Platforms: PC (Java); Android; iOS; X-Box 360
Rating: Unrated, but everyone can play. Mild cartoon violence.
Game Summary: Minecraft is a first person/sandbox game – a game where the main objective is to have fun – where players create their own worlds by mining and digging resources for themselves. With both multiplayer and single player options, Minecrafters can play with other friends or on their own.
Players have limited time to get their resources and initial shelters built; monsters called Creepers come out at “night” and damage property and individuals alike. Other monsters, including spiders, skeletons and zombies cause varying degrees of damage to property and/or players. There is a peaceful difficulty setting for players who wish to avoid these combatants.
Players can modify their game by downloading modifications (mods for short) that provide them with extra weapons, unlimited resources, surface textures and additional characters. Some mods are not comptabile with others, but there are lists that keep players informed about these incompatibilities.
Critical Evaluation: Minecraft is a great game for kids and teens, affording them the creativity to build worlds to their liking and providing the tools to create, expand and alter their worlds. By playing alone, they can interact with other Minecrafters; by playing by themselves, they can avoid potential problems with “friends” who think destroying other people’s worlds is fun. It is a game of imagination and creation that continues to grow and expand, bringing new ideas and capabilities to kids. With an “old school” 8-bit appearance, there are no sleek graphics or mind-blowing special effects, yet the game is popular because of the ability to develop and adjust entire landscapes and stretch their creative muscles.
Reviews: Gamespot.com: “Building, crafting, and adventuring doesn’t get much better than in Minecraft.”
Game Informer: “Minecraft is more about exploring the environments and making the most of your world rather than bungling through arcane recipes.”
Awards: Good Game Best Downloadable Game of 2010; Gamasutra (online version of Game Developer magazine)’s eighth best game/eighth best indie game of the year (2010); Rock, Paper, Shotgun Game of the Year (2010); Indie DB Indie of the Year (2010); Indie DB Editor’s Choice – Most Innovative and Editor’s Choice – Best Singleplayer Indie (2010); nominated for PC Gamer UK Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Technical Excellence, and Excellence in Design awards (2011); Independent Games Festival Grand Prize; and Audience Award (2011); Game Developers Choice Awards Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game, Most Innovative Game (2011); selected by Smithsonian American Art Museum to be part of The Art of Video Games exhibit (2012).
Game Information: There is a wealth of information available for anyone interested in learning Minecraft, including the Minecraft Wiki, available in ten different languages including Spanish, French, Russian and Korean. Templates exist for other languages if a user is willing to put the work in to build them. Billing itself as “the ultimate resource” , the wiki offers help on gameplay, crafting, modifications and more. WikiMinecraft is a fan-based site that offers video tutorials and screen shots to guide new crafters.
Reader’s Annotation: Want to build your own world? Here’s the place to do it.
Genre: Sandbox game.
Reading Level/Interest Age: All ages.
Challenge Issues/Defense: None. The Parents’ Guide to Video Games blog reviewed Minecraft favorably, giving it a “high” KidSafe rating.
Why did you include this game in the titles you selected?
It is a fun and creative video game that lets players use their imaginations and create without worrying about cheats or high scores.