Does Minecraft's Ending Actually Mean Anything? – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Minecraft’s cryptic End Poem is an intentionally confusing story that takes some serious contemplation to break down into its basic meanings.
On the surface, Minecraft is a game that encourages players to make their own goals and story in a nearly endless creative sandbox. Spin-offs such as Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft Legends would implement some story, but the original game thrives without direction. There are some predefined goals, such as killing the Ender Dragon and surviving the terrifying Deep Dark biome, but it's difficult to find anything similar to the kinds of plots that other games use to push players forward, even when looking at Minecraft's official ending.
The ending has confused the community ever since it was added in the Beta 1.9 update. Originally written by Julian Gough and now in the public domain, Minecraft's End Poem is a cryptic conversation between two entities, seemingly discussing the player from an outside perspective. Parts of the poem are distorted with glitching text, though the vast majority of it is legible. While the poem may not give much insight into the lore of Minecraft, there's still a heartwarming message to be found between the lines.
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An important fact to be aware of is that Minecraft's ending was always intended to be nonsensical. Notch, Minecraft's original creator, sent out a tweet back in 2011 asking for people to submit "silly over-the-top out-of-nowhere text" for the game's ending. The End Poem was always meant to be gibberish that would contrast the game's otherwise simple premise. In a rather anticlimactic fashion, it initially seems as though this is the case and Minecraft's ending doesn't mean anything. However, it's taken on some meaning over the last ten years.
The End Poem has gone mostly untouched since it was implemented back in 2011. While Mojang has fixed some minor grammatical errors, it has otherwise kept this cryptic ending as it was. While this may be due to the company not owning the legal rights to use the poem, Mojang could have easily just removed it from the game. While the original intention may have been for the End Poem to be a funny tone shift, the fact that it remains in the game to this day may suggest that there's something substantial players are meant to pull from this "nonsense" text.
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The End Poem appears to depict two speakers in a conversation about the player. They initially suggest that by beating the Ender Dragon, the player has ascended to some kind of higher understanding of the world. One of the speakers states that, because of this higher understanding, the player is now able to see the thoughts of the two speakers. At no point does the poem directly address the player, instead being more of a conversation about them.
From what these two speakers say, it's clear that they have been observing the player for a long time. In fact, it becomes very clear that they might not even be talking about the player specifically. The speakers begin discussing something known as "the original interface" that allowed the player to dream about shelter, hunting, and sunlight. This could be alluding to Minecraft's early game of punching trees and building shelters, though there's likely something deeper to pull from the poem.
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Two important themes that are mentioned several times throughout Minecraft's End Poem are dreams and the universe. There are several lines that imply the fact that players can create with their dreams, such as when one speaker says, "Sometimes the player dreamed it was a miner, on the surface of a world that was flat, and infinite. The sun was a square of white. The days were short; there was much to do; and death was a temporary inconvenience."
Life is also referred to as being a dream, though it is called the "long dream" in comparison to Minecraft being the "short dream." The idea of dreams in this poem is meant to touch on how games and reality can often blend together. The creator of the poem even stated in an interview with BoingBoing that "It's dream as metaphor. I love the strangeness that comes when people get so lost in a game that the game becomes the world."
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This is where the second theme, the universe, comes into play. The speakers describe the universe as being planets and stars, electrons and protons, words, computer code, and even their true identity. Something that all of those things share in common is that they're smaller parts of a greater whole. Code creates programs, planets and stars make up galaxies, and words birth stories. The End Poem frequently takes massive concepts like the universe or life and simplifies them into smaller parts, downplaying the scale of the universe.
Minecraft's End Poem seems to be about how the player matters. The poem disagrees with the idea that the player is nothing compared to the grand scale of the universe, since so many things that are far smaller share many similar traits with the universe. DNA is just letters telling the story of a person, code is just the electrons and protons that make up a world, and dreams are just the meaning that people extract from what they see. In other words, the universe and the player aren't as different as they may seem.
Minecraft is an oddly fitting game to frame this sort of message around. The game's code creates a world that players invest time and care into, much like their real lives. The amount of time invested in both may vary greatly, but time doesn't change the fact that both worlds are experienced by the player. The End Poem serves its purpose as an ending to Minecraft, as it encourages players to "wake up" from the dream that is Minecraft's world so that they may experience whatever comes next.
A writer for CBR since September 2020, Jacob Creswell is a life long writer and gamer. Has written for both local and global publications. Lover of Animal Crossing, Undertale, Team Fortress 2, and a little professional wrestling on the side. Often can be found doing way more research than needed for his video game theories. Can also be found on his Twitter, @Creaology98

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