One of the biggest phenomenons in gaming began 10 years ago. Even if you haven't played it yourself, undoubtedly you know someone who has played, and probably become hooked, on "Minecraft."
The game was first released to the public in an early, pre-alpha version on May 17, 2009. An alpha and beta version of the game followed, and the full release version of the game came out in November 2011, although it's received constant updates ever since.
So how big is "Minecraft?" It is now the No. 1 selling video game of all time with more than 175 million copies sold. The game became so big that Microsoft purchased developer Mojang and "Minecraft" in September 2014 for $2.5 billion. When that happened, I was worried that Microsoft would lock the game away and make it exclusive to its Xbox systems. Instead, it has continued to release the game on every platform available, including PlayStation, Nintendo and mobile.
I first played "Minecraft" when the game was released for the handheld PlayStation Vita in October 2014 and I became hooked. "Minecraft" is a creative survival game in which you have to mine resources to build and survive.
For me, my early days with the game were much more about surviving than being creative. Monsters come out and hunt you at night, and I remember during one play session in which I strayed too far from the safety of my tiny log cabin and had to survive the night with weak wooden sword and no food to replenish my health. By pure luck, I wandered into a village while running from some creepers, stole some of their carrots (which I later replaced, I play as a good guy), and waited out the night.
I still play the game in phases, and have been playing it a lot recently with the anniversary. In the past five years my little one story log cabin has been rebuilt and expanded into a seven-story fortress made of obsidian, the most durable stone in the game, complete with a hidden vault and a massive enclosed garden to grow all the carrots, potatoes and wheat I could ever use.
Survival in the game isn't difficult for me anymore I've built up my resources so much. But it's a game I'm going to go back to over and over again for its creativity.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is currently playing "Star Wars Battlefront 2," "Friday the 13th: The Game" and "Minecraft." You can find him to play online through his PlayStation Network ID, DustRAG316.