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What could Notch’s cryptic Minecraft code mean?


Yesterday, Markus ‘Markus “Notch” Persson’ Persson responded cryptically to Minecraft’s milestone shattering eight millionth sale, simply commenting with the following string of digits and letters (spaces added to avoid bursting the site): “69I960EHE0 A4A0IVG0EH E02500R4R0 G1T30PLJ00 V6V0EHE0V1 U01V10U5U0 VGV0V4R”. But what does it all mean? Is it a secret message? Is it an ARG? Did Notch spill Capri Sun on his keyboard? Or is he chuckling away to himself as we all scratch our heads?

We’ve put our top men on the task, and they’re working tirelessly to refresh the Reddit thread several times a minute to discover the secret behind Notch’s secret message. Here’s what we’ve discovered so far.

Nobody’s really sure what it is

Not even the handful ofcryptographers who’ve looked at it. The zeroes might be terminators (the rubbish kind) ofdiscrete bits of information, but even then the remaining chunks just don’t add up to anything. Codebreakinggeniuses have tried basic substitution cipherssuch as ROT-N — in which each letter is swapped for its Nth neighbour — but found nothing but garbled, semi-legible results.

But it’s not random

The repetition of certain groups ofletters and numbers, as well as the palindromic nature of parts of the string, indicate that Notch’s cat didn’t do this. The code is either meaningful or specifically designed to appear meaningful. If Notch is playing with us, he’s putting a modicum ofeffort into doing so.

Interpreted one way, something resembling language appears

One Reddit user “got this in a block search using a 0 1 2 3 offset”. I don’t know that that means, but the results yield the letters “I H A T J V R, E E R V V U, I H E V, E G R L E U G”. Taken as a whole there doesn’t appear to be an anagram of any single English word or phrase to be found, but I can already spot “I HAVE GLUE”, “I HATE GRUEL” and “I HEART RIGEL” —Rigel, of course, being the brightest star in the Orion constellation. A clue perhaps? No, almost definitely not. Sigh.

It’s incompatible with 0x10c’s DCPU-16

0x10c is Notch’s upcoming space sim, and the DCPU is your ship’s 16-bit, on-board, fully emulatedprogrammable computer, into which code can be fed and executed. What if we plugged this string into the DCPU and observed the results? Nothing happens. Another dead end.

It generates a cool Minecraft world

When the string is used as a Minecraft world seed it, quite naturally,creates a world. Reddit users have described it as a “very nice” world with a “really weird cave system”, but it’s hardly special and most likely a fluke. Seeds for better than average worlds are a dime a dozen, and it would be sourly anti-climactic of Notch to spit out an unremarkable world seed in celebration of Minecraft’s eight millionth sale.

When expressed as a bitmap in base 64, you get this

Which yet again means preciselydiddly-squat. Unless, hold on. Wait just aminute. Zoom in on that square.

It couldn’t be, could it? Enhance 224 to 176. Enhance, stop. Move in, stop.

My god.

You again.