Minecraft, a video game developed by Mojang and initially released in 2010, is slippery to define. As of this writing, it has sold more than 20 million copies on PC (personal computer) alone and more than 70 million copies across other platforms. At its most simple, Minecraft enables players to break and place textured three-dimensional blocks to produce various edifices. Players can freely move through a three-dimensional, algorithmically generated open world, collecting resources, crafting tools, and building structures. Single-player and multiplayer options are available, with a vast amount of user-driven multiplayer servers emerging—unique game worlds hosted by individual players themselves on their computers—that cater to various styles of play.

Initially, players choose between one of two modes: (1) survival or (2) creative. In survival mode, ...

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