an open letter to my boys: on addiction to minecraft and my inability to care

June 19, 2013

Dear Miles and Asher,

I need you to know something. I need you to know that I just can’t talk to you about this game. I don’t understand Minecraft at all and I have no desire to try. Sure, I want to be interested in what you’re saying to me, but I just can’t. Because you say things like, I built a chair! I saw a chicken! I got an egg, ha ha ha!!! and my eyes get that unfocused look because I’m staring past you and my brain has shut down. I can’t help it. I’m only human.

That’s why I say Uh huh with no feeling, over and over. I’m not listening at all. You probably can tell, because you’re smart. Whether or not you love this game, please know I still think you’re very smart. Lots of smart people do things that make no sense and then talk incessantly about those things.

That said, I’m strangely still glad you’re so passionate about this weird game because it gives you something to do between the hours of 1pm and 3pm while your sister naps and then I can do whatever I please.

Yes, one day when you read this you will learn that I allowed you TWO HOURS a day, in the summer, to play this thing where you push on arrows and then click on bricks and build things and then push on the bricks and break them up RIGHT AFTER YOU BUILT THE THING and maybe this happens on a hill, I don’t know, the angle is weird.

My friend Kim said, “We put it on peaceful mode” and I was all, “THERE’S A PEACEFUL MODE?!” I had no idea, because I did not care enough to look up how to make Minecraft more peaceful. Is it bloody? Is it bad? I asked myself that but I could not bring myself to look at it for long enough to find out. So for a moment I had a pang of guilt and felt like less of a mother than Kim but then I just let it go, to be honest. I feel a bit tormented by this game and I don’t want to think about it anymore than you are already making me think of it.

I mean, boys. I would overhear you, sitting there side by side, saying things like “Look out for that zombie! Or KILL THOSE CHICKENS!” Then I would think things like HOW SAD, to KILL CHICKENS! but I figured it could be worse, like you could be playing Call of Duty or some awful thing, while I scrubbed dried spaghetti sauce off the table and the floor and the counter. (Your sister was eating.)

I would never let you play Call of Duty, so I’m still a really good parent. A parent that allows chicken-killing, but a good one nonetheless.

I will also have you know that it has been very hard to keep setting the timer for twenty minutes so you can take turns but something had to be done about the turns because you fight over Minecraft like it’s air. Then you sit there and watch each other and you tell each other what to do like it’s your own turn, so I don’t even know why I have to keep walking back into the kitchen to set the timer for another twenty minutes. Your turns are both of your turns, or something as confusing as that, like Minecraft.

Is there something deeper I’m missing? Maybe Minecraft is simply above my intelligence? To build, to conquer, to survive….TO LIVE.

I don’t think so. It seems more like WOLF! BRICK! NIGHT!

I admit, my confusion about the point of the game (and the setting of the timer) are the only down-sides to the two hours you sit down to push arrows. Because, TWO HOURS FREE FOR ME.

Oh but I guess there’s also the fact that after you’re done playing Minecraft on the screen, you’re going to talk to me, very slowly and carefully and excitedly about all that occurred, in the minivan, all the way to wherever we’re going for the afternoon. Or out on the back porch, you’ll stand in our little blow-up pool and talk about it and go on and on and on….

I just don’t get it, I’ll say. Then you’ll say, It’s because it’s survival mode! or something like that, as if this clears it up.

Then after that, you act out Minecraft in real life with each other and I tell  myself that this is why it’s good you played for two hours straight per day–it’s because it ignited your creativity in imaginary play and off you go….

until you’re fighting about how one of you is not doing it right and then you’ll cry to me about why the other one isn’t doing it right. That’s how it goes. Then you’ll start explaining it again, so that I will fully understand why you have been so wronged and I will just walk away and say I can’t help, because that game makes no sense to me. Just go start over…put a brick on a brick or something…

Mooooom. That’s what you say after that. So I just keep walking and I then hope you’ll just figure it out and go back to playing Minecraft in real life, wrong, against each other. Zombies and chickens. Non-peaceful. It’s not peaceful in real life either. Oh well.

Earlier today you shouted out loudly, I MADE THE BIGGEST TREE EVER! I MADE THE BIGGEST TOWER AND THEN I JUST FELL OFF OF IT ON PURPOSE AND DIED!!! Then you laughed like it was the funniest thing that ever happened.

That there is a good example of why I have no idea what the H is going on.

Is this how my parents felt when Super Mario Bros first arrived on the scene? Or Tetris?

I did play both addictively in the 7th and 8th grade but I feel those two games had a very clear purpose. Each one. Save the princess! Beat all the levels with your shapes!

This little letter to you doesn’t really have a purpose either, I realize. I just felt that you should know I weathered another parenting storm when Minecraft came to be. That’s how much I love you. Two hours a day worth, my boys. Two hours.

Love,
Mom

P.S. I don’t even think there are mines in that game at all. I realize you “craft” chairs and towers and such, but I haven’t seen a mine. Then again, maybe there are. I don’t like looking.

P.P.S. Miles, I asked you why you like Minecraft so much and you said this: I don’t really know why except it interests us. And you can spawn things. Like cows. You can spawn cows that have black and white spots. I mean, not like a white cow with black spots but more like a black cow with white spots and you can put them up and then they all fall off and that’s so funny….or you can keep them…. 

Uh huh….

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{ 132 comments }

Alise June 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

OMG!!!! All four of my kids like this game and I DO NOT GET IT. My daughter can talk to me for like 30 minutes straight about it and I just glaze over. I love everything about this post. EVERYTHING.
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Yaz August 3, 2013 at 6:12 am

I’m just a kid who plays Minecraft too and stumbled upon this page while searching for a new adventure map. I think it sums up my mom and dad’s feelings pretty well xD “The graphics are terrible,” “just go read a book”, “what do you even do in that game?” I think the best part about this game is that you can literally do whatever you want. The options for creativity are nearly ENDLESS, if you can just figure out how to properly use redstone and command blocks… You may not know what those are, and it’s hard to explain it to someone who hasn’t played Minecraft, but they’re REALLY cool, and once you can get them working, you can make some pretty amazing things.

Maybe you should try to play with your kids… Just use one of their accounts and play with them one at a time, to spare yourself the cost of another account. The beginning is quite a learning curve, but if you get into the world of Minecraft, you’ll never want to come out… It’s truly one of the strangest games I’ve ever played, but I love it :)

The Mage August 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

Uh huh…

Sarah June 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I’m so glad I’m not alone… I just don’t have the capacity in my feeble brain to care about the dogs, the diamonds that can be mined (thinking digging for ore not “land mines”…it’s a bit said I know this). But I’m okay not knowing.
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Kerstin June 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

My kids are totally into Minecraft and I don’t get it either. I thought it was Mindcraft for the longest time, because there are no mines…. I think the graphics are horrible and I just don’t get it in general, but there seems to be some kind of magic about it, because both my 12 yo and my 16 yo play it and EVEN PLAY IT TOGETHER.
My son wanted to change his username to “your mother”, so when he logs on the other players see “your mother joined the game”…
(About 2 hours to yourself – before you know it there will be so much free time, that you don’t know what to do with yourself, I speak from experience!)
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Cathy June 30, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Waahaahaa! “Your mother joined the game.” That almost made me fall off my chair! FUNNY.

