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Minecraft is a sandbox survival game created by Swedish programmer Markus Persson. It was developed and published by the Swedish independent video game developer Mojang. The game is available on the Java, Android, Xbox 360, Playstation and iOS platforms.
In May 17, 2009, an alpha version of Minecraft was released for PCs. Android users were able to download the Minecraft game on October 7, 2011 while Apple users could begin playing on November 17th of the same year. The full version was released for PC November 18, 2011. The game was released for Xbox 360 on May 9, 2012. Today, Minecraft continues to be one of the most frequently downloaded and played games, especially with children and teenagers.
What is Minecraft?
As a sandbox game, Minecraft allows players to experience an open world. Minecraft players can roam freely through their virtual world, choosing what to build, where to go and what to do during their gaming experience. The game provides basic tools and resources for the user, but ultimately, the outcome of the game depends entirely on the player's desires and imaginations.
Like a virtual Lego game, Minecraft involves players constructing buildings or other creations using cubes. There are no limit to what can be created in a Minecraft world, with some users creating complex designs including replicas of the Titanic or ancient Greek villages.
Minecraft can be played in two main modes. The first, creative mode, allows the player access to unlimited resources. The player's virtual persona can't be harmed in this mode and the player focuses on creating a virtual world. The second, survival mode, requires more problem solving skills as users must acquire various resources to survive. The game can be played either as single player or as multiplayer.
Awards and Educational Uses
Minecraft is Mojang's most successful game, selling over 33 million copies, with almost half of those copies for the PC. PC Gamer magazine has named Minecraft as the 2010 UK Game of the Year. It received the grand prize and Audience Award from the Independent Games Festival. In 2010, Good Game ranked it as the Best Downloadable Game. Rock Paper Scissors also named it as the Game of the Year for 2010. The Game Developers Choice Awards committee named Minecraft as Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and Most Innovative Game Award.
As Minecraft's popularity continues to soar, educators across the United States have begun to develop ways to use the game as part of an educational curriculum. The website MinecraftEdu contains dozens of activities, workshops and inservices designed to train teachers to use Minecraft for history and geography lessons. The website Minecraft Homeschool allows homeschooled children to use Minecraft in a group setting to learn about history, geography and ancient cultures.