Videogum

For Once And For All: What In The Hell Is Minecraft?

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has recently acquired a collection of videogames including Pong, Space Invaders, and Asteroids. You know, works of art! I get it, I guess. In the age-old argument about whether or not videogames are art, I come down on the side that everything can basically be labeled art at this point, and certainly animated drawings with characters and storylines and musical accompaniment is a front-runner for “new art.” Oh, but so the MoMA collection is also adding Minecraft, and that does raise the question: what the hell is Minecraft, though? I know it is some sort of game, but in the two years that it has been out, I have still never been able to figure out what the hell it actually is. You’re not the first person I’m asking, by the way. Someone who had clearly played it was talking about it, so I asked them first, but they were no help. They said that you could build stuff but then there were aliens that just looked like little yellow blocks, or something, I am drawing up the memory of what this person told me from the darkest recesses of my memory because it is just Minecraft after all, but these Blookhead aliens destroy the thing that took you forever to build. That’s a game? There’s a whole game of that? Is that fun for you? Do you like having you work, which is already using a very generous definition of the word “work,” destroyed by the Blookheads? Do you raise your arms in the air and shout “YEAH!” when it happens? Well now you are art and you are hanging in the museum so congratulations. Personally, I still don’t get it, but I don’t get lots of things. You could fill an entire museum just with the things I don’t get. And many museums do just that.