Minecraft: Games Without Goals

November 12, 2010

Nathan Taylor

Minecraft, and Other Games That Hate You (yes, you) Grads: Have you noticed a significant drop in productivity from the students you TA? (Faculty: have you noticed a significant drop in productivity form the students you supervise?) It may be, in no small part, due to the latest craze that’s sweeping the internets: Minecraft, a world simulator where the player is dropped in an environment and tries to dig underground for riches while avoiding all sorts of evil creatures. There’s no score, no missions, no end boss; the fun comes from the game giving you a sandbox to make your own fun. Such games have a long and noble history, and I’ll walk you through some of my favourites before trying to convince you that mining for that one last piece of obsidian ore at 4:00 AM is sooooo much more rewarding than hacking away on that whole unpleasant “thesis” business.