10/03/16

Arts & Culture

Minecraft school of cool

Remember when Minecraft came out seven years ago? If you don’t, that’s kinda normal. It’s only when younger kids discovered the game in the past two three years that it started to go mainstream. Generally games do well with certain groups of people, right? But as many parents with children six-years-and-above realise, Minecraft can crawl under the skin of pretty much anybody.

Who doesn’t enjoy exploring the unknown? Going where no other tiny pixelated human has ever been before? And discovering there is so much you can do. You move along in the first person (or third, if the creepers are getting too creepy) through these blocks and it’s not at all odd that a ball has edges not curves. You learn stuff, like turning cubes into a pickaxe, which you use to dig for diamonds that you keep in the safe in one of your mansions, the one that has a billion (you get the idea) libraries.

Since young people love it so much, Minecraft will only become more popular and stick around for longer than any other hit games ever will (it might even be the new Tetris). Much like Lego, you get better at problem-solving and become more creative. But then, Minecraft throws in a fascinating possibility – whether in Creative mode (where players build and don’t die) or Survival mode (where you might virtually perish, along with all you’ve built and acquired so far), you’re mastering not one but two realms – the world you virtually create, and the digital world of the future.

It’s like this – when you get into Minecraft, there’s no instruction manual. Nada. Zip. Ziltch. You learn by doing from scratch and watching how other people do it. You get under the hood and discover everything is elementary and everything can be built, broken and pieced back together using these elements. You don’t just conjure houses, monuments or cities. You’re constructing entire worlds. And you invite others into these environments you create, which means making friends and that somewhere down the road you’ll need bigger or better servers. Or make your own.

More technically inclined players can modify the game’s codes, create new types of blocks, introduce new sorts of creatures, and then post these modifications (mods) online for others to discover. Maybe you’ll get curious. So much so that you could become really interested in programming. Just look at the kids. They want to make better things (invent) and make things better (design and engineer). Coding is one of the ways they or you, can do it.

You can also make art, and create your own games (you can checkout tutorials on Youtube tutorials). Heck, some players are so good they’ve turned Minecrafting into their day jobs. Yup, that’s google-able. There are famous Minecrafters who use their popularity to team up with charities and raise funds for different causes. Virtual and real worlds are meshing, and games like Minecraft are leading the way.

Minecraft is what you’d call a sandbox game, which means the potential of what can happen and what you can create are endless. It’s climbing that mountain because it’s there. Building worlds because you just can.

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