Feature

Minecraft Explained (By A Seven Year Old)

by Mike Futter on Oct 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM

I’m about to utter one of the most apocryphal things I ever have in my years writing about games. I’ve never played more than five minutes of Minecraft.

Don’t get me wrong. I know what Minecraft is. I get how it works, and I certainly know a number of the iconic characters like Steve, creepers, and the endermen. I just haven’t played much of it.

I have spent some time observing my seven-year-old son, who is more than happy to explain it to me. Being a child though, he doesn’t necessarily start at the beginning or recognize that I don’t have the same frame of reference.

That doesn’t slow him down, and he’s eager to share all of his Minecraft knowledge and stories with me. I have no idea what he’s talking about most of the time, though.

The following is a collection of short anecdotes captured from our numerous conversations about his current favorite hobby. Maybe you can help me understand what he’s talking about.

Getting to know yourself

When it came time for Paul to choose a Gamertag, we had a long discussion. “This is a name that shows off who you are as a gamer,” I told him. “You need to be comfortable with it, because you can’t change it (unless I give you $10, which I’m not going to do).”

He chose “MiningMaster,” which was already taken. He looked puzzled and then thought for a moment. “MadMiningMaster.” That one was available.

“If I ever meet MiningMaster, he’s going to be angry,” Paul told me.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “Just tell him that YOU are MadMiningMaster and, therefore, he can’t be mad at you, because that’s your name.”

A Gamertag is born.

Devin likes potatoes

“Devin was playing with his sister on the iPad,” Paul told me at dinner. “He turned her into a potato and then ate her.”

Who is DanTDM and where did you put the rest of him?

After school one day, Paul was sitting at my laptop playing Minecraft. He was eager to show me something. “Hey Dad, look!” he exclaimed proudly. “DanTDM’s head!” [Presses a button, decapitated head lands on the ground.]

Caught red-handed… or red-footed

“Last year, for the climbing spikes, they were still making progress,” Paul tells me. “When you went down last year, you would take fall damage even if you slowed yourself down. But now you don’t because they finished the progress for the climbing spikes. Now I think they were actually done. Wait… what are you doing?”

(Perhaps I shouldn’t type these while he’s standing right next to me.)

Baiting the dragon

“Devin is a hacker,” Paul explained to me. “He made a house out of TNT and got a trolling mod and put exploding diamond ore in my house. Then he led an Ender Dragon through the door, ran out, and closed the door. Anytime I go in there now, I'm dead.”

Key bindings reveal a lot about your personality.

"Guess why he says in his videos that you just need to press the "grab" key," Paul says to me (not bothering to explain who "he" is). "Because you can set it to anything. Tab? Nah. Not for me."

I had no idea that the Tab key was the black sheep of the left hand key family. Come to think of it, I rarely use it in PC games. Paul might be onto something...

Critical mod mass

YouTube can be a dangerous playground for a child. Every day, Paul is asking me to download and install new mods. Today, I put the brakes on because I was busy doing other things. Paul figured out why.

"Dad, mods won't make your computer explode," he told me. Whew. I was starting to get worried.

"OP" Mining

"I found out that they only took the best mods and put them in 1.8," Paul told me, though I don't know to whom he is referring. "You know. The ones that are really OP."

Maybe it's time to stop letting him watch YouTube videos in which people use terms like "OP." Next thing I know he'll want me to nerf his bed time.