Minecraft Servers are Providing Safe and Nurturing Communities for Young People

Abstract

The global popularity and influence of online video games has been the subject of debate for nearly three decades, often with the claim of video games promoting aggressive and anti-social behaviour. Minecraft is an online multiplayer game played by over 74 million active monthly players across over 10,000 live servers. These servers are often designed, built and operated by volunteer staff called administrators. It is through the rules set by these administrators, combined with their constant presence within these online worlds, which has enabled the creation of virtual communities that are proving to be safe, nurturing and supportive environments for young players to develop creative and social skills whilst developing friendships and feeling a strong sense of community within this blocky digital landscape. This paper argues that with the implementation of server rules and the involvement of mature and supportive administrators, many Minecraft servers are proving that it is possible for young people to become part of an online community that promotes self-expression and friendly collaboration while providing a diverse collective of supportive and nurturing players and administrators.

Key Words

Online gaming, online communities, multiplayer games, Minecraft, MMORPG, affinity spaces

 

Introduction

Improved digital technology combined with the acceleration in accessibility of the internet over recent years has fuelled the growth in the number of platforms, websites and apps offering online users a wide range of products and services intended to satisfy and enhance almost every aspect of their lives. This includes providing digital environments that facilitate online communities and gaming. The potential for negative influence through many video games has been the subject of public debate for nearly three decades, with the issue regularly being raised as a possible contributor towards influencing dangerous behaviour (Collins, Freeman, Chamarro-Premuzic, 2011, p. 1). Indeed, there are some video games, which are highly combative and have been accused of promoting aggressive attitudes and conduct from their players towards other online players (Stavropoulos, Kuss, Griffiths, & Motti-Stefanidi, 2016, p. 3). However, some online games such as Minecraft provide players with vastly different environments, where aggression and poor conduct are rarely seen and strongly discouraged. Minecraft online servers are providing affinity spaces that support online communities, through which young players are developing online social and communication skills in a safe, supportive and friendly environment. This paper will draw on the observations and findings of scholarly research into the online world of Minecraft and the people playing it, with the intention of showing that with the implementation of server rules and the involvement of mature and supportive administrators, many Minecraft servers are proving that it is possible for young people to become part of an online community that promotes self-expression and friendly collaboration while providing a diverse collective of supportive and nurturing players and administrators.

Discussion

To help achieve a proper understanding of the online communities that Minecraft players occupy, it is important to first clarify the difference between a network and a community, as it appears that there may be some scholars that confuse the terms, such as Blažič-Džonova and Blažič (2016, p. 1) who declared that “virtual communities…are frequently referred to as social networks.” Networks are generally identified as structures that consist of elements that are linked through either commonality or purpose. Online networks can consist of apps, websites, locations, addresses, servers and accounts. Boyd and Ellison (2007) identified social networks as online facilities that provide a means for users to connect with a set group of friends and other groups through platforms where they can create customised personal identities within the confines of the network. By this understanding, a network provides the online structure required to house the online community. This can be compared to a church which is attended by the congregation, or a club that is populated by its members. It is the congregation and members that have the potential to become communities. As the people within these groups start to experience a sense of genuine involvement, believing that their contributions to the group are of value and appreciated, receiving recognition, feeling needed and experiencing a “…shared emotional connection…”, a strong sense of community will develop (McMillan & Chavis,1986, p. 9). While these characteristics were observations of real-world communities, it would not be difficult to apply them to people occupying online communities.

The emotional benefits of joining an online community, becoming an active participant and contributor and subsequently feeling a sense of belonging has been acknowledged by several scholarly observers of these virtual worlds. Woodbridge (2017) supports this by declaring that in addition to feeling like their regular online contributions make them important members of their online community; users may also experience an elevated sense of self-esteem and emotional health (Woodbridge, 2017, p. 20-22). Blanchard (2007) identified that while people within “…virtual communities…” may not believe that their online actions may not be as effective on others as those in the real world, there was a firm belief that they “…feel that they know the personalities of others and experience and observe more personal relationships than do members of face-to-face communities” (Blanchard, 2007, p. 827). In addition to this, the manner of engagement between members of online communities often becomes similar to that of the real world, leading to strong bonds involving a sense of trust and support (Cole & Griffiths, 2007) (Kaye & Bryce, 2012). While these observations tend to reflect a very positive and healthy environment within online communities, it is well recognised that this perspective cannot be applied across all realms within the digital world. The networks needed to facilitate these supportive and friendly online communities often require a well enforced set of rules combined with a team of mature and active administrators and moderators.

