Earlier this summer, while we were still living on the West Coast, a friend convinced me to download Minecraft for my kids. Since then, we’ve had an obsession in our house. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Can I play Minecraft?” I would be… many nickels richer. I could probably buy my very own crafting table, in real life! My son admitted the other day that sometimes when he looks outside everything looks like squares to him. On occasion I hear “Stampy’s” voice in my head when the kids aren’t even watching him. Friends don’t let friends download Minecraft.
That’s probably a little harsh. In fact, Minecraft afforded my husband and I sanity during our cross-country drive from California to Rhode Island. We were, in fact, that family. The two bigger kids each had a new Kindle Fire, and the littlest had our old iPad (decorated with dinosaur stickers to make it seem fancy and cool even though it wasn’t new). Our Odyssey was decked out with an extension cord, a multi-media plug-in thing that has a WHOLE BUNCH of outlets…. And…. the piece de resistance… a Hot Spot. Boom. The kids were set.
Throughout the drive all three kids were building worlds, breaking worlds, finding sheep, and losing pigs. Or something. I’m still not entirely sure what the point of the game is, but that is what I could gather from their random comments along the drive. A few times we hit some low points during which we had to ground everyone from each other’s worlds. “That’s it. Get out of your brother’s world! Everybody needs to be in your own world for the next twenty minutes.”
Now that we have been in Rhode Island for six weeks, the kids have made a slew of friends who… all play Minecraft too. The game is getting more complicated as the worlds collide and each one becomes more developed; more animals are discovered and more tools are to be had. The neighborhood kids (who do, in fact, spend hours upon hours riding bikes and climbing trees and battling with Nerf guns outside in the fresh air without electronics) crowd onto one couch with individual tablets and maybe a few controllers for the Xbox in the living room. The conversations are beyond anything I ever thought I would hear. The following are just a snippet of the exclamations I hear on any given day:
“Anyone have a sheep? I need some more wool.”
“I have been smelting iron all day!”
“Where’s my crafting table?! What happened to my crafting table. Has anyone seen my crafting table?!”
“Lava! Lava! I got whole lotta lava!”
“I just need some leather pants!”
“Don’t forget, diamonds are precious.”
Never. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my four-year-old would be saying these things. I really still don’t understand the point of the game, but it seems to use their imaginations pretty well and they are being creative and….. learning about smelting iron (?!). My only real concern is when they ask if they can eat raw pork. What?! No. Don’t eat raw pork. But you can on Minecraft! Well, not in the real world, my friends.
So, my dear friend, who so kindly introduced my kids to Mind-crack… er… Minecraft: Thanks for helping my kids stay occupied for ten days on the road from coast to coast. Thank you for teaching them about precious metals and the importance of not eating raw pork. And most of all, thank you for giving me the ultimate bargaining chip ever – “No Minecraft until your rooms are picked up/teeth are brushed/world peace is established!”
Now, I gotta go smelt me some iron.