More than 75 million people play 'Minecraft,' the open-world game that lets players build virtual empires one virtual brick at a time. One of the more famous fans of this game is Josh Hutcherson. The actor, who reprised his role as Peeta Mellark in 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,' likes to get away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood premieres and global shooting schedules of blockbuster films by escaping into this game world.
"I'm into 'Minecraft,' which is this game where you go and build stuff in this world," Hutcherson tells 'Men's Journal.' "You dig up resources and build houses and castles and whatever you want. It's an incredible game."
Finnish developer Mojang is expanding the reach of 'Minecraft' beyond the PC, Xbox 360, and mobile devices this winter. The game will launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. While the visuals will be enhanced, the creativity will remain intact. As is the case with other fans of the game, Hutcherson likes to make things in 'Minecraft.'
"I've built a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright–type houses, where I've really incorporated the environment into the home," says Hutcherson. "It's my kind of thing."
Before 'Minecraft,' Hutcherson bonded with his brother playing 'Madden.' The one catch is that 'Madden' always had a winner, something 'Minecraft' completely avoids.
"I always lost," says Hutcherson. "The only memory I have of 'Madden' is always losing. I was always getting intercepted and turning the ball over. It was always ugly. I would always play as the Bengals and my brother would always play as the Saints, and actually he'd always kick my ass every single time. It annoyed the hell out of me."
Madden is still around, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and Hutcherson has followed the growth that virtual football, as well as the video game industry as a whole, has undergone since then.
"It's incredible," said Hutcherson. "Now you can create a whole other life inside of a video game, which is good and bad. I think it's cool that some people escape into them, but at the same time you can take it too seriously and escape a little too much. You need to come back to our side, reality."
Maybe next year, Hutcherson will visit MineCon. Mojang is already organizing the fourth annual fan convention. Over 5,000 Minecraft players gathered at the Orlando Convention Center last month to connect the real and virtual worlds together with a celebration of the game franchise. ['Minecraft,' $25; download a free demo at minecraft.net]