02 Jun

This is your parental brain on Minecraft

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Who knows why author Melissa Wiley‘s children chose Minecraft as the vehicle through which to educate her about a major scientist? What matters is that they did, and that the whole thing is adorable:

One day I accidentally fed [Minecraft dogs] Darwin and Newton too many pork chops at the same time, and you know what that means: a puppy. I couldn’t wait for this new pooch to grow up, so I could see what name the girls would give it.

When I came home this afternoon, half dead after a skeleton ambush, the pup was waiting beside the front door, all grown up and sporting a new blue collar. Her name was Annie, the hover-text informed me. I was a little surprised that the girls hadn’t continued the scientist theme.

Shows what I know.

The parental affection is just as obvious, though expressed just a little bit differently, in James Parker’s recent essay in The Atlantic, “The Game That Conquered the World“:

Can it be true that in Minecraft, to apply a line of Philip Larkin’s, how we live measures our own nature? An octopus’s garden, a whirling hall of knives … Choose, minecrafter. Build. It’s all you. My son, to my astonishment, is building an international airport. Me, I’ve killed a couple of cows. I made a start on a crafting table, and then gave up. And now I sit in obscurity, in my roofless house of dirt.

And in case you’re wondering, the “M” in my upcoming book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet does not stand for Minecraft. But the game adored by Parker and Wiley’s offspring is in there somewhere. My own 10-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way.

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