‘Beverly Hills – That’s where I want to be…’ says Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of Weezer.
I keep hearing about these parties at Markus Persson’s house. These are the parties where celebrities go to chill out, and if you’re lucky, you might see Skrillex sobbing in to a glass tumbler of single malt, mumbling incoherently about the glory days of dubstep.
According to Tech Insider, ‘The founder of Minecraft has been hosting wild parties since he bought his mansion for $70 million.’ The founder of Minecraft being, Markus Persson, commonly referred to by fans as, Notch, his gamertag and all-round moniker. Interestingly enough, the Daily Mail reported Notch’s mansion cost him $75 million. Despite the factual discrepancies, all of the reported sums are a drop in the ocean compared to Notch’s billionaire status, having sold his game to Microsoft in 2015.
Reports suggest, Minecraft has grown more popular than ‘the Bible,’ and even ‘Justin Bieber,’ with entire conventions being dedicated to this single game. According to the Daily Mail, Minecraft is ‘played in the bedrooms of tens of millions of schoolchildren.’ In reality, we know this game isn’t really limited to that narrow demographic, with video gamers of all ages enjoying the blocky biomes of Minecraftia.
With its ease of access, multiplayer performance, and pick up and play functionality, Notch created a game for the whole family. Here, the open-world sandbox manifested itself quite literally, with huge environments that could be sculpted and moulded through the eyes of imagination. In addition to this, the art style of Minecraft was unique, invocative of retro gaming, comfortably familiar to parents who didn’t quite understand the flashy, fast-paced world of ‘computer games.’ To them, Minecraft was a step in the right direction for video games. It provided a world where children were given a creative opportunity, rather than fostering the destructive tendencies of all the war games they’d read about in newspapers. Meanwhile, to hard core gamers undeterred by simplicity, Minecraft offered a whole new world of dreamy tranquillity, with austere visuals and a soundtrack composed by Daniel Rosenfeld.
Of course, mild peril still existed in Minecraftia, but it came in familiar forms – dragons, skeleton warriors, and what not. But still, there were no guns, only bows and arrows, a diamond sword straight out of the fairy tales of King Arthur. Jeff Haynes, the senior editor of video games over at Common Sense Media has gone above and beyond for the parents and guardians of this brave new world. “Don’t know your mods from your mobs?” He writes, “Impress your kids with your newfound Minecraft vocabulary.” Really, Jeff Haynes’ Minecraft Glossary for Parents is an entertaining read for any guardian who’s after an outsider’s perspective on the world of Minecraft.
But these days, after selling the game for $2.5 billion, Markus Persson has become the Jay Gatsby of the 21st Century, hosting parties in his millionaire’s mansion, and inviting all of the socialites of Beverly Hills. It must be strange for a man who’s worked his way up through humble beginnings, and more turbulent times. For some people, Notch’s exchange with Microsoft might have looked like a deal with the devil, an image of a man wiping his hands clean of the industry, but I think Notch remains a gamer at heart.
He claims to have sold Minecraft because online criticism became too much hassle. Saying that, he’s certainly not scared of weighing in on public debate himself, choosing to lambast Electronic Arts with the rest of us: “EA releases an ‘indie bundle’?” He wrote on Twitter, “Stop attempting to ruin everything, you bunch of cynical bastards.” Really, Notch’s comment here forms a voice in a much larger prophecy; a prophecy that claims major developers, marketers, and publishers will see the eventual death of the game’s industry.
When I think about Notch living the dream up in Beverly Hills, I can’t help but think of a man hiding from the world. What’s the saying? Money doesn’t make you happy, but it’s nicer to cry on the seat of a luxury car, than on the seat of a bicycle. I don’t know, perhaps we’re all just cynical bastards in the end.