I stopped into a Dollar Tree the other day to grab a cheap gift bag for a friend’s present. Because you know nobody really cares about the bag. Anyways, as I’m wandering the aisles looking for cheap items, I came across something unexpected. It was a Minecraft Combat Handbook. You know, one of those books released at the height of the game’s popularity. It got me thinking about the state of Minecraft today.
As someone who loves popping into thrift stores, investigating store sales, and checking flea markets, I see a lot of unwanted Minecraft items. I’ve seen the Minecraft periodic table and figures more times than I can count at Goodwill. At one time, the Barnes and Noble nearest me had those LEGO Minecraft Micro Worlds heavily discounted before dropping them. Five Below’s shelves are stocked with miscellaneous Minecraft merchandise. The lackluster reception to Minecraft products and subdued response to the game makes me suspect this fad has finally come to an end.
Minecraft used to be big news. If a new add-on was released that added skins from other series, people got hyped. I remember how excited I was when the Mass Effect pack was released. And I know Xbox fans were psyched when the Halo pack appeared. Now, every add-on is old hat. There’s no fanfare when extras are released, with the exception being the Wii U and Switch’s versions Super Mario packs. These extras don’t matter.
Actual ports don’t seem as important either. When Minecraft came to Microsoft and Sony platforms, it was a big deal. Especially when the Vita gave us this fuller portable experience and was a cross-buy deal with the PlayStation 3 version. Now, it’s almost an afterthought when it appears somewhere new. Minecraft is on the Switch now! Which is fine, except it is locked at 720p for reasons and is temporarily an eShop exclusive. It is nice it is there, especially since it offers a rather nice portable experience, but it didn’t feel like it had the same fanfare as the earlier console ports.
I feel like the Minecraft movie news is another indication of how well the series is or isn’t doing. We don’t hear about it the same way we do the Uncharted movie or other projects. The last bit of news I heard was Steve Carell was allegedly attached as its star. Considering this is a movie that is supposedly going to be released in 2019 and based on a major property, you’d expect there would be more fanfare as the project progresses. But we aren’t hearing that much.
Games come and go. Everything has its moment. Minecraft was a big deal for years. It had a fantastic run. But the lack of fervor, aside from some buzz over the Switch release, makes it seem like its time has ended. Especially since the tie-in products are being discounted and the movie isn’t inspiring the same excitement as other video game films. Maybe now this means we’ll see some other series step into the limelight.
Image Credit: Lilac