Every time Mojang releases a snapshot for Minecraft or announces a new update many people protest these changes claiming that it’s not Minecrafty.
These aren’t complaints you hear often about games aside from the occasional Call of Duty drama, its strange to see but sometimes you can’t help but agree. Minecraft has a certain feel to it that makes many things not feel right when added. Is it the simple textures that give Minecraft its feel or maybe the shapes of each block and mob that feels geometric which recent additions broke the mold of?
Ocean temples, alternative crafting tables, combat mechanics, elytras and shulker shells and many other additions have been met with criticism because they don’t feel right in the game whether its about flying being overpowered or shulker shells feeling modded. But a lot of these complaints go silent until the next update for the game and I’ve often found that in a short amount of playtime these new additions feel at home. People seem to overreact on the first announcement/release of a new item until its given a chance and fits itself into the game.
The feel Minecraft has and what makes something right or “Minecraft” is nostalgia. Things feel right because that’s how they always have been and new additions quickly fade into that category as new updates are released. One of the most widely criticized items in the game was the introduction of shulker boxes, something that survival players now can’t live without. It was criticized for removing an integral part of the game and feeling like a mod. “Feeling like a mod” is a very common thing you may have heard before, new additions often take inspiration from mods hence the feeling but Mojang does a fantastic job of implementing the addition in a way that it does make anything easier or feel out of place. Of course exceptions to this rule exist I’m not here to claim Mojang is perfect.
The “Nether Update” announced September 28th at Minecon was met by overwhelming support because the nether has been one of the most neglected aspects of the game with the biggest recent change to it being adding magma blocks. This time you don’t see nearly as many people claiming something isn’t right for the game despite many aspects of this new Nether Update (Trees in the Nether, new mobs and new biomes).
Well two reasons, because it is needed, the nether is so blatantly lifeless and Mojang really haven’t capitalized on the potential of it. And potentially due to the increase of players born off the back of this most recent surge in Minecraft’s popularity as these players don’t feel nearly as nostalgic for this old game.
The “Ocean Update” received little criticism because the ocean was well overdue for a change and so is the nether. Armor stands were not needed and were met with criticism, Shulkers weren’t needed because people were fine without them and it was met with criticism. The addition of new crafting benches received critique of breaking Minecraft’s simplicity by adding redundant items.
I’m not saying people who believe these items are out of place are wrong, I often feel that too, but I want to get to the root of why this feeling happens for so few games one being Minecraft.
Nostalgia and demand make something Minecrafty.
That seems to be the rules of what makes something good for Minecraft, with mild exceptions. The recent group of new Minecraft fans don’t often complain about new content because they lack nostalgia for the game and focus primarily on things that would truly improve the game. Older players who don’t often play survival complain more about things not fitting into the game because they don’t play with them and thus never get used to the changes. If a player spends enough time with a feature that feature starts to feel at home and you feel as if it was always there and that really all a feature need to feel right for Minecraft.