Minecraft - Pocket Edition
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Minecraft - Pocket Edition is a mobile version of the popular PC game. While early versions of the game lacked monsters, danger, and resource restrictions, updated builds have inserted those popular objects. The game is still an alpha build, but is fairly feature complete and offers the sandbox-style gameplay of the PC version, letting players create things from materials. It still lacks any sort of direction for users. That's partly understandable for a game that fosters creativity, but it leaves newcomers stumped about what they're supposed to do. The app includes very mild violence.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- producing new content
- developing novel solutions
- making new creations
Engagement, Approach, Support
Can be adapted to a wide range of learning objectives, and a great investment for promoting collaboration, creativity, and critical-thinking. The PC version offers more opportunities for more complex and sophisticated engagement, though.
Lots of opportunity for imaginative creation here -- especially for builder/tinkerer types. Also great for layering on top of in- or out-of-school learning.
Recipes for creating in-game items are built into its crafting interface. Creative mode is relatively anxiety-free, but surviving the first night of survival mode can be challenging for novice players.
What's it about?
Minecraft - Pocket Edition sets players in the middle of a randomly generated world that has no structures, other people or objectives. Players must build a shelter and other buildings using resources they harvest from the world. The game encourages creativity -- and can be played in a monster-free mode, to encourage that free thinking (rather than having to worry about being attacked). A secondary mode gives you unlimited resources, letting you create anything you can dream up and fly around the countryside viewing your land.
Is it any good?
MINECRAFT is an amazing success story on the PC, and while this mobile version of the game originally was stripped of a fair bit of what makes the original game so successful, recent updates have made it much more familiar. Users can still build structures until their hearts are content, but challengers have finally arrived, adding a degree of risk (though players can still opt for a peaceful mode). Mining and crafting items is also possible, at last.
It's still a very hard game to learn, though. With no tutorial or idea of what your goal is, less patient players will likely never dig too deep into what makes it popular with so many people. Before playing, it's a good idea to consult the many online guides to get a sense of what you can do there.
Families can talk about...
Play the game with your kids and work collaboratively on creating structures.
Get a set of blocks (or LEGOs) and create real-world creations to further encourage creativity.
Help beginners find online guides to the game to help them get a sense of what they can do.