Kellyn June 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Sweet mercy my kids could play that darn game all day! Boo connects with friends and they play together. I just don’t get it!

Were you reading my mind with this, because it’s excactly how I feel every time they try to talk to me about it. Every time.
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Marja July 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Oh my gosh!!! So, this whole post hit so close to home….as my kids love Minecraft and I just don’t get it. But, what is funny about your reply Kellyn, is that my daughters nickname is Boo. :)

Megan at SortaCrunchy June 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

GOOD LORD YES. My 8 year old daughter has been into this for almost a year, and I DO NOT GET IT. Not only does she love to play it, she also LOVES to watch videos on YouTube that OTHER Minecraft-obsessed adults have created. Ay de mi.

I will say this – my husband, as a way to engage with and connect with her, decided to download it on our Xbox and play it with her. And guess what happened? That 37 year old man also became OBSESSED WITH IT. He finds it equally challenging and relaxing. So go figure.

Anyway, my eyes, they also glaze over.
Megan at SortaCrunchy recently posted..the end of (our) fourth trimester

REK981 July 1, 2013 at 8:51 am

My daughter who just turned 9 last week is also obsessed with the YouTube videos of others playing Minecraft. She will pull up Minecraft on the iPad while she watches the YouTube videos on the TV.

annettek June 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I admit it, I LOVE minecraft. I play with my kid all the time. It’s one of the few ways I can get him to snuggle on the couch with me. :) And yes there are mines. You actually have to make pick axes and mine for resources.
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

You’re a total rock star. I need your attention span. :)

Larina June 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Good for you, Annette!

Mark July 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

I, too, have started playing Minecraft with my son. He’s been obsessed with it for about a year and is constantly singing the Minecraft parody songs he finds on YouTube. Now we have it for the Xbox and I was curious. To be honest, I still don’t get it. My son will talk to me about creating this or crafting that … and all I know how to do is build a house — a really good house. So that is my part of playing the game with him … he mines, crafts, etc., and then says, “Holy cow — your house is SO awesome.” Yeah, that’s because that is all I am doing when I play — I’m building a bigger and better house. But hey, he seems to like my houses, and it gives us time playing a game that he loves.

Dawn June 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I’m totally with you. This game is all my boys talk about and I just have no interest in listening because I just don’t get the game. And I don’t want to. Spawned a pig, cool….

Rebekah June 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

YES! YES!! YES!!! to all the things! My kids are 16, 13, 11, 8, and 2. And they ALL play this game and I just. don’t. get. it.

A way around the walking to the kitchen for the timer thing – set it up to “autosave” every 30 minutes. At each autosave, they have to trade off turns. But don’t thank me – my 16yo figured it out. I didn’t care enough to.

Oh! And I asked my kids why it’s called MineCraft – it’s because you mine by digging into the rocks and then you use the rocks to craft things. I had no idea.
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

Rebekah, when you listed the ages of your kids, that’s all I could focus on. You are excused from trying to understand anything ever again ever. ;)

H

gigi June 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Save yourself your sanity by buying an XBox. Let them play cooperatively together so they don’t have to take turns. My kids adore building things together, or building things separately and destroying the other’s creation.

I don’t get it either. It seems so boring. Mostly because of the 1970s graphics. I swear, Pong was better than Minecraft. Everyone says “It’s like virtual Legos” but until my kid builds a replica of the Empire STate Building or the Millenium Falcon, I mostly think they like beating up the sheep and looking for Herobrine. Who I thought for 6months was actually Hugh O’Brien. That’s how much I don’t get this game.

Don’t waste your time googling herobrine. Just don’t. Trust me.
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

Gigi, I love you. This comment made my day. Hugh O’Brien.

and smart, yes. XBox, sharing. duh. (me, not you.)

xo

Sabrina July 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Give them some time. They just might build those things. http://www.geekosystem.com/21-amazing-minecraft-creations/

Krista June 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Um yes. This, but with my husband. And yes, he plays Minecraft too. But it’s this and Magic, and whatever other random computer/video game he happens to be addicted to at the moment. And he’s sharing it with my boys (who are only 3 and 6). Help me…
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:01 am

I’m sending heeeelp!!! I’ll spawn some sheep to come and…
well….baaaa at him until he surrenders! ;)

ugh.

Emily June 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

My friends boys, who are 8 and 10 LOVE this game. Every time I hang out with them, they want to talk about it for house. They want to sit on either side of me so I can WATCH them play together/turns. One time I lasted for like 5 whole minutes.

I do like the idea of creating things by mixing up other things? That’s kind of interesting. Like fire (red brick?) + pumpkin (orange ball?) = jack-o-lantern. But also, yeah, no.

They also LOVE watching videos of OTHER people playing the game. Like for hours.
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heidi June 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I’m not alone. And I’m so relieved and happy about this. Because word for word this is my life. Except, on occasion, I have let them play for longer than 2 hours.
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:03 am

Oh yes, we have surpassed two hours over here as well. I try not to, but there really are a lot of hours in a day.

H

Jenn June 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Oh my word. My son walked in to show me his latest Minecraft creation just as I was reading this. I try so hard to be interested in what he is saying, but it just makes. no. sense. Zombies. Ice. Lava. And the sheep and cows… oh the humanity!

His sister is too young to play or care, so he has no one to act it out with. But he can wax poetic about it all day.
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Kim June 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Oh now, I did NOT intend for you to feel like a bad Mom at ALL. I do not like minecraft, I hate hearing about it and zone out when my kids start talking about it. I only knew there was peaceful/creative/survival mode because one of MY friends told me that. Otherwise, I would have no clue.
They try to show me their “worlds” and it makes me motion sick, so I can’t watch. I have told them they get 5 minutes a day to talk to me about it. Although I might take Vicki’s advice from last night and say “we only talk about Minecraft at 6 am on Saturday mornings”.

XOXOXO
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:04 am

No, YOU did not make me feel bad. It was my internal guilty mother nudging me and I ordered her to shut up. :)

Suzie Lind June 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I am so with you on this. And the music… it’s like mind numbing sometimes I don’t even understand how they can stay focused! No clue what the game is about but they love it. And like you… I’ve tried but gave up.
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Jenny's June 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Why Minecraft can be a good thing: my 12yo has been addicted for years! He has learned how to create servers so he can play with his friends. He has read JAVA books and started playing around with programming. He’s going to a computer programming camp next week, and at least right now plans to be a computer programmer. And no, I don’t get it the game. Think geek has great Minecraft t-shirts, by the way.

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:05 am

That’s awesome! (for real.)

Yvonne July 11, 2013 at 9:17 am

Jenny, that could have been my post! My 12 yr old also has been playing for years, and has leaned to “port forward his IP address so he can create multiplayer servers” or whatever, lol. Then I have to go in his room and observe his self watering and harvesting machines. It’s very cool, but gah!