The rise of the massive multiplayer online role player game (MMORPG) has led to a wide variety of environments for video game players to interact with others and become a part of an online community. Developed by Mojang Specifications and launched in 2009, Minecraft is an online MMORPG that is more focused on exploration, adventure and building rather than the constant combative nature of many other online games (MacCallum-Stewart, 2013, p. 16). While originally classified as a single player game that can still be played in this manner, the adaptation of Minecraft into an online game means that online players will almost always see or meet other players on most Minecraft servers. With a current average of 74 million users per month, Minecraft’s new General Manager, Helen Chiang declared that many returning fans of the game and regular upgrades are contributing to a global increase in the size of the Minecraft online population and stated that “that’s really our goal, to keep building the community that we have” (Lilly, 2018). Minecraft is proof that online gaming has developed into much more than the aged concept of one or two players competing against each other on an isolated console (MacCallum-Stewart, 2013, p7). With an average of over 300,000 players online at any one time across over 10,000 active servers (“Global Minecraft statistics”, 2018), the blocky virtual world “…with no tutorial, an infamously precipitous learning curve, and few ludic objectives” (MacCallum-Stewart, 2013, p. 3) has a large, global following consisting of highly dedicated players committed to fully explore, craft and develop elements within their Minecraft servers, while sharing and teaching those skills with other players (MacCallum-Stewart, 2013, p. 3). These findings support the argument that online multiplayer games do not need to be solely dedicated to combat and strategy to attract millions of players.

The virtual worlds that are accessible within the many Minecraft servers are constructed and operated by, largely, volunteer operators called administrators. In addition to playing Minecraft, these dedicated fans regularly commit their unpaid time to ensuring the constant and smooth operation of the server, through new designs, regular updates and modifications (Pellicone & Ahn, 2015, p. 9). Many players use the modifications provided on servers to customise their game environment and their personal avatar that, like that game environment, is made of blocks and has been designed to be consistent with the game’s setting (Tran, 2013, p. 14). Furthermore, these avatars reflect no specific gender, as was intended by Minecraft developer Markus “Notch” Persson, who stated “The human model is intended to represent a Human Being. Not a male Human Being or a female Human Being, but simply a Human Being” (Persson, 2012).  The near neutral graphic appearance of the Minecraft avatars may be an important contributor to why players feel less pressured within the game’s environment, where aside from being able to choose from a range of different skins, their characters have an overall similar appearance to those of every other player.

It cannot be claimed that Minecraft is a completely non-violent game, as players within the survival mode of Minecraft will need to battle zombies, creepers, spiders, witches and skeletons, plus kill animals for food and resources. Likewise, some servers have specific fan-based themes that may include challenges requiring combat such as duels. However, due to the blocky nature of all images, players are not subjected to any graphic scenes of violence. Due to the lack of tutorials and the almost immediate need for guidance once immersed in a Minecraft world, interaction with other players becomes an essential component of successfully navigating, surviving, building and playing the game, including defeating monsters (Tran, 2013, p. 17). It is this need to liaise with other players and administrators within the game that makes Minecraft unique in the nature of the communities that have developed within its structure. Cole and Griffiths (2007) have dismissed past claims of a lack of sociable behaviour in MMORPGs, instead suggesting that these types of online games have become “…highly socially interactive” (Cole & Griffiths, 2007, p. 581). It is this need to be actively involved in regularly communicating and often playing with other players, that further supports the suggestion that these online communities have started to reflect similar characteristics to those of the offline world, as described by McMillan and Chavis (1986) where participants within the group have a sense of actively being an important part of the community, that their contributions are recognised and appreciated, and that they experience a “…shared emotional connection…(which) relies on positive interactions between members, shared history and experiences, and mutual investment in the community”(McMillan & Chavis, 1986, p. 9). It is this development of strong social bonds and the ongoing nurturing support in and outside of the Minecraft virtual world that has succeeded in setting it apart from most other online multiplayer games, where players are not under constant pressure to perform and compete, but are allowed to develop their gaming and social skills at their own pace in a safe and friendly domain.

