Bentley, Jake, and Viva have played Minecraft for a few years (two? three?). Minecraft is computer game where you dig (mine) for resources and then build (craft) 3D constructs from the resources. (It is often compared to Legos, but you work with virtual bricks--called blocks.) You work in a computer generated world of varying terrains and habitats where the sun rises and sets. There are five different modes or types of play. In creative mode life is easy. You have unlimited life and resources. You don't have to mine for basic resources to craft what you want--you can just ask for already crafted items. You aren't hunted by monsters. Viva loves this mode. It's all about building and exploring.
The other mode most often used in our home is survival mode, the original game mode of Minecraft. Survival mode is brutal. You must mine resources before you can create tools to build homes to keep you safe from marauding zombies, spiders and other monsters. It's not easy for a beginner to survive their first night in this mode. This is Jake's favorite mode.
Basic Minecraft can be played on iPads and this is what the children were doing, but they wanted to upgrade. They wanted to be able to download mods created by other Minecraft users. Using mods expands the Minecraft world immensely. Bentley asked for a mod for his birthday. Kara knew it was going to be a lot of work to create a system where all three kids could play--first off you need three computers, not iPads. She didn't want the kids going online to play because it's an uncontrolled environment. You can opt online to work in your own little world, but if you share a world with others they might destroy your constructs. It's called griefing. We wanted no part of that, so Kara set up our own server.
This was not an easy task. It took her days of research to make it work. She had to recruit her father and work with him. This may have been a mistake...he is now the biggest Minecraft addict in the house. Yup, it's true. This past month playing Minecraft with his grandchildren has left him with no time for playing music. He says he's doing it for them, but I think that is an oversimplification...that may not be true. He really enjoys Minecraft. (It is the second most popular standalone video game of all time. It ranks eighth for currently popular online video games and it is the only kid friendly game in the top ten.)
So that's my Minecraft trivia. Now back to the kids: they started playing the week before Jake and Evan went to Hawaii with their dad. While Jake was gone I lobbied Kara and Mark to allow Lincoln access. He took to it like a duck to water. Since Jake returned there have been a few tears when the older kids get to play and Lincoln doesn't. And, of course, we had to let Evan learn the game, too. This created a problem because we don't have enough computers for Opa, Bentley, Jake, Viva, Lincoln, and Evan to play at the same time. Opa has to share his computer with Evan, but not for long because Opa has volunteered to buy himself a new computer to fix the problem. Isn't that magnanimous of him? (I seem to recall hearing something about how his computer isn't a gaming computer and doesn't even work as well as his grandchildren's computers. SERIOUSLY? The 50+ year old needs a better computer than his Minecraft teammates? That doesn't seem sporting of him and I told him so, but I don't think he's going to listen to my argument.)
Everyone looks so happy!
(I guess no monsters are chasing them, when that happens I often hear shrieking.)
Viva tutoring Lincoln.
Opa tutoring Evan.
Jake read my blog post and told me that his favorite mode is creative--because you can blow stuff up. (I think he was just being contrary with that comment.)
I asked Bentley for a Minecraft quote and he said "I'm the most creative." I asked him if Viva would agree with that statement--I know she wouldn't. He said that he is the most creative because he has hidden bases his siblings don't know about. I'm not allowed to list them because then they'd know where to look.