My children are both obsessed with a game called Mindcrap…I mean Minecraft. If you aren’t familiar with it, lucky you. No seriously, you have no idea what you’re missing. It is a cross between playing with a box of blocks and playing with a box of blocks…just on your laptop, iPod, iPad, Xbox etc. According to Wikipedia, Minecraft is a sandbox indie game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson and later developed and published by Mojang. Wikipedia also goes on to state, “Minecraft is an open world game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game.” And herein lies my main problem with this game. It has no specific goals!!! When my children were toddlers I encouraged them to play with a box of blocks for hours on end with no specific goals. They are now seven and ten years old and these new Minecraft blocks and the “box” they come in aren’t cheap.
I’m all for being creative and allowing time for free play. I have purchased many a Skylander (giants included), and spent countless hours with Super Mario and Luigi, both of which send you on a mission, encourage you to strategize or at the very least work toward gaining access to a new world. It seems to me that Minecraft, with its “no specific goals” theme isn’t much of a challenge. I don’t claim to be an expert, and am only basing my experience on the times my children have subjected me to an eternity of walking me through their world of pixellated blocks. Seriously, as far as the video game industry has come I expect more than fuzzy blocks. They have taken me through stacks of brown blocks that are supposed to be a building of sorts, then green blocks that represent grass (genius I know) and then the creativity really kicks in when they show me their light blue blocks representing…you guessed it…water. They have created entire worlds with these fuzzy blocks, furnished homes equipped with beds, entertainment centers, and even bathtubs. Their tours actually make me a bit dizzy, but I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t get this game. An article at Geek.com reports that as of October of 2012, Minecraft was more popular than Call of Duty on Xbox live and the game actually made a profit within its first hour of release. People are flocking to the game in astounding numbers. PC Gamer reports on the game’s performance. “4,177,843 people bought the game in 2012, accounting for a massive 47.3% of the game’s total PC sales. It’s not just remaining popular, Minecraft’s audience is growing faster than ever before.”
Even if you’re not a huge gamer and just a mom of two mini gamers, you know this is big news. I struggle to find the allure of this box of building blocks, but for the sake of this post not stealing any thunder from Ben’s Bitter Blog or The Word By Mike Ballenger, I will list the few positives I’ve witnessed. You’re welcome guys!
1. It keeps my kids focused and quiet for hours on end. Never a bad thing!
2. I have witnessed first hand my two children sitting side by side, comparing pixellated block creations, and giving each other building tips to improve their world. If they figure out how to clean up the graphics, I’ll let you know! In the meantime, I’ll keep snapping photos and adding a caption about them enjoying their reading time together. That’s really what Kindles are for isn’t it?
3. They have taken their building skills out of the game and into the real world. I’m hoping they can have that deck I’ve been wanting finished in time for summer!
What am I missing? Please enlighten me!