If you know, or own, a boy between the ages of 8 and 12, he’s probably already addicted to Minecraft. If he’s not, trust me, he will be soon.
According to the Minecraft site, nearly 10 million people have bought the game (we paid $26 for it) – nearly 11,000 in the last 24 hours.
Minecraft is an online world entirely made of small blocks – and entirely made by its habitants. Kids can easily build things using the blocks like houses (essential for shelter against the nasty night predators), armour, or just about anything else, using a Halo-like interface. They can play with their friends seeing each other’s avatars walking around with their username floating above their blocky, square heads. And, as boys will do, they can kill each other with the only consequence being perhaps some hurt feelings and the lost time it takes to “respawn” back to life.
You can check it out here:
The avatars don’t speak so the kids use Skype instead. It’s a great example of social learning in some great ways.
They’re playing. They’re learning how to connect online with video and voice. They’re learning how to set up and keep appointments (“Meet you online at 7pm!) But, most importantly, they’re learning the power of being creators of the world they’re playing in, instead of just players. Yes, it’s like a video game – and parents of too many boys know the challenges of managing that addiction – but it lets them learn things they won’t by spending hours playing their Nintendo DS or Sony PlayStation. Why do boys love it so much? I need to ask my guy that…once I can pull him away from the game….