This May 17th, Microsoft is making it possible to play through Minecraft Classic mode in honor of the game’s 10th anniversary.
Having released back in the good old days of ‘09, most millennial and Gen Z gamers grew up with Minecraft. There’s no questioning the impact the game has had on the gaming industry – its sandbox mechanics and pixelated blocks starting an unlikely revolution of diamond-mongering and house-griefing. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way (estimates place it at around 2015) people fell out of love with it.
Is it because people got bored with it? No, there are mods to combat that. Did Microsoft ruin the game? Not necessarily, but it’s definitely debatable.
So, what happened?
Two words: Cringy children.
With the ever-increasing number of kids in the Minecraft demographic, people began to see the game as a joke. No one wanted to be associated with the god-awful song parodies and prepubescent screamfests the game had come to be associated with. While every game in existence has its share of annoying kids, Minecraft has a surplus of them.
This has a lot to do with how the game gradually started to attract a different audience. When Minecraft first started out, everyone was more concerned about the game itself rather than the players making it known. As it gradually got popular, YouTubers like Paul Soares Jr. and Captain Sparkles brought people of all ages to the game with witty tutorials and iconic catchphrases.
The game continued to grow and add on new features, and soon enough, minigames and add-ons like Hunger Games and mods started to become popular. This was when the likes of AntVenom, BajanCanadian, and SkyDoesMinecraft became smash hits, and many would consider this the golden age of Minecraft.
But it wasn’t meant to last
Content creators of the golden age have long been overshadowed in favor of more child-friendly channels, like DanTDM and PopularMMOs. But, they didn’t become popular because of any considerable gap in quality between them and their predecessors. Oh, no.
With recurring a recurring cast of quirky in-game characters, clickbait titles, and fanservice for days, they’ve created worlds of their own. They’ve charmed many a young, impressionable, recently-introduced-to-gaming kid and added them to their ever-growing cult followings. Quite frankly, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call them marketing geniuses. They’ve taken the art of let’s playing and perfected it.
Props to them, really. They’ve become an integral part of millions of childhoods, making kids feel like they belong to a greater community.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll see that the teens that had once dismissed this part of their childhood have now come full-circle. What happened? Who knows. Maybe they’ve matured. Maybe the nostalgia wave came to hit them. All that’s certain is that Minecraft is back. Though it’s not quite as big as it was before, it’s definitely here to stay.