What is Minecraft? One Mother's Guide

Biomes, Creepers, Craft Tables & Stampy- here's the low down on it!

Biomes, Creepers, Craft Tables & Stampy- Just what is Minecraft?| One Mother's Guide:
"I'll put that in my Love Garden"... yes...yes, that is definitely what I just heard our little man say. I was stuck to the spot. What- the- hell? A love garden? Ambiguous to say the least. Slightly panicking, and beginning to question my better judgement allowing the kids to play 'Minecraft, I try to approach the situation calmly so as not to draw attention to my slight flummox. I mean all sorts of 'Austin Powers' quotes had already started whirring around in my head. What the hell was a bloody love garden and why on earth were my two precious little boys talking about it.
Imagine my relief when I discover that the 'love garden' is innocent and is merely a place, set up/ built in Minecraft where the gamer can give a 'shout out' to fans or people they think are deserved of a mention in their Love Garden. Stampylongnose is one gamer you need to familiarise yourself with straight away, if you're to keep abreast of the minecraft know-how and be in with your kiddies!
Stampy, as you know, or will learn to know, has really got a quite distinctive voice. He has the kind of voice that if I'm honest will grate on most adults but entertain most children. Thankfully, despite the incessant talking and annoying voice, Stampy is our friend.
But who is Stampy?
Stampy is Joseph Garrett, from Portsmouth in the UK He posts videos about Minecraft on Youtube, commentating as the character Stampy Cat, telling stories and giving ideas and instructions for activities that kids and players can do with Minecraft. The game is complex and there are lots of little nuances the kids are eager to learn and Stampy helps them with this. His channel is one of the most watched in the world and he is also very aware that its audience is largely 6-14 year olds, so Garrett/ Stampy has tailored the channel to suit that.  We have given stampy the 'go ahead' in our house.
And so what is Minecraft?
Best described as the 'digital version of lego', Minecraft is a computer game in which players construct their own world, structures etc out of building blocks and tools within a variety of landscapes, AKA 'Biomes'.  The building blocks are textured and made of different materials such as rock, sand and dirt. When our boys first became aware of the game, I ran to my baby brother for advice, being that he is 'Celtic Tiger Cub' and of 'that' gaming generation that miffs all us 30-something parents. I did not want them plonked in a room with headphones and joypads, for the rest of their social existence! I honestly began to panic. But my computer genius baby bro assured me that of all the games a child could play on a computer, Minecraft was the way forward. It was 'Creative', oh how my heart leaped. How I'd love my children to be creative. I relaxed a little...

I was advised that the game could be played in either of two modes; 'survival' and 'creative'.There are no points or levels and the chief objective of the game is simply to build as much as possible and of course, survive. Happy that the boys were playing 'creatively' for the allowed time on their uncle’s x-box, I listened to their stories of what they were building, how they were working together, and against each other to do so. They were most enthusiastic and began to talk about all sorts of construction terms and what not. Our youngest chap mentioned to me one day, that he is not all that found of sandstone... he's 4.5!!! And should he design his own house when he is older, it will not have sandstone. Wow! I was loving this.

It really was all going far too tickety-boo, until our eldest comes running to me distraught that his brother has tried to shoot him with his bow and arrow (in the game!). "WHAT?!?!?"...my reaction, possibly a little dramatic. "What bow and arrow? I thought you were building, being creative in a peaceful harmonious mode, where did bows and arrows come from?". I questioned his younger brother on the matter, this was very serious indeed, you don't go around trying to shoot each other in any game, I don't like it and it's not allowed, ever! I don't even like them pretending to shoot each other with toy guns. I was slightly horrified. Somewhere along the way our youngest chap, who happens to be a slight whizz where technology is concerned, had managed to set them off in 'Survival Mode'!!

In 'Survival', players have to find their own building supplies and their own food. They search for their resources, while avoiding moving creatures such as zombies, skeletons and giant spiders, AKA 'Mobs'!!! There are also these odd green creatures that hiss and explode known as Creepers, also best to be avoided. Wonderful!! The players are more or less safe during the day in Minecraft, but they must have their house built by nightfall to keep away from monsters! I wouldn't mind but our pair in the warm light of reality are petrified of EVERYTHING. Go figure! On a positive note, being that the 'Mobs' are rendered from pixellated blocks, they really don't appear to be so scary, so I think most players are safe from nightmares. 

The players can 'mine' for some of the raw materials and resources, which they can then use to build weapons to kill bad 'mobs' or to build armour to protect themselves against attack. Hmmmm, I'd like to think that there is something educational there? In the end, players never actually die, they 'respawn', so that is always a comfort to us concerned parents. The only worst that can happen is your little player could lose a beautiful world they have created.
Some of the 'Mobs', I am relieved to say, are actually good and don't pose a threat to players. Thankfully mobs such as cows and pigs can be found roaming around these Minecraft worlds and they too can be hunted for food and building materials. Ironic really, all this game technology is bringing our kids back to basics in a digital world. The players are have a 'hunger bar' which is replenished by eating food. I might use this during out own mealtimes!

They also have a 'health bar' which is obviously depleted by attacks' from any of the aforementioned lovelies above, but they can also drown or fall into lava. Urgh! So much to learn.

Personally, I much prefer the 'Creative' mode. The music is calm, there are no dangers and everything they need is provided :) Ideal world. They are presented with the supplies to build whatever they dream up and they can fly in this mode too. Positively dreamy. The only thing is there is no need to eat in 'Creative' mode! I guess we are in danger of cultivating a generation of workaholic creatives who don't stop to eat. The food issue aside, in creative mode, all they have to worry about is building creatively, limited only by their imagination.

Written by Sonja, staff writer with Family Friendly HQ and mummy blogger too!
Read Sonja's own blog at lifeisnotpinterestperfect.blogspot.ie
Image: OlegDoroshin / Shutterstock.com 


Sonja Smith

Sonja is a contributor to Family Friendly HQ.

Read more by Sonja
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us