Mindcrap…I mean Minecraft. No, I really mean Mindcrap.

Minecraft_logo.svg

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!

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Mindcrap…I mean Minecraft. No, I really mean Mindcrap.

  1. I couldn’t figure out the allure either, until my son started playing on the computer. Now he’s learning to mine for redstone and he installs electricity into his buildings complete with wiring circuits. It’s pretty cool. He also sets up things for his friends – tournaments. He builds a stadium and makes locker rooms for everyone, stocks chests of supplies, then invites his friends over and they have a minecraft playdate. It must be the new way to be social. Ten little kids sitting around with computers on their laps yelling at each other.

    My little guy is using MInecraft to learn how to program computers – since he wants to “mod” his game so that it plays more the way he wants it to. Introduce this aspect to your kids and they too will learn way more than they’ll ever need to know about programming computers.

    If both the kids are playing, encourage them to play together in one world. At least they’ll be cooperating with each other, and not fighting over who has the bigger pick axe!

    Love your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for enlightening me! After your comment, I had our resident computer geek a.k.a. my husband set the kids up with Minecraft on their laptops and a server. I do not exaggerate when I say they are in heaven! Even my husband is starting to come around to the educational aspects of Minecraft.

  2. I couldn’t agree more! My son is obsessed and I don’t “get it” either. I think it’s a boy thing. His friends all compare notes at school so at least it gives the guys something to talk about! Just discovered your blog and will definitely stop back and visit again. 🙂

    • Well, my daughter who is 10 has been sucked in as well. Go figure! It just floors me how into it they all are when other vide games nowadays seem to provide so much more. Oh well. lol Thanks for the visit! Hope to see you around here more!

    • Not just a boy thing. My 15 year old daughter and three of her best friends are all obsessed with it and Skype or FaceTime each other while they’re playing. She’s made some cool stuff, but I don’t get it either.

  3. I wish I could be of more assistance in the gaming department, but I can barely work the karaoke machine. My husband wants to buy the kids a Wii this coming Christmas. The Wii is comparable to an Xbox, right? I’m guessing my kids will spend hours playing video games soon enough! 🙂

  4. I beg your pardon, my mini-gamers (which must me friend’s of my Sushine’s mini-gamers) have created architectual designs like no other. Also they have “mindcrafted” whole communities. And who can forget that they protect their humble block abodes from the zombies that dare to enter these so perfectly sculpted castles. C’mon Sunshine! Choo Choo!

    • “Architectural designs like no other” is a bit of a stretch on this game. lol Maybe it will encourage them to be amazing architects or engineers some day, but any structure with a bunch of fuzzy blocks leaves a lot to be desired in my book. lol They’re happy though, so I’m happy. Especially, when they’re quiet. 😉

  5. Girlfriend, mine also are obsessed. And mine range from 20 yr to the soon to be 9 yr old. And the little one has been playing for two years. It does seem like a glorified waste of time ( like facebook for the adults) but as my husband has pointed out, it keeps him engaged, thinking on a 3-D level, and planning. He loves it, and will go to great lengths to explain his creations. Can’t be all that bad.

    • I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, just seems so fuzzy and basic for a current video game…but what do I know? lol I’m not surprised you have a houseful of gamers! Miss you!

      • One of my husband’s friends actually likes the 8-bit characteristics of the game. He went into his Minecraft world and created a scale replica of the football stadium from Techmo Superbowl. I can’t even begin to fathom how many hours he spent on it. It is pretty amazing, but dang.

      • I think what bothers me the most is the 8-bit characteristics, but don’t tell him that! Video games have come so far with some amazing graphics, and the blurry blocks get me every time!

  6. By the way… ya never know… you might get that deck. I think some of these games are damaging with all the war stuff and violence but there are ones teaching them crazy things and if building you a deck comes out of it Yaaay for you! They may not buy into the hammering and nailing thing but they may be able to design a pretty nice one for ya!
    😉

  7. This is such a great post. As we all have had something. In my day it was pong and then whooohee we got a little more advanced with pacman. I remember my nephew carrying around a book of pokeman characters and knowing everything about each card. It is crazy what kids become obsessed with and I can’t wait to see what the future holds! Great post! lol.

    • Yes, I remember all those simple games back then too. It is funny what each generation becomes obsessed with, that’s for sure. Maybe my kids will end up engineers or architects from all this Minecraft playing. lol

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s