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Minecraft Griefing: Crime or Not?

September 7, 2019

A popular video game has recently come back to mainstream popularity, and you might have heard of it. Minecraft, a game created by Mojang, is a sandbox construction game whose primary focus is to allow its players to build anything their hearts can dream of, while also providing an intense survival mode. 

Players can play with each other on public, online servers that can be hosted by anyone. In these servers, people can share their creations to anyone who comes across them. 

However, an interesting development has occurred within the Minecraft community. Some players choose to anger others by destroying their creations by things like setting it on fire, blowing it up with TNT, or simply breaking their blocks. This is called "griefing". 

What, though, determines griefing? The gray area between one's creation and property is an interesting one: what determines the definition of art? Is someone's house considered their art? What about a couple blocks stacked on top of each other? Would that be considered art? 

Some might even say that griefing adds a sense of artistic beauty and drama to the game. Griefing can be seen as adding a necessary chaos in an otherwise peaceful game. 

When compared to the real life, though, the line becomes clear. Houses are houses, property is property, and artwork is artwork. But is it fair to place contemporary law onto a fictional video game? 

That's a question that many should consider. Interestingly enough, some servers choose to ban griefing– yet others intentionally choose to keep griefing in the game. It seems as though the line between art and crime is a lot more blurred when it comes to video games!

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