Something really special happened in my house last week. My son was ill.
Wow, that sounds awful, don’t worry it was only a cold. But, it did keep the little guy off school, and it was this that triggered the special thing, and in turn reignited my love for video games and reminded me just how incredible they can be when everything clicks into place.
My little mate is six-years-old and much-like kids of a similar age he loves superheroes, loves sci-fi and laser guns, loves animals so long as they come in the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety of turtle, and, he loves games. In particular, he loves Minecraft.
When I say he loves Minecraft, I mean he really, really loves it! His knowledge of building and creating weird and wonderful items and worlds is borderline encyclopedic. The way the game engages his imagination is a joy to behold, but by and large, until last week that was my role in the process, the one beholding the wonderful spectacle of world building unfold.
And then his cold kicked in.
He settled in to a comfortable post breakfast position, duvet on, controller ready and Minecraft loading. Then he offered me a second controller and invited me to enter the realm of Minecraft mini games, Battle and Tumble.
Now, let me slow down for a moment. I do have some history with the game. Back in 2012 I covered the review duties for, This is Xbox, and duly awarded Minecraft my first ever ten out of ten score. I loved the game, and over the following years have at times spent far too long than can be healthy for a man of my age, building castles in mountains and cursing Creepers. But it had always been a solo venture. And now here I was about to go hand in hand to a land I’d only ever walked alone. And my God! It was one of the most joyful ventures into any game I’ve ever taken!
Playing side by side with my young son, and being led by the hand by him as he explained the intricacies of the match we were in, threw me weapons, armour, food, and basically did his utmost to keep my little blocky guy breathing, was an experience I will treasure always. We played side by side for hours. We laughed together, ran in terror together, helped each other, and the post win cuddle as he launched arms around my neck after a win was heart melting.
As a family we recently found a love of weird and wonderful tabletop games. These delivered a wonderful social aspect that comes from a family gathered at a table having fun. It felt like the ingredient that had been missing in video games was alive in tabletop. But with my recent return to Minecraft I found that ingredient is still in there as well, and its heart is beating strong!
My love for video games got a shot in the arm, and based upon my history with the game, I really shouldn’t have been surprised that it was Minecraft that delivered the shot.