I’m a massive fan lately of minecraft, it’s quite an addictive game (even has my 8yr son hooked on its crack). It’s a game made by a swede named “Notch” who basically by all accounts slapped the game together during some off time he had.
The game now has millions of subscribers all paying their once-off fee to buy and the part that really threw me for a loop was he made it in Java…. Oh Java, how I often reflect on your greatness (pre-Microsoft that was my drug of choice).
So what's the overall problem? Let me vent a little.
Apparently Notch is caught up in both his new found geek celeb status and attention is focused elsewhere on a game called Scrolls which is pretty much a hexagon magic battle game that reminds me of chess - Sorry I Snoozed off.
To be fair, he made his mark and he’s now off doing other things and has left Minecraft in the hands of some new found employees he’s made in the company whilst he continues to also hang in some influential circles mainly the valve software guys - (Hey I know Robin @ Valve to, I used to play TF/Quake in Oz with them, and I’d pop in for a visit or two at Valve when I was at Seattle..).
That did sound a bit venomous, I guess for me the reason I’m frustrated as this game has so much more potential ahead of it but poor Notch has suffered from the dreaded curse of “Shiny object syndrome meets geek celeb install” where the attention is spent on vNext not vNow? (he’s got a company to grow I guess, so it makes sense).
Problem is this game is unfinished and now when you look at the mod community around it you can’t but help stare at all the failings of the game – that are forgiven provided you embrace the mods that occur on servers that allow them. This is why Quake failed in the end, they forgot the reason why people played the game, its why Teamfortress team couldn’t also go further given the license issues of Quake 2 Engine (which was geared towards charging the mod community for usage).
I also watch the various staffers of Mojang via twitter and I can’t but help roll my eyes at some of the stuff being said, Its mainly due to me thinking “oh dear, they’re still coming to grips with fame… this one’s going to take a while..”
As someone who’s seen a few geeks turn into the geek-celeb status, I almost want to email them “this is what you’re going to experience, here are the things you need to avoid and you should never forget what got you in the door in the first place – minecraft”.
Today we stare at the game, waiting with drool hanging down from our lips at the slightest hint of an update, and I’m the first to line up for it as well.
In the early days of Teamfortress, Robin and the guys made a mod of Quake, it took the game to new heights outside id Softwares initial imagination, to be blunt, TF made Quake fun. Robin, John and the others were able to ship and they had talent and fame to match. Its what created the fusion between them and Valve and they’ve both since changed the landscape of gaming industry today to which one would be proud to say “hey I know that guy”… but the point is, they stayed focused and they created and Robin is quite a shy guy in person, but has insights into how the industry and its people function – deep insights that make you walk away and shake your head “that bastard was so right..”
Notch the CEO should probably spend a few more sessions with Robin and the guys on how to finish a product like Minecraft, I think we the audience would gain a huge amount of entertainment and fun from such a fusion of talent.
I am frustrated minecrafter because I want more…. Its an awesome game and Notch despite this attention span failing, deserves the success and riches that come with them. Sadly, we want an encore and I don’t’ think Cobalt and Scrolls will give him the equal amount of attention (sure you’ll get fan spillage happening, but seriously..)