Originally posted 2016-03-14 17:00:35.
I’m going with the unpopular vote here, although I understand there are tons of great and positive benefits to Minecraft. The more I see previews of the game or my child’s playmate play it on their device, I just can’t buy into it, especially for children.
Before I dive too deep into this let me first say this was an indie game that was not targeted at children. It was created by Swedish programmer, Markus Perrson, who sold the game to Microsoft for $2.5 billion dollars. This is great! This guy made a ton of money by creating an open sandbox game that may have been created to pass some time. I am sure he couldn’t have predicted the game would blow up and become the huge franchise that it is.
Now, before you get bent out of shape, what I see as the heart and soul of the game is virtual Legos. There is no fighting on this point. You build shit and the only thing that limits you in this game is your own creativity. I have heard many try to dispute this claim by saying Legos are nowhere near what you can do in Minecraft and I beg you to really take a step back and look at what you can make with a Lego creation. Again another toy that is only limited by your imagination—and yes, funds and resources. While I think that MineCraft may have benefits to imaginative play, much can be said by the tactile play of Legos. Children learn through their environment and using Legos to create with their hands helps fuel their imagination. The same way it does with MineCraft only forget the tactile experience that gets thrown out the window when you plug them in.
The possibilities in this game are endless; you want to build the leaning tower of Pisa and you can! Are you feeling a bit nerdy and want to build your own TARDIS? You have that ability. If you can mine it, or stay in creative mode; you can build it. All this while you burn down villages protect your creations from Creepers. Zombies and whatever else randomly walks about the sandbox.
This is amazing and marvelous and MineCraft does wonders for developing creativity, yet I am left asking whatever did we do before MineCraft? I guess we didn’t have much creativity or imagination then since MineCraft fosters those energies and deftly channels them through its outlet. Yes, I do agree this puts the creative tools in your hands to build a virtual world around you. However, there are so many other outlets out there to create, you know, that thing called art and music. Again back to the Legos the tactile experience of building something physically with your hands is something I would rather teach my child.
The world of MineCraft is huge; there are Wikis, books and YouTube channels dedicated to building in your world. While this is all well and good and certainly appeals to some players it does not appeal to me. I can’t justify spending hours upon hours building something. To what end? What do I get for spending all, this time, building all this stuff? A quiet child? Not really. All the kids I’ve seen talk non-stop about MineCraft and cry endlessly about losing a pet because they forgot to build a fence around it. In addition, MineCraft is a huge sandbox, not a game. I don’t mind playing open world games half the fun is exploring the world to see what it has to offer. This means, for me there will be an end of the game somewhere but along my journey I unravel an amazing story. I toiled away at Witcher 3 and I know that game is still not done yet but, I know once the final DLC is released that is it. I don’t have to continue to work at the game anymore. It makes me feel accomplished to complete the game. This is one of the major reasons I play games is the pursuit of accomplishment.
Although I can’t deny that MineCraft has some fun elements, it is hard to say the game serves much in gameplay. I think you should play a game that serves as a meaningful experience. I don’t have a lot of time to play games and thus, I don’t want to waste time building and creating a constantly evolving world. Is that experience meaningful? For me, it isn’t rather it is just spending time playing in a sandbox that never reaps any benefit for me. Yes, I can’t and I won’t comment on the community because I did everything in my power not to join it. I have a young child; he has no business playing online.
In conclusion, MineCraft is not for everyone. There are so many other games and activities out there you can spend your time doing. It is a great game although it is not always suitable for children, just hop over to YouTube and see what I’m talking about. The possibilities in the game are endless, but it is not the game that builds creativity and I would rather my child spend time creating with his hands than in front of a tablet.