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Reviews By Kids, For Kids: Minecraft

Review by Nick, age 15

A little more information about Minecraft

If you like Blockland, you should check out Minecraft.  All of my boys laid out their cash ($15 each) and purchased Minecraft (Alpha) over the weekend, after playing the free online version (Minecraft Classic) for a couple weeks.  They came home from school today, and said kids were sneak-playing Minecraft after school in the computer lab.

Minecraft is an online 3D sandbox style construction and survival adventure game with over 1,333,000 registered users, created by indie developer Markus “Notch” Persson from Sweden.  Everything – landscape, structures, mines, people / avatars, animals, and monsters (creepers, zombies, skeletons, spiders) – is built out of blocks or cubes, and you can play in single or multiplayer mode.  Built in Java, and published by Persson’s Mojang Specifications company, there are 2 versions:  Classic – released 5/17/09, and Alpha – released June 28, 2010.  Classic is only building with unlimited blocks; Alpha includes building, crafting, mining, and monsters.

According to the Minecraft official site at

“Minecraft is a game about placing blocks while running from skeletons. Or something like that.  The game…has has enemies and cave exploring and mining and farming and flowing water and dynamic lighting and a huge (huge) randomly generated world map. AND it has music!  Minecraft is still in alpha, but is rapidly nearing beta. I’ve only got one more feature to add; multiplayer support… The main branch of the game is currently called “Minecraft Alpha”, and is under heavy development. It can be a bit unstable at times, so don’t get too attached to your save files yet.”

For an excellent, in-depth review of Minecraft check out this article on Crave, the Gadget Blog from CNET:

“Minecraft has ancient-looking graphics, no plot, and generates massive, sandbox game worlds with seemingly infinite creative possibilities, but no clear instructions telling you what to do or how to get started.

Despite that seemingly user-unfriendly formula, Minecraft’s buzz is so strong the server hosting its Web site crashed this weekend under the weight of the incoming traffic. Spend an hour with Minecraft (which can easily spiral into two or three) and you’ll quickly understand the reason for the enthusiasm around this indie hit.

Minecraft puts you in the role of a nameless avatar. You begin the game in a randomly generated world of textured blocks that depict a gigantic, mountain-pocked environment bounded by water. You start with no inventory, and no clear concept of how to interact with the world. With a little experimentation you’ll likely soon discover that you can gather resources from the vast blocky landscape.

Spend a little time in Minecraft and the creative urge will likely take hold.”

Don’t forget to check out the comments section for the article, too, where players describe Minecraft as:

“The true beauty of this game lies in its multiplayer. When you’re on a server with 20 people, all of which are digging and building incredible creations, the game really turns into a virtual world. A very simple, and fun, virtual world.”

“What i really like about Minecraft is how anyone can play it. There is hardly any violence in Minecraft, so this is a game I could see children play as a way to express their creativity (unless you consider punching sheep for wool too violent).”

“I could see children play as a way to express their creativity…But don’t get your kids this game. It’s so addictive…

This game is more then addicting. I love it. The sandbox is really truly sandbox. No 2 games are ever alike (literally since the land is randomly generated) Its great how simplistic it all is yet can create so much.  I plan to populate many more islands/ areas and build anything I can imagine. your only limited by the resources you collect. (and what the creepers dont destroy) I cannot wait for multi-player. and invite my friends to my world along with me going to theirs. 


For more information: – official Minecraft site.

Minepedia – offers info on blocks, gameplay, servers, programs and editors, crafting recipes, and development resources, along with forums, museum, skins, development blog, IRC, and more.


Twitter – very active Minecraft Forums, along with links to Twitter, Status Blog, Play Minecraft!, Development Blog, Music Blog, Minepedia, and Minecraft IRC.

The Word of Notch – blog by indie developer Markus Persson

iPod apps:

Guide to Minecraft $.99

Minecraft Companion $.99


Your First Shelter in Minecraft (Tutorial Machinima) 

Building a starting house (Minecraft Tutorial) 

How to Survive your First Night (Minecraft Tutorial)   

What’s different between Blockland and Minecraft?

Blockland you have to install, but with Minecraft all you need is an internet connection and the executable file.  Also, you can play Minecraft in your browser because it’s made in Java.

Minecraft randomly autogenerates the landscape when you log in, and has building, crafting, mining.  The best part is the adventure game – when it becomes night, the monsters come out, and you have to stay alive (reminds me of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, when the Stalfos skeletons would come out at night…). 

