Many parents in today’s digital age struggle with media leniencies and allowances for their children. Social and online media across every platform, the Internet, mobile games, video games etc., it’s unavoidable. So instead of boycotting these things, perhaps it would be wise to educate children so that they are aware and prepared, and make a fun, wholesome learning experience  of it.

For starters, Minecraft is an excellent choice.

Minecraft once went by “Cave Game” back in 2009 when it was first created by Swedish game designer, Markus “Notch” Persson. The namesake wasn’t the most creative, and sure enough, it was later rebranded as Minecraft in 2011. This indie sandbox video game really took on a life of its own, winning multiple accolades and the hearts of young and old alike.

What exactly is Minecraft then?

Well, imagine Lego, except in a digital form. You can build anything and everything out of blocks. And the creative building aspects are just the tip of the iceberg. The game allows you to play in a Single Player or Multiplayer mode, though the latter requires you to connect to an existing server to play with other players. I’d recommend Single Player for children and in this version, you also get 3 different modes: Creative, Survival and Hardcore.

Creative Mode allows you to construct artistic monuments, statues larger than life and imaginative worlds with unlimited resources. It gives you the ability to fly (just double-tap spacebar), destroy/place blocks efficiently (right-click, left-click) and elude death! God-mode essentially.

Survival Mode allows you to explore the randomly generated Minecraft world, gather resources like diamonds and wheat, craft armour and engines, and fight blocky hostile mobs which spawn at night or in the dark. In the game, you’ll also experience different seasons, weathers and biomes. The possibilities are infinite!

Hardcore Mode is basically Survival Mode with one small exception. You only get one life. So when your character dies, the game ends. Respawning is not an option, so players must tread with caution; this is definitely not recommended for beginners.

Helpful Tip 1: Console commands are great when you want to give your character a boost or change something in the game. Press T or C, depending on your controls, for the command bar and key in the appropriate code as such:

/gamerule keepInventory true
This code ensures that the player doesn’t lose their items upon dying. To revert this, type “false” in place of “true”.

/give <player> <item> [amount] [data] [dataTag]
Data values are assigned to all the Minecraft items and to be honest, the give command is tough to use because nobody’s got time to memorise all the numbers. Try this instead- a command generator site that’ll help you create the code to get the item you want.

Click here for more helpful commands.

Helpful Tip 2: Crafting is part and parcel of Survival Mode. Unlike Creative Mode, we can’t simply select the items we want. Instead, we must gather raw materials and then, craft them into items. You’ll need to move the required materials from your inventory into the crafting grid and arrange them according to their recipe. Click here for the full list of available crafting recipes.

Helpful Tip 3: Many people have also downloaded mods online to enhance their PC gameplay. Mods or modifications are special customisations that you can add into the game that may provide new abilities, items or terrains. However, some mods might have a few bugs that may stop your game from working properly.

 

So what are you waiting for? Jump into this brave new world now and get crafting! Stay tuned for the next episode where I introduce mods, resource packs and skins. Remember to check out these amazing books about Minecraft too!

Title: The Minecraft Guide for Parents: Down-to-Earth Advice for Parents of Children Playing Minecraft
Author: Cori Dusmann
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2014.
Call No.: 793.932 DUS -[REC]

Title: Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything
Authors: Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson
Publisher: Seven Stories Press, 2013.
Call No.: 794.8092 GOL -[REC]

Title: Game On! 2017: All the Best Games: Amazing Facts, Awesome Secrets
Authors: Luke Albiges, Adam Barnes and Vikki Blake
Publisher: Scholastic, 2016.
Call No.: J 794.8 ALB

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