According to… is a series where we sit down with our kids and talk about the games they/we have been playing. Each article, we will have different questions for them depending on the game and will be answering some of our own that will stay the same. We’re hoping that these questions will help us to explore the potential benefits that games offer children.
Our first entry in According to… is Minecraft, the massively successful survival game that has single handedly shown just how powerful a simple idea can become. Initially coming from the mind of one man, Minecraft has gone on to do many things ranging from just generally being fun to being used to teach a variety of different principles. From building and exploration to simple electronics via in-game Redstone circuitry and even learning to program. I believe that anyone that knows anything about videogames would say that this indie title certainly has potential to do tremendous good in the world.
To this end I asked Eris, my five-year-old daughter, a few questions about the game and she gave me a variety of answers.
Q: What is Minecraft?
A: A digging game with monsters.
Q: What do you do in Minecraft?
A: I dig down and find caves when I hear cave sounds. I dig up when I see monsters and I like destroying grass to build houses.
Q: Do you like how the game looks and sounds?
A: Yup. Because I hear all the animals and can find them. It’s all blocky and there are lots of skins to change things.
Q: Why is it so much fun?
A: It’s cool to find new stuff. Making houses is also awesome and I like fighting monsters because I’m a good kid.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do?
A: I like putting it on Creative so I can float to things in the sky. And I can build houses and towers and tiny houses for slimes so they never get out.
Q: If you could do anything in Minecraft, what would you do?
A: All the things you do. (Why?) Because you build big towers and stuff and you’re a very good monster hunter.
Q: Could you tell me a story about your favorite time playing?
A: We built a house for me and I had my own room. There was a snowman named Olaf that put snow all over my house! And I had my little swimming pool. Then we planted a BIG garden when I found flowers. That was so fun.
And those are some of Eris’s thoughts about Minecraft. But what are mine? Well here are a few questions I decided to answer myself from my perspective as her parent.
Q: What do I think of Minecraft?
A: I, like many other, find Minecraft very charming, calming to play and creatively invigorating. I have spent many hours building and will likely spend many more doing the same in the future.
Q: What is she learning?
A: I believe Minecraft encourages Eris to express herself in a way that other mediums can not. Whether she’s building or exploring, she can see how specific tools have certain jobs and that the world reacts to her actions.
Q: Do I play with her?
A: I introduced her to Minecraft on the Xbox One but she has since started playing on our Wii U far more often after her uncle bought it for her. We still play splitscreen from time to time.
Q: Will I let her keep playing?
A: Definitely! Besides her loving it, I am hoping she eventually builds something more impressive than I ever have.
Q: Are there any negative effects?
A: The only issue I’ve had is the same I’ve had with other titles she enjoys: she doesn’t want to turn it off. Beyond this, Minecraft has nothing but benefits due to its ease of access.
All in all, Minecraft itself does very little wrong and is extremely satisfying to play with my children. Eris always enjoys her time with the game and I look forward to the time we will spend playing it together in the future.