Some games are born great, while other games have greatness thrust upon them. That’s not quite the Shakespeare quote, but it applies to video games just as readily as it does to people. There are some games whose premise is readily accepted by many and doesn’t need to do any work to persuade them, while others need to struggle to be accepted due to the sheer oddness or individuality of their pitch. Of course, the games themselves might be excellent, but they’re not necessarily immediately destined to be loved.
It’s not immediately clear into which of these two camps Minecraft deserves to fall. On the one hand, it’s definitely an influential classic that’s enjoyed by millions of players around the world. On the other, its elevator pitch isn’t exactly enthralling in words: it’s a creative sandbox with no conventional gameplay that puts the emphasis on players’ creativity. There are many who would be put off just by that description alone, so Minecraft is a more risky venture than it might initially seem.
For those who do love Minecraft’s elevator pitch, there is now Minecraft Classic. In their benevolence, Microsoft and Minecraft’s developer Mojang have elected to put the entirety of Minecraft Classic online for free. This is Minecraft as it was back in the primitive Stone Age year of 2009, when it was still just a glint in Notch’s eye and before it secured the love and trust of people around the world. Minecraft Classic is a true historical artefact and it should be respected.