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'Minecraft' creator takes shot at Early Access Games with 'Cliffhorse'

Photo courtesy of Markus Persson, used with permission

Minecraft” creator Markus “Notch” Persson is known for his particularly strong statements on Twitter in regards to various gaming subjects. He made a new one Saturday presumably aimed at the current state of Early Access Gaming and the current review system in the form of a hastily thrown together game called “Cliffhorse.”

“Cliffhorse” was put together in two hours using the Unity game engine, according to Persson. Everything is built using the assets that already come with Unity and simply features a gravity defying horse running around an open area batting an over-sized ball around with its head.

Persson posted a link to the game file on his Twitter account along with an address to send Dogecoin, the alternative cryptocurrency to Bitcoin. The post and accompanying website appear to be a shot at some of the early access games that have been appearing on Steam and other places where very little work and semblance of a game exists. The website even includes the disclaimer, “No guarantee of future updates.”

In a bit of ironic twist, the multi-millionaire Notch already made about $100 from “Cliffhorse” from Dogecoin donations. This led him to opine, “I can't believe this somehow ended up being my first commercial game after ‘Minecraft.’”

The “Minecraft” maker even took a moment to deliver some hilarity to the gaming press in the form of mock game review quotes. “‘The [...] future [...] of gaming’ - PC Gamer | ‘Not even a game’ - Ed Key | ‘Awful. 9.2/10’ – IGN,” he teased.

Naturally, this led to a mix of confusion among the gaming community who didn’t quite grasp the joke at first. Some were dumbfounded that this is Notch’s first game after the cancelled “0x10c,” while still others were flabbergasted that he came up with this after “Minecraft.” Fortunately, there appears to be enough people that get the joke to steer them on the correct course.

We downloaded “Cliffhorse” to our PC and tried it out for a brief moment. It’s appropriately goofy and completely devoid of content. The irony in all of this though is that "Minecraft" started out essentially as an Early Access Game where people paid to get in the Alpha and Beta testing phases. However, it was definitely a different time when Persson tried the experiment all the way back in 2009.

Update: Persson gave a fuller explanation of why he created "Cliffhorse" and why he chose Dogecoin to take payments in a post on the Dogecoin sub-Reddit.

I was watching PewGeminiLive streaming a blind playthrough of Skyrim, and kept jokingly referring to the game as "Cliffhorse" because of the hilarious horse physics. After a while, people started saying I should make that game, and I said sure. About two hours and a bunch of free Unity assets later, Cliffhorse was done.

It somehow turned into a "haha only serious" take on some of the more embarrasing 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.

Is ironically buying an ironic game for ironic money actually ironic? I don't know. Does it have to be?

In a world where The Colbert Report contains more actual news than Actual News, subversion through humor seems to be one of the best things going on.

I love cryptocurrency, and I love the way Dogecoin deals with it.

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