Charles Herold June 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I’ve never played Minecraft. I don’t have kids. I don’t have any idea who you are. But I love this post. It’s very funny.

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:05 am

Ha! Thank you, Charles!

robin June 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm

This post was random nonsense and run-on and nonstop, just like kids who play minecraft. Perfect.
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robin June 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

The one cool thing my kid did was build the tallest tower, and right next to it dig the deepest hole, and jumped off ALLLLLL the way. down. It was awesome. The first time. Not the other 786 times.
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Jen Anderson June 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm

There’s only so much you can care about. It’s good for them. You know, practice for when they’re older and start a band and try to talk to their girlfriends about nothing but the band and the girlfriends are all, “dude, enough about the band…I have my own stuff going on. I’m producing an indie film this weekend.”
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Chrissy June 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Oh. My. Word. Yes and yes. This is perfect! My three boys (13, 11, 8) are obsessed with this game. Obsessed. I walked into the laundry room this morning to find my 11 year old equipped with headphones, (and a mouthpiece…he looks like he’s ready to take your drive thru coffee order), talking with two friends on skype, screaming something about eating chickens. It was 6:30 a.m. And if I am very honest he was on it most of the day today (packing for a three week trip overseas allows for a Minecraft marathon.) Thank you for this giggle:)))
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Amy M June 19, 2013 at 7:54 pm

So with you.

You should know, though, that I read this out loud to my husband, & my 6yo came running out for the end, (he heard mom say “Minecraft”). I finish, and he responds,

“I bet she built a house. Yeah, I bet she built a beach house.”

“Why do you think that?” I ask.

He replies, “Because, she must love Minecraft, that was a lot of words and even I don’t talk about Minecraft THAT much.”

Well, there’s that. He he, a beach house. You could use sand bricks and water bricks and margarita bricks…

Great piece, loved it!

Shell June 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm

My boys start almost every sentence these days with “In Minecraft…” and I immediately tune out because I just don’t care about this silly game. I cannot figure out what the heck they are doing with it.

I might have to look into the peaceful mode thing. Because I hear my boys yelling “My brother is killing me!” and it alarms me until I realize it’s just in Minecraft. But still- it’s not something I want to hear.
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Christy June 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

This! This is my life!!! My two boys will play until time is up then talk about it until they can play again! I don’t get it either,lol.

Elaine A. June 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm

My boys are playing at the same time in multi player mode, RIGHT NOW as I type this. If you have two computers set it up. It will change your life. ;)

And I was nodding my head throughout this entire post!

Layla Payton June 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm

OHMYGOSH, you totally read my mind!!!

Michelle June 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm

This is hilarious to me because I am a mom and totally get Minecraft. I’m the one who is introducing my daughter to the game and teaching her how to craft things and what materials you get from what resources to craft more complex items. There are mines in Minecraft, btw. When you play on a certain game mode you cannot spawn things and have to spelunk and collect resources on your own. Most children find it easier to play it on the other mode though, where they can play it a bit like Legos, building and creating whatever their imaginations can think up. For that, Minecraft is an amazing game and I am glad there are parents who, while do not understand the game, allow their kids to flex their creativity by creating things with it. Thanks y’all for a good smile this evening.

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

I think those of you who understand this game and have the attention span for it are amazing (in a good way) !!!

Truly. :)

Susan McDonald June 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Ok. I had just read this and was thinking….I am SO glad Heather feels this way too! And then… Esme (8) comes in and says, ” there is something the matter with my Minecraft”! Like MINUTES after I had read your blog post. And, dang it, I HAD to look at the damn game to figure out what she had changed in the settings and get her back to the ones she wanted. So I asked again, “why do you like this so much?” She replied, ” Because I get to build things. And its my own world. And I get to be on creative mode…. and I get to kill creepers”. Guess a gal can’t argue with that:)

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:09 am

LOL, Susan. LOL. Nope, can’t argue with that.

suburbancorrespondent June 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I’m right there with you. I keep thinking, “I SHOULD be interested in Minecraft”; but then I look at it and I observe my kids playing with it and I feel that it is like the emperor’s new clothes – there’s nothing there. Thank you for not pretending that it is actually educational.
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Pamela June 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I am cheap and got the free version, maybe it’s called Minecraft Lite (intentional misspellings cause me stress)??? They love to show me what they’ve done, and they do magic finger things on the iPad screen and it all moves so fast that I get motion sickness and I’m not actually moving and I just can’t.

We are getting the real version for the real computer soon, probably the day I get home from Lebanon so I can be jet-lagged and exhausted in peace.

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

GOOD PLAN.

and YES, to the “it all moves so fast that I get motion sickness and I’m not actually moving and I just can’t.” :)

Lisa June 20, 2013 at 1:58 am

Yeah, no clue what this is about, other than it bores the crap out of me. BUT a couple of years ago (when my son was 8) I developed a strategy; James is allowed to tell me about a game for five minutes. After that I start talking about scrapbooking supplies in the same excited voice. Now if he goes over, all I have to say is “Oh! Have you SEEN the new paper from Basic Grey?! They will work reeeeeaally well with the flowers I have from Prima!” And then he gets the point.

Also, we discovered that the Lego versions of games (LoTR, Pirates of the Carribean, Star Wars) allow the kids to learn the movie before viewing something that might otherwise be scary. Then we can talk about the same thing without glazing over.

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:11 am

smart strategy! Like Kim, above, I may steal this idea. “You can tell me about Minecraft at 6am on Saturdays…and that is all.” :)

Tracie June 20, 2013 at 6:03 am

I do not understand this game at all, either. Especially the very bad graphics. Aren’t video games supposed to be all about the graphics now? My husband’s friends play this game (yes, 30 year old men) and try to talk about it to us. It is scary.
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Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice June 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

Yes. My child is obsessed with this game. I’ve perfected the smile and nod. “You flooded your town? Awesome. Spawned wolf cubs? Amazing.” Now he’s trying to get all advanced with mods or something. Nope. Not happening. I imagine they’d turn to zombies and eat my hard drive.

But it’s all better than Call of Duty, right?
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Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

Totally better than Call of Duty.
“I imagine they’d turn to zombies and eat my hard drive” LOL.

Megan at SortaCrunchy June 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Um, YES! My daughter has recently come across videos praising mods to the game. I was like, “Okay! Let’s see how you do it!” and then discovered you have to do CODING?! Nope. I’m out. She’ll just have to make do with the endless possibilities of the game in its original form!
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Morg July 24, 2013 at 7:35 am

Theres no coding involved, it is just a matter of downloading a file and dragging, dropping it into a certain folder.

Nathan.B June 20, 2013 at 8:05 am

So, it’s called Minecraft because you have to mine for resources. At it’s most basic level, the point of Minecraft is one of discovery, of colonizing a new world, of the commission given to Adam and Eve, “Fill the earth and subdue it” You start alone. in a strange place, with nothing. It’s a beautiful world, but then, at night, monsters come. You need to survive. To create new and wonderful things in the daylight, and be able to keep the monsters at bay. To eventually see the tables turn where instead of being hunted you become the hunter. Sure, there’s a learning curve, and weird lingo, but at minecraft’s most fundamental level, it’s about creativity and discovery and going out into the unknown.

