MDA of Minecraft

One of my favorite games is Minecraft. I started playing this game during quarantine (super late to the game!) and fell in love with it! Minecraft is a 3D blocky game created by Mojang Studios. There are 5 game modes of Minecraft: Creative, Adventure, Spectator, Survival, and Hardcore, each with a different set of game mechanics. There are also other sub-mechanics which keep players engaged and entertained, especially in modes like Creative where players have infinite health, no hunger trackers, and unlimited building/creating supplies. I’ll be primarily focusing on survival mode, where players essentially have to gather supplies, build a base, defend themselves, and explore their surroundings, all while maintaining their health and hunger bars.

The core mechanics of Minecraft, especially for Survival mode, include building, exploration, and mining/crafting. Players enter a new world and must budget these actions in a timely manner to gather all they need before night falls (and mobs wander and attack). Aesthetic goals include expression, exploration and discovery, challenge, and fellowship (the latter two as sub-goals). Core dynamics include unlocking new parts on the map by exploring different territories, acquiring new material by crafting and/or mining, and creating a solid home base as a place of storage and home.

Expression in Minecraft includes the basic dynamic of building and destroying blocks. In Minecraft, these actions are ways for users to “leave their mark”. They can build anything they desire, assuming they have the right resources mined/crafted. Moreover, players can further personalize their experience by creating a base, where they may have a farm, a house, a mining ground, a train system to take them around different locations, and more. Users have a lot of freedom to express themselves in this game.

Discovery in Minecraft includes explorations in unknown territory using the map. Explorations include the ability to discover and raid villages for cool resources (e.g. materials, chests, food) and find new crafting material (e.g. diamond). This mechanic includes the dynamics of challenge because the cycle of day and night persists, even when users are traveling around the map. Thus, there is the dynamic of time pressure and the need to balance discovery whilst ensuring players are well prepared to survive through the night.

Oftentimes in survival mode, players may have to fight mobs, emboding Challenge. The dynamics include the ability to create powerful weapons by mining and crafting, mark your map to find home base, and cut trees to build protection.

Depending on whether the player is single player or multiplayer/team with friends, this game can also have Fellowship, with dynamics such as raids together, defeat the Heart of Ender (final boss) together or even farm and raise cattle together, splitting tasks equitably in this endless world.

There are endless possibilities with the different Minecraft game modes, which makes each play session unique and thrilling!



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