This morning I came across the article Choosing Minecraft over Disney by Julie Russell on Medium. It got me thinking about how our kids interact with this particular game* and reinforced all the reasons I like it.
Minecraft is an open world video game, where single-players or multi-players roam through a landscape, creating structures and inventions made out of textured blocks. If playing in Survival mode, as opposed to Creative, there is also the struggle to gather resources, maintain health and stave off hunger and aggressors.
As my dad pointed out to me, after watching his my daughters and their cousin play it for a while, the kids play with it just as we used to play with lego, the main difference being that it’s now on a screen. Our kids sit side by side, having created a private server which they use on our local network, and chat endlessly about the things they are creating and the land they are exploring together. We limit their screen time without hesitation so never have to worry about the addictive qualities (although I can see that this could be a problem in households of older children or where limitations have not been needed before) and have only good things to say about this particular game.
So after reading Julie Russell’s piece I started fishing around for other articles about Minecraft and of course it is very easy to find a dozen concerned parents and educators but it seems that the major concern they have with the game is it’s addictive qualities, their experience with a child to becoming completely obsessed with the game play to the exclusion of everything else. If you have a minecrafter in your household or have been curious about the game that your child tells you “everyone else is playing!” then you might like to browse through some of these articles.
*Our kids play the pocket edition on their ipods but it available for all iOS devices, PC, Android, Xbox 360 and Raspberry Pi. The above image is of a group of Minecraft creatures printed off and constructed using the app Minecraft Papercraft Studio.
Choosing Minecraft over Disney – Julie Russell. Parent of a 9 year old.
Is Minecraft the Ultimate Educational Tool? from the Idea Channel on PBS:
Breaking Up With Minecraft Is Hard To Do – Ann Brennoff, Huffington Post, Parent of an 11 year old.
An “Educational” Video Game Has Taken Over My House – Lisa Guernsey, Slate, parent of two girls.
Ending the Minecraft Addiction – Kath, Urban Moms