What did Minecraft look like 15 years ago?

A basic house made in a very different looking Minecraft Alpha version (Image via Mojang)
A basic house made in a very different looking Minecraft Alpha version (Image via Mojang)

Minecraft's iconic art style is one of the title's main selling points. However, for as iconic as the game's look has become, it's actually changed quite significantly over the 15 years it's been under active development. This has resulted in a world that looks very different now than it used to.

Detailed below are some of the best examples of just how much Minecraft has changed since its earliest alphas. These differences are made even easier to see due to Classic once again being featured on the official website as a playable demo for the title's 15th anniversary.

Note: Some aspects of this article are subjective and reflect the opinions of the writer


How Minecraft is a very different-looking game now

Block textures

These two blocks are the best examples of the game's updating art style (Images via Mojang)
These two blocks are the best examples of the game's updating art style (Images via Mojang)

The best showcase for just how different Minecraft looks now are the textures of the blocks that have been in the game through different updates.

One example of a major texture difference between Alpha and 1.20 can be found in cobblestone. This is a fundamental building block due to its abundance. It is oftentimes one of the most common blocks found in a Minecraft storage system.

It's texture used to be much harsher in terms of contrast. The brightest bits of stone are noticably brighter than the modern texture, with the cracks between rocks also being much darker. This leads to a texture that's easier to read but also harsher on the eyes.

There are too many subtle texture differences over the years to touch on them all, but another infamous example of the title's look changing over time is in netherrack.

This is the most common block in the Nether, meaning it needs to have a pleasant texture to make exploring this dimension less painful on the eyes. Its original texture, as iconic as it was, is another example of how the early game's textures were a bit too harsh to look at.

The contrasting dark bits found in the texture immediately next to ligher bits of color created a difference that could cause eye strain after prolonged periods. Thankfully, this has been updated to a much smoother, flat red texture resembling cobblestone.


Fog

The heavy, oppressive fog of early versions of the game (Image via Mojang)
The heavy, oppressive fog of early versions of the game (Image via Mojang)

The other major area that contributes to just how different Minecraft looks now is how fog is rendered. There's something suffocating about alpha and beta fog that is noticably absent in modern render-distance fog. This resulted in these earlier versions of the title looking much scarier than the modern game, which was only reinforced by the cave sounds and iconic Herobrine creepypasta.

There have even been mods and amazing Minecraft texture packs dedicated to reverting the changes to fog, simply to bring back this suffocating atmosphere. This speaks to just how iconic this look was and still is.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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