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Problem-Solving with Minecraft's Zombies

The New Yorker

Though not as venerable as novels based on movies, novelizations of video games have been a sturdy publishing genre for decades. Assassin's Creed, Halo, Donkey Kong Country--all have been rendered in what technically counts as prose. You wouldn't call these novels of ideas, probably, but that's what the Swedish gaming company Mojang got, in 2016, when it approved Max Brooks to write a book based on Minecraft, widely considered the best-selling video game of all time. In most iterations, Minecraft players enter a Lego-like universe where they must learn how to shelter and feed themselves, marshal resources, build stuff, and otherwise survive while coping with nightly mobs of zombies, skeletons, and other bad actors. There is an often ignored way to "win" Minecraft, but for most players the game is more a world to invent.