Rhys Darby

Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Addictive digital blocks have a secret agenda

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Minecraft puts a monstrously modern twist on old-school Lego.

Minecraft zombies are capturing the world's children.
Minecraft zombies are capturing the world's children.

Are your kids getting a little obsessed with a game called Minecraft? It feels to me like there's a global movement being run by a secret society intent on mind-controlling our children.

If you haven't heard of Minecraft, then you probably don't have kids. Or you're part of an Amish community enjoying the ignorant bliss of living off the land. Actually, Amish would be great at playing Minecraft. The entire objective of the game is to essentially live off the land.

The player must create a world of their own devoid of all technology apart from the rudimentary axe which they can use to chop down trees. Now having said that, I should probably stop right there and question that, shouldn't I? Are we teaching our kids to chop down trees? That seems wrong in this day and age. Anyway I'll continue ...

The player or players, let's face it there's millions of them, must build their entire environment including buildings, paths and waterways.

I have to admit, it really does look fun and it provides the same creative buzz as Lego. The main difference of course being that individual block selection is as quick as a flick on the computer. There's no swishing of the hands through large buckets of Lego pieces trying to locate a tiny door frame, only to find the door part is missing. Now there's a rather frightening aspect to the game I haven't mentioned yet ...

You see, once you've built your lovely house you'd better make sure you can lock yourself in it before nightfall. Why? Hmmm yeah, because that's when the flesh-eating zombies come out!

Last week we had some friends over for dinner. (I'm talking real-life now.) We invited two couples with children of a similar age to our eldest boy. After an initial patch of shyness which consisted of my son Finn walking around with his face covered entirely by clothing so he appeared "invisible", the kids managed to find solidarity by getting out the iPads. As we adults conversed over salad and wine the kids connected themselves to Minecraft online. All four of them were able to play the same game via separate devices. The only one missing out was my little 3-year-old who dressed up as Batman and made several attempts to wrestle everyone to the ground.

Kids all over the world are obsessed with this computer game and I think the main issue we have as parents is that we can't understand why and that scares us.

Is there some hidden meaning behind it all? Are our children using this game as a communication device so they can plot our demise?

Or are they being secretly trained by some bloke in Sweden in anticipation for an upcoming zombie apocalypse?

I still look up at the skies in the vain hope that one day massive alien bricks will fall and only my generation will know how to save the planet ... by rearranging them in the right order.

- NZ Herald

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