Minecraft

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Posted: 7 months ago, last updated 2 weeks ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Although Minecraft – where players place blocks to build structures, sculpt the landscape and create adventures – is the best-selling game of all time, some of the best aspects of it are little known. Along with the exploration, building and survival-play, children can use complex ‘Red Stone’ circuitry to automate their creations and make interactive spaces.

The game is constantly evolving, with updates adding new blocks, enemies, capabilities, characters and interactions. Upcoming extensions of the Minecraft experience include Minecraft Dungeons, which offers an action-adventure challenge for up to four players on any standard gaming platform.

The stand-alone Minecraft: Story Mode (PEGI 12) games also offer character and choice-driven adventures. Minecraft Earth enables players to build structures that look like they are in the real world with a new AR (augmented reality) app. There’s also an array of online ‘server games’ where children can compete against others online in different battles. This is a great way for children to experiment with ambitious building projects, as well as learn the principles of programming to make their creations come alive.

DetailsDetails

Release Date: November 2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo 2DS/3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS.

Genres: Action, Creative, Fighting, Open World, Platform and Shooting.

 

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: It takes between 5 minutes and 10 minutes to play a round of this game. The way you play Minecraft affects how long a play session will last. The open-world offers a stream of new things to do. Children will happily play for hours and return to work on their creations week after week. The online multiplayer server games are usually over in a matter of minutes as they are competitive and played in rounds.
 
Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online. You can have 20 people in a Minecraft server to build together. The multiplayer games have up to 16 players competing with each other. You can compete in these games in split-screen mode to accommodate more players on one system.

Cross-Play: You can play against people on different systems: Xbox One, Switch, PC and Moblie. But not with PlayStation. If you purchase a map without Xbox account it is available on the other systems when you log-in.

CostsCosts

Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.

Minecraft has a marketplace where you purchase additional content, skins, resource packs, and more.

You will need PlayStation Plus to play online with PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita. You will need Xbox Live Gold (must be 18 to create, then configure family accounts for younger players) to play online with Xbox One. You will need Xbox Live Gold to play online with Xbox 360. You will need PlayStation Plus (must be 18 to create, then create sub-accounts for younger players who need be set as 13 or older) to play online with PlayStation 4.

This game is free with Xbox Game Pass.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

This app has been rated PEGI 7 and contains mild fantasy violence and scary content. The examiners report expands this rating with the following: The game's player character can encounter pixelated spiders, skeletons and zombies in a dark environment, which they can fight. They fall down and disappear in an unrealistic manner. Characters are pixelated and blocky with non-detailed faces.

The app includes in-app purchases.

This game has been rated ESRB EVERYONE.


Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. The Wii U has some limited settings, such as disabling rumble and selecting mono audio. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games. iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.


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Similar Games

The following games are like Minecraft. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Minecraft for younger age ratings.

Minecraft is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Minecraft in the following lists:

Nourish Youthful Ambition In 7-12 Year-Olds

As children get older, they develop stronger ideas of what they want to play. Friends at school and YouTube stars create popular gaming fads for the latest titles. These are a lot of fun, but children’s choices can end up being narrowed down to big-budget or on-trend games. The games suggested here go beyond the usual suspects. While offering age-appropriate alternatives to older-rated games, they are still exuberant, intriguing and create raucous gaming fun that fires the imagination of children aged 7 to 12 years old.
 

Expand LEGO Style Play

These are games that involve actual Lego bricks or offer an experience that has the same plug and play building and creating as the classic toy.
 

Video Game Projects with Checkpoint Kids Magazine

These are games featured in Checkpoint Kids magazine, where there are creative and learning projects that expand the play in educational directions.

Checkpoint Kids is a magazine about video games for kids by kids. In each issue you’ll find activities, challenges and tasks to complete to help you and your kids understand the importance of gaming.

Checkpoint Kids has teamed up with schools across the country to help them identify gaming as a tool for literacy, creativity and social connection. Working with these schools the magazine is in a unique position provide informative supported by teachers teaching core subjects.

To access Checkpoint Kids activities download the magazine on any mobile device, tablet or access it through your browser, create a free log-in for PocketMags:
 

Educational Games That Are Also Good Games

These games have an educational element to them, but also offer experiences that are good games in their own right. This isn't busywork to trick you into learning, but clever and innovative ways to encounter history, physics, engineering, maths, geography and language subjects without feeling like you are in school. They also teach softer, deeper skills like long term strategy, planning, balancing systems, emotional intelligence, compassion, team-work and self-care.

Some of these games are aimed at younger players to play on their own, but others (as indicated by their PEGI ratings) are better for teenagers or played together in a family. Find some games that pique your interest, read through the details and decide how your child might benefit from playing them.
 

Free With Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that provides 100 top-tier games. Once subscribed you can download the game at no extra cost. Of the 100 games available the ones in our recommended database are listed below.

You cannot play games you install when your Xbox Game Pass expires, although you do keep any games you have purchased at a discount with your membership. You will need to purchase any in-game extra content in addition to the subscription, although some games include this content for free.
  • Xbox Game Pass £7.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including Xbox Live Gold for online play £10.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass PC £7.99/month
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also enables you to stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles, similar to the service offered by PlayStation Now, on mobile devices.

Xbox Live Gold usually costs £6.99/month and is the Xbox service that lets you play with others online. It also offers a few free games each month and substantial discounts.
 