Karl S July 31, 2013 at 11:41 am

Yes. That is exactly what it’s about. It’s very very simple and that’s probably a huge part of the attraction for kids.

Heather June 20, 2013 at 8:18 am

Nathan,

I seriously love this explanation. Now I just need a longer attention span. heh.

H

Danilo Elvsaas June 20, 2013 at 9:42 am

Pretty good game but I can’t understand how people can be addicted to it :)
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kristenkj June 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

It’s as though you are living in my house. Only I have four kids doing this and they sit there together and play and they “enter each other’s worlds” and they find lapis lazuli ore and red stone ore. Sometimes they will build things, and then pour lava all over them and burn them down. And it’s either really hilarious, or someone is screaming because someone else just burned their house down. The worst part is when they’re in survival mode, because you can just hear those poor cows mooing away while they’re “killing” them. I hate that. I always tell them to turn the sound off because I don’t like that. But usually I hear this crunch crunch crunch sound all the livelong day.

One day Ella made me play with her. I didn’t get it. I climbed to the top of the mountain, and I just didn’t understand. Then I got dizzy because I can’t figure out how to move the screen around without it spinning like crazy. Then I got lost in there somewhere. She couldn’t find me and got pissed and that was the last time I played minecraft.

So I totally share with you the fact that I just don’t get it.
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kristenkj June 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

P.S. My kids just told me they are making a “creeper” from minecraft. And they are going to be creepers for Halloween. Or maybe a zombie. Excellent. Maybe that’s going to be my new motto…raising creepers, one day at a time…
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Johanne June 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

My daughter doesn’t play the game (though she has asked to…) instead she spends HOURS on YouTube watching some other guy who recorded himself playing Minecraft. It’s mine-numbing I tell you. She also found some other YouTube channel where people write songs about Minecraft, and then they sing them. On YouTube. And she has learned all these songs. And she sings them. And asks “do you want me to sing the *insert name here* song to you?” Uh no, thanks. That’s quite ok… *i feel ya*

Karimonster June 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I LOVE minecraft! :) My daughter and I play side by side (My gaming addiction includes 2 desktops) so we get to spend a few hours together each day. Also, you don’t kill chickens just to kill chickens ;) You have to eat in minecraft, so you get….chicken! Which you also have to cook or you’ll get poison from raw chicken.

Jennifer June 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Cady just downloaded this game. I guess this is what I’m in for. Yay.
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Anna June 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to read this aloud to the kids at camp! Thank you for the wonderful read.
Momibelle (Anna)

Heather June 21, 2013 at 8:12 am

I don’t mind, Anna. :)

Lissie June 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

OH MY – this is so my life, right down to the two boys/girl thing! I *love* this!! My kids now just want to watch Minecraft mod videos on Youtube. And give me Minecraft lessons. Hold me.

maile June 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

This game is so dumb. My stepson annoyingly talks about it constantly, and yet he has not once actually explained what the actual effing point of the game is!!

Morg July 24, 2013 at 7:37 am

The point is there is no point, you make what you want with it, infinite possibilities.
wanna go on a adventure? go for it.
want to build the eiffel tower? go ahead
want to create a mass chicken farm? sure.

Larina June 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm

It’s easy, too easy, to snark on the games our kids are playing. Honestly, there are things that deserve our attention as parents, such as how long they are spending on such games. But I want to point something out here. There is a mountain of research that demonstrates that playing games like Minecraft, Everquest, and World of Warcraft help children develop substantial sets of skills that they do not develop in many other activities. For example, they exercise creativity in building things in Minecraft, in decorating in Everquest, and character development in virtually any game. They develop a sense of what it means to be a person well beyond the way a person looks because not only do they have to create an appearance for their character, they also have to create biographical details and an extensive set of character development specializations. They develop collaborative techniques that are extraordinarily useful in school and the workplace, just as your sons are doing when they ‘take turns together.’ Remember that conflict is a natural part of developing a solution. At their current age, “Mom” is the best solution they have and that is a compliment. Further, they develop intensified problem-solving and critical thinking skills through various encounters with creatures (zombies and chickens count) and other players. This last item is extremely well documented in replicated, reliable scientific research to the degree that some college prep schools–yes, college prep schools–have integrated some of these games into their curriculum. On the opposite end of that, there is relatively little evidence to suggest that video games of any kind, played with adult supervision and with adult conversation (for example, why is it bad to kill chickens for fun?) about the things they are doing in those games as well as with adequate time limits, results in any kind of violent or deviant behavior.

You shouldn’t feel guilty at all for letting your kids play this or any other game, especially with the use of a timer. In fact, your kids are learning things that other kids aren’t learning and you are having the opportunity to talk about values with your kids that many parents miss out on.

Sarah July 26, 2013 at 4:57 pm

BRAVO! Minecraft is wonderfully educational for kids, plus tons of fun, and encourages cooperation and imaginative play.

Tiffany June 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I don’t get it either!!! But I do feel better b/c they are “building”. ;)
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Kelly June 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I’m 26 and i love this game :D

Its great for the imagination and yes, there are mines, but they are underground and you explore them. or you can just stay on the surface and build things. The things people have built, in minecraft, is awesome.
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Linda June 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I can relate to the gist of the OP — being completely uninterested in something that your kids are incredibly interested in, when they want you to be interested in it too, is definitely a challenge. There’s a lot of ignorant snobbery in the comments, though. Minecraft is anything but “dumb”, “mindless”, “not educational”. Here’s just one arbitrary starting point for disabusing oneself of this notion: http://www.nerdparadise.com/tech/apps/minecraft/redstonelogic/ Minecraft is capable of going way beyond lego-type building (not that that’s a bad thing in itself.) Don’t think anything mechanical or logic-based, i.e. brain-building, is going on with your kids’ minecraft play? You might be surprised, if you start paying a bit of attention. I totally get not being into it. What I don’t get is how people think they can reasonably criticize something they don’t know anything about.

Sarah June 21, 2013 at 2:32 am

YES!!! Somebody else is totally confused about a horribly odd terrible graphics game…I just keep nodding my head and saying, “oh, wow!” As if that adds to the understanding. And our two boys need a timer for their minecraft time, too…oye, somedays it is just not worth it and I lie (yes sometimes I need to) and tell them that I checked and our internet is down and we should wait until after dinner to check again (you know when daddy is home!!! MWAHHH HA HA!) I may or may not go and sneak out for a long walk when their lovely father gets home and let him know that he is in charge of minecraft time..Ii mean maybe I do that. Maybe. Once or twice, or so.
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Heather June 21, 2013 at 8:10 am

Sarah. I’m totally stealing that “the Internet is down” thing :)

Sarah June 21, 2013 at 5:13 am

I loved this. Although Gabe does prefer Sabateur (it’s a French resistance game where, among other things, you can run over nuns. And blow up Nazis. Does that make me a bad mother?!). When he first downloaded Minecraft, he couldn’t sleep because he couldn’t stop building things even when the iPad was off, so now he only plays occasionally and PUTS THE TIMER ON BY HIMSELF :-) Which makes me much more pleased with myself than I should be, having a 12yo who self-regulates. He can talk for an infinite amount of time about Lego, though. ‘Look at my new car/spaceship/spymobile. Does it look better with this (changes infinitesimal piece) or this?’ I DON’T KNOW! IT LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME!!!

