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Notch

Psychonauts 2 photo
Psychonauts 2

Notch backs away from funding Psychonauts 2


Potential sequel still in limbo, though not all hope is lost
Feb 05
// Jordan Devore
The mere possibility of Minecraft creator Notch funding the development of a creatively rewarding yet financially risky game like Psychonauts 2 was wonderful to see play out online, even if the odds were against such an arran...
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Minecraft builds past 8 million sold mark


Notch, can I borrow $5,000?
Nov 12
// Dale North
Markus "Notch" Persson has confirmed via Twitter that the PC version of Minecraft has passed the 8 million sold mark.  "The PC version of Minecraft just passed 8 million sales!" Tweeted Notch. "My face is makin...
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The DTOID Show: Guns, Boobs & Ninjas


Yes, that is the title of today's episode
Sep 28
// Max Scoville
Hey gang! Here we are again, another Friday episode where Tara and I goof off a bunch because we feel like it. Big news today: something something boobs controversy Team Ninja Dead Or Alive 5, Konami unveils collector's editi...
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Minecraft surpasses seven million copies sold on PC


Aug 14
// Chris Carter
Daniel Kaplan has just revealed that Minecraft has sold seven million copies on PC to date. Relatedly, the Xbox Live Arcade version has sold around three million.For those of you who don't remember the extremely lengthy alpha...
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Minecraft is populated by 'genderless homosexuals'


Jul 29
// Jim Sterling
Notch has been chatting about gender in the world of Minecraft, relating how the protagonist was never meant to be a man or a woman, and only became known as Steve due to a random name choice. See Minecraft recognizes neither...
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Mojang cancels a first-person shooter


Jul 27
// Dale North
Minecraft maker Mojang (really, Markus "Notch" Persson) was working on a first-person shooter with another company, but that has now been officially canceled. Gone before you could get excited about it. Fortunately, this proj...
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Patent troll sues Mojang, EA, Square over copy protection


Jul 23
// Jim Sterling
Patent troll Uniloc is suing Minecraft developer Mojang, as well as EA and Square Enix, for infringing on a form of copy-protection it "owns." Uniloc's goal is to "Look at many ideas. Pick an outstanding one. Patent...
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Mojang just unrolled a new Scrolls trailer


Jun 25
// Chris Carter
Scrolls. Remember that game? The same one that is probably more famous for its legal battle with Bethesda than anything having to do with the actual game? The internet is already on fire due to a new trailer posted by Mojang...
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Minecraft is the highest grossing XBLA game of all-time


Jun 04
// Allistair Pinsof
People like to buy things. With 2 million copies sold and $20 million made, it's safe to say that Minecraft is one of those things. I thought I was rational in thinking most people with interest in the game had already bought...
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Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition sold 1M copies in five days


May 14
// Brett Zeidler
In news that's equally surprising as it is not surprising, Microsoft has announced the official sales figures of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. Major Nelson and Notch themselves were hinting at very strong sales last weekend, w...