Wield Absolute Control

Things don’t stay put. You’re the only one keeping the ship afloat. You can’t get people to do what you tell them. The effort you spend doesn’t produce the results it deserves. Well, in these video games you get to wield complete control over people, things, situations or even whole worlds.

If games offer an escape from chaos, these games are particularly good at granting a sense of satisfying agency and power as they do that. Whether it’s ordering the perfect stock room in Wilmot’s Warehouse, organising your island in Animal Crossing, perfectly controlling the flow of traffic in Mini Motorways or even build civilisation just the way you want it in Civilization the sense of satisfaction and calm from the achievement is second to none.
 

Play With People On Different Systems

Most online games only work if the person you are wanting to play against has the same system that you have, console, PC or smartphone. There are, however, a growing library of games that offer what is often called cross-play. This lets you play with people on different systems.

These games are a good way to extend the list of friends and family that you can play with. It also makes it less critical which system you have in your home, even if your friends have a different one.
 

Play And Connect

Online games are great because you have a world of opponents to take on and defeat (or be defeated by). But beyond the competitive element of these games are often a strong sense of community and camaraderie.

Players enjoy making new connections in these games, as well as connecting with wider family and friends. Listen to the chatter while children play these games, and you hear as much talk about homework, television, YouTube or what's happening in the world as who to shoot in the head next.
 

First Steps Into Online Video Games

One of the most exciting aspects of modern video games is playing with other people online. It's a big step from playing something like Mario Kart with family and friends in the same room to going online to play with people you don't know.

The games in this list offer small steps to go from local play to online play. Some games, like Roblox are designed for young players with lots of special safety settings. Other games, like Sky, are designed to lead players into co-operating with each other with in-game purchases you give away, and interactions that start limited and expand as you gain experience. Then there are co-operative games like Ibb and Obb where you work together and communicate with gestures on the screen.

You can use Family Settings and Parental Controls on your system to limit how your child interacts with other players online. As well as finding the right games to get them started, it's also important that you play with them and keep game screens in shared family spaces so you can see what they are doing.
 

Hide and Seek

Some forms of play are timeless. Running around with a stick pretending to be in the army. Chasing each other in games of tag. And, of course, hide and seek. The games in this list offer digital ways to play hide and seek with a variety of different twists.

Hide In A Crowd: There are games like Spy Party, Thief Town, Hidden in Plain Sight and Buissons, that let you play as a range of characters and then challenge another player to find you amongst a computer-controlled crowd, from what way you move and interact. The Fruit game in Game and Wario on Wii U has the same mechanics, with one person trying to steal fruit without the other players working out who they are. Wii Party offers hiding in its Spot the Sneak mode where one player has a secret advantage in the mini-games that the other players have to spot. Another great example is Wii U Party, Lost and Found Square mode. One player stands in a crowd of identical people and uses the Wii U gamepad to look around and describe their location to other players, who use the TV to explore and find them. At the end, you see a map of where the players had run.

Prop Hunt: There are games with "Prop Hunt" modes where you can change into the items in the world to hide. Fortnite has a great Prop Hunt mode, as does Minecraft. Then there are games like Witch It designed around this idea of transforming into normal items and hiding in a game world.

Separate Screens: There games like Mario Chase and Luigi's Ghosthouse in Nintendoland, or Pac-Man Vs where one person has their own screen while the others team up to hunt for them use the main TV screen. Or games you play online where everyone has their own screen and try to hide from a particular character like in Secret Neighbor. Screencheat is a twist on this, where you share the same screen and try to shoot each other, but your characters are invisible.

Hidden Objects: Or there are hidden object games where the computer hides things that you have to find, like Hidden Folks and Hidden Through Time. There's a hidden object mode in Mario Odyssey where you hunt online player's hidden balloons. A twist on this is Here Kitty where one person hides a phone that then makes cat noises until the seeker has found it.

Open World Hiding: You can use pretty much any open-world game to make your own hiding fun. You can hide in Minecraft (having turned nameplates off), sneak around on public transport in or simply count to 10 while visitors hide in Animal Crossing New Horizons.
 

Make Your Own Video Games

It can seem like making a video-games is only possible with a degree and lots of complicated equipment. The games on this list let you design and share your own levels just using your controller and tools like Scratch.

Image 174You can unleash your creativity with these games that enable you to make your own games. Start with something familiar and try making your own levels in Mario Maker or get to grips with building in Minecraft. Build your confidence and creativity and soon you’ll be creating more complicated games in Dreams or LittleBigPlanet.

We put this list together with the help of the brilliant National Videogame Museum, (NVM). The World's First Fully-Playable Cultural Centre Dedicated to Games. If you want more information about making your own videogames, the NVM has free resources to get you started.
 

Survive The Night

Surviving in games is often a key element. Some games, however, make it the main focus. With minimal resources and little light can you make it through to the morning? Can you prepare a shelter as the daylight dwindles in time for you to cope with the lurking creatures of the dark?

Whether this is as simple as closing the door to keep the zombies out in Minecraft or as complex as crafting food, clothing and medicine to cope with the freezing blackness of The Long Dark these games are exhilarating as they pose a strategic puzzle with personal consequences.

Many of these games offer an open world in which to survive, which opens up more ways of preparing for and then making it through the night time. This, of course, leads to another day where you need to spend time and resources wisely while exploring your surroundings.
 
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