It’s hard to talk about computer games with kids these days without somebody bringing up Minecraft. In fact, it’s hard to talk about computer games with anybody without someone bringing up Minecraft.
With tens of millions of copies sold, the game is being gobbled up by children, adults and teachers alike as a constructive game about imagination and exploration, and as a valuable learning tool.
But what makes Minecraft so compelling? Imagine a world full of rolling hills, deep blue oceans, mysterious caverns and snow-covered mountains. Sounds like your standard game world, doesn’t it? Well, let’s take things a step further – imagine that you could, with your bare hands, pick up and rearrange the world to your liking.
Now imagine that world is made out of cubes.
That’s right: in Minecraft the world is made out of cubes, and you can dig, mine, and break your way through those cubes and then rearrange them how you see fit. Excavate a massive pit, then use the stone to build a house. Knock down a tree, and use the logs to fuel a furnace. Or maybe you just want to collect seeds and plant your own garden? Whatever you want to do, Minecraft lets you do it.
When you add a world full of monsters to fight, animals to tame and treasure to find, it’s no surprise that children (and adults) love to play Minecraft. But what makes Minecraft even more special is that you can play online (if you wish), and share this world of exploration and construction with your friends.
As any parent knows, letting your children play online – even in a cute, colourful game like Minecraft — is something that you need to think carefully about.
Here at iiNet, we have our very own games division that supports hundreds of thousands of Australian gamers with news, reviews, files and servers. We run not one, but two Minecraft servers for our customers to use, and if you’re going to play on them – which we recommend! – you need to know the difference.
Our standard games.on.net Minecraft server can be found at minecraft.games.on.net. This is a safe, heavily-moderated environment that we’ve designed with children in mind. Our game admins are watching the server closely at all times, and there’s a strict list of rules built to protect players and let them build and explore together in peace – as well as to protect their creations once they’ve spent hours building them!
You can find information on how to join this server by reading this forum thread. Our family-friendly server uses a whitelist system, so you’ll need to register for a games.on.net forum account (click here to register) and then edit your profile to add your name to the whitelist. This system helps ensure that random members of the public cannot join, and keeps the play environment safe and friendly.
While we try our best, we can’t guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong. We do encourage you to sit down with your kids and monitor their activity. It’s also a great chance to bond with them in a fun and exciting new way.
For Minecraft players who like to live a little more dangerously, we also have the games.on.net Minecraft PVP server which you can find at minecraftpvp.games.on.net. This is a no-holds-barred server, and is not recommended for children. While the play environment is still governed by our general rules preventing racism, swearing and so on, there are no rules against hunting down and killing other players, taking their things, and blowing up their creations.
Many players greatly enjoy this sort of competitive Minecraft experience, but we strongly recommend that children play only on our regular Minecraft server at minecraft.games.on.net. The PVP server is a harsh and unforgiving world and may not be suitable for young children.
Minecraft is a complex, compelling, and deeply rewarding game. You can find our more information about it, and buy a copy for yourself, from the official Minecraft site. If you need assistance with anything Minecraft related, posting your query in our games.on.net Minecraft forum is a great way to get in touch with our server administrators.
See you on the servers, and good luck!
Photo credit: The Australian Minecrafter (Jadeia)