Community Roundtable: The Theme of Minecraft


Every game has a theme of some kind. Batman games are dark, gritty, and full of punching in a quasi-modern setting. Zelda games are clearly fantasy-oriented, aiming more at magic than technology. Mass Effect points itself squarely at the sci-fi space opera genre. Most of these games' themes are pretty easy to nail down with just a few hours of play (or even a cursory glance, depending on the game), though one game in particular has had people argue over what its about for a number of years. Know which game? Minesweeper!


I'm kidding, it's Minecraft.


Minecraft seems to be mostly fantasy-oriented at first: alchemical potions, bizarre magical dimensions (with some, like the End, becoming even more so in 1.9), swords and bows, that kind of thing. Still, there is redstone, which operates on apparently magical principles, but is used much like program code, however simple it might be. Many fantasy games also assume certain things about their own setting - going back to Zelda, there are magic wands, talking boats, all kinds of obviously sorcerous items and critters - where a lot of Minecraft's flora and fauna are either fairly mundane, or unusual but not explicitly magical. Zombies are in every game genre imaginable, Creepers can almost be explained scientifically. Silverfish are creepy, but not inherently magical.


I suppose it's almost magical how the villagers make people hit them sometimes, to be fair.


So, what genre do you think Minecraft falls under, if any? Can it fit neatly into an existing type, or does it define its own?