While Gee (2005) devised the term “affinity spaces” to help better define focused learning environments with the schooling system, the classification has since been adopted to better describe the nature of online communities within games such as Minecraft that are identified as “…informal learning environments where players share resources and knowledge” (Pellicone & Ahn, 2015, p. 2). Applying the term affinity spaces to Minecraft servers helps to differentiate them from other MMORPG games. Within a Minecraft community, players regularly demonstrate the key characteristics that define an affinity space through ongoing interaction with other players with the intention to achieve shared targets, learn or share certain skills, provide support or guidance through relevant game features and even sharing emotional and personal support through game forums (Lammers, Curwood & Magnifico, 2012, p. 4) (Gee, 2004, p. 85). It is this focus on skills development and learning gameplay that helps administrators of Minecraft servers ensure that their communities remain safe and friendly affinity spaces for players of all ages, particularly young people. Aggressive behaviour such as bullying, inappropriate language, sexual advances, and sharing of personal information are generally not permitted on most servers, with the breaching of such rules often resulting in a player being banned from the server. The successful management and enforcement of these types of rules adds further testimony to the positive and nurturing calibre, plus the dedication and diligence of the administrators of many Minecraft servers, who have to deal with the constant dilemma of ensuring that while they want to be inviting as many players to their server as possible through a wide range of incentives such as the potential to earn virtual currency in the form of in game money, rare artefacts that can be used within the Minecraft world plus the opportunity for players to advance within the specific server to become developers and administrators themselves, they still need to ensure that the wrong types of people are either refused entry or quickly identified and removed (Woodbridge, 2017, p. 26). Having strong, enforced rules combined with the support of reliable administrators, helps to establish Minecraft servers as safe environments for young players to interact with other players of all ages, who provide them with nurturing guidance, setting examples of supportive and respectful social behaviour whilst improving their technical and communication skills.

Within the Minecraft affinity spaces, it seems that the passion that the players feel for either the game of Minecraft or any particular fan based theme that has been applied to specific servers, acts as a driving force in the way in which players pursue achievements within their customised realms (Gee & Hayes, 2012, p. 9). This observation may serve to demonstrate how the key interest of the members of these communities, being a particular theme, lends to a strengthening of bonds and levels of support within the customised community. The success of online communities such as Minecraft servers has led to the call for more similar online communities, designed to support learning, creativeness, and sharing, particularly for children, where they can work and play with genuinely supportive peers who will help in improving their communication, expressive, technical and creative skills (Litts, Kafai, Fields, Halverson, Peppler, Keune, Tissenbaum, Grimes, Chang, Regalla, & Telhan, 2016, p. 4).  To demonstrate their claim that playing within online Minecraft communities leads to the enhancement of communication and creative skills and helped to “…actively promote socialization,” Riordan and Scarf (2016) presented the case of the “United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-Habitat)” working with Minecraft to give occupants of real world communities an online game to help make suggestions regarding future designs of their current locations, with the goal that “…they could cooperatively recreate their cities and show city planners how they want their cities to look” (Riordan & Scarf, 2016, p. 2). This connecting of real world environments to Minecraft further support the argument that the high levels of skill development, nurturing support and the lack of competitive pressure within this multiplayer gaming environment prove its positive difference to the majority of other, more competitive MMORPGs.

