Minecraft: The Videogame Parents Approve Of

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This week on DnA, Frances Anderton spoke with Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson about their book about Marcus “Notch” Persson and the story behind Minecraft, the videogame that parents can approve of.

Since publication of this post, Minecraft maker Mojang was sold to Microsoft for 2.5 billion

DnA talks to tech writers Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson talk about the man behind the wildly popular game: Markus “Notch” Persson.

Many adults spent hours as children creating imaginary worlds out of legos (free from design prescription in the days before the company created lego objects for you). Now many of their children, both boys and girls — as well as many adults — are doing the same in a game called Minecraft, where single or group players dig for raw materials and create worlds out of a repeating cubic blocks in computer-generated “biomes.”

Much of the game involves building – in an undirected way — and the results are often astonishing. See the “Modern-style” home below by 13 year-old Ethan Stein, a guest on the show (listen to the audio below).

Minecraft was created by a Swedish designer name Markus “Notch” Persson, and released in 2009; it now has legions of followers who share their creations on YouTube. Now a book about Persson and the game has been published in English. It’s called Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus Notch Persson and the Game that Changed Everything and it’s rags to riches tale of an introverted young man in a troubled home with a gift for programming, that also takes the reader on a fascinating ride through the world of indie video game design.

The authors are Swedish tech writers Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson. DnA spoke with them on Skype last week. Among the revelations the pair shared in the conversation: Stockholm, Sweden “punches above its weight” in the gaming industry, in part because when Persson was growing up, the Swedish government subsidized the purchase of a computer for all Swedish families!

Incidentally, Markus Persson started out as a child playing legos. Now Lego has licensed Minecraft.