Even though Markus “Notch” Persson is no longer the lead designer of Minecraft, the progenitor of the wildly popular sandbox builder remains vocal about the game through his outspoken industry presence. Whether it’s explaining Minecraft’s absence on Steam or fending off inane patent infringement lawsuits against “Mindcraft,” it’s clear Notch is still deeply invested in the phenomenon his company, Mojang, now resides over.
His latest topic of discussion: gender. Specifically, whether or not it exists in the world of Minecraft at all.
Apparently, with the default Minecraft character being titled “Minecraft Guy” and Notch having once, jokingly, referred to
The human model, for instance – that fusion of blocks whose “Minecraft Guy” label has been adapted into much of the community’s lexicon – was simply intended to be a “Human Being,” Notch writes:
Not a male Human Being or a female Human Being, but simply a Human Being. The blocky shape gives it a bit of a traditional masculine look, but adding a separate female mesh would just make it worse by having one specific model for female Human Beings and male ones. That would force players to make a decisions about gender in a game where gender doesn’t even exist.
Many of the other mobs in the game blur the gender lines more clearly. Contra, you know, biology (breeding is an active mechanic in the game!), Notch illustrates how the… parts comprising many species are often a mixture of male and female attributes:
Cows have horns and udders (even if I’ve later learned that there are some cows where the females do have horns), and the chicken/duck/whatevers have heads that look like roosters, but still lay eggs. For breeding, any animal can breed with any other animal of the same species.
Mirroring real life, gender can be a subject of fervid discussion in a wide array of gaming circles, from fan petitions to include more female characters in games to marriage in RPGs to the representation of woman at E3. For any game looking to offer an equitable choice of characters, Notch notes that nondescription isn’t a practical option for most developers – our minds instinctively seek out the sex of other humans. With Minecraft, however – its quadratic universe and deemphasized graphics a defining style – Notch found a little more wiggle room: “I felt we could get away with it.”
Ranters, do you think gender should matter in a game like Minecraft? Does Notch have the right intentions by trying to create an asexual game world?
Minecraft now available on the PC, Xbox 360, and mobile platforms.
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Source: The Word of Notch