When I became a parent, I swore to myself that I would always take an interest in whatever my kids were into. I figured that was not only responsible parenting, but also a good way to find common ground and be involved in their lives as they grew. So far I’ve made good on my promise, but I have to say I’ve really been suffering from princess fatigue. While I don’t think they’re going away completely any time soon, there’s a new game in town that has Annabel turning her back on royalty: Minecraft.
Minecraft. is. baffling. Annabel was introduced to the game by her cousins over Thanksgiving weekend. They all sat around a computer while my nephew and niece patiently explained the game to Annabel. I tried to listen to some of the things they were saying, but it was basically gibberish to me.
When we got home after the holiday, Annabel begged us to get her a copy of the game. When we asked her what she wanted to do with the game, she said, “I want to build beautiful houses and farms!” We realized then it was more than just a weekend activity with the cousins.
Mike downloaded the game to his phone, and I started looking up things I should know about Minecraft. I set up controls so she didn’t get onto shared servers, made sure she kept things in peaceful mode, and didn’t allow any downloads. We also established our number one rule: she must always sit next to an adult when she plays.
Still, the game is beyond me. As Annabel has figured out how to…play? the game, the things she says get more confusing. She will say stuff like, “Look, my baby pig hatched from this egg!” (Um, okay) or “The dogs don’t like it when you punch them” (obviously). And then she shows me her screen, which has the crappiest-looking graphics I’ve ever seen, and says, “Look how cute my chicken is!” An ultrasound is easier to decipher.
Even though I really don’t understand how/what she’s doing, she does. She absolutely loves building houses, farms, and “Annie’s Disneyland.” Recently we were eating a meal together when out of nowhere she sighed and cooed, “I love my house.” Mike smiled at her and said, “You love our house? That’s so sweet.” Annie looked confused. “Our house? No, I mean my Minecraft house!”
As much as I may not have connected to Minecraft in the way I did to some of her other interests, I have to say that I appreciate how it has taught her about problem solving and how to do things on her own. When she first began playing by herself she complained that she didn’t know how to do it without her cousins, but it wasn’t long before she’d taught herself so much that she was explaining things to them! I’ve definitely been impressed with all the things Annabel has figured out how to do without being able to read an instruction manual or most of the commands on the screen.
Still…I don’t think I’ll be building my own Minecraft house any time soon.
This post cracks me up, because my friend with the 12-year-old son is constantly saying the exact same thing, more or less.
I don’t play Minecraft, but I discovered some guys on YouTube who do ridiculous stuff in the game and I’ve been watching their videos for, like, two and a half years at this point. (They are not Annie-friendly videos, sadly, but grown-up videos.) Discovering the number of young kids who play and love Minecraft when one of my hobbies involves watching two guys my age play sort of baffled me at first, but it’s a pretty tame game overall. Even though I completely do not understand how it works (and the one time I tried to play, I got frustrated and rage-quit).
The graphics are purposely awful and the mechanics are sometimes mysterious but I think there is something to be said for a game that makes you logic out how to build various stuff and lets you be as adventurous or mundane as you want to be.
But man, I do not have the first clue how to play, so I will stick to English dudes screaming about creepers.
You know how there are certain frequencies of sound that only people under a certain age can hear? I’m convinced Minecraft is like that: It’s just virtually impossible for any adult to comprehend.
An ultrasound is easier to decipher.
This all day.
I can relate to your post. I have a boy and when he started playing Mine craft I was so excited he played that instead of asking for violent games. The graphics are horrible. But the music is calming. Don’t worry the novelty will wear out. My son built the Falcons football stadium and then he lost interest.
Can he build a winning Falcons team by chance?!?!? Please?!?
Barbi Emel says:
I don’t know what it is that hooks them but my daughter is 14 and still plays.
I try to understand the games/phrase my 7 year old twins are in too but Minecraft is beyond me. I think they lost me at Pokemon. Right now I am trying to figure out common core math (if I ever grasp that, Minecraft is the next thing I will try to decipher).!
My 9 yr old son loves it. He watches the you Tube videos and then will build. He built a Parthenon (they are studying Greek Mythology in school), he builds elaborate houses (one for his mom!), gardens, he built his own pumpkin patch at Halloween. I figure he is learning a bit of engineering by doing this and it is non violent!
Just pray she doesn’t take an interest in Pokemon. By the way, there are youtube videos of Minecraft, my 8 year olds watch them for hours (Vicstar or something).
Aimee Giese | Greeblehaus says:
Dex is like a grand wizard of Minecraft. I ask questions to show I am interested but yeah – totally HIS thing.
