The popular video game Minecraft is undergoing changes to the nature of the user experience, for example, requiring less mining and having dramas play out in the environment between characters not unlike those of the mega franchise Final Fantasy.
The difference between these two games is that Minecraft is popular due to the pragmatic experience of building, constructing, and learning alchemy, whereas Final Fantasy is popular for its elaborate story mode experience.
Minecraft is so open and versatile that people have used its tools to build virtual machines running their own code inside the game.
— Matt Silverman (@Matt_Silverman) February 22, 2015
When Microsoft bought out Minecraft in 2014 and then ported it to the Xbox 360, the uptake was very positive, with 54 million units sold, which, as of June 26, 2014 last year, outsold the original PC version.
Minecraft Goes Videogame In ‘Story Mode’, Inspired By Stampy Longhead
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Kimmy Parris, 21, from Dartford (L) poses as a Creeper from Minecraft with friend Chris Hayne, 26, from Sheffield as a Licker from Resident Evil ahead of the MCM London Comic Con Expo at ExCel on October 26, 2012 in London, England. Visitors to the Comic Convention are encouraged to wear a costume of their favorite comic character and flock to the Expo to gather all the latest news in the world of comics, manga, anime, film, cosplay, games and cult fiction.
ASCOT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Young racegoers play in a Minecraft tournament during Ascot Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and Concert at Ascot Racecourse on August 9, 2014 in Ascot, England.
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: An Xbox 360 Minecraft game is seen at a GameStop store on Septemeber 15, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Microsoft today announced it will acquire video game maker Mojang and its popular Minecraft game for $2.5 billion.
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 15: Daniel Llevara checks out the Xbox 360 Minecraft game at a GameStop store on Septemeber 15, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Microsoft today announced it will acquire video game maker Mojang and its popular Minecraft game for $2.5 billion.
The popularity of Minecraft, however, is not only down to what the company has done for itself. Online celebrities, such as “Stampy Longhead” A.K.A. Stampy Cat, have narrated their experiences within the game, thereby creating their own story mode, by completing missions, constructing games, portals, traps, wars, and generally causing order and mayhem alike in daily uploaded videos. Stampylonghead’s channel has nearly 23 million hits.
— Fat Mamba ¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@superkoolguyy) October 1, 2015
— SetTech (@SetTechFabian) September 26, 2015
The actual story mode of the game may yet be fully exploited as Microsoft and partners are exploring the teaching potential of the game, which would essentially require knowledge of mathematics and science to win. Players will learn to conserve resources, plan ahead, live sustainably and even build communities where players trade in virtual goods.
The story mode will create a more consistent user experience and help new players integrate into the game more quickly learning the more complicated aspects of the game in stages. Story mode is only one aspect of the game, so die hard players will not have to worry about losing the freedom of playing without a pre-defined storyline. And still others will want to continue creating their own mini-stories like Stampy Longhead, whose daily videos bring joy to his many children and adult fans.
There is no doubt the popularity of the videos along with Stampy’s signature voice has driven the move for more built-in drama to the game as players would like to have the same type of experiences that more experienced players enjoy. For example, an expert of the game can create his own worlds, invite others to play in that world and then narrate the whole thing with everyone hearing everyone else. Characters in Stampy’s (AKA Stampy Cat) world include Ballistic Squid and his arch nemesis Hit The Target. Stampy also has a love gargen where fans can be immortalised, but one mustn’t ask to be put in.
The real man behind the voice is no other than 23-year old former bartender Joseph Garrett. His Youtube channel is a prime target for children who love the zany adventures and story lines invented by the players.
The new story mode of Minecraft looks to bring this type of experience to everyone who plays, integrating such types of dramas into the game engine itself, though the original game type without the story line is still available.
As the story of Minecraft itself continues, players are left wondering, “are we all just pixels on a screen?”
[Photos by Joe Readle, Christian Petersen / Getty Images]