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Video game review:

When we consider games that are prevalent in our students lives, one we can not forget about
is Minecraft. Although this game may not have the dances found in Fortnight or the violence of
a game like Call of Duty it offers a unique platform that allows students to create and explore
their own world.

Ian Bogost, author of “How to Do Things with Videogames”, speaks to different principles that
“make the medium broader, richer, and more relevant”. Out of his twenty principles many were
present but two were more openly visible than the rest. When speaking about Transit, Bogost
discusses how patient traversal was fundamental even from the earliest 2D games. In
Minecraft, players must learn the various methods of travel whether it be walking (the slowest
option and yet the only option when first exploring a new world), swimming (where like real life,
players must think about lack of oxygen underwater), and horseback riding (impossible to do
unit the player has found a saddle through exploration). Although none of these options
transport the player immediately from one area of the world to another, it creates the illusion of
traveling, exploring, and being alone within a new and undiscovered world. Through
transportation within the game, players traverse various landscapes from rocky mountains
covered in snow, to hot deserts. The ability to explore, travel, and discover new secrets of the
world you have created is what draws the younger generation in particular, toward the game.

Bogost also speaks about Texture, a principle seen throughout the Minecraft world. As its
name suggests, Minecraft requires users to “mine” using various tools that you can create or
discover throughout your game. Users must first immediately “chop wood” using their hands,
as their hands are not the most efficient tool (an axe being ideal), it takes a lot of time.
Throughout the game, as they create tools and learn which ones work for which materials,
users get the feeling of “texture”. It feels realistic that a pickaxe would work better for mining
cobblestone than an axe, or that digging through dirt with a shovel would take less time than a
sword. As Bogost reminds us- “the physical world—games included—have texture. They offer
tactile sensations that people find interesting on their own.” Minecraft is a good example of
how texture (and materials) from the real world can be represented in a game.

Using Minecraft in a classroom creates interest driven, impassioned learning, in an educational

setting. Minecraft can be used to create team building experiences, partnering students
together in a group to create various structures, houses, towns, and communities. Through
cooperative building and game play, students develop and enrich their social skills. Using
Minecraft as a tool, teachers can potentially create a different type of classroom environment
where students who would otherwise “fade into the background” will flourish and thrive.
Although this concept would not be summatively assessable, it provides students with life long

Minecraft could also be used to tie directly into curriculum. Working together or individually,
students could be required to use the building materials provided (potentially a limited number)
to create 2D or 3D shapes or calculate the area, perimeter, or volume of a shape or structure.
Teachers could assess student understanding by checking how their structure was designed.
Students could use the game to learn about mapping and coordinates, how to read a map and
find where you need to go. Students could also use Minecraft to discuss communities and find
the specific buildings and services that are found within every community, Minecraft villages

Minecraft is known for encouraging creativity and imagination in students, but used correctly, it
could encourage the same within teachers. I believe that Minecraft is a tool that could be used
within the classroom successfully.