Imagine, for a moment, that you’re Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft, one of the most popular video games of the decade.
Within three years of entering Beta in late 2010, Minecraft had sold 35 million copies, transforming Persson into a multimillionaire in the process. The game has won tons of awards, sparked the annual MineCon conference and inspired—inevitably—lots of merchandise.
So after that blockbuster success, what do you do for an encore? If you’re Persson, you build a game about a horse pushing a giant ball around a tropical island with its head. It’s called Cliffhorse, and you can download it from this website, which looks like it was thrown together in roughly five minutes, and pay for it with Dogecoin, which is a kind of crypto-currency.
Yes, this new effort is thoroughly tongue-in-cheek. Persson witnessed someone playing Skyrim, a Medieval-ish fantasy game with what he called, in a Reddit posting, “hilarious horse physics.” With a handful of free Unity assets and a couple hours of spare time, he threw together Cliffhorse, which has evolved (in his mind) from a goofy riff on how digital horses behave in one particular video game to a comment on his industry as a whole:
It somehow turned into a ‘haha only serious’ take on some of the more embarrasing [sic] minimum effort greenlight games (and the amazing success of Goat Simulator), and it seemed to me like the ‘haha only serious’ angle of Dogecoin was the perfect match for it. I also threw in a loving jab at paying for early access, which is how Minecraft got here at all.
Later, on Twitter, Persson wrote: “(I can’t believe this somehow ended up being my first commercial game after Minecraft).”
A lot of other people probably can’t believe it, either.
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