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Minecraft's Inherent Maleness Is Undeniable

Why Minecraft is fundamentally a dude's game.


Ok, I realize I've written about Minecraft on several occasions, but know that my fixation with the game has gone through iterations like that hybrid-animal-girl-thing went through genders in Splice. I'm hot and I'm cold, impressed and annoyed, invested and detached... sometimes all at the same time. Having sworn the game off and yet found myself gazing blearily at a sad recreation of the Cathedral of Notre Dame at 1 a.m., I've finally come to understand why I am so conflicted about it. Minecraft is fundamentally a male game, appealing to some of the worst (or at least more stereotypically male) aspects of my gender. I came to this conclusion after watching a stunningly visceral illustration of just what I'm talking about on YouTube. Here it is:


     In this video, a small group of (male) Minecrafters have recreated the entire world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, from The Shire, to Rivendell and the Mines of Moria. If these names are foreign to you, you just need to understand that the most awe-inspiring component of Tolkien's Middle Earth, as seen through the eyes of director Peter Jackson (and a million pre-pubescent kids that have grown up into hardcore Dungeons and Dragons gamers) is scale. In this Minecraft recreation of the Lord of the Rings world, scale is what is most impressive. At several points the computer in the video even struggles to actually render the recrafted world (something any computer should be able to do given the 8-bit appearance of the game) because the scale is just so massively, insanely, incomprehensibly large. Most impressive than that? The fact that this group of guys spent mind-numbing hours after tedious hours "crafting" the entire thing; breaking apart small blocks of materials, replacing them with different blocks in different arrangements until they've recreated an entire fantastical world on a stunning scale. I was left with only one consuming question... why?

     This is when I realized it... Minecraft is the male mind.

      The premise of the game is to "take" (the 'mine' portion of the title) and to "build" (the 'craft' portion of the title). Taking and building is essentially the foundation of our country! Also known as manifest destiny; taking land from natives, taking resources from the earth, building skyscrapers and cities and public works; "taking and building" is an inherently male mindset! Not only that, but one is encouraged to build in the game's mechanics to protect oneself. Then why have Minecrafters and their communities built recreations of cathedrals, Middle Earth, and the S.S. Enterprise? They've built them as monuments, as larger-than-life virtual monuments to themselves. Like the ultimate game of penis-comparison played by the pharaohs of old, Minecrafters recreate epically large structures for ever-more impressive bragging rights, to secure their place in the legends of Minecrafting posterity. Again, an inherently male thing to do. Finally, Minecraft communities seem to be obsessed with size (even the smallest blocks, the elements, are half the size of the individual avatar). Need I point out the male fixation with size?

     So there it is, Minecraft is ostensibly an innocent sandbox creation kit for industrious gamers. It is also a virtual manifestation of maleness; a platform for any guy to live out his basest male instincts to take, build, compensate, and ultimately leave the nerdiest legacy one is capable of leaving.