Monday, November 5, 2012

Global Gaming Spotlight: Minecraft (Sweden)

With each post in this mini-feature, I highlight a game from a different country around the world. Keep in mind these aren't necessarily the best or most popular games from each nation, but simply a fitting representative.

Although it took a few decades to truly emerge as a powerhouse, the Nordic region has been perhaps the most important in Europe over the past ten years. And Sweden leads the way. From EA DICE's shooter stalwart Battlefield and innovative Mirror's Edge to Frictional Games' horror classic Amnesia to Jonatan Söderström's just-released drug story Hotline Miami, Sweden holds its own against any other gaming nation today.

Minecraft - Mojang, 2009

But one name stands out above the rest. Released by Markus Persson's small Stockholm-based studio Mojang as an alpha in 2009, Minecraft has gone on to change the way we look at independent games, and games in general.

Is it even a game? Some have argued Minecraft is simply Lego bricks in videogame form (which became even more meta when a Minecraft Lego set was released this year), a construction toolset that gives players the ability to create what they want. There are no traditional goals or objectives in Minecraft. You can't "win" or "lose." Even the game world of Minecraft is a procedurally-generated random landscape for players to explore. Any of the epic Minecraft creations you see online were created from scratch by players.

Minecraft is really about the players. While you have to figure everything out for yourself, there's a way to make basically anything you can imagine. It was a shakeup for the game industry that recently topped Call of Duty and FIFA as the most-played game on Xbox Live. All in a day's work for Sweden.

The Global Gaming Spotlight map so far:

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