What is Minecraft?
My 11 year old has abandoned me for a “better” source of entertainment and comfort.
It’s a computer game that millions of others are obsessed with: Minecraft. He lives, breathes, and obsesses over Minecraft. He is now using Minecraft vocabulary in his everyday language. He is changing friendships based on his online buddies.
Is it all bad? Absolutely not.
Does it drive me crazy. Absolutely.
There are several different types of Minecraft games. The default “skins” for these games (aka players) are “Steve” and “Alex”. You can change your skin and look as unique as you would like. All of the games involve bricks (like build-able Legos) and are in a variety of biomes. You can build small hovels or enormous palaces. Following are a list of the types of games from which Minecraft players be sucked into the endless vortex of screens:
There are no specific goals or winners in creative mode. Every game is a new experience. In creative mode, the player has unlimited bricks and cannot die. I have seem my kids at work on creative mode and it is amazing. It reminds me of the world’s most magnificent Lego creation. The most awesome thing about Creative mode (besides not dying) is that you can fly!
In survival mode, there are multiple players all on the same game collecting resources (wood, stone, etc). You must harvest, mine, and craft your own materials in order to stay alive. Players have a hunger bar and must periodically eat in order to stay alive. There are “bad guys” such as Creepers that can kill you at night and you must avoid.
Adventure mode introduces custom crafted maps and adventures. There are restrictions on what different players can do in this multi-player game.
The player can fly around the game observing but without interacting. This is aptly named a “spectator” only version of the game.
This is my son’s all time favorite obsession. There are servers that can handle hundreds of thousands of players at the same time to play these multiplayer games. The players interact and communicate with each other (you should hear my son!). Competitions are prominent with some servers including the Hunger Games (be the last player standing) and other player-versus-player games (contact fighting allowed).
Watch some videos about playing the game here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/what-minecraft-millions-children-addicted-3970439
My son kindly schooled me on a few of the vocabulary terms that anyone should have to be able to have a conversation about the game.
- PVP: Player versus player, players can kill each other, played online with a server
- Hunger Games: a popular PVP game
- N00b: a new player with no experience (please note that those are zeroes and not letter “o”s
- Mining: gather resources by digging in a cave (stone, ore, diamonds, gems)
- Smelt: put a resource in a furnace with wood to get the essence to use
- Craft: make something such as iron sword
- Harvest: gather wheat, flowers, wood
- Wrekt: to kill another player
- Regen: gain hearts (health) back over time
- Mobs: things that attack you at night (Creeper, Zombie, etc.)
- RIPed: a dead player (verb/adjective form of”Rest in Peace”)
- Skin: the way the players look in the game, new skins can be uploaded for free
So, here’s the real question. Is it really a waste of time or can anything good come from this game?
How Minecraft can benefit children:
It develops skills towards core curriculum standards in Reading, Writing, Math (this is a great article! read it!).
Teachers can find entire Minecraft lesson plans here.
One teacher has an entire Tumblr account about using Minecraft as a teaching tool here.
So what do you think? Are you ready to start conversing with your students/kids about Minecraft yet??