Undoubtedly if you are interested in pc games you have heard of, if not played, Minecraft. The addicting voxel based game has spawned a massive community of enthusiastic gamers who not only enjoy the game immensely, but enjoy talking about and sharing their gaming experiences. Minecraft has a large community of uploaders on Youtube that document their adventures for all to see. Make no mistake, these LPers (people who take part in the “Let’s Play” genre of videos) get a lot of attention. Celebrities in the community such as Coestar, Avidya, Paulsoaresjr (and family!) have their own fans and sub-communities.
Each one of these Youtubers have millions of views to their videos, and they all were inspired by Minecraft. For most, they weren’t even interested in making videos until Minecraft came along. Games (Indie or not) that have such adamant and sincere fans are very rare indeed. It is this avid fanbase that Notch, the creator of Minecraft, has tapped to provide inspiration for his hit game as well as keeping the interest stoked. Notch himself is not the only one leveraging the success of Minecraft. A subtle mention from Notch about a game he enjoys or supports is enough to send droves of gamers to the website of the game in question. Nobody knows this better than Re-Logic, the company behind another smash Indie hit, Terraria.
Terraria is a game that was started recently, and it took some inspiration from Minecraft itself, but being a 2D platformer, it took on a life of its own. A tweet from Notch about this game was enough to send droves of people clambering about to get a beta copy of Terraria to play. At the time of the tweet, Terraria did not have a beta system in place. The enterprising gentleman in charge of Terraria, who go by the monikers of “Red” and “Blue” were quick to take advantage of their newfound fans. They began to release videos of their game, creating their own “Let’s Play” series, and giving out well placed beta copies of their game to other Youtube celebrities to generate even more interest. After nine days, Terraria has grossed nearly two million dollars (based on the $9.99 sale price and the 200K copies sold). These numbers definitely let them know they’re on the right track.
Minecraft has been very influential in other ways as well. For instance, since the popularity of Minecraft has taken off, the focus on high end graphics has been substantially decreased in the pc game world. Minecraft made pixels cool again. Minecraft has a flurry of imitators, all using the boxy open world format and procedurally generated terrain. This can’t be assumed to be a bad thing. The tinkerers of these imitation minecraft games will have good potential to increase their own skills and take advantage of their own creativity. Procedurally generated worlds give games incredible replay value. The success of Minecraft has created an optimism in the indie game community that hasn’t been around for years. For that, Notch deserves a big thank you.