In case you are living in a cave, you might not be aware of the latest craze of 6-30 year olds. I’m speaking of the Minecraft computer game. Initially, as a Christian homeschooling mother who doesn’t want her child’s brain to rot from mindless addiction nor his soul to go to hell, my response was, “a computer game? No way.”
But since I pre-read 99% of the books he reads and check out movies and videos on Pluggedin.com and other such sites before he sees them, I decided to not give the knee-jerk reaction of your typical, skeptical parent and check it out.
Minecraft’s interface is appallingly unsophisticated. Everything is pixely blocks (just the opposite of what you want in your images when online). My first reaction was, “Seriously? This is awesome to you?” But here, it works. It’s all about building and creating.
You can create buildings with stone, brick, wood or wool, iron or whatever material suits your fancy. You create pickaxes to chop down the trees and/or to mine the stone. Want light? Put in sky lights or a flaming torch on the wall. However, that’s in Creative Mode. All your tools and materials are free, you don’t have to mine anything. In Survival Mode it’s a different game.
Here is my water-front home on a peninsula. Across the bay is a jungle view. If only real life were this easy!
As with most games, there is a ‘violent’ aspect (although I would say it’s comical and not to be feared). In Minecraft you can be in either Creative Mode where you just build fantastic places/cities/underground realms or Survival Mode. In Survival Mode you will have to fight off Creepers (goofy-looking green guys that blow up next to you), giant spiders, Endermen (tall, skinny black creatures that steal your blocks) and other wacky creatures to survive. And in Survival Mode you have to mine and make everything you want. Want a door for your house? Chop down a tree, take your planks to the crafting block and make it. But while you are doing this crafting and creating, you have to watch out for baddies in Survival Mode. For me, I just want to make fun homes in great locations. I stick to Creative Mode.
Sunset from the roof of my house. Even the sun is square!
When my son first started, we had the sound on and it was Survival Mode. With his tender heart, it was too much. We turned the sound off and switched to Creative Mode. Now he plays survival mode but usually with the sound off. (Creepers hiss and some creatures make weird sounds). These days, one of our fun bonding times is playing the Pocket Edition on our iPads (sharing a world/landscape) and learning stuff together. He shows me how to get wool, build sofas out of steps, tame a cat (spawn an ocelot and offer it raw fish) and other cool things.
Inside the house: sunset and my tamed cat
If you want to be a hero to your kids and understand what the latest craze is, let them teach you Minecraft. That is, if you want to keep the door of communication open as to what is capturing their hearts and why.