A few months ago I went to visit my sister and her family. My 9 year old niece was curled up on the couch with her tablet, headphones plugged in, intently watching something on the screen. When I asked my sister what she was watching she replied “Minecraft videos. She’s watching people play it, has been for days”.
Now, unless you’ve been living in a hole for the last few years you will no doubt have heard of this game. I had. I’d also never really fancied playing it. But I was intrigued by my niece’s interest in it. As a good techie nerdy geeky aunt, I wanted to encourage her. I know she’s tried DDO and Wizard 101, but I also knew Minecraft was available to play on a tablet. Meaning she could play it whenever she wanted rather than having to wait for her dad to let her use the PC (he’s a bit of a gamer too!)
Thanks to a Google survey app I had been using I had gained a decent amount of credit to spend on the Google Store. So I bought the Android version of Minecraft to see what it was like, if it would be suitable for a 9 year old. Once I had confirmed it was (I mean, really, it’s just like playing with Lego. But digitally. And with limitless amounts of pieces [in Creative mode]) I checked with my sister that it was OK to buy it for her, then picked up a Google Store gift card.
Except trying Minecraft for myself was a HUGE mistake. I was hooked! But I didn’t want to play on a tablet. I wanted it for my PC, and it’s not a very expensive purchase – so I picked up the Windows version too. Samius gave me the details for Lessah’s server, so I could build in the same world as them and I started playing for an hour or so on an evening on my laptop, while Rachel was watching whatever she fancied on TV. And looking over my shoulder….
At first the comments were something like “Seriously? But it’s all blocky” & “It’s not very good to look at”. This then turned into “Why are you chopping down that tree?” & “What’s that over there?”. Which turned into “Why don’t you build ….?”.
She was hooked 😀
So I bought her a copy too and we’ve been tootling* around building stuff for weeks. It turns out to be quite a good combination. She loves going off to find places to mine – and I like building stuff with what she finds. Not that she doesn’t build stuff too. The castle was Rachel’s idea and we worked on the layout together.
My niece is still playing it too. In fact, her 5 year old sister is also now playing it with her. And I think it’s a great way for kids to be creative, building whatever they can think of. What child doesn’t want to build stuff? Like a house based on Mickey Mouse?
If you have children I’d recommend thinking about getting it for them. And maybe, just maybe, give it a try for yourself if you haven’t already…..?
Have fun, see you around!
*tootling – Informal: go or travel in a leisurely manner