Minecraft, created by Mojang and bought for over $2 billion by Microsoft, is a block-based sandbox world where players can create whatever they imagine. It’s often compared to virtual Legos, but it also challenges players to solve puzzles, explore vast cave systems and fend off hostile creatures that spawn at night in the game’s Survival mode.
The game is available on most platforms including PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and smartphones and tablets. The price range varies, but it usually costs around £25 or $25 (with ‘deluxe’ editions costing slightly more) and this includes any mods and skins that have been created by the community. It also provides access to online multiplayer.
Kids who play minecraft can learn a lot about programming. The game allows players to create’mods’, which are outside strings of code that change the way the game works from inside. They can use these to modify the monsters or even program their characters to do specific tasks. One great website that offers Minecraft mods is Create & Learn.
There is also a lot of learning to do in the game itself. Whether it’s creating or mining blocks, or building complex structures like castles and cities, there is a wealth of information to be found in the in-game guides. Players can also collaborate with friends in the game to build and delve into their own fantasy worlds together.
One thing that is very important to remember when playing Minecraft is the game clock. In single-player Survival mode, the first day in the game lasts about 20 real-world minutes. This means that a player must work quickly to get their materials, gather food and find shelter or risk dying at night when hostile creatures spawn in the game’s dark world.
Fighting monsters in the game is also a great opportunity to learn about the basic mechanics of battle. Unlike the flowing combat of games such as Assassin’s Creed or Dark Souls, Minecraft’s fight system is very straightforward: you can either swing your sword or shoot an arrow at a monster. This means that early on, children need to learn how to keep their distance from the monsters to avoid taking damage.
Depending on the difficulty level of the game, Minecraft can be quite violent. In Survival mode, for example, the player can be attacked by hostile mobs of spiders, zombies and Creepers. The game’s ‘hardcore’ mode also eliminates players if they die, rather than letting them re-spawn as in the easier versions of the game.