There are few games that I can think of that have endured for so long while maintaining their popularity the way that Minecraft has. The last time I played Minecraft was probably sometime during the Xbox 360 era, when it seemingly ballooned in popularity. Yet here I am in 2020, playing this game that somehow feels familiar, but not too familiar.
Minecraft has been quietly updating and adding in features and mechanics steadily since its official release back in 2009, layering in new biomes, tools, items, enemies and more. At first glance, everything appeared to be just as I remembered it, but then I explored some more and found so many things that probably were added years ago, but I just missed. From villages, to temples, to flying enemies, and invading marauders, Minecraft changed so drastically in my eyes, which has made it an utter joy to experience.
It’s also not just me that’s been enamored by what Minecraft has become, as all of my friends and I have started a server together that someone always seems to be on. Whether they’re bolstering our food supply, digging further into the uncharted caverns, building a wizard tower, or expanding our ever-growing compound, we’ve all found something about Minecraft that we tend to fawn over.
For me however, Minecraft has been a delightful reprieve from the misery of the real world, perfectly slotting into my regular rotation of games while allowing me the freedom to watch something in another monitor. It’s the perfect game to “turn off your brain” with, while simultaneously providing a wide spectrum of engagement that facilitates absent-minded gaming as well as a more intense experience for those who seek it.
Don’t feel like dealing with the cavalcade of monsters trying to eat your bones every night? Then consider taking the day to go fishing, or collecting wood. Want to get spicy and test your mettle? Well there’s a cavern full of monsters you could clear out if you feel so inclined.
Minecraft is a game that facilitates a lot of different play styles and can adjust to those variations in your mood in real time. I know I’m not the first one out there to praise Minecraft for what it does right, but I’m just so surprised by how much I’ve fallen back in love with it lately. Maybe that has to do with it being a really good game, or maybe it has to do with the fact that the real world is extraordinarily miserable these days, and just being able able to unwind and build your own city in peace has a particularly pleasant appeal. Either way, I’m glad I found my way back to Minecraft, it’s been a joy to play not only by myself, but with my group of friends as well.