The 10 Best Minecraft Plushies
10. Spider Stuffed Toy
9. Mojang Creeper
8. Minecraft Squid
7. Enderdragon Deluxe
6. Reversible Pig
5. Zombie Pigman
4. Baby Sheep
3. Tuxedo Cat
2. Zombie Plush
1. Wolf Stuffed Toy
What Is Minecraft?
Minecraft is considered by many in the gaming world as the ultimate sandbox game. Sandbox video games are characterized by not having a linear structure (i.e. no levels to complete), and giving gamers access to the entire world, which they can roam and alter at will. Each user has a completely different experience limited only by their imagination, much like a young child playing in a sandbox at the local park.
While realistic, high quality graphics are often a major selling point for the majority of video games, Minecraft consists of a simple world created with low-resolution blocks representing various resources. Despite it's simplicity, one only need to view the creations of some advanced users to appreciate the deep complexity of this game.
Even the adorable and popular characters in the game are boxy figures that appear to be constructed from Legos. Some of the most important features of the Minecraft universe are the mobs of critters and creatures that appear throughout the game. Some are friendly and useful, like the herds of pigs or sheep, and a few are destructive and add a layer of difficulty, like the creepers and zombies. All of them make for great plushie friends.
New players are dropped into a plain landscape and charged with “mining” for the various resources they need to build an infinite variety of structures; from shelters to protect them from the occasional monster, to barns for the cute animals they'll find roaming the landscape, to entire cities for their friends if they choose the multi-player mode. Despite beginning with almost child-like simplicity, the unlimited complexity of the game has even launched a cottage industry of Minecraft books.
Another feature that makes this game so popular is that several modes are available, appealing to players with different objectives. The creative mode is for peace-loving types who just want to build without the bother of monsters and zombies to distract them from their work. This mode also allows for infinite access to resources. In the survival and adventure modes, players will need to ward off attackers while struggling to find the materials they need. Most modes can be further customized with four difficulty options, from peaceful to hard.
Is Minecraft Educational?
With the endless possibilities and scenarios available, when it comes to a game like Minecraft, video game addiction can be a serious concern. But with proper supervision and limits, parents and educators alike have discovered a variety of educational benefits, from academic to real-world skills.
A few intrepid teachers have even built multi-player worlds customized for their classrooms. While there are obvious lessons to exercises like this, such as creativity and cooperation, some contend the benefits don't stop there. Socially, students are given tangible proof of the importance of teamwork. Children who play these sorts of building games also increase their visuospatial cognition, which can be helpful in solving complex math problems in the future. Studies have even shown that video game play can be helpful in training surgeons.
Minecraft is the ideal sort of game to introduce into the classroom as their are few barriers to entry. The game can be played on any PC or laptop and does not require the purchase of any expensive gaming systems or special controllers. Students can even play the most basic version of the game online for free.
Many parents have noticed that Minecraft develops important life skills that kids don't usually get at school. Players are given a finite amount of resources to build whatever they choose and so are forced to make constant cost-benefit decisions of how much to spend vs. how much to save for the future. In addition, anyone obsessed with this game learns the satisfaction of delayed gratification, as those elaborate structures take time and patience to construct. Planning ahead, setting and achieving goals, and problem-solving are required of every person, young or old, who ventures into the Minecraft universe.
The simple world of Minecraft can also be enhanced with the addition of mods. Mods work within the original software to change the look and feel of the game, add features, or create alternate biomes. Often these are created with the Minecraft Coder Pack. Advanced players who are inspired by the work of others become motivated to learn and improve their coding skills.
A Brief History Of Minecraft
The history of Minecraft is, indeed, surprisingly brief, especially when one considers that it has sold over 70 million copies, more than any other PC game in history. It was created and designed in 2009 by Swedish game designer Markus "Notch" Persson.
Like most video games, the concept for Minecraft was heavily influenced by other games the developer enjoyed. In the case of Persson, his childhood love of Legos and the online indie cult favorite Dwarf Fortress inspired the simplicity and the open-ended nature of play. In the spring of 2009, a competitive mining game called Infiniminer was released as open source code, and Persson used the blockish graphics and first person point-of-view as major aspects of his ongoing project.
By June of that year, Persson began charging a small fee for the alpha version of the game, and continued developing the game in an open dialog with users, taking into consideration their comments and suggestions. In late 2010, with the money earned from these sales, Persson was able to realize his dream of forming his own gaming company, Mojang. This focus allowed Minecraft to progress to beta release by December of 2010, and by January of 2011, the fledgling video game had already surpassed one million sales.
As Minecraft continued to evolve and grow in immense popularity, various modes of play were added, and enthusiastic users customized the game with their own mods, yet the game retained a simplistic style at its core. Mojang and Minecraft were bought by Microsoft in September of 2014 for a whopping 2.5 billion dollars. The game continues to grow with pocket versions for tablet and mobile phones, as well as a spin-off called Minecraft: Story Mode.