I had stopped thinking of myself as a gamer. That was something I did (a lot) in high school, and a little less in college. In the meantime, I was married, had a job.
And my brother started talking about multiplayer Modern Warfare. I think it was Modern Warfare 3. Innocently, I asked “If I got the PC version, could I play and talk with you?” After all, it’s fun doing stuff with him, even if it’s virtual stuff. You probably already know the answer: the PC version couldn’t talk to the xBox version.I’d need an xBox.
My brother is cool enough that I was willing to get an xBox in order to play with him. We still play 3D shooters together, and even got my sister to get her own console so that she could join us in beating up aliens in Halo and Destiny.
But I have kids.
I could only play after they were in bed, or as they were going to bed. After all, violence and all that.
And the kids really wanted to play. I mean really. They saw that Papa was doing something, and they wanted to be a part of it.
Then I heard about how Minecraft is used in schools to teach reasoning, logical thinking and the like. And I thought, at the very least, it’s something I can do with my kids, rather than sending them out of the room.
We started with Pocket Edition (the version for your mobile phone) and quickly needed to pay for a copy on my wife’s phone so that she could play along. The kids weren’t great at it — not by my standards — but they loved it. At thirty-five years old, I think it’s fun to play a game where I can make actual changes in my environment. My will made reality! Imagine how a six-year-old feels!
It didn’t take long for me to begin lusting after the xBox One edition. It did more, it was the version that Stampy Longnose used (the kids and I started watching videos about Minecraft together probably on the same day that we started playing together), and — I told myself — I’d be able to see what the kids were doing at a glance, rather than having to ask them to show me the device in their hands. (The ones who play are six and four, I still get to hover, right?)
Here’s the thing, though, I quickly had to start my own world, because I was tired of them messing up the stuff I was trying to do. I still play with them in their world, but when it’s just me playing, I find myself playing my own world. Sure, they’re allowed to see what I’ve done and they ask me to build the same stuff in their world, but hands off my world!