I’ve just taken the time to sit and read an article piece written by Christian Donlan for EuroGamer.net, and below, I send an open letter to him and to all those who have been so quick to jump on the, Microsoft is just an evil corporation trying to take games and ruin them bandwagon.
If you couldn’t guess my stance on the matter from above, let me say it to you, I disagree with the notion that Microsoft purchasing Minecraft is a bad thing for the Games industry. In fact, I think that it is about time that gaming lost the anti-establishment mantra that keeps being banded about until the latest COD comes out and they all go rushing to suckle on the teats of Activision’s swollen undercarriage.
Gaming is going through what can only be described as a renaissance period. Gaming has never been so popular or accessible and it is in the process of taking its place next to cinema, photography and higher art forms in our cultural identity. Gaming is beginning to define who we are and what society means to us. What it is to love, to lose, to hurt, to be scared, all of his can be explored through gaming and Minecraft has it’s place amongst these experiences.
However, my first point to tackle is the idea that all Microsoft innovations are boring and inaccessible.
“Minecraft’s synonymous with creativity and generosity and all the things that don’t come to mind when you’re opening MS Office at 9am on a Monday.”
There are so many things wrong with the above statement. Minecraft can be a force for good and for creation and innovation, but are we all so quick to forget the other side of this coin? The destruction, malice and chaos that comes with it to. To cite just one example, the destruction of the replica built of Denmark. Is it perfectly OK to destroy another persons work and effort simply for your own amusement? This sounds very much to me like one kid kicking over another kids sand castle because he’s an awful person and doesn’t understand creativity.
I make a very bold statement when I say this, Minecraft is a destructive force as much as a creative one.
And to all of the anti-Microsoft/Office people out there (that includes you, Mr Donlan) are you so quick to forget the below?
In a not so distant past, Microsoft was innovative and exciting and it laid the foundations for games such as Minecraft to come in to existence. To me, it feels that to attack Microsoft for wanting to buy Minecraft, is to attack the man who invented the wheel because the car you drive is sh*t.
Another phrase I call into question, “you simply can’t own Minecraft,” followed swiftly by:
“Can you ever really own a game once it’s become popular? Sure. You can own Halo, where the lore is Midichlorian-strength neurobabble and the protagonist looks like luggage.”
I call contradiction on the part of the author. To imply that Halo is not as much a valid game to be valued, understood and enjoyed as much as Minecraft is complete and utter detritus. Halo can’t be valued, and expanded like Minecraft can? You can’t get the same level of creativity? See below is all I can say to this:
“You can play this game as a survival horror if you want. You can play it as an RPG or a nature ramble. Or you can do this, and there are ultimately no words for what this even is.”
I find the above statement to be true about Minecraft, if a little over inflated. Yes, you have open world choice, and yes you can play the game in anyway you can imagine. But you have been able to do the same with Lego for how many years? This is the key thing for me, Minecraft is not innovative. It is a descendant, an evolution possibly, of other mechanics that have been in place long before it came along. Before Minecraft was here, kids played with Lego. Before, Lego, wooden blocks. Minecraft is digitized Lego that can be shared and enjoyed. It is not the pinnacle of gaming.
Donlan talks about, “Whiteark” and has this to say about it as a closing statement:
“I can’t help but feel I have a stake in it, even though I’ve never been there and I will probably never go, even though my only connection to it is that I read about it in a Kotaku article.”
But how can you have a stake in something you have no real connection to? I feel my stake in Albion is held in my loving memories of defeating Jack of Blades and watching the world grow as I did. Each moment in Skyrim was unique to me and it was my quest and my honour to defeat Alduin. Each goal I have scored in FIFA was crafted of my own hand and while some bring more glory than others, I own the experience all the same. Saying that you own a stake in something because you saw it (proxy of someone elses article) doesn’t make any sense. If this is the sense of ownership in Minecraft, I want no part of it.
” I don’t know Notch at all, but he seems like a thoughtful, interesting, and surprisingly level-headed man. Any hate he’s getting, I suspect, is because he’s created something that means very different things to each of its millions of players – every one of which now wants him to service the unique game that they have spent so much time bringing to life.”
My closing point, why is what Notch is doing anything different to Microsoft?
Thoughts/feelings/hate-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org