Review: Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition

May 07 // Jim Sterling
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: 4J Studios, MojangPublisher: Microsoft StudiosReleased: May 9, 2012MSRP: 1600 Microsoft Points For those not in the know, Minecraft is essentially an open world of building blocks, where the player is free to do whatever they wish -- within the limitations of the cuboid world's physical rules, of course. Aided by tools, crafting tables, and furnaces -- all of which must be built and rebuilt -- the player's only job is to make their own entertainment in a randomly generated sandbox world.  Everything in that world has a use, or multiple uses, and players will come to learn them as they play. Punching a tree, for example, produces blocks of wood, which can be taken to a crafting table and turned into wooden planks for buildings, stairs, or sticks. Sticks can be combined with other items to create new objects, working with coal to create torches, or cotton to produce beds. Different materials are stripped from the environment and exploited to fuel whatever the player would like to fashion. Be it a humble woodshed, an expansive fortress, or even an entire town, whatever can be imagined can be built, provided one is willing to invest the time and find the resources.  Despite the game's frankly ugly appearance, there's an impressive sense of atmosphere with some lovely musical accompaniment, and the world feels strangely alive as angular sheep and cows stroll through pixelated forests and swim in bright blue grids. As artificial and static as everything is, the subtle sense that everything's breathing helps the player feel far more connected than he or she might first believe. The vastness of the world is truly felt when armed with a pickaxe and digging deep into the earth, discovering subterranean caves filled with precious ores, gold, and less savory things besides. Although it's predominantly a game about building, Minecraft is something of a survival horror on the side. The first thing most players will do is build a quick and dirty habitat, complete with a door and a bed, for at night the monsters come crawling from underground to wreak havoc. Zombies, skeletal archers, and spiders roam the surface, and any player caught outside risks mutilation. Enclosed buildings with shut doors keep them out, light sources reduce their desire to come near, and most of them will burn to death in the morning sun. Thus it is that most players learn to spend their days working and their nights sleeping in secure shelter.  Daytime isn't completely safe, however. Zombies and skeletons can hide in the shade to catch unwary players, while the sinister Creepers fear no light and love to sneak behind the player before hissing and exploding in a sacrificial attempt to ruin your day. Players who dig too deeply may also find themselves overrun by legions of underground beasts that have made their homes in the many preexisting caves. Should a player die, they respawn in the last bed they slept in, but will have to return to the scene of the crime if they want to regain any of the equipment they were carrying.  It is up to you what you make of yourself in the world. Some will enjoy abiding by the laws of nature, crafting by day and sleeping by night. Some will build grand fortresses, while others may use the animals and plants to create their own working farms. Yet others will instead use their resources to craft bows, swords, and armor before actively taking on the monsters in defiant adventure. After all, everything has its use, and even the deadliest of creatures may yield useful supplies once slain.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of Minecraft is in discovering the things that you're not told directly. What if I give this wolf a bone? What else can I use a fishing rod for? What can I do with this magma spewing out of the wall? While unimaginative players may be wondering what the point of the game is, those with curious minds and big visions will have plenty to do and an expansive playpen in which to do it.  While it's incredibly engrossing and more than a little addictive, Minecraft's slow pace and excessive time encroachment can be something of a hassle. Any plans beyond building a small shed and killing things requires a large investment of time, as well as regularly wasted energy. One can spend hours digging underground to grab just enough materials to finish certain creations, and mining often involves huge amounts of doing very little but the same mindless chores over and over again. Getting to the gold, diamonds, and redstone requires vast sessions of simply holding down a button over successive grey blocks, getting deeper and deeper into grey caves full of more grey blocks to brainlessly mine. Walking through the world is slow and tedious, a problem offset by the ability to build minecarts -- which themselves will require lots of tedious mining and walking in order to craft.  Once materials are obtained, one will need to wait around while they're turned into useful components within furnaces. Even something as simple as getting meat to replenish health involves monotony and waiting, as well as fiddling around in the game's irritating and disorganized inventory system to get the required items in hand. All this, and one still has to contend with monsters that are fond of an ambush and can easily rob a player of hard-won items should they fall down the wrong hole and find themselves unable to reclaim their gear.  Minecraft requires a ton of patience, and for many players the rewards simply aren't going to be there. After all, once you've built your fortress and filled it with decorations, what then? Build another one? Run around mashing buttons at monsters to kill them for idle sport? Minecraft is only fun for those who make it so, but the fun comes at quite a significant personal expense, and there's a pervasive feeling that once you've finished your own pet projects, you won't feel the need to keep playing it. While there's a lot to discover in Minecraft, little of it is worth revisiting and some of it just isn't worth fighting to see.  All that said, the determined will become ensnared as so many have already, ever eager to find out what lies beneath the ground and what more can be created. For every player who finds the game a pointless waste of time, yet more shall find themselves gladly spending their lives exploring, surviving, and making whatever their imaginations can conjure up. Even after letting the game bore them to death, adventurers can still find a sudden spark of interest that reignites their passion and draws them even deeper, whether it's a maddening desire to expand one's home, march resplendent in solid gold armor, or simply maintain the largest wheat farm conceivable. You get out what you put in, provided that you enjoy Minecraft's eccentric offerings in the first place.  While the Xbox 360 Edition is largely identical to the original, there are a few alterations. For one thing, mods and many of the updates are missing, though more features are due to be added over time. Right now there are no options for new player skins, and gameplay elements such as hunger are nonexistent. Crafting has been slightly streamlined, with players not having to worry about manually placing components while building objects (simply clicking an item will build it), and a tutorial mode has been included to ease newcomers into the environment. Every new game always begins with a map in the inventory as standard, just to make navigating a little easier.  Up to eight players can collude online, and four-player split-screen play is also supported, which can make things a lot more fun for those getting bored. Though Kinect functionality has been previously promised, it is not available at launch. Those hoping to get their motion on will need to wait for future updates.  Meanwhile, the 360 controller works surprisingly well with the game's keyboard-and-mouse-friendly gameplay. While navigating the inventory is a real bitch, moving through the world and fighting enemies is rather fluid and satisfactory. The game has been tailored very nicely to the controller, and while those more used to mouse controls might find the input somewhat inelegant, most 360 users should have an easy time exploring and building.  Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition was my first foray into Mojang's success story, giving me the chance to review this product as a game more than a port. Having already wasted more of my time than is sensible in Minecraft's strange little universe, I can see what all the fuss is about. I can also, however, see plenty of things to question and have been exasperated almost as much as I've been inspired. Minecraft is not a game I personally foresee playing a year from now, but should I look back on the hours already invested, I doubt I'll feel cheated. Indeed, Minecraft is endearing and regularly fascinates for as long as one's personal mileage can take them. I don't regret the engrossing, addictive, and often boring adventure I've had. No matter how tired I may be by the end of a day's excavating, stone smelting, and undead slaying, I can say that, overall, it was worth the effort. Just about.
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Minecraft's success simply cannot be denied, whether you're one of its many loyal fans or highly vocal detractors. The blocky world and lack of objectives may be deceptively simple, but its honest freedom, as well as hidden d...

