Minecraft Urbanism and Taking the Fun Out of Place


Minecraft has become a recent obsession. A sort of SimCity meets Lego meets Dungeons and Dragons, the emphasis is on building and exploration. And all the while you click away at the endless landscape of blocks, you have a feeling that the game is more important than just your latest game habit.

This video walks right up to that question and offers some tantalizing answers:

By connecting Minecraft to history of playful architecture and urban intervention–from Cedric Price and Constant to Archigram and the Situationists–the author grounds Minecraft the game in an environmental impulse that has been around a lot longer than videogames.

And while I think he has opened up a great line of thought, the rhetoric of the presentation is pitch perfect to remove the fun from these games and urban speculations and turn them into design tools and critical theory. I think the impulse is a good one. But it’s also a perfect illustration of how we rationally dissect the ambiguity in play and games, and yank out the fun in the process.

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