Friday, 14 November 2014

Rounding off Minecraft Week at ReaditDaddy with Minecraft Stories - Tales from the Rock Face

Once Upon a Time - In a not-too-distant Blocky Land...
By now you've probably enjoyed a few of our Minecraft-inspired posts where we've taken a look at some awesome Minecraft books, delved into Minecraft Edu and given you a flavour of what the game is all about. 

One of the unexpected things to come from our dalliances with this massive world are the stories that emerge as you begin to play. When Charlotte was younger and couldn't quite get to grips with a gamepad, she would 'direct' me while we were building, mining and crafting and it was often quite hilarious to hear her running commentary. Almost as if she was narrating a story as we played along. 

For example...

The Case of the Roaming Wolf

As soon as Charlotte learned that certain animals could be tamed, she wanted a wolf. Wolves are often quite solitary creatures in Minecraft and they're quiet (no howling at the moon) so you usually only find them when you practically fall over one. But a tamed wolf can be a loyal companion and a staunch defender of your character if you're cornered by nasties. 

We spotted a wolf in the distance and so the grand chase began. Charlotte excitedly shouted out instructions..."Go there, no he's there. You need to jump higher he's getting away!"

We caught up with the wolf and completely forgot that you need bones to tempt wolves into being domesticated and there's only one way to get bones in Minecraft. You need to fight skeletons, and they're wily tough and sneaky!

The next night we prepared. I'd made iron armour which I clad our character in from head to foot. Stupidly I'd run out of iron though and had to make a wooden sword. Fairly well protected and armed with - well basically a decorative twig - we stole out into the night in search of skeletons...

It didn't take long for them to find us rather than the other way round. The telltale giveaway "Ka-TWANG!" of an arrow embedding itself into the earthen bank next to us announced the arrival of our foe. Though we fought gallantly, we lost horribly and all our belongings were scattered, we died, and woke up in the more comfortable environment of our little snug wooden hut once again. 

Take that, varlet!

The next night we vowed revenge. Recovering our stuff by daylight (including, thankfully, our armour) we spent a day or two mining more iron for a better sword.

Once again, out we strode into the night and once again a skeleton found us before we found him. We got lucky, the skeleton chose the wrong place for a battle as we managed to knock him off the top of a steep cliff. Weakened by the fall we polished off that skeletal nasty in a couple of swipes of our new iron sword and were rewarded for our efforts with a lovely tasty looking bone. 

Of course, needless to say after our grand efforts we couldn't find that elusive wolf for days afterwards!

Minecraft encourages reading!

The game is brilliant just from the perspective of hearing people's anecdotes about their own Minecraft lands and creations, and their own experiences playing the game. Another unexpected benefit of playing is that Minecraft is a good way to help your little ones practice their reading. Not just the fact that the game pops up with in-game messages and information, but it's a great sandbox playpit to try out a few wordy things of your own as well.

More creative parent players might want to try some of the following...

  • Building giant letters. It's really easy to build A, B, C - try playing together and building your own letters and words for your child to shout out!
This is actually a neat little module for Minecraft Edu! Making Alphabet Blocks!

  • Using Minecraft Signs to leave each other messages. You can pop signposts around a landscape and build a reading 'treasure hunt' in the game, with clues to follow to the next location (this takes a bit of setting up but building arrows to point to the next 'clue' or sign would be a really fun combination of building and reading
  • Shout out the name. This is probably better with younger children, as you can use Minecraft's various animals, plants and objects to set up an alphabet area in your Minecraft world. Gather together items that start with the same letter from 'build' mode, and place them in your landscape
Hope you've enjoyed our Minecraft Theme Week. As ever, we'd love to hear your Minecraft stories and experiences. Drop us a comment below!