The Essential Guide for Moms to the Game All the Kids Are Playing These Days

Love It! 18

Zombies, creepers, and spiders, oh my! If your kids are like mine, you've probably suddenly become a Minecraft family. However, if you're like I was, you probably have no idea what the heck the kids are doing in their virtual world. Never fear: The Minecraft FAQ is here.

Minecraft isn't new, but it's now reached the mainstream and is probably popular in many houses around the world. As kids grow out of Flash games and pounding the remote control against the TV, they will quickly discover the magic and addictive properties of Minecraft. I'm here to help you understand this new threat.

What is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a construction game. You run around a huge world -- sometimes with other users -- and "mine" for dirt, gold, iron ore, and other metals. Using fairly complex recipes, you can then make various objects like swords, pickaxes, and bows and arrows. More importantly, however, you can stack the stuff you mine into amazingly complex shapes, allowing you to build tall towers, huge castles, and even whole cities.

You can play the game for free but for online play you have to pay about $20. The pocket edition for iOS and Android is equally addictive and allows you to play with other users on the same Wi-Fi network.

Is it scary?

There are monsters, sure, but if you play in Creative mode, they won't bother you. Survival mode is more of a challenge, and slurping zombies and wobbly slime creatures come out at night (did I mention there was a time system?) to grab you.

Minecraft runs on most computers and, more importantly, on iOS and Android devices. Computer users can create and connect to public Minecraft servers around the world, but most of them have no voice-chat capabilities so the worst another player can do is blow up your house. The portable version, called Minecraft PE, allows you to connect with other people playing the same game on your wireless network. This means siblings can play in the same world, something that my kids discovered early. Older kids will teach the younger kids how to play, and it doesn't have to be any scarier than an older kid jumping out of a mine and saying "Boo."

Are they rotting their brains?

Eh, it could be worse. The violence is very tame and the real draw is the creative aspect. That's why it's a hoot to play. 

I mean, look at this thing below:

That is a real building a player in the game made with some friends. The best I could ever do was make a tower that went straight up, and even that was a blast. It's really fun and they'll play it for hours. Which leads us to the next question ...

Should I be worried they're playing too much?

Yes and no. Minecraft is pixelated crack. I spent a week playing it a few months ago, fascinated by the concept of endlessly stacking bricks on top of each other. It was really addictive.

My kids have been playing for a few weeks and now they're watching videos about playing the game in an effort to understand the complexities of the system. So they're watching people play the game so they can play the game later, for a longer period of time. It's a weird circle.

Also note that the people who do the videos are usually either kids who rarely curse but are almost always insufferable if you've heard their voices for days on end.

Will I have fun if I play it?

Yes, you will. I'm planning on doing some podcasts with my son, and I think adults will love the gentle gameplay and simple rules. It can put you in a Zen-like state, which I suppose is a good thing. It's honestly an amazing game and, compared to the shoot 'em ups they could be playing or horrible time wasters like Candy Crush, this is virtually a college education.

Just watch out for the Witch. She's a mean one.

Do your kids play Minecraft yet? How do you feel about that?

gaming, ipad, iphone


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nonmember avatar Kirsten

OMG if I have to hear that Stampy guy any more on youtube videos I will SCREAM!!!

Jaghd810 Jaghd810

OMG my son talks about Stampy all of the time.  And after he watches a couple videos he even starts talking like Stampy.  I'm happy to learn my son isnt' the only one.

laken... lakens_mommy

My kids love Stampy! Me? Not so much.

I do love seeing their creative side.Some of the stuff my daughters I get excited when I build a colorful square house. =P

MomOwl MomOwl

my 6 year old son is playing right now, right next to DH. DH and SD went to Minecon last November. so yes this is a minecraft house. I'm the only one who doesn't play it. I tried, but my motion sickness kicked in after about 10 min.

Oh the 6 year old wants to go visit Stampy. ugh

nonmember avatar Amber

Yes, I have 3 boys and they are all into it. They love to play it and watch youtube videos about it. They have toys from it as well. They have it on the xbox, the ps3 and the computer as well as their tablets lol.

momof... momof030404

There is actually homeschool curiculum and classes that you can use with Minecraft!

Abby Catherman

Both of my sons play Minecraft and watch videos on YouTube about how to play Minecraft better. My younger son has it on his iPod and they both play the downloadable PS3 version. My younger son had a Minecraft (and Brony) Christmas this year... I see no harm in it! 

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks those creepers are adorable? I love them (TNT in their tummies and all)!

sandy... sandy2727

Yes my son loves this game i seen him play it but don't really understand it till this story sums it up so im more at ease

iamna... iamnameless

I hate this game. I cant figure it out and it has no real point ¡ my son however loves this game.

Kendra Burlison

My kids LOVE Minecraft! So do I to a certain extent. If you are looking for good Minecraft videos that won't drive you insane with no cursing, check out ihascupquake, Mary and Dad's Minecraft adventures, and Diamond Minecart. These people aren't annoying, and there is no cursing that I have heard. Minecraft Universe is cool, but just avoid any of the episodes with skydoesminecraft. Sky curses up a storm. Anyhoo. Those are my suggestions.

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