On every analytical level, Minecraft is a game about building. While inhabiting the game world, a single player is building tools that are then used to create an environment in which to play. The player concurrently builds a more ephemeral structure in the form of the individual story that they experience. On a broader scope, legions of people are playing (and sometimes fighting) with one another in collaboratively built worlds. Minecraft‘s potential for facilitating player driven stories has helped spawn thriving communities of players who delight in swapping tales.
If we pull the camera back even further, so that we can see the entirety of the game and its place amidst its peers, we see that Minecraft has also built something else. Because of its unique structure, design, and creation, Minecraft has constructed a snapshot of the medium as a whole. The game’s player driven structure, rigorous difficulty, and rise to popularity represent an amalgamation of historical and contemporary trends in gaming while also offering hints at what the future holds.