Minecraft: what the experts (young people!) Think

Minecraft is said to be the 3rd best-selling game of all time. Several teachers even use it in class. Four young people tell us about it.

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Minecraft would be the 3e best-selling game of all time. Several teachers even use it in class. Four young people tell us about it.

Have you heard of Minecraft, this “sandbox” type game (where you build what you want using cubes) created by Markus Persson, the third best-selling game of all time? It is often described as an electronic Lego set. You can play it alone or with others, on several platforms: mobile devices, Xbox or computer.

Yesterday, our colleagues from Ludomag in France just published a meeting with a tech teacher who has been using Minecraft in his classes for 2 years. In Quebec too, several teachers like François Bourdon use it at different levels (the magazine Les Débrouillards has also devoted a report last September).

Some time ago I had myself installed on my iPad Exploration Lite (Android or ios), a free Minecraft initiation application. Young Derek and his sisters played it with great interest, but they were obviously disappointed with the disappearance of their creations when the game was closed (constraint of this edition). So I convinced their parents and Santa to give them the full mobile version last year.


What the young people think (outside the classroom!)

The game mode collaborative was very popular with this family on winter weekends. The children, each from their room, could visit the other's part, see the universe created by their brothers and sisters, try to discover the secret entrances to the shelters, thwart the traps. Despite the term “collaborative” in the name of this mode, each was trying to infiltrate the other's universe in order to wage “war” on it, destroying part of their creation. The strategy was in the art of camouflaging, convolving their microcosm, installing decoys and ambushes. But alliances were also forming… and a whole dynamic was taking hold.


Rebecca, the architect / designer

minecraft-chateau-rebecca-01This castle and its interior were built by 13-year-old Rebecca. She is a high school student and has been interested in Minecraft for about three months. She had fun building a dream house there. According to Rebecca, Minecraft develops creativity.

The interior of a Rebecca house


Elisabeth, who has other interests

Elisabeth, aged 11, of course took part in these “collaborations”. She had fun building houses for a while. But, she says, she has other occupations including "All About Horses" in preparation for her breeding career, DIY, cooking, looking after her dog and chatting long hours online with. her friends.


Derek, the true expert

Derek, 9, plays regularly, most of the time alone, drilling the planet Minecraft, constructing increasingly complex universes and defeating numerous monsters with his highly sophisticated weapons. Two books are useful to him to improve his performances:

This is serious!

According to Derek, “There is no logic in the Minecraft universe. You can cut a tree with a pork chop! With people and monsters there is gravity, but with blocks there is none. "

He then explains the different modes to us in his own way:

The mode peaceful is the easiest. There are no monsters, it is not necessary to "eat" to keep your energy. If we fall from great heights, our hearts (“lives”) and our energy return very quickly.

In fashion easy, there are not many monsters and they are not powerful. You don't need a lot of food.

In fashion normal, there are moderately strong monsters and it is not easy to escape them.

In fashion difficult, there are a lot of monsters that can do “ultra bad”. You have to have a lot of food in reserve because life and energy return very slowly.

In all of these modes, you can be resuscitated if you die.

In fashion hardcore, you can only die once. Once dead, the game is instantly deleted. It's over, we have to start all over again.

There is also a mode ultra hardcore where you have to use potions or golden apples that are made from cubes and gold bars. The ligots are obtained by melting the gold ore found underground between the depths y = 1 and y = 31, located under the “bedrock” (the bedrock, for us Francophiles).

The rarest mineral is emerald. It is impossible to find a groove on your own. We must trade items with villagers who hold this ore even more useful than diamonds. It is more resistant than anything and can be used as a weapon.


Frédéric, 15 years old

Frédéric, a cousin of the gang, has been doing survival (another way of playing the game) for three years with three of his friends. It uses Minecraft on Xbox, more complete than that on the iPad. “There are more different blocks and more colors. The graphics are more beautiful, ”he explains.

In their "world", there are two clans and several "bosses" (villains to fight). The ambition of Frédéric and his friends is to go to Ender-Dragon, the ultimate enemy, and defeat him. It takes them to enter a special dimension and find the portal that will lead them there, and it takes a long time to get there.



* * *

Are they really learning with Minecraft?

When I ask these young users if they learn anything by playing Minecraft, they all answer that the game develops imagination and creativity. However, it seems that they are developing many other skills there as well without even realizing it ...


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About the Author

Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise LePage is a pedagogue and museologist who recently came out of premature retirement to be reborn as an educational designation. She has taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke in science education, in addition to working at the Canadian Heritage Information Network as a museology consultant. She also writes for our French friends at Ludomag. She also invites all interested to contact her so that she can talk about you, your students, your school and your particular experiences in digital and computer education.

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