I come from a video-game generation. I was 12 when I played my first home video-game console.
My family was not able to afford such luxuries as video games when we were very young. It wasn’t until the early 1990s when our family could afford extras. I can remember spending hours with my brothers Joseph and Paul playing Super Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros, F-Zero, Double Dragon, Mortal Combat and Star Fox. Our friends would come around and we in turn would go and visit their homes to play on their systems.
Life was not easy for us as children on a remote Native community so these games provided us an easy escape into other make-believe worlds. Mom and dad frowned on us playing too long as there were many chores and work that had to be done around the house. They regularly stopped our gameplay to send us to our work or to get us to go outside.
I have to admit that, back then, the games were relatively simple and after a few rounds, it was easy to figure out what worked, how to cheat and how to beat the game. That’s why, fortunately, I quickly became bored with games.
In the mid-1990s, gaming exploded and it quickly too expensive to buy the latest, greatest games. Rather, I enjoyed player-versus-player video games and in particular the EA NHL hockey series, as developers came out with a new version each year. My brothers and friends and I spent many weekends playing virtual tournaments.
When we got together for our digital hockey competitions, there was always plenty of uncontrollable laughter especially since we were fueled by soda pop, candy and chips. Often, our parents or other siblings would find us rolling on the floor when we tried to explain our gameplay and we could never communicate with someone outside the game why it was so funny.
As an adult I took a break from gaming. I was getting busy with my own work and the new games were too expensive, too complicated, too violent or too individualistic. I never really enjoyed first-person shooters where the goal was to kill endless characters to rack up points. The best thing about gaming for me was being part of a familiar and fun group that enjoyed doing the same thing.
I was not one of those people who purchased an expensive Xbox or Playstation. Instead, I moved on to gaming on my computer with more creative strategy games.
A year ago a young friend of mine, Jack Vokes, introduced me to a simple game called Minecraft and since then I have enjoyed a taste of that old gaming fun I remembered from long ago. Minecraft is an open-ended creative game that keeps score if you are watching, creative if you want it that way, competitive if you are playing with others or, what I enjoy most, cooperative.
The gameplay is simple – your character can freely explore over ground, water, forests and deserts. This game is about architecture and building as you can dig deep underground or raise a building high into the sky. Minecraft has no digital world filled with high-definition monsters, demons, warlocks, witches, soldiers, attack helicopters, space ships or aliens. There isn’t even a complicated storyline. Rather Minecraft is just a simple world that is easy to load, easy on bandwidth and simple to play.
I have grown to love the game because of its simplicity and ease of access. Instead of buying a big-name console with high-definition graphics in order to play a $50 game title that goes on and on with dramatic storytelling, character development and epic hours of long gameplay, I play this simple $20 game on my computer and connect with hundreds of people in a simple, relaxed open gameplay.
Minecraft is the game I would suggest for any young person interested in gaming. It is not violent and hell-bent on promoting virtual realistic death and destruction like many popular titles. Instead it is a creative game that leaves it to the individual to play with their imagination. I only wish I had Minecraft around when I was 12 years old. It would have helped me in terms of creativity and construction techniques.