Minecraft: Java Edition Reviews

Minecraft: The Story of Mojang review

There's a lovely moment very early on in this feature length documentary where footage of the Swedish countryside where Markus "Notch" Perrson grew up segues into the landscape of Minecraft, the bash-and-build indie hit that made his fortune.

It's an obvious edit, but one that hints at an all-important connection between tangible reality and virtual fantasy. In suggesting a source of inspiration for Notch's work, it drags gaming from its realm of ones and zeroes and into a more relatable creative sphere, where the artist draws on their own life and experience to create something universal. Sadly, that brief edit is as close of The Story of Mojang comes to unearthing any great truths about this most modern of phenomena.

That isn't to say it's not a pleasant movie. For fans of Minecraft it contains enough harmless glimpses behind the curtain and enough validation of their passion to justify its existence. It's just not terribly illuminating, and has very little to say that hasn't already been said during Minecraft's meteoric rise. The closest comparison would be the direct-to-DVD promotional films that follow the latest boyband around on tour, offering a veneer of candid insight but mostly serving to tell fans what the singer's favourite colour is.

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Minecraft Review

EssentialMinecraft Review

Built to rule.

How would you review Tetris, if you were reviewing it today? "The puzzling is very tight, and the soundtrack is catchy." That's the thing - Tetris is so much more than that by now, but it's almost impossible to disassociate it from its cultural resonance. Minecraft, the free-form building and survival game, hasn't yet seeped into the global consciousness to the same degree, but it has become something far more than a mere game.

It is one that over four million people have already paid for and played. It is the brightest example of an indie success story you could name, having never been near a publisher or even an investor. Its lead developer, Markus 'Notch' Persson, is all but a celebrity - that one-word nickname guaranteeing instant press and gamer attention for any and all pronouncements it's attached to. There are T-shirts, there are costumes, there are conspiracy theories about an in-game nemesis who doesn't exist, there are podcasts, there are more YouTube videos than one human being could watch in a lifetime, there is a dedicated video commentary site starring a girl with pink hair who has her own frighteningly loyal fanbase.

Identifying quite where the game stops and where its online legend begins is a tall order. Review Minecraft? Might as well review Justin Bieber. ("The hair is very shiny but the voice quite weedy; 7/10.")

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