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Notch: EA is methodically destroying gaming


May 03
// Jim Sterling
Minecraft developer Markus "Notch" Persson is angry at Electronic Arts for exploiting the concept of the indie bundle, expressing his distaste for the company's self-made association with independent developers. According to ...
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The DTOID Show: Borderlands, Aliens, and SPACE BATTLES!


Apr 04
// Tara Long
Not all at the same time, of course. That would be a little too badass, even for you. It doesn't mean there's not plenty to be excited about, though! Today's Destructoid Show covers a lot of topics, including discussion...
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Victory Mojang! Scrolls shall forevermore be Scrolls


Mar 10
// Tony Ponce
A few hours ago, a very excited Markus "Notch" Persson tweeted that Minecraft developer Mojang and Bethesda have settled their "Scrolls" dispute. As you might recall, Bethesda filed a lawsuit last year over a possible infring...
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Notch begs internet to chill out over Psychonauts 2


Feb 15
// Conrad Zimmerman
Just as Double Fine were about to announce their now highly-successful Kickstarter campaign, an interesting Twitter exchange between founder Tim Schafer and Mojang founder Notch set the online world into fits of hysteria, as ...
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The DTOID Show: Mass Effect on iOS and Psychonauts 2?!


Feb 08
// Tara Long
Could it be that all our dreams have suddenly been answered in just one, 13-minute news program? I hope not, otherwise I may as well pack up my desk and non-existent belongs RIGHT NOW. (Don't worry, I'll never give you the s...
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Notch: Can't afford Minecraft? Pirate now, buy later


Jan 12
// Jim Sterling
Minecraft creator Notch has told a fan that if he can't afford Minecraft, he's welcome to steal it. The indie developer was responding to a gamer who asked for a free account, lacking as he did the cash to buy it.  "Just...
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Hey, it's Ludum Dare 22 and Minicraft!


Dec 18
// Liam Fisher
If you follow the indie gaming scene, you're most likely aware of the fact that the 22nd Ludum Dare, a 48-hour game development competition, was this weekend. A per usual, a theme was given at the start of the event and parti...
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The long road to Minecraft


Dec 07
// Tony Ponce
For last month's MineCon, Mojang asked video team Hat Films to whip up a video that chronicled Minecraft's development over the past couple of years. Hat Films has had this up on its YouTube page for some weeks, but I didn't...
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The DTOID Show: Xenoblade, Minecraft, and... Tetris?


Dec 02
// Tara Long
If you've ever wondered what it looks like when two sick people host a live show together, then look no further. Technical difficulties be damned, today's live taping of The Destructoid Show has explored the boundaries of wh...
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Mega64: Build! Build ze ultimate creation!


