Minecraft Game Poster Image


Sandbox-style game with open online play fosters creativity.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn creative thinking, geometry, and even a little geology as they build imaginative block structures in this refreshingly open-ended mining and construction game. Given carte blanche to sculpt virtually any creation of their choice in this 3-D space, kids can try out tons of possibilities while working toward simple objectives. An option to work with others on larger building projects can help kids develop collaboration skills. Minecraft empowers players to exercise their imaginations and take pride in their digital creations as they learn basic building concepts.

Positive messages

About exploration, creation. Players encouraged to explore their world, use materials they find to build nearly anything they can imagine. There's also a survival aspect, which has players thinking strategically about ways to keep hazards at bay.

Positive role models

Player's avatar is only character considered to have any real personality traits, but even that is whatever player chooses to project onto it.

Ease of play

No instructions. While basic controls are simple enough to pick up the game and play, things get more complicated when you're moving outside of basics. Keeping track of which recipes craft which items and which materials are best for which structures, figuring out ways objects can interact with one another all require a lot of research, experimentation, trial and error.

Violence & scariness

Allows for violence from, against players, be it killing animals, fighting hostile creatures. Due to blocky graphics, there's nothing that could be considered gory, graphic. Possible to have a game set up with no hostile monsters, reducing violence considerably.

Not applicable

Minecraft franchise has exploded in popularity, resulting in numerous licensed products from paid downloadable content, spin-off video games, toys, clothing, books, and more. Wii U edition features lots of Super Mario-themed characters, locations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Minecraft is a multiplatform sandbox adventure game. Players explore the world and use the building blocks of the game to customize that world to create nearly anything they can imagine. That also means other players can create whatever they can imagine as well, which could potentially lead to younger players coming across potentially offensive content while exploring random worlds online. The game is relatively simple to pick up and play but is still complicated when it comes to building more complex items and structures. Although Minecraft is a standalone game, its popularity has led to a variety of licensed (and unlicensed) products, downloadable content, and more, all of which look to cash in on the success of the original game. The Wii U version has much Super Mario-themed content, from character skins to puzzles to music, which could get players interested in those games as well. There's some violence against monsters with user-created weapons, but the blocky visual style of the graphics minimizes the impact of combat.

What's it about?

MINECRAFT is a virtual sandbox that gives players all the tools they need to explore a vast world, harvest resources, and create nearly everything they can possible imagine. The story in Minecraft is whatever the player wants it to be, as players customize their worlds and the creatures in it and how they choose to interact. One world might feature the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, with players forced to build a mighty fortress to withstand the nightly onslaught of the undead hordes, while another world may be a peaceful Zen garden that encourages visitors to find tranquility. Throughout the Minecraft multiverse are infinite possibilities, and it's up to you to create your own. The Wii U edition of the game also features Mario-themed puzzles, character skins and music from that franchise, and Mario-themed versions of the Overworld, the Nether, the End, and more.

Is it any good?


There's a classic belief that, in life, you'll only get out of it what you're willing to put into it, and that's never been more true than when playing this creative adventure game. You're literally dropped in the middle of nowhere with nothing more than your wits. Starting off, you'll pick up some wood from a tree, which you'll use to make a batch of sticks. Then you'll attach some more wood to those sticks and make a pickax. Using that pickax, you can mine some stone to help build a house. And so goes the cycle of the game. You'll spend your time exploring the world around you and harvesting what you can to help create what you need. Over time, you'll learn more about how to find and build more complex materials and tools and combine them to craft new, intricate creations. It's a heavy investment of time and research, and it's likely to cause even the most hard-core gamer some frustration from time to time, but the payoff can be fulfilling.

Minecraft does its best to be all things to all people. If you're the type of person who wants a gaming experience with heroes fighting villains, the game's Survival and Adventure modes offer a classic adventure with players battling the forces of evil while trying to maintain their homesteads. Zombies, skeleton, creepers, endermen, and more come out in force when the sun goes down, forcing the players to craft strong defenses if they hope to see the next sunrise. For those gamers who are less about using an arsenal and more about using a toolbox, there's Creative mode; this is essentially the game's God mode, where you get full access to everything in the Minecraft wheelhouse without having to worry about such things as hostile mobs, hunger, or other things that might cut short your time in the world. Here, players can build to their hearts' content, crafting and testing extravagant projects before sharing them with the world. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the fact that, at any given moment, there are thousands of other people thinking up things to build as well. For every intricate, highly detailed re-creation of some building, game, or other such massive undertaking, there's going to be someone who has used the tools at their disposal to make something juvenile, obscene, or otherwise offensive. And unfortunately, there's no way to really know what you're getting into until you've joined another player's game. This is definitely one time parents should keep an eye on where their kids are visiting online. But once you know what you’re doing, you'll be hard-pressed to leave your computer without placing just one more block.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about creativity. What inspires your creativity, and what would you build if you were given the right tools?

  • Talk about online safety. What are some ways that kids can protect themselves from offensive content online, and how should parents involve themselves in what kids do online?

Game details

Platforms:Linux, Mac, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Subjects:Math: estimation, geometry, shapes
Science: geology, rocks and minerals
Hobbies: building
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: defining problems, hypothesis-testing, problem solving
Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
Collaboration: cooperation, group projects, teamwork
Price:$26.95 for desktop, $19.99 for consoles (except Wii U at $29.99)
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Available online
Release date:April 11, 2011
ESRB rating:E10+ for Fantasy Violence

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Educator and Parent Written bybayareamediamaven May 30, 2012

Beware Minecraft is a Mindgame

Minecraft is like virtual legos when used in "creative" mode. Depending on the server, there can be enjoyable collaborating between players. I caution you to be careful if you allow your child to go onto a server for multiplayer. Most of the servers are hosted by strangers or by other unsupervised children and the rules can vary greatly by server. I am less concerned about the "monsters", then about your children's real life peers who may use Minecraft (I call it "Mindgames") to gain social power in the virtual and real world. I encourage you to make sure your child is aware of the unwritten social rules of the particular server before going on it. A child who may be vulnerable to being bullied, can easily be lured or teleported by more socially savvy "friends" into situations where they are manipulated and "killed". This can be upsetting and confusing to some children. It is also extremely addictive, which is why I gave it the 11 and up rating. I would also caution you to be careful of the youtube videos. I found some that were instructions on how to bully other children on Minecraft. I am a little bit concerned that CSM, doesn't seem to be aware of the social and emotional dangers of this game. I encourage CSM to take a deeper look at Minecraft since so many parents rely on your recommendations to decide whether or not to allow their child to play.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written byEAKugler April 22, 2011

A box of blocks

I would recommend being careful allowing kids on a public server, but the game can be played solo, and a smart parent with the resources could set up a controlled server, for the child to play online with friends. The game allows perfect gameplay in a nearly limitless world of imagination. It is not unlike giving a child a box of infinite blocks which can be changed and altered to fit the needs and desires of the child. Kids can't choke on it, just be sure to limit how much time they play.
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 12 year old Written byNanorama April 27, 2011

Addicting for tween boys

My 12 year old son adores this game and needs to have his fingers pried off the keyboard. The game itself contains no bad language, or indeed any language. However there is the possibility of exposure to older players and their uncensored commentaries when your child visits Minecraft posts on YouTube.