Minecraft- good or evil?

By Dyenamic Solitions - Last updated: Monday, March 30, 2015 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Minecraft the computer game occupies millions of children- in homes as well as classrooms.

Minecraft the computer game occupies millions of children- in homes as well as classrooms. Minecraft is “digital Lego” – a computer game in which you build things using cubic blocks. But it’s Lego on steroids. You never run out of blocks and they never topple over. You can walk among your own creations, and play online with other people who are in the same world.

Sometimes, monsters come out after dark to try to kill you, which is never pleasant, but compared with games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, Minecraft is innocent, peaceful, and pretty wholesome.

So why does it drive so many parents to distraction?

Parenting websites are full of worries stories. If not actually playing Minecraft, parents report that their children watch videos of other people playing it.

The statistics are astounding – one group of Minecraft gamers, Yogscast, based in Bristol, is watched for 37 million minutes every day, and they are not the biggest.

The stars of Minecraft, like “Stampy Longnose” are to this generation of children what John Noakes was to mine- except Blue Peter was only on twice a week, whereas Stampy is viewable all day, every day, a permanent uninvited guest in some households.

Developed in Sweden by Markus Persson and his company Mojang – it was officially released in 2011. Mojang has sold 33 million copies of game in different formats- which is why Microsoft bought the company for £1.5 billion in September 2014.

Minecraft’s champions say that it’s very creative and that I should just look at the things kids are making on it.

However, it’s two dimensional, and that children should be exercising more than their mouse fingers. The other side asks why it’s any worse than reading for hours at a time.

However reading allows you to imaginatively inhabit other minds. The opposition implies that this is just the latest moral panic, and that Stone Age elders probably thought the world was going to the dogs when people stopped just staring at the fire and started telling each other stories.

But then there’s the “griefing”. Because Minecraft is a world with private property but no police force, children are, at least on public servers, in a world that philosopher Thomas Hobbes would have recognised – a state of nature where all are at war with all.

“Griefers” are people who deliberately make trouble, destroy property, and then sometimes post videos of their exploits to amuse everyone.

When parents think of online bullying, they probably don’t think of hard earned virtual property being trashed, or their children being digitally mugged.

Minecraft is unstoppable. You might think that at least school provides a few hours of Minecraft free time a day, but the game is coming to classrooms, as education experts enthuse about its ability to engage and capture the imagination of children who are hard to reach through traditional teaching methods. Even the British Museum is getting volunteers to recreate the building and its exhibits in Minecraft.

Worst of all, Lego has brought out its own Minecraft set. What this means for the next generation of engineers brought up in a world where nothing ever falls over, I dare not imagine.

The community of people involved with the game numbers in the tens of millions. Many of those fans are children; among whom it is almost a religion.

Top Minecraft tips:

1. Diamond is the best material for pickaxes because it breaks blocks the fastest and lasts the longest.

2. Players can tame wild wolves by feeding them a few bones, and ocelots with fish.

3. Throwing an enderpearl like a ball allows you to teleport to where it lands.

4. With redstone, you can create complex mechanisms. Some people have even recreated computers.

5. The only blocks in the game which are affected by gravity are sand, gravel, and anvils.

6. Creepers are green creatures which will sneak up behind you and try to blow you up. Skeletons try to shoot you with bows.

7. Cows and sheep can be bred by feeding them wheat, pigs with carrots and chickens with seeds.

8. You can play music to nearby players with a music disc, which are created when a skeleton shoots a creeper.

9. A trapped chest will give off a redstone signal when opened, meaning you can create all sorts of traps to fool your friends.

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