Regardless of age, the key motivations for Minecraft players, particularly those new to the game, are more based on achieving success in gameplay such as building something new, or completing a challenging quest. Players tend not to be looking for social success, as much as seeing the social aspect as a means to obtain recognition of the actual challenge achieved. The social structures within Minecraft communities seem to primarily function as a means to provide support to the players’ real interest, that being mastering the different elements of the building game itself (Grasso, 2016, p. 53). This dedicated focus by the majority of players, makes Minecraft an ideal online community for young people, providing support, safety and assisting in the attainment of prosocial skills. Through their research, Pellicone and Ahn (2015) observed the nurturing element of Minecraft communities was further demonstrated through the more mature and experienced players feeling comfortable sharing positive cultural values within the game, whilst also working with the younger and newer players in roles similar to skilled tradespeople and their apprentices (Pellicone & Ahn, 2015, p. 2). These online relationships reflect parallels with a real world sense of community, where all members of the community contribute across various levels of responsibility and ability adding to the further development of the social conducts that result from these actions.

Riordan and Scarf (2016) claim that Minecraft helps to dispel the long held view that video games contribute to the social isolation of young players, instead suggesting that the online game has fuelled a worldwide shift in attitude towards online gaming, where the game is being acknowledged as strongly promoting the development of socialisation and team work. This was largely contributed to the constant presence of administrators and senior members, providing a safe, friendly and nurturing environment for young and new players to feel comfortable whilst learning new skills, improving social skills and developing new relationships (Riordan & Scarf, 2016, p. 2). The benefit of playing and working together within the affinity space of a Minecraft community, keeps players focused on game achievements plus helping others within their community attain those same goals. The resulting collaborations involving players of all ages with a common aim support the argument that, while not combative, Minecraft provides a vast online world made up of very sociable communities that enjoy playing, teaching and learning together (Duncan & Huang, 2014, p. 4). This supports the argument that the acceptance of young and new players in Minecraft of the help from more experienced members in developing building, gaming and social skills in a friendly and supportive environment is proof that through the Minecraft affinity spaces, these online players are learning how to be better members of real world communities.

Conclusion

With the growing range of online multiplayer games available, it can be difficult for young people to find a game that provides an online community that is not facilitating aggressive, disrespectful and offensive conduct, but rather operates with the prime goals of providing safe online environments that support positive and friendly social interaction combined with developing gaming and creative skills. Minecraft has proven that, through its online servers, these needs are being met and supported through the dedication and passion of a global league of server administrators and skilled Minecraft players. As active members of these online communities, young players can feel a sense of safety, belonging, friendship and support as they explore the vast digital world of Minecraft, interacting with other players whilst being taught and mastering new skills.

References

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13 thoughts on “Minecraft Servers are Providing Safe and Nurturing Communities for Young People

  1. Hi NMarkham,
    my son recently experienced the “affinity space” that you discuss. A Minecraft world was set up for students of a built environment subject. Students constructed their designed buildings within a Minecraft world, each building correctly positioned in relation to the other buildings around a central green space as established in the offline class. It was immense fun, and students could quickly see whether their structure was correctly built by its relationship in size and position with the other buildings. I suppose the “ludic objective” that MacCallum-Stewart comments on was specific to the learning: to complete the building, correctly positioned and dimensioned. The game pleasure came from seeing friends sharing two spaces simultaneously -sitting around them in a physical classroom and also on screen, as multiple Steves!

    Were there any signals to differentiate the older players from the newer ones? How did they experience trust in an “older”, or more experienced, player?

    You also mentioned that a “supportive and friendly” online community required rules plus active administrators and moderators. I recently was looking at the Lego Ideas community. They may have invisible moderators, however, the administrators stay out of community discussions and still manage a thriving respectful community. I attach a link to an interview between head of the Lego Community and the Guardian which explains some of the thinking that goes into the design of an online community.

    https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/apr/16/lego-building-communities-fans-brands

    1. Thank you Sarah for your insightful feedback.

      I’m glad that your son had fun building within a Minecraft world. While his class activity was purely focused on reconstruction of some familiar buildings, as my paper highlights, over the past few years the online Minecraft world has extended to involve many more roleplay and adventure-based experiences in addition to the original building features of the game. Please note that MacCallum-Stewart’s description of Minecraft having “…few ludic objectives” actually relates to the key focus of the core version of the game being centred on exploration and construction, and that any activities or goals being ludic, or relating to “spontaneous and undirected playfulness”, are more generated by the players than the game itself (MacCallum-Stewart, 2013, p. 3) (“ludic,” 2017).

