iPad. At that time, I didn’t know the difference between the Pocket Edition and the PC version. I just casually played it as any amateur gamer would. To me, the objective of the game was to simply just survive. The Pocket Edition in 2012 had limited features: a pre-set map size, no enchantments or special effects, and no console commands. The world was set with predetermined X, Y, and Z boundaries and there were limited objectives you could complete within that confined space and with the finite number of resources. It was essentially the “lite” version of the PC. I bridged from the PE to PC edition at the end of 2012 and was introduced to insane features such as command blocks, redstone and something called a Wither. Being the underclassman I was in high school, I didn't want to spend time learning all these new features so within the first few months of 2013, I abandoned the sandbox game. I hadn’t reopened Minecraft until January of this year when I was hired to teach modding and game design for the summer. I was directed to install an update for the game which was normal seeing as I hadn’t played it in almost 3 years. However, when I reopened the game, I found myself face to face with completely new entities, blocks, mobs- basically, I was relearning the game from scratch. In those 3 years, Minecraft has added hardcore redstone circuits, commands with arguments and parameters, and complex potion brewing. There were insane mobs that were fatal no longer just by physical contact, but by a visual appearance. No one was simply building a 4x4 base to get them through the night anymore, they were creating castles and dungeons filled with trap doors, hidden rooms, and brewing rooms stocked with goods. The game has turned from a simple day to day survival game to a convoluted story which, in fact, has an ending.
These updates did not only bring a more enhanced gameplay, they also brought a more educational approach to the game. The redstone circuits we once knew to solely power traps are the beginning of a future in electrical engineering and the commands/modifications to the source code are the beginning of a future in computer science. Minecraft may have changed extensively since its conception, but it is still, and always will be, the family-friendly game we all know.