Does Minecraft deserve the title of Greatest Game of the 21st Century?

The Guardian has recently named Minecraft as the greatest game of the 21st Century. Titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Dark Souls were also in the running, but does Minecraft truly deserve this crown?

If we take the amount of sales worldwide, Minecraft takes the top spot, having now overtaken Tetris as the best-selling game of all time, reaching a colossal 176,000,000 units sold. This figure represents just how far Minecraft has reached its net, with many schools using the Education Edition, as well as having released Minecraft on every major gaming platform. But does this justify its legendary status?

Undisputedly, Minecraft is one of the most innovative games to be released this decade. Despite taking inspiration from games that released before it, such as Dwarf Fortress in 2006, Minecraft is often considered the advent of the popular survival genre and the most polished of the bunch. Its lack of a streamlined goal, particularly during its earlier days before the release of the End and its ‘final’ boss, allows players to explore a true sandbox world; not just explore, but manipulate as well, something games had touched on in the past, such as in 2009’s Red Faction: Guerrilla, but never based their entire premise around. This was a new idea that especially appealed to children and teenagers, but could be enjoyed by all.

One issue that I believe followed this initial wave of innovation was the drastic slowdown in active update development that the game suffered. Very little content has been added to the game in recent years in comparison with the vast amounts of mods available, made by people in their free time, for free. With so many other great survival games releasing, such as Subnautica last year, has Minecraft struggled to stay relevant? It would seem so. However, the sandbox experience remains to embody gaming in its purest, most interactive form. 

Sometimes I find myself coming back to Minecraft, but without player-made additions, the game feels devoid of any big changes which is a shame. The memories I made with my friends on this game are countless and its impressive cultural impact is a phenomenon of the modern age, so ultimately, I would struggle to give anything but Minecraft the top spot.

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James Ward

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August 2022
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