Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Game Review: Minecraft

Recommended for ages 9+

Minecraft is a sandbox game - a game with no objective other than to have fun (and survive) - where players create their own worlds by mining and digging resources for themselves. With both multiplayer and single player options, Minecrafters can play with others or on their own.

Players have limited time to get their resources and shelters initially built; monsters called Creepers (right) come out at "night" and damage property and individuals alike. There are other monsters, including spiders, skeletons and zombies that cause varying degrees of damage to property, players or both.

Once initial shelters are built, players can modify their game by downloading modifications (mods for short) that provide them with extra weapons, unlimited resources, and additional characters. Some mods are not comptabile with others, but there are lists letting players know which mods clash with others.

Minecraft is a great game for kids. It affords them the creativity to create their own worlds to their liking and gives them the tools to continue creating and modifying these worlds. By playing alone, they can interact with other Minecrafters, or by playing by themselves, they can avoid any potential problems with "friends" who think destroying other people's worlds is fun. It is a game of imagination and creation with no goal other than to enjoy.

There is a wealth of information available for anyone interested in learning Minecraft, including the Minecraft Wiki, which is available in ten different languages including Spanish, French, Russian and Korean. Billing itself as "the ultimate resource" , the wiki offers help on gameplay, crafting, modifications and more. WikiMinecraft is a fan-based site that offers video tutorials and screen shots to guide new crafters.

One family creates their own Minecraft video podcast, Minecraft Family Adventures, available on YouTube.

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