Is Minecraft a Game, or a Gaming Platform?

When we posed the question of whether or not Minecraft is a game to the community, we received some really good responses. Carter, a member of the LockerGnome community, answered:

“It does have objectives and challenges, though not properly exclaimed. Collect resources, discover strongholds, dungeons, and new terrain. Build structures of great magnitude. I consider it a game, much more fun than others, because you have to define your own objectives and goals.”

Some would argue that virtual worlds, a term for which Minecraft certainly qualifies, aren’t games in and of themselves. Virtual Worlds that have an integrated building engine may be considered a virtual equivalent to a sculptor’s workshop. While you may be able to sculpt and mold pixels to your very whim, this isn’t a game, per se. After all, is painting (or sculpting) a game?

Is Minecraft a Game, or a Gaming Platform?By giving users the tools to build something other people can play with, it becomes more than just a game or a building environment; it becomes something of a gaming platform in itself. Minecraft’s success may well be defined by its open environment, rather than any preconceived notion of what category it falls under.

Minecraft allows you to really create your own experience. For example, you can play survival mode and build shelters from dangerous monsters, farm the land, and trap livestock. There certainly are gaming elements present in survival mode, which could be easily considered a game of survival.

Multiplayer mode is also available, which allows cooperative exploration and collaboration. In addition, a role-playing game or adventure can be built within this multiplayer environment and shared for others to enjoy. Whether or not Minecraft — or the role-playing environment built using Minecraft — is a game is up to the user to determine for themselves.

If LEGO can be called a toy, then Minecraft can be called a game. You can build a toy car out of LEGO, just as you can build a fun game within Minecraft.

What do you think? Is Minecraft a game?

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Shane Vandewalle

    It is definitely a game. You have to play it in multiplayer mode. Then it is much more fun. You can go searching in group instead of going at it alone. Since there isn’t any NPC activity, you are always on your own. 

    Minecraft is not an action game, it’s more like you say, create and build stuff. That’s what minecraft is all about.

  • http://twitter.com/simchabe Charl Lee-Pearce

    For me, it’s more of a fun place to be creative. For my son, it is absolutely a game. He creates the most interesting challenges for his online community. I’m always amazed at the details he includes and that he can remember every task he creates (he usually gives me a detail tour before sharing with his friends).

    I enjoy how people use platforms differently and adopt to their style. I hope to see more environments like Minecraft that challenge my sons strategic thinking and influences the way we think of ‘gaming’.