Lisa Degliantoni June 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

Wow! Make time to blog about this topic but don’t make time to talk to your kids for two hours while the other one naps. You and your parenting style are everything that is wrong with parenting today. Why have kids, if you’re too busy to participate?
Lisa Degliantoni recently posted..Chicago Magazine Lists 15 Great Things to do in Evanston

Lisa Degliantoni June 21, 2013 at 8:00 am

My post is so mean and probably misses the point that you are fascinated with a game that captivates your children but means nothing to you. And I am sorry to come off as so mean and judgyyy and dismissive so early in the day, but it KILLS me that we let screens babysit out children in today’s world. Why can’t they play outside during nap time? Why can’t they build with LEGOS or blocks? They are children (probably very healthy ones) and meant to run and jump and skip and swing. Locking them down, even for 20 minutes in front of a screen, seems criminal and wrong to me. I’m not apologizing for my reaction to your post and you are probably and awesome parent, but this blog post makes me so sad/mad on many many levels.
Lisa Degliantoni recently posted..Chicago Magazine Lists 15 Great Things to do in Evanston

Heather June 21, 2013 at 8:08 am

Lisa,

You do have the right to feel this way. Just as I have the right to choose how to respond to my feelings about how you express your judgments. I will choose to be kind and understand that you don’t know me or how many hours and hours my kids play and run and talk to me. I will choose to acknowledge that I don’t know you or have a way to understand why you would feel comfortable expressing your opinion this way. I’m sure you’re good and kind too.

Peace.

Heather

Big Daddy July 3, 2013 at 7:11 am

Heather you are far to kind. Lisa is obviously an obnoxious and rude.

Kimberly August 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Wow, I love your response. And that you responded.

My boys are 8 and 6 and are completely obsessed with this bizarre game. I, too, nod and say “Yuh huh” and have absolutely no idea what the object of the game is. It’s soooo weird. I love this post and laughed out loud while reading it. Thanks.

Fadra June 21, 2013 at 10:39 am

I don’t even have the attention span to read all of the comments here so I certainly don’t have the attention span for Minecraft talk. But I’m soooooo glad to know I’m not the only one doing the uh-huh and Awesome, buddy! kind of talk.

I actually downloaded the game first so I could “approve” it and I was all, This is it? What’s the point? And yes, the nieghborhood boys all get together and sit by each other playing their own game and then they all act out Minecraft. I try to pretend like I’m knowledgable and I care. But there’s a creeper and they build things and if you’re lucky you find diamonds. Or something.

Good luck. I’m there with you. And yes, I limit to TWO HOURS a day. Apparently, I’m a terrible mother that never talks to my children either. Instead, I let him spend time doing something he really enjoys (for reasons I still can’t fathom but still…)
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Andrew June 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

I play with my kids in minecraft a lot. I also ran a server for Home Educated kids for a while that was a very rewarding experience.

Minecraft today is mud, wooden blocks, lego, duplo and all those other building materials we once played with. It’s an exploration tool and one that allows children to experience many different elements of a digital world. Mine down to discover iron ore, to smelt it in a furnace (which they had to find the materials to build) and get iron bars, that can be turned in to iron tools (or weapons or armour) to build better and to mine materials with ease. There are layers upon layers in minecraft of learning and that’s why it has been picked up by everything from grade schools to colleges as a learning tool.

While it’s hard to ‘get in to’ anything when it’s not a medium you are using or are used to yourself – the chances are that the children are getting every little bit of experience out of the game that they would from building with Lego or playing with character toys.

Check out some of this material and the tons upon tons of other articles, maybe you’ll change your mind on ‘not wanting to get it’.

http://www.examiner.com/article/mother-minecraft-helped-my-9-year-old-son-with-asperger-s-to-read-and-write
http://minecraftedu.com/page/
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-14/lifestyle/37709805_1_minecraft-lessons-video-game

Christy Mensi June 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

You are brilliant and hilarious. And yes, my kids play too, and I have no idea what the hell they are doing or talking about. At least you say, ‘uh-huh’ to your kids. I just go to another room!
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Don June 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I actually love computer games…I started with my kids on Mario and Tetris…and they rapidly surpassed my ability (although I was the first one to “beat” the game in the original SuperMario.). But I totally get this whole post, and I have chuckled my way through the comments too. I still deal with this now as my 20-something year old kids play whatever game they play. I am grateful that there is some evidence that it helps them grow, and I wish I was a better parent, and maybe I should have set limits long ago and now they are adults so… And I also understand the weird thing about the bad graphics; what’s up with that? Then again, sometimes they tell me the graphics are better and I can’t see it, and then the next game I look at the screen and it is actually so much more realistic…. And thank you for the motion sickness thing. My wife gets that too and I thought she was the only one…then again, she can’t read in a moving car (and I love to) which makes it hard for her to be navigator when going through a new city and…
And, just thanks. This was cathartic for me too.

tracy@sellabitmum June 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

My girls play this. Until I read this, I thought it was Mindcraft. OMG. I have no clue about any of it. Love this. xo
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Jennyp June 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I told Noah about this post, and he just came to me with his Kindle and showed me a book I “need” called “Minecraft for Dummies”. Just in case anyone else “needs” it
, too!

nicole June 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Yeah, what you and everyone else said. We banned my son from playing it after he “shot people in god mode” I don’t even know what that means. But it sounded bad, so we switched it off for a week. He’s banned from shooting things now. I didn’t know you could shoot things. Now he is building a roller-coaster. Maybe. He showed me. It wobbled. I nodded.

Marcy June 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm

My boys have spent many, many hours on Minecraft, and I don’t get it either. They also play a lot of World of Warcraft, which has so much jargon associated with it that it’s like they are speaking another language. Last year, on Mother’s Day, they spent hours and hours playing Minecraft in the basement, and just when I felt completely neglected, they called me down to show me they built me a virtual “momument” in the game. That’s sweet, right? It was hard to tell. There’s a pic here if you want to check it out: http://www.tootimidandsqueamish.com/2012/05/mothers-day-wine-and-hike/
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Diana June 24, 2013 at 8:27 pm

WAY too funny! My 12 year old daughter is obsessed. I read this to her today and she just cracked up….maybe because she recognized my constant reply of Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh!!

Julie July 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm

I know I am reading this late…

my boys (and my husband) love Minecraft too. The funny thing is, I have overheard my husband gather the boys around him and tell them, “guys, listen to me. Your mom doesn’t like this game. Your mom doesn’t get this game. Believe me when I tell you, you are much better off not talking to her about everything that you built in this game. If she hears about it too much, she will probably make you do something else. That is my advice to you.” I love that man.