      It is actually quite easy to identify the more senior players within many of the Minecraft servers described in my paper, as they are often bearing titles or ranks that demonstrate that they have achieved a certain level of experience and skill within that particular server. Three of the most popular fan-based themes currently being played across the many Minecraft servers are Star Wars, Pokémon and Harry Potter. Within these virtual worlds players will often start as a Padawan, new trainer or muggle and, through skills development, challenges and tests can advance through the different ranks to become possibly a Jedi Knight, Pokémon Master or a Hogwarts Professor. The fact that these older players have spent considerable time on the one server, gradually rising to much higher ranks, is often sufficient reason for many new players to feel comfortable placing their trust in them for guidance and support within their specific server (Woodbridge, 2017).

      Thank you for sharing the Guardian’s 2014 interview with “…Peter Espersen, head of community co-creation at the Lego Group…” Through reading the article and some further research, however, it is quite clear that the experimental platforms of Cuusoo and Rebrick are not actually the same type of virtual environment being discussed in my paper. Launched in 2011, the Cuusoo platform was an online experiment intended to help Lego obtain ideas for new products and get feedback on product development through an evaluation and voting process. Whilst there may have been little visible evidence of administrators, the site was heavily controlled by “…designers for Lego sets, marketing and business representatives…”, overseeing and assessing all comments and suggestions from the public and has since been integrated into the Lego ideas site (Avasilcăi & Rusu, 2015).

      References:

      Avasilcăi, S., & Rusu, G. (2015). Innovation management based on proactive engagement of customers: A case study on LEGO Group. Part II: Challenge of engaging the digital customer. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 95, No. 1, p. 012144). IOP Publishing.

      Davidi, A. (2014). Building communities with Lego: let the users do the heavy lifting, The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/apr/16/lego-building-communities-fans-brands

      Ludic. (2017). In Oxford English online dictionary. Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/ludic

      MacCallum-Stewart, E. (2013). Diggy Holes and Jaffa Cakes: The rise of the Elite Fanproducer in Video-Gaming Culture. Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, Vol. 5, Issue: 2, pp: 165-182. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jgvw.5.2.165_1

      Woodbridge, K. (2017). ” Whimsical and Fun and Weird and Interesting”: Prosocial Community in Minecraft (Doctoral dissertation, Royal Roads University (Canada)). Retrieved from: https://viurrspace.ca/bitstream/handle/10613/5111/Woodbridge_royalroads_1313O_10462.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 

      1. Thanks for replying, NMarkham.
        Yes, Cuusoo and Rebrick were platforms, not communities. Aspects of those platforms were amalgamated into Lego’s brand community, Lego Ideas. While being different to the Minecraft community you mention, Lego Ideas definitely fits the definition of an online community. I can see you’ve already visited my paper and discussion on this at http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2018OUA/2018/04/19/rounding-up-the-loyalists-building-brand-communities-in-web-2-0/

        Really interesting to hear about the fan-based Minecraft worlds too – thank you!

  2. NMarkham, a great read!

    It is difficult for me to find anything that goes against my opinions on this topic, as we seem to share very similar and concrete ideas on the existence of positive online gaming communities. I’ve written a very similar paper on this topic, different game & different servers, but similar community attributes.
    I found that with rules that are strict, clear, and adhered to, along with administrators on-top of their game [see what I did there?], these gaming servers can be very positive social environments. Even for games with renowned bad/violent stereotypes, such as the one I’ve referred to in my paper, Grand Theft Auto Five.
    Violence in games is a part of mechanics, history, motivation, as games take us into realms of situations that are unlike our own true selves, and our own known reality. Violent games give the player an outlet to be extreme in situations known as non-reality, the same as flying in games or our character surviving after a deathly blow, or goat simulators allowing us to, basically, go nuts in the unreality of game worlds. However, the reality of playing these games in online communities that are structured and monitored, makes for a new level of interactive, community gameplay that is positive, friendly, and welcoming.

