The Secret to a Video-Game Phenomenon
Eschewing grit and realism for creativity and simplicity, Minecraft has heralded a new era in which bedroom programmers can bypass publishers and still see their creations become global hits.
All video-game makers are minor gods.
Minecraft embodies few of the video-game fashions that were current when it appeared. Coded in Java, a general-purpose programming language that emphasizes speed and lightness over the grand capabilities of more powerful tools, it features pixelated scenery that has nothing in common with the lifelike, polygon-stuffed characters and objects furnishing the blockbuster video games of the day. There is a certain Lego-like charm and blunt handsomeness to the rectangular clouds that throw shadows on the game’s pea-green hills and the dumpy sheep that roam them. But in an industry traditionally obsessed with chasing realism and authenticity, its kindergarten aesthetic at first appears anachronistic.
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