by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson, authors of Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything (Seven Stories Press, November 2013)
This is the story of how one bedroom coder changed the rules of the videogame world forever.
A few years ago, 34-year-old Markus “Notch” Persson of Stockholm was an unknown computer programmer stuck in a job he didn’t like. In the evenings, he toiled away on a labor of love: an obscure game with a tiny but dedicated online following. The game was called Minecraft. Markus released it to the world in early 2009. Pretty much nobody cared.
Today, Minecraft is a global phenomenon. The game Markus built in his spare time has more than 40 million players. Thousands of fans of all ages, from elementary school kids to their parents, gather at Minecraft conventions, dressed up as their favorite characters from the game. Millions of people worldwide manage their own Minecraft-servers and share recordings of their favorite sessions with other players through YouTube. In Barcelona, Spain, a cartoonist draws a monthly comic book set in the Minecraft world. In England, two young guys and one girl have built an audience of millions through their weekly Minecraft-themed show on YouTube. In hundreds of schools throughout Europe and the US, teachers are using Minecraft—a game their students already love—as a tool to help them understand concepts such as teamwork, engineering, and computer science.The story of Markus’ rise to fame is both fascinating and heart-wrenching. From an early age, Markus was an outsider who struggled to find his place. He didn’t like school; his classes bored him. He was a shy kid who spent most of his time by himself, playing with the LEGO pieces that would later be the inspiration for Minecraft. Things weren’t any better at home. Markus grew up in a broken family. His parents divorced when he was young and his sister quickly spiraled into drug abuse. Markus took an interest in computers, both to fuel his intellect (Markus has an IQ of over 130) but also to seek refuge from the loneliness and boredom at school and the chaos and violence at home. His interest in computers turned into a calling to create games, and Markus Persson, against the odds and despite being told he couldn’t do it, followed that calling and created one of the most popular video games in the world.
Besides the tale of Markus’ rise to stardom, Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything is a book about creation, exclusion, and the feeling of not fitting in. It’s about being lost and finding your way, about breaking the rules and marching to your own beat. This is the story of how a creative genius chased down his crazy dream—and became a hero and an inspiration to kids and adults all over the world.