|Screenshot of mountain tea house under construction by Portdaddia design team.|
Friday night the kids began fighting at around 11:00 pm. I got out of bed and went to their room to investigate.
"What the hell is going on," I demanded.
"He infested my train station with cows, then blew the whole thing up," the daughter said.
"She told me to make a restaurant in the train station, then she killed my cows," said the son.
"Cows don't belong in a train station."
"They were in a restaurant."
"What kind of restaurant has cows in it."
"They were the food."
"Still, you shouldn't have blown up the station."
Eventually I was able to calm the situation and get order restored. Just another day in the world of Minecraft.
Minecraft has been devotedly played in our house for over a year. In the beginning I had to gain some tech support knowledge but beyond that the kids have figured it out for themselves. The game, the community, the whole thing, is so beyond anything I ever experienced I began reading the book, Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything.
The book explains why Minecraft is more like a social network than a game. Once a person buys a copy he/she gets free updates in perpetuity. What one actually does once the game is up and running is as varied as, well, people. One can kill monsters, play superhero or just build new worlds, to name only a few flavors of the "virtual lego."
On Saturday the kids insisted I play with them. So with two iPads and an iPod touch we set up "crafting" our own world. The kids were thrilled to tutor me in using the controls, although whenever I crafted something the son was tempted to blow it up or light it on fire.
Eventually we settled on a project: mountain top tea house. I cleared the mountain top while the daughter crafted a fireplace and the son built a system where mine carts running on a track bring patrons to the establishment. He was thrilled when I told him he could raise cows in the valley as part of the project.
I've been supporter of Minecraft kids, but now I might actually become a fan myself.