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Notch is the handle of Mark Persson, a Swedish indie game developer and founder of Mojang Specifications that is best known for creating the sandbox building game Minecraft. Largely due to the success of Minecraft, Persson has become an iconic figure within the fanbase and online gaming culture.
According to Wikipedia and other various sources, Persson began his career as a game developer for King.com, an online skill-based games company that provides a variety of arcade and puzzle games. While working at King.com from 2005 to 2009, Persson worked on a number of action script and java-based games such as Funny Farm, Luxor and Carnival Shootout.
After departing from the online gaming site in 2009, Persson continued to work as a programmer for the image hosting site Jalbum and as a co-founder of Wurm Online, a 3D java-based MMO game that was first released in June 2006.
Outside of his work, Persson has participated in numerous programming competitions and created seven indie games including “Left 4K Dead” and “Mega 4K Man.” He has also entered the Ludum Dare competition. He is involved in making a movie called “Minecraft: The story of Mojang”.
As a freelance programmer, Notch has participated in the Java 4K Programming Contest and went on to create seven games, including Miners4K which won the 2006 competition.
- MEG4kMAN (2009): a Mega Man clone featuring very old school graphics.
- Left 4k Dead (2009), a zombie shooter game inspired by Left 4 Dead.
- t4kns (2008), a real time strategy game.
- Miners4k (2006), a game kinda inspired by lemmings and diggers.
- Hunters4k (2005), a first person shooter.
- Dungeon4k (2005), a dungeon exploration game.
- Sonic Racer 4k (2005), a racing game with stolen sprites. I lost the source code for this.
In addition to the Java 4K contest, Notch has also entered submissions for the Retro Remakes competition and Ludum Dare competition, from which he released a number of simple games like Blast Passage, Breaking the Tower and Bunny Press among others.
Advocacy of File-Sharing
Notch has been an open supporter of online file-sharing platforms and critic of the argument that digital piracy of intellectual property is the same as stealing. At the 2011 Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, Notch explained his stance on intellectual property and piracy before a crowd of developers and journalists:
“A lot of big companies try to make piracy like theft; I wouldn’t steal a car, but I would steal a good design. If I liked another person’s apartment, I would try to make mine look like someone else’s… but that’s not stealing.”
Notch actively maintains online presence through social networking accounts on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. As of November 2nd, 2011, Persson (@Notch) has over 457,799 followers on Twitter. On Reddit, Persson started an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on Reddit on April 6th, 2011, which accumulated over 2,686 comments with 6,862 up votes and 4,352 down votes.
In a March 2010 interview with the gaming blog Gamasutra, Notch revealed that he is an occasional visitor of 4chan and acknowledged his appreciation for the Anonymous fanbase:
Yes, I sometimes do. I’ve even posted! It’s a fascinating and scary place. Is that really what we’re like, us humans? Or is it just layers of irony upon layers of irony? Perhaps it’s just trolls? It might be one of the closest things we’ve got to a self-conscious virtual entity on the internet. Anonymous seemed to decide that Minecraft was a good game, and I love them for it. That’s basically the most honest praise I’ve ever gotten.
In addition, Persson’s profile avatar has inspired several dozens of fan-generated Twitter accounts with handles containing the name “Notch” and derivative avatars, including the earliest known instance @Devil_Notch (which is no longer available).
Tributes on Minecraft
Numerous structures and memorials have been erected by fans in Minecraft servers as well.