If you’ve come into the Tech Room lately, you’ve probably noticed the handful of kids playing a computer game with mediocre graphics and no clear objective. The game is called Minecraft, and you may have friends and family who are completely obsessed with the game. I first heard of Minecraft a couple of years ago when a few kids I know started showing off castles and mines they had constructed in the game. They showed me something new they had done in their game worlds literally every time we saw each other. Two years later, and they’re still going strong.
So what’s the big deal? As I mentioned, the graphics are nothing amazing. There isn’t really a clear objective or end-goal to the game (although slaying the Ender-Dragon can provide a sort of “end” to those players who’d like one). The game only costs about $30, and after that every upgrade is free. And yet, I’ve encountered individuals with seemingly nothing else in common who love Minecraft and can spend hours talking about their recent escapades in the game. In an effort to understand, I read articles and blog posts galore. Finally, I decided to just start playing the game demo. And I’m completely hooked.
Minecraft isn’t like any other game I’ve ever played. It requires a different kind of thinking, as you do everything from collect resources to create huge structures (a scale model of the U.S.S. Enterprise, anyone?) to planning your farm layout so you have a steady food supply. It’s not really violent, and it certainly isn’t graphically so. It can be played by a single player in a different world each time, or in the same world, or on a multiplayer server–the options are really endless. Teachers can use the game to teach different concepts or connect with students if school has to be canceled, and players typically have no problem focusing on their own, self-created objectives for long periods of time.
For parents, siblings, and others who don’t play but live or work with someone who does, the obsession with Minecraft can be baffling and even concerning. Fortunately, we have a couple of tech programs coming up for players and non-players alike:
First up is a special after-hours Minecraft playing party for kids ages 8-18. This program will run from 5:30 to 7:30 on Saturday, July 25, and pizza and pop will be provided! Parental permission is required to confirm program registration.
Just a few days later, we’ll be hosting Minecraft for Parents. This tech class will be Tuesday, July 28 from 6:30 to 7:30, and will include information about the game, including essentials for safe game play. Just curious about the game? In spite of its title, you need not be a parent to take this class! Call 330-343-6123 for more information and to register.
-Kathryn Green, Technology Manager