Monday, February 1, 2016

STEM Trailblazer Bios: Markus "Notch" Persson

Markus "Notch" Persson 
written by Kari Cornell
2016 (Lerner)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

After a while, I figured out that if you didn't type out exactly what they told you then something different would happen when you finally ran the game. That sense of power was intoxicating. 

Markus Persson is the creator of Minecraft, an extremely popular computer game. His father, a computer tinkerer, bought a Commodore 128 when Markus was 7. This gave the young Swede his start in programming. He typed code and made things happen on the screen. Along with coding, Markus enjoyed role playing and video games. School did not hold much interest for him so he dropped out of high school to work as a programmer. He struggled for years until landing a job at a video game company. His experience at and further work at jAlbum helped Markus make connections that would prove valuable later. During one weekend in May 2009, Markus wrote code for what would become Minecraft. This was a world where players could create as they tried to build a shelter that would help them survive during the night. Persson released the game days later and it was an instant hit. He later adopted the name Notch for use in online communities. In 2014, he and two co-founders sold their company for 2.5 billion dollars to Microsoft.

I appreciate that we have a biography of a figure that made their mark near the present time. Minecraft aficionados (and there are so many) in your classroom will enjoy reading about the creator. If your school participates in the Hour of Code, or uses programming games like Scratch, this will also be a popular read for young coders. Text features include a timeline of Persson’s life and back matter that lists websites for those interested in coding. 

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