Sara M. July 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

Yes. Everything you said, yes.

Chengen July 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

As I was reading this and working online from home, on the other side of the table sat my 9-year-old during this one hour a day of Mine Craft. He was talking to himself saying, “No I do not need night vision potion, Yes I do need swiftness potion.” Both my boys love this game and I honestly don’t care, but I do the same…uh-huh, okay, ohhhh, sounds exciting! They call the butter gold and I hear cows and sheep in the background and the carts going on the tracks they build. I’m glad I’m not alone…

Christina July 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Oh, my goodness! Here I was thinking I was the only Mom glazing over when my children are talking about spawning sheep and catching zombies! Thank you so much for posting this! We apparently are to alone, and in that, I can take a little bit of comfort…

Vanessa Revelli July 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Thank you!! After reading this I had to ask “Vincent, are there any mines in Minecraft?” To which he said, “Yes, you can build them.” I don’t get it either, in the same way you don’t get it. Saving the princess made a ton of sense, and putting those shapes together was just what we did. Are we old?? Thanks for the piece. I am not alone xoxo

Lesley July 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Thanks for giving me THE BEST LAUGH OF THE DAY!! I’m practically keeled over with laughter between your post & everyone’s comments. My 9-year-old is Minecraft addicted. I actually found your post searching for someone to help him figure out HOW TO TAME A HORSE. Seriously, people. Do I have better things to do with my time? On the other hand, we were in the Eastern Sierra (CA) in June, and my kids were crazily excited to visit old mines. Go figure.
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Swich July 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Just a friendly warning to parents….. Minecraft as a game is innocent enough but plz be aware of who your children are playing with online..
There is adults and older teens who play this game who can talk via headsets .. So it’s basically like a virtual chat room as well as a game if they are online … So plz be aware of who your kids play with!!!

Morg July 24, 2013 at 7:33 am

It’s not a virtual chatroom, they would have to download skype or something and find people to add first.

Simon July 18, 2013 at 11:52 pm

LOL Parents…..dont know shit,
there ARE mines there are more things than you can see. play it for 10 days on a server, u will see how amazing and addicting MC can be…..

Ryan July 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Okay, I’ve noticed plenty of people wjo lack understanding of minecraft. Being alittle bit older then the kids she uses as examples (I’m 13) I guess I am inbetween the addicted little guys who play aton( not saying that i dont) and adults who dont even grasp the game. So here is my 2 cents:
Mimecraft is a game of creativity, a game of, lets go kill some pigs or lets go build a castle or even lets go beat up a zombie (graphic free ofcourse). With youth of this generation already being restrained from living life they turn to minecraft. They can live out dreams in teir living room, build their house with a water slide through it with 10 pet dogs and 6 cats with a volcanoe at their front door. The reason kids love this game is because it gives them a chance to express what many have no desire to hear. Even adults have trouble hearing out some kids so they turn to something where they can express themselves.

Heather July 24, 2013 at 7:38 am

You’re a wise 13 year old, Ryan. (I really mean that.)

I do love listening to my boys about many imaginative things. This post is just me joking around, but it’s true that I don’t really understand Minecraft. I’m that kind of adult, I guess. My brain just doesn’t work in that creative way. My creativity is a different kind, but I can appreciate what you’re saying about why my boys love this game. Thank you!

Morg July 24, 2013 at 7:39 am

This.

cdb July 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

a friend shared this on facebook. I don’t get it either… but thank goodness I have a cousin who is a programmer. he and his oldest son built a minecraft server that is a white listed server that he has to give you permission to join. so all the cousins are on there playing. no swearing is allowed. and there is a “storyline”. his mom, who is almost 70, plays all the time. my boys think she is amazing and she is their hero for all the things she does in minecraft. my cousin has tried to explain to me all the positives about minecraft…
oh… and my youngest loves the song “I am a miner” a minecraft parody song. I now have that memorized from the youtube video!

bugmonkey July 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Awesome! My four 11, 9, 7, and 5 are constantly fighting over whose world they are playing in and MOM!!! HE IS DESTROYING MY ROOM! Then i saw my daughter build a doorless room and fill it with dogs… how sad.

Sarah July 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Well, they weren’t real dogs, were they? Minecraft gave her an opportunity to explore a thought that she would never have gotten the chance to explore outside of a digital medium, in a completely harmless manner.

Daniel July 24, 2013 at 6:58 am

I’ve been playing since Beta test, then I introduced my Step-daughter to the game. She loves it too. It is amazing how many things you can craft and then, using those blocks, building cool things, from a dirt block house to a medieval castle!

Don’t take this as an offense, but to understand this game, you need to be a bit of child inside. You need that capacity of imagining things, believing in fantasy, venture a bit further than just switching channels on your TV or reading a gossip magazines, and actually do things yourself.

You could say Minecraft is like Lego for computer but that is just a very simplistic description. Just as lego, there are millions of fans around the world who are constantly sharing ideas, pictures and telling stories of what they’ve built, how they managed to survive the attack of a number of mobs (the bad creatures in the game) and the great time they had with their friends (Yes, there is an optional multiplayer option and there are communities online).

In an era of fancy graphics, we can say the game doesn’t keep up, but the game offers you much much more than just fancy graphics and just 3 hours of single player gaming (like other fancy modern games), it offers endless hours of fun, imagination and challenge, and even cooperation.

Heather July 24, 2013 at 7:40 am

Not offended, Daniel. Thanks for your insights.

This post is a bit tongue in cheek, not serious at all, a little exaggerated….it’s more for the dramatic relating of parents like me who don’t really get this game. That’s not to say that we aren’t creative in different ways, but I’ll admit that my brain just doesn’t work in the Minecraft way. I do love that my boys are getting what you’re describing from playing it though. Thanks for your thoughts!

Jessica Groseclose July 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

It’s like you read my mind!!!!

Kris July 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I completely understand where you (and most of the other folks who commented) are coming from – but I play Minecraft, and I want to show you all why something that looks so simple and has such “terrible” graphics can be used as a tool to create breathtakingly beautiful works of art.

I am 23 and an art student with a love of video games. I have a fat, white cat, a Bearded Dragon (lizard) and a Water Dragon (also a lizard). I live with six people in a rented house (one other girl and four boys) and our ages range from 19 to 25. We were lucky to be able to live together, to be honest. But we’re all really close friends, and we play video games together constantly. If a game looks awesome but doesn’t have Multiplayer? Not worth our time.

Minecraft has Multiplayer. In fact, it’s one of the first games we ever played together (after Halo, anyway). We started playing it back in high school. It gave us a way to interact with one another even when we couldn’t be physically together, and the cooperative play that ended up happening brought us even closer. I was usually on food/farm duty because the monsters in the game tended to make me horribly jumpy (Creepers are the worst things ever; they sneak up on you, hiss, and then explode, taking everything around them with them. Can and will destroy your builds if you don’t light things properly), while the others would go mining and collect ores in the dark of the caves where monsters spawned the most.

