|Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus &amp;lsquo;Notch&amp;rsquo; Persson and the Game that Changed Everything|
|author||Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson (translated by Jennifer Hawkins)|
|publisher||Seven Stories Press|
|ISBN||1609805372 (ISBN-10); 978-1609805371 (ISBN-13)|
|summary||Markus 'Notch' Persson's development from isolated coder to famous game developer.|
He certainly has the money to make many of his empire dreams come true, as Minecraft remains a strong seller more than four years after its Alpha debut. The game features a "survival" mode, in which the blocky hero attempts to survive against hordes of enemies, as well as a "creative" mode where players can mine blocks and use them to build pretty much any structure. The latter mode has unleashed some spectacular displays of creativity, including enormous replicas of the Egyptian Pyramids and the Empire State Building.
While the authors clearly had some access to Persson, they didn’t use that face-to-face time to plunge deeply into his character: there’s precious little insight into how his occasionally messy childhood informed his worldview, for example, or the duality that clearly exists between his more insular self and his ambition to build a massive company that, at its heart, rests on interactions between millions of people. On the other hand, by avoiding the plunge into that psychological thicket, they also prevent their work from falling into the tedious armchair-psychiatry that’s doomed many a biography.
The book is at its best when describing the Swedish gaming industry (from its giants down to the indie studios), and how Minecraft went from bedroom-developer project to worldwide phenomenon. That’s almost enough to overlook how much of a cipher Persson remains, even in the final pages.