On the whole, Minecraft has been a force for good over the past few years, giving kids another way to socialize with one another, and even contributing to their education. However, over the weekend, the franchise was linked to an armed robbery in the state of Pennsylvania.
As the story goes, a man dressed in a licensed Minecraft costume robbed a Turkey Hill convenience store in the borough of Ephrata. He pulled a gun on the cashier, before stealing several cartons of cigarettes and a handful of cash just before 9PM on Saturday night.
The thief's choice of costume is somewhat appropriate, as he was dressed as a Creeper, a type of enemy that was introduced shortly after the initial release of Minecraft. As players will know, these creatures are very volatile, and are best avoided at all costs.
In Minecraft, Creepers shamble toward the player, before exploding and dealing damage on all sides. This can kill the player outright, or destroy large swathes of their buildings and settlement, leaving them vulnerable to attacks from other monsters. Expert players have no problem dealing with Creepers, but they can be something of a nuisance when novices are starting out.
Of course, it's unlikely that the thief picked a Creeper costume because he's very familiar with the Minecraft bestiary. It's more likely that its green color scheme — and the fact that the outfit zips up to cover the face — made it a particularly effective way of concealing his identity.
Minecraft was released in 2011, and since then has become a bona fide phenomenon, with recent figures suggesting that 55 million people play the game on a monthly basis. Its popularity has resulted in an enormous amount of merchandise being produced — although it's more often seen at kids' birthday parties, rather than crime scenes.
Minecraft is available now for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices.