As of 2019 Minecraft is the best selling video game of all time, selling over 180 million copies. This 3D simplistic game has challenged what it takes to be a hit video game, as well as, capturing the hearts of many across the globe. The game has such a simple play style that even kids can understand how to play. Some teachers have even started to use Minecraft in the classroom. However, this begs the question of whether Minecraft has any educational value.
To answer this question, let’s go over Minecraft’s history, the game itself ,and how it’s already being used in schools.
In 2009 Marcus Persson, the creator of the game, began development for Minceraft, but it was originally called “cave game” and it was only available to PC. At this point the game was in beta, if you would call it a game it was more of a source tool for people to build.
Persson only focused on developing the game slowly as he didn’t have the proper funds to focus on the game full time. It wasn’t until 2011 when publisher Mojang started to fund his game, that Minecraft was released officially. Once Mojang came into the picture, Persson could now focus full time and soon the game started rolling with updates. Minecraft didn’t hit the consoles until Microsoft bought publishing rights and they wasted no time and put the game on their systems Xbox 360, and Xbox 1. Then later it went on PlayStation, Wii U, Microsoft 10, and to mobile platforms.
Today Minecraft remains a top dog in the video game industry, and over the years has created spin offs games from the original. Some of the more well known ones are Minecraft: Story Mode, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft: Education Edition. These games show that Mojang is trying to spread its wings of influence, especially with Minecraft: Education Edition aiming more towards a classroom setting. Minecraft continues to have a presence even 10 years years after its release date.
Minecraft has three basic game modes: survival, creative, and multiplayer. The first game mode is survival and this mode focuses on resource gathering, building structures, fighting off mobs, eating, exploring, and you guessed it surviving. In survival, the player dhas a health bar and hunger bar. Much like real life Minecraft has a day and night cycle and during the day most players gather resources during this time. However, once night falls monsters come to play and you can expect zombies, skeletons, spiders, and worst of all creepers. But besides the bad guys you also need to watch out for the unpredictable terrain as one wrong step and you’re falling down a ravine down to bedrock. Food can also be a big problem if ignored. The end goal for survival mode is to travel to “The End” to defeat the Ender Dragon.
The second game mode is creative mode and in this mode the player has infinite access to all the items available in the game, as well as the ability to fly. You have no health or hunger bar to worry about and you can break all blocks instantly, the only limitation is your imagination. This mode has enabled players from all over the world to build some mind boggling structures with just blocks!
In both these game modes you are able to play with friends. You can play online or on the same console, if you are on Xbox or PlayStation. Minecraft also has servers, which are just games that you join and play with random people. Minecraft can help with problem solving skills. In survival mode, you have a health and hunger levels to manage and protect from monsters and other obstacles like starvation. These obstacles force the player to use quick thinking to survive, this helps develop critical thinking skills.
Minecraft also promotes teamwork as many of the big achievements in the game require teammates to help. By working together, sharing resources, and relying on eachother Minecraft helps build cooperation skills that will help you all throughout school. One of the better things Minecraft offers is its unlimited potential for creativity. The world has no limit to what can be built and it offers a way for people to express themselves with no restrictions. The only thing holding you back is your imagination.
Minecraft opens opportunities for social interaction with players across the globe. It’s a way for players to collaborate, interact with each other, and to express themselves in a safe environment. Some schools have already started to use Minecraft in their classrooms. Minecraft: Education Edition was made for classroom use. It’s just like the original game, except it focuses more on building and technical skills instead of slaying monsters. The game focuses on making learning fun so kids stay engaged to make learning easier.
Minecraft is a simple game with no rules, and yet it has managed to grow into one of the biggest games in history. It’s sphere of influence has even gone into the classroom, with many of its basic principles teaching valuable skills. The game has gone beyond what people expect from video games and is setting a new standard for future games with the only limit being your imagination.