First of all, Jacob loves to play the Minecraft game.
He has such a case of Hero Worship for his Uncle TJ who is a Minecraft Game Guru. And of course, Mom and Dad play it also. Papaw is a recent recruit. So when he heard of this game, he was anxious to play it too…. like Uncle T. Now they all have cities and have added “Mods” and all kinds of things.
His Mom and Dad checked it out and the Minecraft game seems to be a creative game where you use you own imagination to “create” your world. The player builds things…. buildings, cities, bridges, stairways, anything your mind can come up with in your world. There is not a real completion of the game, because it can go on and on.
A child can play by himself, or the Minecraft game with friends on a special server set up.
There are also open setups where he is playing with “Anyone” and I don’t feel this appropriate for younger children. Perhaps not even for teenagers.
A child can be “killed” and “robbed” such as when someone else gets all the items he has accumulated to survive in this World. A child can learn to strategize to protect himself, though. But isn’t that a reflection of real life? There are Bad Guys….with names like Ghast? and Creeper ? which are kinds of a floaty creatures who find you mostly in the night. ( I know, you gotta be there..)
If I understand correctly, your child can play in Creative Mode where he builds and explores but the Bad Guys are not around. In Survival Mode, he will be subject to attacks by the Bad Guys. So a parent can control the game to allow for your own personal idea of how your child can cope and when they should progress in the game. (See more Family Life posts here.
I have seen Jacob play this game, and believe me, I am just not a Gamer myself. I just don’t think my mind understands this weird concept of role playing and seeing a vision of the world from behind a Pick Axe……..(see what I mean?)
I have seen dogs as pets, and roving feral dogs. I have seen bunnies and pigs, which can be killed for food. Nothing graphic, you just bonk them and they turn into pork chops, I think. Your child can choose to garden and grow crops like wheat, raise chickens for their eggs. I guess that means you can go vegetarian on Minecraft? Funny! It is your world, so it is what you make it.
Jacob can make glass by melting sand in a furnace? Who knew?
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I think Jacob does learn a lot from this game. He learns to figure things out by himself, and that helps in skills of problem solving. He learns to create, explore, build, and is not limited except by his imagination. He can play with others who are in their world, but also in yours, and he can work together. Teamwork can accomplish more than someone working alone, so I feel the results show him that teams can accomplish more with cooperation and listening to other teammate’s ideas.
Now isn’t that good practice for the real world as he grows up?
Did you know there are books related to the Minecraft game? Jacob will read these and anything that he will read is wonderful! Here are a few examples:
The Endermen Invasion: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Three
Treasure Hunters in Trouble: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Four
The Skeletons Strike Back: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Five
Maybe one downside is that he likes it so much, he would play forever……………and I mean forever! He has to have limits set on the amount he plays because he can just lose himself in these worlds. He needs exercise, has to do homework, and his chores. But the good side for that is: he can earn minutes of play by performing or doing his chores, etc. Right?
It can also be a punishment, because he can be restricted from all games for days….or even weeks if the situation calls for drastic measures.
The Minecraft game has been a positive experience for him. Do your kids or grandkids play Minecraft or any other games similar to this? What has been your experience?