Thursday, April 16, 2015

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Ugh… Minecraft: an interview with my 8-year-old son.

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Tristan dressed as a Minecraft creeper at his soccer game


I just don’t get Minecraft. But Tristan, my son, it is his favorite thing ever. If he is not playing, he is talking about it, or watching some video of some irritating ass-clown playing it. The problem is I find Minecraft really irritating. But at the same time, my dad thought that X-Men comics were a huge waste of time. But I loved them. It caused a rift in our relationship, and I hated it. Long story short, here is an interview I did with my son about Minecraft. If you are having the same problem as me, perhaps this will help you make sense of Minecraft.

Me: What’s the over world?

Tristan: The place that you spawn in. That is where you come alive. But you can come alive as many times as you want.

Me: Tell me spawn means something other than what I know it means?

Tristan: It means to put something in your world besides blocks.

Me: Ok. I can deal with that. What’s a creeper?

Tristan: You know what a creeper is!!

Me: Yeah… but I still don’t really get what it is. I just know you talk about it all the time and it make me feel like you come from another planet.

Tristan: It’s a green guy with no arms that makes a sizzle sound. If you hit it, it will start to sizzle. If you step back it will stop. So you have to keep hitting it until it explodes. Want to know about endermen?

Me: Sure.

Tristan: If you hit them, they will automatically teleport. But once you kill them, you will get an ender pearl.

Me: What does an ender pearl do.

Tristan: It can transport you somewhere. But then you can turn it into an eye of ender and then use that to go to the end.

Me: The end of what?

Tristan: Minecraft. There is a dragon there. Once you kill it, you get an ender egg. And you get tons of experience and that’s how you beat the game. There are tons of endermen at the end.

Me: I didn’t know there was an end. If you get there, will you find something else to obsess over? Perhaps woodworking?

Tristan: No.

Me: So they are at the end. Endermen.

Tristan: No!  (Laughter.) Spiders and cave spiders. Spiders won’t attack you during the day. But cave spiders will poison you. Sometimes they drop spider eyes. And from three pieces of string you can make a bow.

Me: I thought we were talking about endermen?

Tristan (rolls eyes): Killing spiders gives you string. But they won’t always drop it.

Me: What else should I know.

Tristan: Zombies. They live in caves. If you find them inside, or they are not in the shade, they will light on fire. You can also find zombie dungeons where you can find zombies and chests. I think I’ve only found zombies.

Me: How do you build a house? Do you go to the hardware store?

Tristan: No! When you first spawn into a world, you will sometimes spawn into the woods. But sometimes you spawn into the desert. There are different kinds of biomes, which are places with different blocks. There’s mesa, ice spikes, snowy, desert, and plains.

Me: Is that it? Can we talk about something else now?

Tristan: No. No. There’s still more. There’s the jungle. The… Mushroom. I think that’s it.

Me: I still don’t get how to build a house.

Tristan: In the desert or mesa land you can get hardened clay. You can build your house with that. But wood is better. But you can use clay. I think you have to have 4 pieces of sand to make sandstone. No no. You need four pieces.

Me: Of what?

Tristan: Of sand. Then you can make sandstone.

Tristan: You spelled endermen wrong. It’s endermen. With a capital E.

Me (rolling my eyes): Ok.

Tristan: Oh! There is also the Nether! There is a bunch of different mobs and hostile mobs. Hostile mobs will attack you. Plain mobs won’t attack you.

Me: What do they do?

Tristan: They are just sheep and cows. They just look at you.

Me: I thought cows traveled in a herd. Not a mob.

Tristan: Hostile. They are a hostile.

Me: That still didn’t answer my question.

Tristan: Cows are not hostile.

Me: Who’s StampyLongnose?

Tristan: A YouTuber. He has an English accent. He plays Minecraft. He does challenges and a bunch of other games with his friends. He has a really big world.

Me: How much money do you think makes?

Tristan: He doesn’t make money. You can’t make money in Minecraft.

Me: No. I mean… like… in the real world.

Tristan: I don’t care.

Me: What would you do if there were no Minecraft.

Tristan: Watch old Minecraft videos.

Me: I think this might be good enough.

Tristan: No. It’s not. I want to tell you more. Zombie pigmen. If you find them in a group and you hit them, the others will come after you.

Me: Have you ever just tried to be friends with them?

Tristan: (No answer.)

Me: I think I get it now.

Tristan: That’s not it. You don’t get it.

Me: Can we just say I get it enough for now.

Tristan: No.

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter
Photo by Lucinda Higley

6 comments:

deeharmonic said...

This is just too cute! Minecraft is really a wonderful game to inspire creativity. If it helps it's like a digital version of legos. Stampy is a wonderful YouTuber for any young Minecrafter to watch. There's servers out there for adults too, this game is for all ages. It's a wonderful escape! And to cover how to build a house lol, break a block, dirt, tree anything. Place it in a square shape, tall enough to stand in. Add a roof and you have you're 1st beginner house xD

Heather Hadley said...

My son has the exact same jacket! I won't let him zip it up that way because I told him it creeps me out. (I didn't tell him the real reason, which was that I think it looks like a gimp suit.)

Emily said...

I would argue that there is no end to Minecraft - it isn't designed to have a terminating point. It is a great intro to computer programing and really is like virtual legos. If he's in to Pokemon there's a Minecraft world where you can try to catch them all.

Michelle Pugh said...

StampyLongnose has oft been the first voice I hear in the morning since Minecraft invaded our home. You sir, have my full sympathy and understanding.

Amy K said...

Oh my word..I'm not alone. Ever since downloading that game for my six year old, he is either playing it or watching the youtube videos about it. I don't get it either.

shefixedit said...

Here's the thing about the game that's magnetic. It's not the monsters. It's clearly not the graphics. It's actually really old fashioned child's play, the same things kids have been doing for centuries. You might also be surprised that it's actually really suited to a parent & child to play together (and parents can bring out more of the learning aspects).

The essential elements of the game -
Explore - It's a big world. Can you find fire? Wood? Breakfast Can you find the supplies to make a house, a bed, a farm, and a workshop? There are diamond mines to find, horses to ride, and mysterious ruins to discover.

Make things - Making food, tools and a workshop turns out to be a lot of fun.

Build a house - First, everyone builds a basic fort. Then it's easy to expand that into a bit of a farm, and a mine, and then get imaginative. Kids may really appreciate adult help with these aspects, and this is what usually keeps parents and kids occupied together for hours.

Fight the baddies - It's like a snowball fight, a zombie movie, and a replay of Home Alone When you're in the mood to fight, it's exciting. (When you're not, you can retreat into a well built, well lit house and ignore them.)

There are some traditional video game elements as well, including a way to win. Some people expect a game to have an end with a big, incredibly hard fight, so that's available. It's a ton of work to build and prepare for the end game, and the harder it is, the more satisfying it is.