Counting Minecraft as one of the most influential games of the 2010s is a given. According to its developer, Minecraft recently became the bestselling video game of all time, beating out Tetris by moving over 170 million units. Unlike Tetris, it hit that figure in a single decade.

Minecraft has achieved this success because it’s just not a game; it’s a platform, a pocket dimension inside your computer, game console, or smartphone. It can tranform into anything you need it to be.

Press a button, and Minecraft generates a world eight times larger than the surface of our planet. You can travel across it for years, or you can dig beneath the surface and use the treasures you find to build a fortress atop a mountain. Take a little time and you can make castles and cities, or just settle down in a village with a herd of pigs. Minecraft is somewhere you can be alone, when you need to be in your own giant world.

Community has been the single biggest factor in Minecraft’s growth over the last decade, and it happened even as the game launched. The sheer power of its blocky little worlds forced people onto YouTube in order to properly describe what the hell the game even is. As Minecraft grew, so too did this new aspect of gaming. Now there’s an entire industry of people dedicated to performing games like Minecraft on demand.

But it’s also an ideal place to build a community. The game has grown a thin veneer of narrative over the years, but the story was never prioritized. The most memorable moments are the ones that players share in playgrounds, offices, and on numerous livestreams.

Ultimately, these types of video games aren’t a monolith. This hobby, this art form, and this industry are bigger than just one game; they’re larger than any console; and they certainly aren’t limited to just one genre. And neither is Minecraft, a game that is now one of the most influential games and more vital than its developers would have ever dreamed.

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