    1. Hi Shannon

      Thank you so much for your feedback. It is always exciting to discover others who have experienced and understand the benefits of the well-managed game setting. As explained in my paper, these virtual environments are often the setting for the development of safe and friendly online communities for young players to enjoy online gaming without the fear of bullying or any out-of-context aggressive conduct.

      While I am sure that you have found the online GTA5 experience to be one that is fulfilling, I hope that you would understand that my paper was focused on the game being experienced by “young” players within a game that is rated PG in Australia, rather than exposing them to a game such as GTA5 which is rated R18+ in Australia (Australian Classification, 2015).

      I’m not quite sure what your academic source is regarding your suggestion of violence being an integral part of “friendly” video gaming, particularly MMORPG games, a quick visit to most internet cafés just after 3.30pm on any weekday will demonstrate the usual conduct of the average MMORPG player where teenagers often shout out offensive and aggressive language with increasing hostility as the battles in their games progress. While Minecraft players seek to advance through the skill ranks within their specific fan-based server, very little involves violence, and certainly not the graphic content and language that would be experienced in games such as GTA5.

      References:

      Australian Classification. (2015). Classification.gov.au. Retrieved from: http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Results.aspx?q=grand+theft+auto+v&t=lfc

  3. Hi NMarkham,

    It’s great how Minecraft has managed to avoid much of the scrutiny that other games have received for time consumed by players, I believe this is somewhat due to being much less violent than other titles as well as offering genuine educational affordances via Microsoft’s MakeCode initiative to teach young children the art of programming by using the games mechanics as an interface between the user and programming (de Halleux, 2017).

    With a community of 77 million as you stated, it really does put an inputus on server administrators to moderate their realms to ensure the experience is pleasant for all users who wish to join their server and your statement about server administrators being provided with in-game money is an excellent incentive to ensure a specific servers rules are adhered to. From experience playing Minecraft years ago, I do recall having a few troublesome users who would join the publicly listed server, so server passwords but also whitelists are a way filter who is allowed to join the server to ensure a safe and positive experience for users.

    I believe your overall argument about a providing a fun, safe and enjoyable environment for gamers is critical to player retention and the actions by administrators to observe and moderate their server(s) is a crucial part to the health of the overall ecosystem. The steady stream of updates from Microsoft helps too, but one could argue that they have moneybags in their eyes and simply want a return on their whopping $2.5 billion investment when it purchased Minecraft from Mojang (Etherington, 2014).

    References:

    de Halleux, P. 2017. MakeCode for Minecraft makes learning to code super fun. [blog]. Retrieved from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/blog/code-minecraft/

    Etherington, D. 2014. Microsoft Has Acquired Minecraft For $2.5 Billion. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2014/09/15/microsoft-has-acquired-minecraft/

    1. Hi Patrick

      Thanks for your comments. I wasn’t aware of the MakeCode Initiative, but can see how this could certainly add to enhancing children’s learning experiences through entertaining and constructive processes.

      I agree that being purchased by Microsoft added a greater incentive for the game to continue being popular and generate enough income to justify the hefty investment, I am however, grateful that, so far, Microsoft has not messed with the successful formula of the Minecraft world, that has made it such a favourite online community for so many people.

      Thanks

      NMarkham

    2. Hi Patrick,

      Minecraft definitely went through its scrutiny phase early in the game’s history. As recently as 2015 Turkey was investigating the game’s violence and planned to ban it (O’Brien, 2015; Phillips, 2015). I’ve also experienced my share of trolls ingame and I’ve always monitored which servers my children play on to protect them from inappropriate content.
      I think it’s important to note that Microsoft bought more than just the game, it bought an entire community and community resources. Many of the apps and additions that are now for sale were available for free within community run servers (and still are).
      Years ago my son taught himself how to code in LUA using the ComputerCraft mod (http://www.computercraft.info/), we designed, edited and shared skins at MinecraftSkins.net (http://www.minecraftskins.net/) and we ran a local server filled with dinosaurs from Mo’Creatures (http://www.mocreatures.org/). These mods and additions are now all available for purchase if you play from Windows10 or the other platforms.
      Microsoft has effectively commercialised a platform that community members crafted (pun intended) themselves. The licensing of an educational version of the game was a strategic way to enter the school system on a larger scale (with mixed results) but as someone that recently bought the 7yr old a CodeKingdoms (https://codekingdoms.com/) membership, apparently “noone wants to code Minecraft we want to make Roblox games”. As always, the community will drive the market.