Blockland has landscapes you can choose from – default ones, and custom built maps from RTB – and is basically building.  However, you can set up adventure games or building scenarios on your server as:  knife death match, TDM (Total Death Match), dodgeball game, mining, freebuild, dogfight, sniper/warfare battle, challenge, medieval RPG, city RPG, family, school, arcade, artwork, or anything else you can imagine.  You can download add-ons from RTB for maps, weapons, vehicles, games, and more, and create your own add-ons using TorqueScript.

Lastly, the Minecraft community (so far) seems to be a more friendly, less hostile group than you typically find on Blockland, with its foul language and “EPIC FAIL, NOOB!!!”


There are some amazing numbers associated with this game.  According to Wikipedia, as of October 2010, Minecraft has had over 415,000 purchases – that’s over $6.25 million!  After a recent “free to play” event, there were over 25,000 sales within a 24 hour period (that’s $375,000 in downloads in 1 day!).  Minecraft Alpha is currently 9.95 Euros, which is around $15 – a 50% discount off the price when it goes to Beta.

Clearly Minecraft is HOT and worth checking out, but keep in mind the game has some serious issues.  If you pay, don’t necessarily expect to be able to play without issues and an always-available-server.  Alpha version multiplayer has a lot of glitches – it’s alpha version, so expect it to be rough around the edges.  Also, Minecraft was down most of the day yesterday, and the website was unavailable due to hackers/DDoS attack.

Minecraft has also received many positive reviews, and there is huge interest in this creative and fun game right now.  The best thing about Minecraft is the joy of creating (building and crafting), mining resources, staying alive through the night, and playing with other people.  I’d recommend this game for ages 10 and up.

Have you played Minecraft?  What did you like/not like about it?  If you haven’t played, check it out (the free version, anyway) and tell us what you think in the comments.

9 replies on “Reviews By Kids, For Kids: Minecraft”

I also LOVE minecraft i play it it is addictive i get to build epic builds and kill monsters and i also get to mine for diamonds ! .
if anyone disagreed i would hope they started to play it because since alpha to beta ive been playing and each time it evolved it got better !

Comment on this if u hate minecraft @_@ (because if so go play it ! )

[…] Reviews By Kids, For Kids: Minecraft | Kid Mania – … age 15 A little more information about Minecraft If you like Blockland, you should check out Minecraft. … No 2 games are ever alike (literally since the land is … the Minecraft community (so far) seems to be a more friendly, less hostile group than you typically find on … […]

Minecraft is one of the most terrible games for kids to be playing, due to it’s terrible community, not even better then Wot. This community often is extremely immature and abuses kids sexually and in other senses, (trolls, griefs, etc). The creativity and so-called learning is quite fake, due to many minecraft players, and kids in general, cannot apply much of what is learnt in realistic senses. (math, building, unrealistic physics, etc) Sheerly due to it being a GAME. IN a game, you play to relax, not learn. overall, this game is too risky and potentally damaging to any child’s life. this comment does not include finacial and technical issues of this game.

Your comment brings up a great point – the potential dangers of letting kids play any MMO / massive multiplayer online game. There absolutely is the chance that they will meet someone who is rude, insulting, obscene, predatory, annoying, inappropriate, or all of the above. That’s true also with YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, or any online community.
That being said, I believe Minecraft is a wonderful game for kids — but — younger kids should be limited to either playing single player mode OR playing on a server that their parent has personally approved. There are several “family friendly” Minecraft servers you can join; you still may get some inappropriate behavior, but the server should have active mods clamping down on that.
Another option is for a family to host their OWN server, and then the kids can invite only their friends and school acquaintances to play with them. You set the rules — no swearing, no griefing, if you didn’t build it, you can’t destroy it, treat others as you would like to be treated. And, if anyone start to get out of control with TNT, or sets everything on fire, you can kick them.
My kids have made some close friends through MMOs, like Blockland, Maplestory, Mabinogi, and Minecraft. They live all over the world, Skype together, and meet up to play online games together. Along with the many jerks and bullies you will run into online, you may also meet a few gems. Kids just like your kids, who are just looking to have fun, and want some other nice kids to play with.
Can you learn playing Minecraft? Yup. You learn what is appropriate online behavior. How to build and place blocks. How to set up a server, and network engineering. You learn about architecture by building simple houses and massive buildings. Electrical engineering – how to place redstone so it works. You learn about strategy. About how to do civil engineering by designing bridges. And urban planning, by designing villages and cities. How not to fall in lava. How to express yourself using typed words. And we’re not even talking about mods yet. Using and creating mods teaches you about programming / coding / software engineering. So, yes. You can play. And relax. But, you can also learn. My kid, who is now in college doing computer science and media, got his start playing Blockland and taught himself how to use Torque to be able to create mods. When he was 12.

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