[Side note: There's no blood/gore/anything in Minecraft, it's entirely kid-friendly from that standpoint.]

But I told you that story to tell you this story: A couple of months ago, a site called Planet Minecraft – a website dedicated to art-in-Minecraft – held a contest to create a Survival Games map (Survival Games is the MC equivalent of the Hunger Games, and there is a mod made specifically for the purpose of automating the necessary stuff as well as a site that hosts hundreds of such games across the world). My roommates and I decided that entering the contest would be awesome. So we did ( as you can see here: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/minecraft-survival-games-castle-starfall/ ). We literally were working down to the last ten minutes before the deadline – for over a month, three of us were working for hours a day to build that massive construction. It wasn’t nearly as fine-tuned as we would have liked it to be – but we were literally building a town-within-a-castle, which was a massive undertaking in and of itself; for a bit of reference, a single block is one meter cubed, so see if you can mentally take that scale and picture it in real life.

The castle included a lot of interior details: apartments with working baths and kitchens (one of my favorite things I’ve ever built is most definitely the redstone lamp fridge: flip a lever, the fridge door opens and the light comes on. Shh, I’m weird like that), individualized and personalized as if for families and/or individuals that lived there; a massive kitchen with roasting spits, dishwashing stations, multiple cooking areas, a counter for servers to pick up food from, an indoor farm just off the kitchen, a freezer room, etc… There was a massive forge and armory, a storage/trade depot, four separate inns, loads of servants’ quarters, and several floating islands that required a decent level of skill in digital parkour to get to – just a million different details that we added and wished we had more time to refine. We didn’t win, of course (in spite of the fully sculpted and anatomically plausible dragon skeleton I constructed. Of course I’m not bitter about that, no, not even a little :D ).

But it was a bonding experience of shared creativity, teamwork and problem solving – especially with the redstone traps in the dungeon and prison mazes. Those were a nightmare but ended up being rather awesome in the end, and we were all really proud of our work, even if it wasn’t exactly the way we had wanted it to be.

TL;DR: Minecraft is a tool as much as a game and can be used to learn (figuring out how to make a table and chairs in unmodded Minecraft requires some… ingenuity) as well as create beautiful or awe-inspiring things.

Don’t believe me? Just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmnoM5yoUcw&feature=share&list=PL6C732E31C70607EF

It’s a time-lapse of something being built by 30+ people working in tandem to build something with a unique but cohesive look – and it’s only one of many, done by these people and countless others. Not all builds are going to be on that scale, but Minecraft is a world made for creation. This game is the purest form of what a “sandbox” world should be – an outlet for imagination far and away beyond anything that a literal sandbox or handful of Legos could provide.

Just limit the time your kids spend on it and you’re good to go. Heather, you have the right idea – just give Minecraft a chance. It’s not something that leads you around by the hand like most games. The world is completely open to you; it’s what you choose to do with it that makes it fun.

Leanne July 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I’m not even going to admit how many hours I let my 8 year old son play this game. One thing I want to warn some of you about is that some of the YouTube videos of adults or older kids playing minecraft have a lot of profanity and very inappropriate innuendo for the young kids. I heard some pretty raunchy stuff so I make my son watch without any volume on now so I don’t have to worry about what they are saying.

Brooke July 25, 2013 at 11:22 am

Yes! This was the comment I was just about to make. My boys love the Youtube videos and it took me a couple days to notice the potty mouth hosting one of them. So, I make them mute the TV, which they are not happy about at all, but better than being banned from Youtube

Samuel July 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I am a 12 yr old boy who loves minecraft! My mother showed me this article and I thought the responses were hilarious. The graphic are the way they are because its supposed be similar to Legos and you mine one block you get one block. I play Call of Duty and those games but I prefer Minecraft because you can do what ever you want. If you want to understand the game (this may take awhile) check out this video he makes kid friendly content and explains the game well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B36Ehzf2cxE

Jennifer July 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

So funny! I shared this on FB & all my friends are agreeing too. Just read it to my kids & they cracked up. And promptly started telling me about survival mode & why the monsters freak them out and blah blah blah. And I said Uh huh. (Also I loved Nathan’s explanation!)

kerryR July 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

Feels good to know all the adults are in the same boat. Then again, maybe that’s the point of this insane, badly graphiced game? My son said he wishes I would play with him before I judge it. I love he wants me to play but sorry, the pre-judging has already occurred and there are no take backsies.

heather love July 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

Love this! I make wreaths in the same room as my son and husband when they play this game and I am so tired of hearing the zombie moaning sounds! When my son talks to me I glaze over, too. But like you say, there are worse games they could be playing!

Momontherocks July 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm

This is frikkin brilliant. Thanks for the dialogue I can now take with my son on why I don’t care. Video games make me motion sick. Minecraft makes my eyes cross. Uh-huh – yeah, that’s really cool, son. Way to go. We like it because there’s preparation and planning and consequence. And don’t think mines. Think mining. You can mine stuff then build/craft stuff with it. But that’s really all I know. When my son, Max tries to engage me in his passion about the game, I simply start singing to him. Then he’s all, “Mom, STOOOOPPPP.” And it’s over.

Caliwildflowers August 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

I’m SO relieved to read these posts! At least I know my twin 9 yr old boys are normal. I have a love/hate relationship with Minecraft. One the one hand the boys are completely obsessed and (now that they’re on summer break from school) would play it 24/7 if I let them. On the other hand I’ve come to realize the game is unique: 1) it’s non-competitive: there are no points, they don’t have to kill anything or anyone to “win,” and there is no “end” to the game. Everything is purely creative. 2) they really do learn things such as which metals may be combined to make other metals, at what temperature glass melts, etc. they’re learning about chemistry, geology, botany, engineering and architecture. The other day they were pointing out the different kinds of trees as we drove around on errands, “that’s an oak, thats a poplar.” I asked where they learned to identify trees: Minecraft! So they learn in a fun way. Plus they actually have to build everything in their world from scratch. That takes concentration, patience and persistence. 3) they can play with and talk to other kids from all over the country and the world; we have the XBox Live edition so they play online through it with their buddies from school and have made friends with kids in Texas, Minnesota, Australia and Mexico. 4) they learn to cooperate and negotiate with others in building worlds. Today my son and several of his friends made up a game-within-the-game. They built obstacle courses and made up various rules. Amazing. So when they excitedly tell me about their adventures and achievements in Minecraft, I listen for a minute or two and mostly pretend I get it or ask a question and then make up some quick excuse to go do something else before my eyes start to cross from confusion! Yeah, they spend a lot of time on it (we have to have “forced” outdoor play time!) but on the other hand, when we were kids we watched too much TV and this is so much better. At least they aren’t shooting or killing anything (except for animals for their virtual food).

Caliwildflowers August 2, 2013 at 9:03 am

PS: I know there will come a day when I’ll wish they would tell me Anything about their interests and activities, so I try to enjoy while I can.

