Destructive creations

My wife and I recently purchased Minecraft Pocket Edition for our kids to play on their Kindle devices. Now, for those half dozen who haven’t heard of Minecraft, this is a video game that many educators and homeschooling families adore, as they say it allows children to explore and create whatever they want.

Basically, in the game, the player can mine whatever they see – such as wood, stone, coal and sheep – and turn the products into whatever they can imagine. With the right materials, a person can design pretty much whatever they want. I’ve even seen some videos where one dedicated player created a complicated, but sluggish, BASIC compiler. The creative mode allows an unlimited amount of the materials, and no threats to the player’s character. So it’s like being surrounded by LEGOs, in a LEGO world.

The default mode to Minecraft is Survival, where you have to get your own materials from the world. You also have to contend with food and trying to defeat creatures that are trying to eat you. So it’s like being surrounded by LEGOs in a LEGO world, but some of the blocks are trying to stab you in the face.

In any case, one time right before bed, my kids were playing in Creative mode, and thanks to the way the Pocket Edition is designed, they had all of their Kindles connected and were in the same world. They had discovered a desert region earlier, and now they seemed to be in the process of renovating it… for lack of better word.

My son had a pile of dynamite boxes stacked at least 30 blocks high, in the middle of a region pockmarked with craters. As I watched – and with the cheering of his big sisters, he detonated the huge stack of explosives, sending everything flying. When the smoke cleared, he had managed to penetrate what little remained of the surface, to reveal the molten core at the center of the planet.

I could just imagine the tourist signs. “On this spot, three children and approximately 40 billion tons of dynamite created the Great Sahara Crater.”

About that time, one of my daughters chimed up. “There’s still some desert over here!”

Some people find that Minecraft is a great piece of educational software which allows children to flex their creative muscles and design wondrous devices. My kids decide to find ways to turn the planet into molten slag.

I suppose destruction can be creative, too….


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