My kids have always asked – no, outright BEGGED – me to play Minecraft with them.
I do play with my kids – I’m the (disputed) house cribbage champion, and Yoshi and I are usually some stiff competition in our MarioKart battles. (Eat my tailpipe, Bowser.) But Minecraft… meh. It didn’t interest me, to be honest. So I stalled.
One reason I was reluctant to play was that it gives me motion sickness when I watch their games on the screen. I have a hard time with herky-jerky movements and changes in the horizon. I get car sick in the back seat, and sometimes even in the front seat if the road is windy. I don’t do rides at the fair. In Grade 9, I sat in a rear-facing seat on the train and nearly tossed my Doritos all over some unsuspecting passenger who was just trying to read his book.
Watching my kids play Minecraft triggers that same feeling. The up and down and turning around – after a few seconds, I feel my eyes crossing and I have to look away.
I wondered if it would be that way if I tried to play myself. I don’t get car sick when I am driving; being in control of the car eliminates that completely for me. Maybe it would be the same for Minecraft?
So one Sunday afternoon not long ago, the boys set me up with a world on the WiiU. They titled it Mummy’s Poopy World. (Because poop is hilarious, you guys. I’m sure it was also a nod to their favourite YouTuber, Stampy, and his Lovely World, except not so… lovely.)
I didn’t want them to turn off mobs. That meant that once it got dark, the wee beasties – like creepers and spiders – could descend upon me. I wanted the whole Minecraft experience, and I wasn’t going to take the easy way out.
They taught me to chop trees and make tools and how to build a house, and most times I sort of knew what they meant. I have absorbed a lot of Minecraft knowledge simply after having been steeped in it 24/7 – Minecraft osmosis is real.
I was impressed by all they knew and it seemed second nature for them to rattle off recipes for building things. They told me how to mine and smelt. (My kids can smelt, you guys. And yet they complain about sweeping the floor.)
As I was placing planks for my house, I noticed it was going to get dark.
“It’s getting dark! IT’S GETTING DARK!”
Panic started to set in and I misplaced blocks. I hadn’t really wanted to play and now I was getting freaked out. What was Minecraft doing to me?
I heard a skritch-skritch sound.
“That sounds bad,” I said.
Bravo was beside me. “Spider! There’s a spider nearby.”
And then suddenly it was beside me, hacking on me. The screen was changing colours.
“What do I do? WHAT DO I DO?” I pleaded.
“You can’t do anything. You’re dead.” Captain Alpha was matter of fact. And I was – my first Minecraft game was over before I had even built a shelter.
But I didn’t get sick. I mined and chopped and twisted and jumped and all was well. The only thing I tossed were my tools, and then I couldn’t find them again. I’m still a klutz in Minecraft, in case you were wondering.
And my kids? Were so happy. They chatted and excitedly asked when I could play again. There were requests for multiplayer games and lots and lots of advice for next time.
In the end, I realized that it was fun, and way more complicated than I had thought. I had a new-found respect for all that they have learned and for the complexity of the worlds they build. And even though I still complain about how much they play and the time they spend watching other people play, it is their thing. They geek out for it. And I am glad that I got to share that with them.
Do your kids play Minecraft? Have you ever played?