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Parents' guide to Minecraft! Everything you need to know about this mysterious game!
Firstly, my name is James and I have been working as a Minecraft server developer for over 4 years. I basically know my fair share about Minecraft You have probably heard of Minecraft on the news, in the shop window and a 100 other places. It looks like some odd blocky retro game which doesn't belong in this century... Don't worry, I am here to fully clarify any curiosities or concerns you may have!
Let's start off with a little history lesson, Minecraft all began back in 17 May 2009 by a Swedish programmer called Markus Persson, most commonly known as "Notch". Microsoft then acquired Minecraft in September 2014 for an incredible $2.5 billion.
Minecraft is not your traditional game where you would level up and progress through a serious of challenges or adventures. Instead, Minecraft is what we call a sandbox game. You are probably thinking, what kind of computer game requires a sandbox?! A sandbox game is effectively the opposite of a traditional level up type game; you have zero limits and an open world where the only limitation is your imagination. This is what I personally love about Minecraft, you spawn in a universe which you can make your own and call home.
Where do you start?
First you would need to purchase the game but I will get onto this later! You have two options, either play by yourself on a "singleplayer" world or play with a group of friends on a "multiplayer" server. Let's break this down:
A singleplayer world is where you play alone in Minecraft, you don't have to worry about anyone interfering with your world or buildings. This is usually the preferred method when starting Minecraft but soon you will start thinking about the possibilities of what Minecraft could be like with friends.
A multiplayer server is exactly like a singleplayer world but the difference is that friends can join too! This is what I personally love about Minecraft because when you bring together the minds of many, amazing things happen. You can all work together to create the tallest building or adventure into the darkest cave looking for those magical diamonds.
What now? I am on Minecraft but what now?
The first step upon joining your new world is to survive and build a home. Just as if you were to spawn in the middle of a jungle, you would need to develop a shelter to live in. You can make a house using any materials you like; you could build a little house out of dirt or even with diamonds if you are feeling like a royal .
The first step to getting materials is to get some wood. With wood you can then make tools and with tools you can collect even more materials. Believe it or not but in Minecraft you can gather wood by literally punching a tree! That's right, just hitting a tree multiple times will give you logs!
With the logs, you can then create tools and with tools you can mine ore and with ore you can make even better tools to get even better materials. With the new materials you can make yourself a better home, then start creating a village, then a city. Maybe you would like to create a statue of your favourite cartoon character? Maybe you would like to create a train which goes over hundreds of miles of rolling hills, deep caverns and through winter wonderlands (That's right, you get snow on Minecraft!!). What I am trying to say is that Minecraft is truely limitless, you can literally create and build anything. You could even create the very building you are currently reading this article in on Minecraft!
What do I have to survive from?
In Minecraft there are animals and monsters which are randomly generated throughout the world. Don't worry! You can disable the monsters if you would prefer a safe, non-scary world. If you prefer a challenge, we definitely recommend keeping the monsters enabled as that creates the survival aspect of the game. The monsters in Minecraft are most commonly known as "mobs". They spawn during the night and will attack if you get too close. This is exactly why building a house is important because once you are in there, nothing can touch you! There is this special cosy feeling you get when you are in your little house and are safe from the outside monsters. As I said earlier, if you would like a mob free world, you can disable them with a click of a button in the Minecraft settings area.
Is Minecraft children friendly?
Minecraft is definitely children friendly! 20% of users are under the age of 15 and 43% are between the age of 15-21. There have been a total of 23 MILLION copies sold of Minecraft!
There are a few different aspects to consider when talking about child friendly. There is very little violence in Minecraft. The little violence consists of striking animals like sheep to get their wool or when a mob attacks. You can also take damage from the environment, for example burns from lava or falling off a cliff. If you are worried about this, we recommend a setting on Minecraft called "Creative".
Creative allows you to fly around, be invincible with unlimited blocks available to you. This is the opposite of survival because everything is provided to you without any initial work. It really depends if you would prefer to survive on Minecraft or instantly start building to your heart's content.
One final note on Minecraft violence is if you are playing with multiple people, you can enable player attack damage. This will allow players to attack each other in-game; this can be disabled as well.
Is Minecraft actually good for my child?
We have talked about the facts and gameplay of Minecraft but let's get down to the reality, is Minecraft actually a good game for my child; is it beneficial? From all of my four years’ experience, I can give you a very reassuring YES. But why?
Minecraft promotes a host of positive behaviours, including team work, spacial awareness, measuring out quantities of resources, dividing labour; there is an infinite list of skills which your child will pick up along the way. Minecraft is amazing, not only is it fun to play but it also teaches many important life skills.
There are many inspiring stories of autistic children playing Minecraft. Many on them struggle to talk to and understand other people's thoughts and emotions as well as their own. This makes it hard for many kids to form lasting relationships with those around them.
That's where Minecraft can help.
Minecraft providers a platform for children to interact and develop while not being judged on their disabilities.
Ready for an adventure of a life time?
Minecraft can be purchased and played instantly by going to the official Minecraft website.
If you are feeling more adventurous and would like to get started with a safe multiplayer server, you can get a server from ServerMiner.
Go get out there and explore an infinite world where the one limit is your imagination. If you have any questions about Minecraft, feel free to reply here and I'll do my best to respond as quickly as possible!
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