Laura August 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Funny, I was the same way when my son found Minecraft. The graphics are horrible. When it came to the xbox I was lost as we play games on it together. So to make my son happy I tried Minecraft. Once you become adjusted to the graphics it is an amazing game. As an adult that still loves to build Legos, this game has become my addiction as well as my sons. It is amazing the things you can create and do. I find myself playing even without my son. I totally get the 2 hours of keeping them busy while you can get things done. That said, I highly recommend any parent to give it a go. It’s amazing the things my son and I talk about while we are playing. It clears his mind and he talks about anything and everything, not just Minecraft. So if you are a gamer and a parent, give it a try with your child. Just be warned it is addicting not just to kids. Now to find other parents that play on xbox so he can have safe friends to play with online and I can build with adults that don’t want to just blow things up with TNT. :)

Kelli August 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Hilarious! I just showed this to my 11-year-old. He thought it was funny,then started talking to me about Minecraft for the next 30 minutes. :)

Mike August 10, 2013 at 8:35 am

I think you said it well enough yourself. You don’t care enough to try to understand.

Conrad August 11, 2013 at 1:42 am

Oh dear. It sounds like you may have got that “Old person bug”.

So many on here sounding like the old ladies on the bus stop complaining about the newest fashion or loud music. “In my day we had fun! We KNEW how to have real fun”.

Let the kids, Adults play. We have MUCH more violent and bad games on the market. This is a game that anyone can play and have fun.

Try it… You never know… You may see how ignorant you all are.

Kevin August 17, 2013 at 6:31 am

Hi! I like ur blog and i would like to share my experience with this so called, creative game called mincraft. I’m a young father 30yrs old, n my 10yr old son WAS into mincraft. WAS, yes.. I banned him for playing. But i have my reasons.. Let me explain my experience.

As i mentioned earlier, being a young father, we sort of, hindi behind sa mga technologies what kids are playing nowadays. And having a PC related work, i’m resourcefull for this kind of stuff. Anyway, 1st thing i heard about ds game, they say it’s like LEGO. Building blocks, creating stuff like houses, building.. World..then their character can live their created world. So as a parent, when u hear this, what’s not to like about it? Kids can enhance creativeness n imagination, right? Well not quite.. Minecraft also has this Evil characters like zombies, witches, and there’s this Herobrine. Herobrine is a weird character who pops out, creapy all white eyes. I know this as my son mention it everytime he plays it says its scary.

My son played this game for almost a year n there are disturbing symptoms we observed. 1st, Like he doest want to be alone n seems to look behind him seems looking for someone. Symptoms of helusinating. 2nd Getting angry n temper while playing it ONLINE. 3rd, being so sensitive. When ask about being addicted to minecraft, he gets angry and enraged.

One day he went rage… Crying and angry because someone ONLINE is pissing him off. I told him to stop playing Online so he will not get upset. I warned him if he caught playing ONline, i’ll bann him for playing Minecraft. Guess what after a few months, i caught him again. And the worse thing i caught him lying to me. So that’s the last draw, i banned him for life.

I see what this game does. Not only affects the kids psycologicaly, but worse my kids personality.. Its not him anymore. He never lied to me before.

Now after 6 months, he didnt played it anymore. And i see the old him again. We know we did the right thing. And i hope other parents will not go thru this. Thanks!

Tracy August 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I appreciate your comments on minecraft. I have had a completely different experience. My older son became addicted to the game, choosing not to socialize in high school, or study during his junior year. He would lie to me all the time and say he was doing his homework. It takes one second to switch screens. I am not tech savvy, and have battled with him. We finally came to a compromise where he promised to study, and he can play up to 3 hours a day. He has 3 friends through minecraft that live in different parts of the country. It breaks my heart. My younger son can walk away from it and has other interests. The college councillor at my sons school explained how this game is designed. It starts with a small task, and then keeps building. It is never ending, so they never want to stop. I am hoping he will grow out of this and find other things to do. I am always trying…

Mike August 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

I asked my 7 year old to teach me Minecraft yesterday…. It’s all over. 4 hours later, I’m trying to figure out how to play while at work (hint: pocket edition on my iPhone.) I found a massive underground cavern and then dug a hole up into the bottom of a lake, flooding the cavern. A river of lava intersecting an underground stream — the ghost of Frank Lloyd Wright commanded me to build an underground home right a top this beautiful scene.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know I can’t stop.

April McGowan August 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I needed to read this! I am of the video game generation. I spent hundreds of my hard earned dollars and Christmas money at the arcade, waiting and hoping for better graphics and easier interfaces in the 80′s. I play video games with my kids on the PS3, and we own lots of other platforms because my husband collects them (read ZELDA in multiple formats). But, this?? This pixilated, strangely colored, choppy, zombie spawning, egg collecting game? The videos that take contemporary pop music and Micraft-ize it. The videos of people building their own stuff for others to just go sit and watch them…build it? I. Do. Not. Get. It. From one glassy-eyed mom to another: Thank you.
April McGowan recently posted..Tea and Sympathy

Gametoon August 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Hey I have da same story as another commenter here,I stumbled upon this page looking for minecraft skins (not literal skin just a new look like a funny hat with a bunny or something) and let me explain what you’re worrying about,NOTHING if you would actually spend some time looking up what minecraft is you’ll see it’s a game where you get something that kids don’t get.they never got it when civilisation came,complete freedom.download the mods and you can actually have your own car to drive around,stop off at the shop buy some food for your family and do anything a child always had at the back of his head that he always wanted to do.it gives kids sense of accomplishment aswell whenever you’ve been on a really long mining trip it all pays off when you find those diamonds,and having a sense accomplishment is much more important in life than you think.as you probably know from many websites it is very good for math,strategy,socail(yes socail!!),and art.probably summing up 20 jobs already……go back to the top of my comment….read it? Remember I said I was a kid….I AM I’m 10 and I think a 10-year old COD player doesn’t write a comment like this one…so that about sums minecraft up for basics……. Bye :)

Dude who builds things August 28, 2013 at 2:13 am

I’ve been an engineer for 15 years. I build big, complicated stuff for a living. Your kids are probably learning more about how to plan and execute complex tasks with multiple dependencies than they’ll ever learn in School. Kids who play these “goal-less” games are effectively learning to set their own goals and challenges, which is one of the most important skills in life. You should count yourself a lucky parent if your kids play with LEGO, Minecraft or Kerbal Space Program. I know 11 year olds with a working understanding of Delta-V (it’s actual rocket science) through games like this, so don’t be so quick to knock it. – The skills they’re learning now are what’ll keep you in a decent retirement home.

Kyle August 29, 2013 at 11:04 am

Wow… none of you parents understand…. ok so first of all, the graffics are pretty good, its the pixels that are big. In minecraft you can play in creative by yorself and make amazing things, you can also go in survival…. and well… survive. and btw THERE ARE MINES. You can also make your own server or buy one & ur friends can come play with you online, or you can join another server and play with hundreds of other people. there are lots of different types of servers… raiding servers, pvp servers, mini game servers, comunity servers and many more. you can also play adventure maps with your friends, which is loads of fun. and btw THERE IS NO VIOLENCE ok?

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