Nov 22
// Tony Ponce
The full version of Minecraft was released this past weekend, punctuated by MineCon 2011 in Las Vegas. Notch himself prepared this special video to show to all the convention attendees. That accent is so sexy. MINECRAFT 1.0 OFFICIAL INTRODUCTION [YouTube]
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Scrolls has free-to-play, but we're not calling it that


Oct 24
// Liam Fisher
Apparently Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson is not a fan of the moniker "free-to-play," though he is, apparently, interested in testing the teeming free-to-play waters. Jokingly, he suggests we call it "as expens...

Just how evil is ZeniMax?

Oct 14 // Brock Janikowski
You've probably already read the first indications that there is more to the Notch vs. Bethesda debate than angry bloggers may have led folks to believe. Maybe it was a feeling of loyalty to Bethesda or a skepticism over what seemed like an arbitrary attack on Notch. Regardless of the reason, since the start of this debacle I've felt a need to dig deeper. After all, Bethesda Marketing VP Pete Hines' statement that, "Nobody here enjoys being forced into this," doesn't mean much unless there is actual justification.  So, putting my legal training to the test, I dove into researching Trademark Law in an effort to understand whether ZeniMax really was an evil corporation crushing the future of gaming under its uncaring heels, or if just maybe there could be another explanation. What I found was that an issue called Trademark Maintenance may indeed be forcing ZeniMax’s hand. Trademark Law is traditionally all about protecting consumers from being confused as to the origin or composition of a product. If a trademark holder takes the time to make a mark famous, others aren’t allowed to leech off that success. Therefore, if a court finds that consumers might be confused by the name of a new product, a court may find that the name infringes on the trademark holder’s mark and can therefore not be used. Once a trademark holder establishes its mark though, it has to maintain the mark. Part of Trademark Maintenance is the idea that a trademark holder must “police” its mark. If ZeniMax becomes aware another developer might be infringing upon its marks, it must address the issue, possibly by sending a letter and asking the developer to stop using the mark, or failing that, by taking the developer to court. If ZeniMax, or any corporation in this situation does nothing, a future court may find that a trademark has become “diluted” and is therefore not deserving of trademark protection. This tends to lead to some rather ridiculous cases for companies with famous trademarks; McDonalds for example has a long history of suing the "little guy" for using names that might be "confusingly similar." Just a few cases include a man named Norman McDonald who was forced to change the name of his restaurant, and another man by the name of McAllan who won a case brought against him for opening a restaurant under his name.  ZeniMax has stated that they believe consumers could potentially be confused by the similarity between The Elder Scrolls mark and Notch’s Scrolls. Is ZeniMax truly worried that people won’t be able to tell the difference? Possibly, but even if the company has little fear of such confusion, allowing Scrolls to slide by could create an unfortunate precedent should a larger, future trademark issue arise.  Keep in mind as well that Notch's offer to change or alter the Scrolls name doesn't count for much in this case. If Scrolls became Scrolls: Insert Sub-Title Here the potentially confusing word "scrolls" still exists. In fact, adding something to Scrolls might make is seem even more similar to The Elder Scrolls. The only thing that would truly end this case would be Notch dropping the Scrolls title altogether, an option Notch and Mojang have yet to offer. But Scrolls will most likely be a niche game with a niche audience, so then why spend all this time and money to litigate a case against a poor indie developer? It’s the reality of Trademark Law. If you don’t make efforts to maintain your mark, you may lose your mark. I believe that Bethesda and ZeinMax are taking very little joy in this litigation, but if they are worried about the long-term survivability of The Elder Scrolls mark, the companies may well feel they have no choice but to take Notch to court. Whether or not this is right, or whether Trademark Law should be revised to avoid “trademark maintenance” litigation are entirely relevant questions to ask, but this case won’t be addressing these issues. So is ZeniMax evil? I personally don’t think so, but that determination is up for debate. I think the company is following what is ultimately an unfortunate aspect of Trademark Law and Notch is suffering as a result. Maybe adherence to this flawed system still makes ZeniMax evil, but if it were a choice between potentially losing your ability to protect your famous trademark and suing an indie developer, what would you do?
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[Editor's note: Brock Janikowski is currently a law school student with an interesting take on the recent ZeniMax scandal. He will be contributing to Destructoid every once and a while with features focusing on the fascinatin...

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Dragons come to Minecraft!


Oct 08
// Fraser Brown
Although Minecraft is getting closer to launch, Notch isn't resting on his laurels. He had a surprise for his twitter followers, revealing a new creature he's been working on. Yep, it's a dragon. It's an albino dragon right n...

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