Minecraft


The History of Minecraft

How did a simple building game take the world by storm?

As You Read, Think About: What makes Minecraft different from other popular video games?

Minecraft

You drop into a world of forests, mountains, and swamp­s—all made of blocks. Soon you begin mining for bricks and stone to build a home. Chickens and pigs wander by. But as night falls, a group of creepers appears out of nowhere. Luckily, you have a diamond sword to fight them off.

If this scene sounds familiar, you’ve probably played Minecraft, one of the top-selling video games of all time. Since it was released 10 years ago, the simple building game has sold more than 176 million copies. For gamers, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

Minecraft changed everything that came after it,” says Mizuko Ito. She is an expert on how kids use video games.

Here are five reasons the game became a worldwide hit.

You drop into a world of forests, mountains, and swamps. It’s all made of blocks. Soon you begin mining for bricks and stone to build a home. Chickens and pigs wander by. Night falls, and a group of creepers appears out of nowhere. Luckily, you have a diamond sword to fight them off.

If this scene sounds familiar, you’ve probably played Minecraft. It’s one of the top-selling video games of all time. Since it was released 10 years ago, the simple building game has sold more than 176 million copies. For gamers, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

Minecraft changed everything that came after it,” says Mizuko Ito. She is an expert on how kids use video games.

Here are five reasons the game became a worldwide hit.

1. It had no rules or instructions.

When Minecraft first came out, it offered players something other games didn’t—endless freedom and creativity. The goal of Minecraft isn’t to score points or complete a quest. It has no time limit, like the Madden NFL or FIFA series. It has no levels, like the Mario games.

Instead, players step into a vast digital world and figure out how the game works as they explore. And they can build just about anything they can imagine­.

When Minecraft first came out, it offered players something other games didn’t—endless freedom and creativity. The goal of Minecraft isn’t to score points or complete a quest. It has no time limit, like the Madden NFL or FIFA series. It has no levels, like the Mario games.

Instead, players step into a vast digital world. They figure out how the game works as they explore. And they can build just about anything they can imagine.  

2. It spawned a huge online community.

Minecraft

Minecraft has brought together people of all ages like no other video game before it. Rather than compete against each other, players swap ideas and collaborate.

Players can join the same Minecraft world as their friends—whether they’re across the street or across the globe. They can form teams to mine materials like iron and redstone. Then they can work together to build never-ending worlds they couldn’t have created on their own.

Minecraft has brought together people of all ages like no other video game before it. Players don’t compete against each other. They swap ideas and collaborate. 

Players can join the same Minecraft world as their friends—whether they’re across the street or across the globe. They can form teams to mine materials like iron and redstone. Then they can work together to build never-ending worlds they couldn’t have created on their own.

3. It turned players into YouTube stars.

Today, YouTube is loaded with gamer videos. That all started with Minecraft. There are close to 1.3 million Minecraft videos on the video-sharing site—more than twice as many as any other game.

Players create videos to give tips on the game, to show off their creations, or to just make viewers laugh. Videos made by the most popular Minecrafters, such as Stampy Cat, have been viewed billions of times.

Today, YouTube is loaded with gamer videos. That all started with Minecraft. There are close to 1.3 million Minecraft videos on the video-sharing site. That’s more than twice as many as any other game.

Players create videos to give tips on the game. They also show off their creations or just make viewers laugh. Videos made by the most popular Minecrafters, such as Stampy Cat, have been viewed billions of times. 

4. Teachers let kids play it in school!

Minecraft is used in classrooms around the world to help teach everything from science and math to history. Students can build a replica of the White House as they learn about government. They can assemble a block version of our galaxy as they study space.

Teachers who use the game say it helps students learn important skills, such as problem solving and coding.

Minecraft is used in classrooms around the world. The game helps teach everything from science and math to history. Students can build a replica of the White House as they learn about government. They can assemble a block version of our galaxy as they study space. 

Teachers who use the game say it helps students learn important skills, such as problem solving and coding.

5. It will never be finished.

A decade after it first came out, Minecraft is still wildly popular. About 90 million people play it each month. The game is updated frequently with new creatures and features—pandas and bamboo are some of the latest.

Yet Minecraft remains a simple, block-filled land of endless possibilities—and no clear ending. Players come together to create, and no one wins or loses.

“That’s really the magic of Minecraft,” says Ito.

A decade after it first came out, Minecraft is still wildly popular. About 90 million people play it each month. The game is updated frequently with new creatures and features. Pandas and bamboo are some of the latest.

Yet Minecraft remains a simple, block-filled land of endless possibilities—and no clear ending. Players come together to create, and no one wins or loses. 

“That’s really the magic of Minecraft,” says Ito. 

1. How does Jennifer Li Shotz begin the article?

2. Summarize how Minecraft is different from other video games.

3. Why will Minecraft never be finished?

1. How does Jennifer Li Shotz begin the article?

2. Summarize how Minecraft is different from other video games.

3. Why will Minecraft never be finished?

Close-Reading Questions

Click the Google Quiz button below to share these Close-Reading Questions with your class.

Download .PDF
Back to top
videos (1)
Skills Sheets (2)
Skills Sheets (2)
Leveled Articles (1)