My growing concern about Mojang: perhaps TOO obscure
I’ve always considered myself to tread the line between hobbyist geek and hardcore geek. Those outside the world of geekdom would look at me and decide I was the nerdiest nerd to ever live. Those on the far side of hardcore geekitude would see as a mainstream, Call of Duty-playin’ frat boy. But in my heart I know I’m neither of those things and its why I think I can enjoy the best of both worlds. So maybe I should get into what it is I don’t actually enjoy. That would be things like far too obscure programming and mathematics references for me to understand.
That’s where the title of Notch’s newly announced game, 0x10c, comes into play and I begin to get a little worried about the obscureness. I learned about the game a few days ago and all of the core concepts stuck in my head, but while writing this very article I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name! And that’s really where it just begins.
There’s something to be said about the ambitiousness of the game. I like the idea that the game emulates an actual 16-bit processor to be used however you like, but I’m unclear on what sort of value that presents to me, the guy who hated engineering classes so much he dropped out and went to business school. Or really anybody who loves games, but doesn’t want to actually program them.
That’s where I worry about Mojang at the end of the day. I like that they have weekend-long programming marathons, but honestly its not something I can actively watch and get excited about. I’ll get excited when its something I can understand, like when the gameplay and visuals start to come together, and I can certainly get excited over the finished product, but for me the dirty programming bits are pretty boring.
But that’s niche right? There are people who like that stuff, of which I can confirm there are many, love inside jokes about huge numbers and algorithms and programming syntax (wow my limited knowledge on this subject is really starting to show isn’t it?). But at the end of the day I don’t think the legions of Minecraft fans are actually all programming students. I think there’s a great handful of those guys and they do the community a lot of good, but the consumers like myself will probably outpace them by a lot.
So that’s where I worry, it seems like Mojang assumes that since there’s such a large modding community around Minecraft that a great deal of its audience loves programming references and wants actual CPUs in their game, not ones they build out of redstone dust. I’m sure those people exist and we should cater to them in some way, but I love Minecraft because its so easily accessible and speaks to the inner child in me that still wants to play with LEGOs. I got excited about the core concepts around 0x10c because it promises advanced economy systems, not working CPUs on your ship’s computer.
My only real plead at this point is focus on the core gameplay, hire somebody to come up with a decent name (so I don’t have to type 0x10c, which is a really weird name to type and remember) and start pumping some character into this thing. Oh, and whatever happened to Scrolls anyway?