Minecraft Is Much More Than Just A Game
Do a search on YouTube for Minecraft and you come up with millions of results. With these results its not surprising that MInecraft is the most streamed video game in YouTube history.
But what makes this game so popular?
Let's face it, Minecraft's graphics aren't exactly cutting edge, but more people download and play the game everyday. Computer and console game developers make their games more realistic with each new game developed, but Minecraft stays the same.
Every time you start a new game everything is different. New places to explore like rivers, valleys and natural caves.
For those that don't want to explore the game is only limited by your imagination. People have created castles, large towns and cities, underground mine cart systems that work like subways, and even a full replica of the Starship Enterprise.
Little To No Advertising
The game from launch has had no real advertising. You don't see some big budget live active videos advertising the game. You didn't have some big game company basically shoving the game down your throat.
The game was made by one man working on it at night and during the day he worked his real job. This man; Markus "Notch" Persson, had no marketing budget when he launched the game.
The only way this game was advertised for the most part was by word of mouth. Your friends and family told you of this great game, but at first you looked at the game cringing at its graphics. It may have taken you awhile to finally try the game, but once you did you were hooked.
The popularity of the game is driven by the people not by some company out to make more money.
The Game Can Be Coded
The game can be and is regularly coded by the players themselves. "Mods" as they are called can be anything the player can imagine; like changing the way the maps look, making new building blocks, giving the player special powers or even making games that can be played in the bigger world of Minecraft.
Minecraft teaches kids how to program. There is even a company called ThoughtSTEM that has created add-on software called LearnToMod that aims to teach children how to build their own mods.
Using their interface kids can slowly learn how to program getting more advanced as they go, even earning credits at the University of California regardless of age.
The movement to get kids to learn how to code is huge drawing names like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates who support code.org who is trying to get schools to teach programming with Math, Science, and engineering.
In The Classroom
The game is not just a game anymore, even teachers are learning to embrace Minecraft as a practical learning tool.
Joel Levin is a teacher at a primary school in Manhattan and he co-founded a company called TeacherGaming. The company took Minecraft and adapted it so it can be used by teachers in a classroom. This customized version of Minecraft is called MinecraftEdu.
The game is popular with teachers because it teaches lessons hands-on which kids are into already.
The uses of the game in a classroom are endless. Some teachers are using pre-built virtual ancient worlds and assigning students to work in groups to complete quests like fortifying a village against marauders. It teaches teamwork and how to solve problems as a group. The kids even learn a few history lessons about urban planning and warfare without even realizing it. Other teachers are even downloading mods to teach children about gravity, velocity, and other forms of physics. Some even set up giant models of animals cells to teach biology.
With all of this it is no surprise that the game is popular despite its throwback graphics. The game is teaching people in and out of the classroom and has started a fire under the learn to code movement.
If you haven't tried Minecraft yet, you might want to hop on the band wagon before you're left standing alone.