      O’Brien, C. (2015) Turkey is right: Minecraft can be extremely violent. https://venturebeat.com/2015/03/11/turkey-is-right-minecraft-can-be-extremely-violent/
      Phillips, C. (2015) Turkey investigating Minecraft for being ‘too violent’ http://www.newsweek.com/minecraft-game-under-investigation-turkey-being-too-violent-305876

      1. Hi Barbara,

        I suppose trolls are not exclusive to any specific game – and Turkey are known to take a hard stance on many digital resources, such as Wikipedia (Sezer & Dolan, 2017) and the use of VPN’s (TurkeyPurge, 2018) but that being said it’s hard to imagine a game as big as Minecraft not having it’s critics – especially where its player base is quite young.

        Your comments are modding are most definitely spot on and it’s great that Minecraft does encourage a lot of tinkering to modders – mods really do play an integral part in promoting player retention by allowing the gamers themselves to drive the community by complimenting the game with their own creations. I cannot see why games these days would not support modding of their games, as some of the biggest games available today were originally mods adapted into AAA titles such as PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and more. It’s a win win for both the games and the developers.

        Sezer, C.Dolan, D. 2017. Turkey Blocks Access To Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-internet-wikipedia-idUSKBN17V06Q

        TurkeyPurge. 2018. Turkish Government Now Blocks Use: VPN Report. Retrieved from https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-government-now-blocks-use-vpn-report

  4. Hi NMarkham,

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughtful and insightful look into the world of minecraft.
    It is such a wonderful and safe game for people of all ages, and as you mentioned, encourages team work rather than competition.

    Often, when my nephews come to visit, we’ll spend hours chipping away at cobblestone and building houses, sharing resources and creations, and defeating zombies.

    I remember when I first was ‘recommended’ the game, I looked at some screen shots and thought to myself ‘Really? Looks a bit budget’. Oh was I mistaken. I started playing and quickly became addicted, with initial thoughts of ‘It reminds me of playing with Lego, but in a video game’.

    Great read, and great insights.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Quentin

      Thanks for your positive feedback. As you’ve acknowledged, Minecraft is certainly more than just a single player game, working and playing with others in this virtual world, to achieve a common goal is often more rewarding when the outcome is celebrated as a team.

      The novelty of the blocky look of the game still seems to entertain and amuse many players. I’m sure that your nephews are happy that their gamer uncle knows a game that they also enjoy playing.

      Regards

      NMarkham

  5. Hi Natasha,

    I’ve been fortunate to participate in many Minecraft communities, both public and whitelisted. Your paper resonated with my experiences where a strong admin team can fascilate a much more pleasant gaming experience. One of the first communities that I joined was the Jokaydia Minecraft servers (https://massively.jokaydia.com/) which are actually run by kids in addition to the adult owner. The players contributed to the Community Charter which outlines the rules of engagement and they have the opportunity to work through a (gamified) awards system to level up within the community and eventually reach a rank of Moderator, and when they are older and more experienced, Administrator. It’s a server specifically whitelisted for children where parents are encouraged to play with their children, and the server is occassionally opened up for educators to experience the types of projects and collaboration that the players participate in. I believe that empowering the children to participate in how the community is run, and the permanence of a Minecraft world where players contribute to the design and build also works to strengthen the community as a whole.

    1. Hi Barbara

      It was nice to read feedback from a fellow Minecraft player. As you’ve probably already noticed as you’ve played within some Minecraft servers, particularly those operated by young people, it is surprisingly encouraging to witness the levels of maturity often displayed by these moderators and administrators, as they oversee and manage the conduct of other players within their virtual communities.

      While these are still young people at this point, I believe that the qualities that they are developing through assisting in the administration of these online communities will contribute to the skills and attitudes that they may bring into their real world responsibilities as they grow older.

      Thanks

      NMarkham

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