It might be bordering on an obsession.
About a year ago I introduced Claire to Minecraft. I mean, she had spent plenty of time sitting on my lap and watching ME play, but it was that moment when I showed to her the basic controls of Minecraft on our iPad that it all really started.
…the most accessible and limitless three-dimensional digital construction kit that’s ever existed in the history of human existence.
I’d be the first to admit. If I had been handed a toy half as awesome as Minecraft when I was five… hey, my life would have been complete. Strap me in, close the door, and just make sure to circulate the air every couple of days.
So, what do you do if you are a five year old who has one of the most accessible and limitless three-dimensional digital construction kits that’s ever existed in the history of human existence? Well, you take it for granted (as a start) and then you become mildly obsessed, beg to play on every occasion, and build mind-boggling creations that make your father wonder if he should start saving for either architectural school or some big-city fine arts program… or just assume that she’s gonna get a scholarship with… well, keep dreaming, right?
What do you do if you are the parent of a five year old who has one of the most accessible and limitless three-dimensional… blah, blah, blah… you know where I’m going with this, right? Well, you could thwart your daughter’s creative obsession, put closely framed boundaries on it, and then complain about the whole thing with other parents. Or, you could get down on the floor and play right along with them.
Claire and I are Minecraft buddies. And heck, six years ago, when Karin was starting to swell with the anticipation that comes along with that thing called pregnancy, if you’d asked me what I thought of having a kid who’s biggest issue at five would be a mild obsession with one of my favourite video games… well, I probably wouldn’t have considered that a problem. I still don’t. But it frames up a story quite nicely, though, doesn’t it?
Through some bit of odd shopping happen-stance — we won’t go into that here — I wound up pre-ordering, or maybe back-ordering, or in some way ordering a set of Legos that was out of stock or out of production or out of luck in some way.
People have been paying hundreds of bucks for these particular kits on auction sites, but it turns out with a little time and patience, they arrive in your mailbox for the suggested retail price just the same. And they are just as fun to build then, too.
Of course, the quasi-official Minecraft Lego kit was labelled as a ten-and-up product, but Claire (familiar with both Legos and Minecraft) quickly figured out that with only a little intermittent help from her old man, ten-and-up simply meant she needed to concentrate a little harder.
The four hundred and eight piece sculpture was fully assembled and starring in some serious floor-based playtime within twenty-four hours after arriving at our house.
Just Playing Minecraft, Videos
Back at the computer I’ve opted to mop up a little bit of the wandering and aimless play we’ve both been veering into, and I started experimenting on a little video project.
A Minecraft video project…
Now, I’ve no illusion lurking in my mind that the videos Claire and I have been making are anything unique or clever or novel or insightful… not any of that. But it goes something like this: Claire and I are playing Minecraft together anyhow, she sits on my lap and her commentary is priceless (for me, if no one else) and I’ve often thought on how it would be great to record it for my own personal posterity, and hey… would you look at that… I have screen capture software and a couple microphones just waiting there on my computer, looking for any excuse to get out and be used.
We’ve made two YouTube videos so far.
They are just us playing the game, recording our adventures as we build and explore, but the audio you hear is our conversation all the while. And again, while this is nothing unique or particularly innovative, it is ours… and it’s a way for us to play together, create together, and share (in moderation) our obsession together. Isn’t that what good dads do?