When I get to chat with people on Discord servers or Twitter, I often get asked: “How did you get into Minecraft?” When I answer them that my sons finally succeeded and got me into the game, their reply is usually a virtual nodding in agreement. Most of the adults playing Minecraft got into the game like I did, through their kids.
When I get to chat with people in Real Life(TM) (although recently only virtually as well), I often get asked: “You play Minecraft?” When I answer them that my sons finally succeeded and got me into the game, their reply is usually shaking their heads in wonder. Most of the adults not playing Minecraft don’t get that someone could play a game their kid’s play.
While I’m surprised at both the size and the age range of adults playing Minecraft, I’m less surprised at the reactions I get from non-players. Lots of them are gamers themselves, but they play “adult” games, like Call of Duty, Red Dead Redemption, Assasin’s Creed, or any of the other available games. But somehow Minecraft isn’t in the same league as the others for them. I asked a couple of colleagues and it turned out that quite a few had tried it in its infancy and after the original “It’s like an immersive Lego game” had worn off, they didn’t find it challenging enough or didn’t think the creative version had too much to offer.
So did I, in fact. When I was gaming more actively (i.e. before the kids ate into a huge chunk of computer time), I was mostly into first-person shooters. I loved Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Half-Life and Deus Ex, but my favourite was definitely Unreal Tournament. Believe it or not, we had a game server in my first company and spent many a fun evening fragging each other to bits. For a short time, I was even in a UT clan and specialised as a sniper.
With the kids around, I reduced my gaming time to zero. This was mostly because I didn’t want to reduce the time available for my biggest hobby, producing music, too much. As anyone with children knows, personal time is at a premium when they are in their infancy. I guess the majority of parents find the adjustment to becoming a mum or dad one of the biggest changes in your life. Everything is turned upside down. And gaming fell by the wayside, not missed at all.
Kids, of course, get into gaming super fast and as his friends discovered Minecraft Pocket Edition, the chorus of “Can I have it, too, please?” followed me around the house for weeks. Finally, I gave in. I tried it. I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. But it seemed pretty harmless, so it was ok.
Minecraft Java came and again, the chorus of “Can I have it, too, please?” followed me around the house. Once more I gave in, tried it and found it quite boring. I did interact with it several times and must have watched endless episodes of Stumpy, but I never got into it.
So, what changed? First of all, I started gaming again last year and once more made my way through the ill-fated underground Mesa laboratories of Half-Life. Secondly, Minecraft itself. My sons, playing on Java 1.14 showed me their builds and I was really astonished. The huge amounts for widely differing amounts of biomes. The wide variety of building blocks. The very interesting mobs. All this caught my attention.
I downloaded the game and tentatively made my first steps, aided by my sons, who showed me the ropes and were very proud to be able to teach their dad vital building skills. That was in November. Half a year has passed and I’ve grown into a real Minecraft enthusiast. I’ve found many like-minded parents on the internet. I’m active on several Minecraft related Discord servers. I have my own Minecraft related Twitter account and YouTube Channel. And two days ago I got accepted into the great family that is AdultsCraft, servers where adults play Minecraft. But all these are topics for their own articles.
So yes, I’m firmly in the group that thinks Minecraft is not just for kids. I think that this really is a game for all ages. Furthermore, I specifically think that this game is ideal to share some screentime with your kids. It is a game where you can connect on a whole new level you would otherwise miss out on. So go and let your kids show you what you are missing!
For now, it’s NowoCraft over and out!
I leave you with this video showing my journey into the game.