Ending an endless game: an interview with Julian Gough, author of Minecraft's epic finale


20 Responses to “Ending an endless game: an interview with Julian Gough, author of Minecraft's epic finale”

  1. Mujokan says:

    I have only  played the demo of Minecraft, which is available here: http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/04/19/download-the-minecraft-demo/

    I also watched some of this series of videos first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UdEFmxRmNE

    It has a very strange and special atmosphere, but I think the way to play it would be on a private server with friends.

  2. nowimnothing says:

    I hate to think how many hours I have put into this game over the past few months and I am nowhere near getting all the pieces together to go to the end. I just got started on a base in the nether and I have not even started enchanting yet. I suppose if I dropped the hundred other projects I have been working on (mob farm, multiple portals, actually making my base look designed rather than haphazard) and focused on getting to the end… Oh well. I will have to finish eventually just so I can list this game among the very few that I have played all the way through. I am afraid once I get to the end part of the wonder will be gone but maybe they can keep providing updates with even more dimensions and achievements. A lot to ask for for $20, I know, but it has entertained me very well so far.

  3. Ben Godby says:

    This is a really interesting interview, but I have no interest in getting to The End. That’s not what Minecraft’s about. And everyone I know who’s done it, did it in Creative Mode/with cheats…

  4. Tom Chatfield says:

    *Spoiler alert* – but for those who haven’t seen/read the ending, you can read the whole of Julian’s text nicely presented here:


    And watch a video of the final fight against the dragon, and then the ending as seen on screen, here:


    hope you enjoyed the interview!


    • AlbertP says:

      I’ve never played Minecraft, though I have seen various projects and masterpieces from the Minecraft world. The interview was thought provoking as to the ideology behind the game, and the ending script is beautiful. I’m glad that Ms. Gough has voiced a maxim that I believe in, that to have just one person appreciate one’s writing, efforts, or help, makes the gesture worth it multiple times over. Out of the context of the game, the ending feels as though I’m floating through an ocean, slowly rising towards an infinite sky. I’m regret not having played the game now, as I imagine within the game, the whole effect would be heart-stopping.

  5. Jack Feerick says:

    I liked that game better when it was called THE INVISIBLES.

  6. liz o says:

    I have not played Minecraft, but that final text is very beautiful. I went to check out the game “The End” and ended up playing for 3 hours straight. It kind of reminded me of this old school puzzle game I used to play called Stardust, but with more words and metaphysics.

  7. I thought Minecraft was just an open ended platform, ala Second Life. I did not know it had a story arc.

    Edit: OK, I just went and looked at the ending video posted above. Can someone explain the appeal of this game? What’s with the chunky, blocky looking graphics? I thought that video games had evolved to almost movie like representations?

    • Just like any other artform, there are other styles besides tacky “realism”.

    • RevEng says:

      The blocky graphics don’t matter: you don’t need fancy graphics to have fun. Once you are immersed in the game, the graphics cease to be a
      concern and your imagination takes over.

      The appeal of Minecraft is in its ability to become whatever you want it to be. On the surface, it seems simple and boring: you dig, you get raw materials, and you craft them into things. But those are just the mechanics. You can toil away in your mines, finding treasures if you
      want. You’ll sometimes be rewarded by finding dungeons with skeletons and zombies. Or you might find a beautiful cave formation with rivers of water and magma. Or you can explore above ground, travelling through the mountains and valleys, from lava-covered mountains, to winter tundra, to expansive oceans with sandy island outcroppings. You can climb to the top of the highest mountain and view the rest of the world from up in the sky or you can swim in the ocean and get into a fight with a squid.

      But it’s not just mindless meandering either. Every night spooky and dangerous things will come out of the dark. You will have to work — and work fast — to build a shelter to hide in. If you don’t want to camp out every night, you’ll have to mine deep to collect materials to build
      armor and weapons so that you can defend yourself in the night. Soon, you’ll be powerful enough that you’ll venture out into the darkness,
      taking your chances to harvest monsters for the rare and coveted materials they drop.

      And after awhile, you’ll find that you’ve become attached to your little home. You’ll want to build it taller and larger, with rooms and beds and bookcases. You’ll build your tree fort or your dream house. You’ll discover that you can build a jukebox and enjoy some atmospheric
      background music. You’ll build switches and doors and pistons and miles of mine cart track. You’ll connect your favourite locations in the world with rail systems and speed between them.

      Eventually, you’ll discover how to build a portal to the nether portal, where you’ll meet an entirely new world, weirder and more dangerous than the one you’ve become familiar with. You’ll try to conquer this too, both for the challenge and for the treasures contained within.

      And, with the ending now provided by Julian, you’ll eventually find closure when you’ve mastered this world and the next.

      Or you could scrap all that and do what others do. You can play multiplayer and build communities, each person with their own take on
      the world you share. Many work together to build grand things, like the world of Rapture from Bioshock, or a great cathedral. Perhaps you’ll use it as a playground for invention and build mechanisms like CPUs and 3D printers.

      This is the beauty of Minecraft: with such simple graphics and mechanics, it offers so much opportunity to play. Like a child with blankets and pillows, you can do anything your mind imagines. But it’s not just a sandbox, because the game quickly draws you into its virtual world, insisting that you start to play because time is running out and the monsters will get you. And this spark is all it takes to get you into
      the groove. Once you’re in, your imagination fills in the rest and quickly you become immersed in an imaginary world.

      But it’s not just Notch’s world; it’s your world. The elegance of such simple graphics and design is that the characters and the story aren’t
      written for you; you get to fill in the blocks with your own stories and personalities. Is the creeper a silent, creeping menace — like a
      stalker in the night — or is he just a happy and misunderstood creature, doomed to end his short life with a bang?

      The appeal of Minecraft is that its a great framework for building your own story, providing the promise of a sandbox experience like no other game has done before. Millions of players have found their own reason to want to play. It has a long-lasting appeal to a broad audience in a way that professional studios could only dream about.

  8. Calum kinnon says:

    I’m sorry, but I found the end poem to be, while well written from a creative perspective, horribly conceited and worse, completely irrelevant to the experience of finishing the game

    Reminiscent of the philosophies a 13-year-old stoner would dream, or the neon-pixie-ramblings of a 40-year-old acid drop-out – I’m not hating on these demographics but criticising the lack of depth present in this kind of ‘philosophy’

    I was bored and disappointed in this ‘end’, but maybe that’s because I am no longer that 13-year-old stoner this game primarily targets; yes I now feel too old to play this game and slightly embarrassed by my previous addiction to it

  9. Chris says:

    I mean no disrespect to notch or the writer when I say this, but am I the only person who thinks the writing at the end is just rubbish? Even if you think a game like minecraft needs such an ending…It’s just not that well written. It’s crap really, go, read it. It’s crap.

  10. kukouri says:

    Still very strange to me to think of Minecraft having any sort of story to it at all.

  11. Joeri van der Velden says:

    The Yogscast shows how most player reacted to the end credits: 
    It really was an unnecessary piece of text. No offense to your writing skills, I’m blaming Notch for the decision to include it. It just made no sense, added nothing to the experience, and was just an anti-climax. Having an end or an annoying dragon bossfight in the first place was a pretty bad idea if you’d ask me.

  12. Meagen Image says:

    I extracted the text file with the ending crawl and replaced it with a dialogue where two narrators show up to the same ending by accident – the Generic Fantasy Game Narrator and the Pretentious Arty Game Narrator. They get into a fight over whether games should be entertainment or art. I think I’m sticking with the spirit of Minecraft by making up my own ending.

  13. Ryan Szrama says:

    I played The End a bit. Liked the writing. : )

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