Minecraft is an independent video game created by Markus Persson and his company known as Mojang. It is a simple sandbox game where players must use creativity to create new items to build and survive in the world. The graphics of the game make it look like it was created in the early to mid-nineties; however it is all a part of its charm. There are two modes in which a player can play, being creative and survival. Creative, as the name states, is purely for creative purposes, while survival takes the creative aspect and combines it with a form of adventure in which the player must gather all materials by themselves and fight off monsters which appear at night. This game sparked a craze particularly on YouTube with players wanting to show their creations off and also various mods which add more to the game. A particular channel the ‘Yogscast’ also took a shine to the game in its early years, creating video game commentary which also helped its popularity and community. Many people will send in pre-made maps and mods to the Yogscast to commentate over for recognition. As the game is very basic the feel from the game, I believe, comes from the old style visuals and the brilliant music.
The music was composed by C418 (Daniel Rosenfeld) who is an independent musician mostly known for the soundtrack Minecraft – Volume Alpha. The music throughout the game is very ambient, moody and rather beautiful at times. The main instruments used are keyboards, pianos, strings and synthesizers which seem to be mostly midi. The reason I believe the music works fantastically in this game is the situation in which the player generally finds him/herself in. At the beginning of the game you start of in a random location with no items. You must harvest trees for wood to then build other various tools which can be used for even more harvesting of numerous substances such as stone, dirt, sand, coal and the list goes on. However, before you can harvest the amount of material you need to build a hide-out or house, the sun goes down and monsters appear. The player is now all alone, in a dark world filled with monsters, waiting for that first sign of daylight.
Music randomly initiates throughout the game and in these times where the player feels trapped and helpless, it almost gives an inspiring and motivating feeling to the player. For example, the song ‘Sweden (calm3)’ is very relaxing and calming, with some nice piano chords and melodies accompanied by a mellow string section in the background. Another great example comes from the song ‘Mice on Venus (Piano3)’. A very inspiring and calm piece, the beginning starts of somewhat sad with some strings playing minor progressions however shortly the piano takes over with some lovely major progressions creating a much more cheerful mood. Half way through the song changes again in to a rather different feeling. A synthesizer plays an odd melody while various other keys play a rather marching-like rhythm and progression in the background. This gives a good sentiment for adventure, which compliments the game well.
As there is no storyline to the game I believe the music helps create a great atmospheric feeling, making up for the lack of information given to the player. It really sets the scene in terms of individuality for the game. As the game is heavily imaginative and creative, the atmospheric feeling the music gives is great inspiration for the player when things are looking bad. These compositions to me fit perfectly within Minecraft and give even more reason to play the game.