So, Turkey wants to ban Minecraft. Naturally, the Internet is in an uproar because this is so obviously ridiculous. After all, we’re talking about a wildly popular game that’s mostly played by kids who spend their time innocently building stuff, tending sheep, and hanging with their friends.
Maybe you can battle some creepers. But otherwise, it’s all just harmless, empowering fun.
Well, if you really believe in the innocence of Minecraft, that tells me one of two things. Either you don’t play, or you haven’t really been paying attention when your kids have been playing for the past couple of years.
Because, in fact, Minecraft is not one thing. It is a million things. The game is wide open to customization by anyone, a decision that has led to its fantastic success and many creative uses.
However, humans being humans, that structure has also led to people creating an infinite number of gun mods that you can download and plug in. Here’s a demo of a particularly fun one: Heuristick´s Gun Mod: Snipers, Shotguns, Grenade Launchers & More !
You can strap on an assault rifle and mow down some prisoners stuck on an island:
You can also find plenty of zombie mods, including this light-hearted Resident Evil Mod. Here you can watch this fine, fresh fellow walk around with his spinal column sticking out while you try to whack him:
Then, of course, we see a huge number of servers that third-parties and independent players have created where you can fight in all sorts of player-vs.-player (PvP) settings. The favorite among my son and his friends are the Hunger Games servers, where you pretty much do exactly what you would imagine.
Yes, the violence is extremely cartoonish given Minecraft’s graphics. It’s certainly not as graphic as the stuff big video game studios will roll out at events like the Game Developer’s Conference or E3.
And to be clear, in no way do I think Turkey or anyone else should ban Minecraft. Such efforts are futile and likely to have the exact opposite effect intended by creating even more awareness and attention to something.
It’s true, as, Mojang told VentureBeat, that with the basic version of Minecraft that you download directly from the company, you can switch the settings to “creative” or “peaceful” mode and the violence goes away. But that’s also a little disingenuous because once you start adding mods, or when you go into multi-player mode or visit someone else’s server, you may not have the ability to change those things.
I still love Minecraft. I still think its success is one of the greatest tech stories of our times. And I’m still glad my kids love to play it.
But at the same time, this is no longer the simple little game people imagine it to be. I’m surprised to see the naiveté of threads like this one on Reddit, of all places.
The game has evolved, become more complex, and drawn in more adults. You should be clear that the innocence is over. And any parent would be wise to make sure they’re discussing this with their kids and monitoring their use.
In other words, like with any gadget or game, use common sense.