Can you write a(n other) post on how to pick a baseball team in California? We are moving from Chicago to San Francisco and we are Sox fans. Who do we choose now?!
PS: The CAPTCHA for my comments is telling me nine + 7 = 16 is not valid, so I moved my comment to another post to see if this one will work.
UGH really? The site was getting slammed with spam last week, to the point that the server kept going down, so my tech guy suggested this captcha thing. I will see if there’s one that actually knows math! Sorry about that! And Mike would of COURSE tell you to pick the Giants. I will say that the Giants have an absolutely beautiful stadium, while the As are in a dump in Oakland. But the As are American League, so you’d get to see your Sox at least once a year!
CAPTCHA is using the *new* math. It wants you to EXPLAIN how 9 + 7 equals 16, something like “take one away from the seven and then I’d like to buy a ‘1’, carry the naught, eye before eee except after see.” I blame it on Brian Williams.
Yvette M says:
This is one of the best comments that I have read on the web in a long time… New Math – HA!!
There are a bunch of people who have built surprise marriage proposals on Minecraft! This is the one I saw:
We are more than 2 years deep into Minecraft with my 10 year old. The YouTube videos, the game…Full on addiction. We had to have an intervention and just cut her off finally. Every chance she got free time on the weekend she wanted to play. It’s been difficult. She will play with her Lego’s and tell me about how she can’t move deep underground and build a minecar ride with the Lego’s like she can on Minecraft. I was never successful in finding appropriate Minecraft series on YouTube. All her favorites are older Brits with a penchant for cursing and yelling. No, thanks.
My 7 year old asked for Minecraft for Christmas after seeing her older cousin play with it. I try to play it with her on the PS3, and all it does is give me a headache and motion sickness. Now the Disney Infinity she also got for Christmas is another story. I am addicted to that!
Disney Infinity is SO FUN!
Right?? I’m currently the “best mom ever” because I keep surprising her with new figures. She doesn’t need to know that I just really wanted to play as Baymax.
Rita A. says:
My nephew wanted the Steve head for his birthday. Here I am thinking its some intricate thing, NOPE. It literally is a giant cardboard box with pixels. I was amazed. He was in HEAVEN! lol
Oh preach!!! As a Child Life Specialist working in children’s oncology, I like to think I’m pretty up there with what’s cool at the moment…or if not, I try and bring myself up to speed. But Minecraft…no. My brain just can’t seem to compute it! The kids love it with a capital LUUURVE…and I just…concrete barrier to the brain. I have had approximately 48 patients – some as young as 4 -!in the past twelve months try painfully to explain to me how it works and what each colourful pixel means, but I am still none the wiser. I has the Minecraft Dumb.
Norma DeLa Garza says:
If she is anything like my niece this may be about the time she not so much into the princesses. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact that her siblings were a lot older than her and she wanted to copy them or not, but I was very sad to see the princess stage go.
Kristen G says:
I’ll send my 8 year old son over to help her, haha. He has built a world that is beyond impressive over the last year. It has a gigantic mansion with a library, underground pool, and a roller coaster. Yes, a roller coaster. And I’ll be damned if the roller coaster doesn’t go all over his world to show the whole thing off. It’s mind blowing. But it is so, so, addictive. I have to limit his time otherwise he would play 18 hours per day.
Jill H says:
My 11 year old son and 14 year old daughter have been playing Minecraft for years….and they still love it. It is an activity that they still enjoy doing together and it is so sweet. Our last snow day, they spent hours on the xbox building a huge community and I enjoyed a peaceful day at home
Saw these DIY Valentine’s cards and thought of this post! Bet Annie would like them
(BTW, I have NO idea what Minecraft is lol I just hear everyone talking about it, but my baby is still too young for that stuff, so I haven’t looked into it)
These are awesome! Thank you!!
My son also plays this and every time I see it, I am confused.
Oh man…Minecraft! There’s no turning back for you now. In my house, the teens are somewhat growing out of it, but the 10 yr. old is hooked. It hurts my eyes a little, but the kids love it.
My 85 year old FIL called it “Mindcrack” by accident once, and that’s how it’s been here ever since.
Even more baffling is that one day they will just up and quit playing, for no apparent reason, like a miniature alcoholic that has hit rock bottom but without the support group needed.
I teach primary school children. Minecraft is my life. On the plus side, as far as massive internet game crazes go, it is pretty inclusive of most age groups and actually seems to have a lot more value to it than some of the other games out there. Just don’t try to understand it. The look of withering, resigned scorn when you get your basic Minecraft facts wrong is just intolerable.
Anne Younger says:
I do not understand Minecraft at all but my almost 7 year old son loves it and can’t get enough.