What Agencies Can Learn From Playing Minecraft


What does Minecraft have to do with working at an agency?

Nothing! And everything.

Last week we had our inaugural Game Night where the more “alternatively social” among us spent our evening in a virtual world. We struggled to survive in the world of Minecraft, enduring assaults by pixelated threats, starvation and a lack of resources. Open to all, our aim of Game Night was to play a something cooperatively, to test our collective mettle and work together to defeat our digital foes.

The gang gathers for minecraft

The Minecrafters hard at work.

It turns out, Minecraft is a lot more like working at an agency than you might think. Granted, we don’t get too many Creepers wandering the hallways, but we do have nasty software bugs that appear out of nowhere that threaten to detonate on your fragile project. And while we don’t have to manage iron ore supplies and keep an eye on when the sun goes down, we do have to contend with budgets and a general lack of time. There are constraints in the Minecraft world that relate to the ones every day (just not ones you can solve by swinging a pick ax into).

A creeper is in our midst

Look out! Behind you!

We started the night with two Minecraft vets, Tanner and Joe, showing us the ropes and doing their darnedest to keep us alive. There are no titles or seniority that transfer from the agency world to the Minecraft. Even our Managing Director (and the little Managing Director Jr. on his lap) joined in. In Minecraft, we’re all blobs of pixels trying not to be eaten by other blobs of pixels, working together to survive. We throw out ideas and decide on the best one, collectively plan our next move, volunteer to take on duties and work together to get it done.

Joe and Tanner did an excellent job shepherding us through the terrifying early stages. For Minecraft n00bs, the game begins with the bunch of us thrown into a randomly generated world with the only challenge is to survive and build. Teaching us to craft, make tools and gather food, our humble guides were like a pair of nerdy Jacks-From-Lost, confidently leading us to into the pixelated wasteland. They spoke and we listened, following their lead as we transformed our tiny shelter into a fortress of awesomeness. 

Minecraft house

Awesomeness clearly visible.

We built this tower to keep from getting lost. It didn't work. I still got lost.

There have been a lot of studies about how video games increase this and that, but the best thing I got out of the night was a sense of pride in what we built. We made it pretty far into the game before reality set back in and we realized we had another work day ahead of us. But soon, Game Night will come again and we'll return our world as wiser Minecrafters, ready to push further into the unknown.

The work we do here can be tough. Scratch that, this work we do is tough. But, like our experience in Minecraft, we pride ourselves at being able to work together to solve the toughest problems (and have a little fun while we’re at it). By the way, we're hiring.