October 31, 2011
Minecraft Honored At UK Video Game Festival
The popular sandbox construction game Minecraft was named the winner of a "new arts award" at the GameCity video game culture festival in Nottingham, England, BBC News reported on Saturday.
Minecraft, which was created by Swedish game designer Markus Persson and his company, Mojang, beat out Valve/Electronic Arts' Portal 2 and Microsoft's Ilomilo for the honor, Leo Kelion of the British news agency said.
"It's a great honor to be compared to those games," Persson told Kelion. "Winning this award helps us to try to make Minecraft the best game it can be."
"It just wasn't like anything else... it felt like it had an expanding life of its own. It had an organic nature," added Ed Hall, one of the festival's judges. "It's simplistic and addictive, and there's an element of beauty in what you are doing."
Minecraft, which is technically still in beta and will not be officially released until next month, is a game that allows people to make buildings and alter the game's landscape. However, as the BBC notes, it also involves traditional gaming content, including monsters that roam at night and online multiplayer battles. To date, more than four million people have purchased the title.
While some have criticized the game's graphics, and one of the judges was not totally enamored by the soundtrack, "ultimately neither the look of the game nor its music proved fatal to its chances," Kelion said, adding that it was "selected on the basis of its mood and ability to encourage gamers to become creative."
As of April 2011, the game had made a reported $33 million in revenue, and on October 5, the game surpassed the 14 million registered user mark. A portable version of the game was released on the Android operating system earlier this year, and Minecraft is also scheduled to be ported to the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Apple iOS devices.
"[We asked] was there one that we felt was head and shoulder above the rest? Was there merit in the game enhancing life and enjoyment beyond just playing the game itself? Could it make your view of the world better?" Hall told BBC news. "Could a computer game be viewed as something that wouldn't be sneered at in the future?"
"It's the broadest definition of art that you can have," he added. "But computer games are definitely artistic. There are images and storylines that engage you, ideas that confuse your mind for hours and a whole package that keeps you coming back for days."
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