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Life changes with Minecraft – I’m learning about Realms, Bedrock vs Java, Mobs, etc!

With ME/CFS – we all learn new terms and phrases. It was is a learning experience – a new term I’ve heard about recently is LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) from a North American buddy.

#PwME, Pacing, CBT, Brain Fog, COQ10, PEM (Post-Exertional Malaise), Payback, ME, Spoons, POTS, PVFS, LDN, etc.

I’m currently going through a similar learning experience with Minecraft – yes my child seems to be addicted to it and I find myself trying to understand new terms such as Creepers, Blocks, Nether, Obsidian, Realms, Creative vs Survival mode, Ender dragon, etc.  

I’m questioned on how things work and I’m having to ask whether we’re talking about Minecraft or IRL (In Real Life). All whilst I’m learning new phrases/terms.

Did you know that if you combine Lava and Water you create Obsidian?” asked my son.

“Really?!” I answered whilst searching on my phone

It turns out this is true in real life as well as in Minecraft.  Obsidian is volcanic glass.  I doubt a normal conversation at home or school would cover this part of the Geology syllabus – but Minecraft has and we had a fun discussion about volcanoes and lava!

It’s 2020 – the year of the Coronavirus and Minecraft is almost 10 years old.  Like a child it has grown and developed, it has even changed its name and Microsoft adopted bought it.  Can you remember what digital life was like 10 years ago – no Whatsapp, no Twitter and iPhones were still in their infancy and the UK had a coalition government with the Cameron/Clegg bromance.

And what “Minecraft” meant 10 years ago is different to what it means now.  Confused?  I was too.   

There are different versions of Minecraft

  1. Minecraft Java edition (formerly known as just “Minecraft”)

Gamers with years of experience of playing Minecraft are likely to be using this version.  They’re hard core!  I’m not.  I’m just a parent who wants to let my child play with a computer game which seems reasonably educational. 

  1. Minecraft (formerly known as Minecraft Bedrock edition but now as “Minecraft”)

This is the version I’m learning about and talking about.  It’s likely that if you’ve got a primary aged child and you’re playing on a PC/laptop , Nintendo Switch, PS 4, Xbox or a tablet/mobile – you’ve got this version. 

  1. Minecraft Education Edition

I’ve yet to work out how I can download this edition as I’m not an educator/teacher but it’s out there.  I’d love to find out more about Minecraft Education Edition and how it can be used as an engaging teaching resource.

  1.  Minecraft Pi edition

This version doesn’t get much of a mention as it’s only available on the Raspberry Pi.  The Raspberry Pi is a great little cheap computer which does the bare basics – word processing, the internet, watching Youtube, Minecraft, etc.  It can be used for Coding projects when the kids are older – all for less than £100!  We actually played this version for about a year. It’s a great introduction to Minecraft for 5-7 year olds and when people describe Minecraft as ‘virtual lego’ – this version is pretty much that.    But it’s basic and an 8-10 year old will want more.

The beauty and simplicity of Minecraft (Minecraft Bedrock edition) is that it is cross-platform

One friend might play on a tablet, another on a Nintendo Switch and another on a laptop – but they can all potentially play together.  Some households have gaming computers – some don’t, some households have a computer at home – some don’t, some kids have a laptop/Chromebook – some don’t and some households have a tablet for the kids.  

But as long as you have some sort of tech or digital device at home and your child wants to play Minecraft with their friends – they could do. 

With Minecraft becoming cross-platform – it’s all rather clever of Microsoft but also a levelling tool across households.  You may not have a fancy Nintendo Switch or a PS4 at home – but if there’s a device at home you could potentially join in and play Minecraft with your friends.  As to whether you’re allowed to –  well that’s for your parents to decide. 

And if your parents decide to take the leap into Minecraft – they might get confused (like me).   Because if you are new to the Minecraft world and start Googling “Minecraft”, it’s not always clear which edition of Minecraft is being talked about.

So let’s be clear – it’s 2020 and I’m talking about Minecraft (formerly known as the Bedrock edition).   Lots of internet posts on Minecraft dated pre-2019 aren’t talking about Minecraft Bedrock edition – they are talking about Minecraft Java and you can get rather confused.

The End …

As a parent – I’m looking at Minecraft as a way for my kids to socialise online with friends whilst playing a game that seems reasonably educational.  I want to retain some sort of control over who they can meet online – and that’s when we start talking about Servers and Realms … 

I’m discovering a world I don’t know much about, I’m learning new phrases/terms and differentiating how this world is different from the one I knew. I’m confused by what I read on the Internet – sound familiar to when you first got ill and diagnosed?

And in the meanwhile – looking ahead. Microsoft supposedly has a 100 (!) year development plan for Minecraft – so potentially this game might grow with our kids (or it’ll be replaced by something like how Friends Reunited was replaced by Facebook) and I want to know what they’re getting into.

And maybe by then we’ll have a diagnostic biomarker for ME/CFS and know more about the ME/CFS world and how it works.

But first – I need to console a child who’s gone into the End* and can’t get out?!?!

* It turns out the first time you go to the End – you have to sit through credits – yes credits like Film credits scrolling down the screen. Genius – a lesson in patience as the credits scroll on and on and on ….