I have an 8-year-old stepson, and most of what I know about Minecraft I’ve learned through watching him become totally immersed in that world. He spends half his time playing and the other half watching video tutorials other players have made about making cool things with Minecraft. It’s a community actively learning and discovering from one another, and Minecraft is the catalyst.
In scripted games, everybody experiences the same thing — they’re all rescuing the same princess. In Minecraft you use your imagination to create whatever you want. It might be a story, it might be a machine, it might be some interesting place where you can go and play. But whatever it is, it’s a reflection of you and your intention and your creativity.
What Jens and Markus designed reminds me of another deceptively elaborate toy: Lego. Minecraft is a wonderful combination of accessibility and depth, allowing for complex output with simple input. And it is introducing a whole new generation of kids to computer programming. A lot of people are trying to figure out how to teach 7-year-olds to code, and it’s a tricky thing to do. Minecraft is one of the clear landmarks along that path.
Wright, who designed the game SimCity, is a co-founder of Stupid Fun Club, a video-game, toy and entertainment think tank
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