Book Review: Minecraft,by Linus Larsson and Daniel Goldberg

Available now in bookstores nationwide.

Going into this I had absolutely no idea what Minecraft wascv_minecraft_bio. Turns out it’s not just a game but a lifestyle – almost. The premise is a game that requires breaking and placing blocks, strategically and carefully. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things. The game is an interactive art form and a game of planning and stealth.

It’s an adventuring game and a dark challenge. Brave players battle terrible things in The Nether, which is more scary than pretty. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea. It’s a game that lives on the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, iOS and Android platforms. It’s everywhere. You or your children may play it. It makes Tetris look like a pathetic little app knocked up in an afternoon. In other words – Minecraft is massive. This new work digs deeper into the phenomenon to reveal the Swedish gaming industry, specifically Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft – the shy, stereotypical geeky programmer who became an internet celebrity.

Persson has criticised both piracy as well as the stance of large game companies on piracy. He’s a member of the Swedish Pirate Party. Persson is also an atheist, and cited his theological and moral views as one of the principal donors to Médecins Sans Frontières during the Thanksgiving charity event of 2011. Under his direction, his gaming company Mojang contributed a week to developing Catacomb Snatch for the Humble Bundle Mojam, for which the $458,248.99 raised would be donated to charity. He’s a kind of Dotcom character, in that sense – without the CIA lawsuits.

This book is less about the geekdom of the gaming world and more about the biography of the gaming/entertainment world. As much as books about Richard Branson work way beyond just business so is this a book that’s more than just about software. At times the reading is a little lethargic – Larson and Goldberg are journalists who like facts and figures, and that can get in the way of a good story. But overall I felt the compulsion to finish this, and I must confess, down load the demo version – to see what all the fuss is about.

Reviewed by Tim Gruar

Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything
by Linus Larsson and Daniel Goldberg
Published by Virgin Books
ISBN 9780753555750

1 thought on “Book Review: Minecraft,by Linus Larsson and Daniel Goldberg

  1. Sounds interesting! I have heard a lot about Minecraft and have a vague idea of what it’s about, but don’t really understand why it’s so massive! Perhaps I’ll have to read this to get some insights 🙂

    Interestingly, one of my daughter’s educational games on the iPad seems to have hooked in to the Minecraft idea as it is all about placing and breaking (and painting) blocks. No nocturnal monsters or mushrooms though 😉

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