Minecraft the unknown world

MC 4

Engaging in Minecraft:  From excited to feeling out of my league.

For me, Minecraft has been a steep learning curve.  Right off the bat I was completely clueless how to play.  I suppose I was under the assumption that I could jump head first and play.  I downloaded the game on my Mac from Amazon for about 27$.  It was not intuitive downloading the game for a first timer.  I didn’t realize I was actually only getting a code to play the game.  I had to then take this code and register the game on Minecraft’s website (Mojang I believe).

MC 5The world of Minecraft began in a random blocky world.  This is probably one of the most boring and confusing starts to a game that I have ever played.  I apologize in advance if this offends any Minecraft gamers.  I think my lack of enthusiasm is mostly due downloading on a Mac computer, in hindsight. I figured this newer Mac would have good graphics and would be portable.  Unfortunately, I do not have a mouse or controller.  Warning: avoid this game for Mac’s if you are not a professional gamer!!!

After attempting to play this game for the second time, I realized there were tutorials on Mojang’s website.  The tutorials were not as helpful as I imagined but I did warm up to playing the game.  I can see how addicting this game can be.

MC 1Interacting with the Minecraft community may be even more fun than actually playing this game (for me).  I participated in my first #MinecraftEdu chat two nights ago.  Keep in mind this is my second Tweet chat ever.

Because of me misreading the time zone I was a bit late to the party.  Instead of just jumping into chat, I paged back to the beginning of the Tweet chat.  Okay, again for all of the newbies out there, this is NOT a great idea.  I spent so much time trying to catch up with the chat I missed out on a lot of the participation. { Insert Sigh }

MC 2I was behind was because I wasn’t exactly sure what the chat was about.  While attending next week’s #MinecraftEdu chat, I am logging on early and connecting more with people.  The chat this week pertained to use the use of narratives in teaching Minecraft.  I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Speaking with individuals who are well versed in Minecraft Education can put things in perspective. week I am hoping to be able to participate more, until then I still feel completely out of place.

I have been searching for ways to connect with people are are experts in this game.  I found an article  “The top 10 @MinecraftEdu Educators to Follow”.  I was SO excited when I found out that a few of them were in the chat I was in.  This might not sound like the most exciting thing to the average person I realize (this is probably the nerd inside getting pumped up).

When I was told to find an affinity space to “join” I guess I was thinking I was going to be highly engaged in a game.  I find myself way more interested in this Minecraft Education side of it.  To me, this is where the magic is.  Here lies the sweet spot where learning and game play merge.  As for playing the game, I guess time will tell if it grows on me.

MC 3

Tweet chat-Exploring the unknown

twitter chat 1Yesterday was my first Tweet chat.  What did I do to prepare for this you ask?  I googled what to do in a tweet chat.  That didn’t get me very far.  I was confused how I could read all of the comments from people using a similar hashtag.   Then I remembered Tweetdeck had that option. I added a column that included @Games4eED and I was able to track what everyone was saying for the hour.

twitter chat 3I was relieved to find there was a moderator that provided questions throughout the entire conversation.  At first I wan’t sure if I was supposed to bring something to the table.  I responded to 7 different questions, as well as replying to other’s comments.

twitter chat 6.jpgThe conversation that occurred was surrounding narratives and their involvement in the development of games.  The audience to me appeared to be comprised of mostly educators from pretty diverse backgrounds. One of the responses to the questions, included #MinecraftEdu, and I replied to this individual. Although I do not use games in the workplace, I am trying to make connections in the MinecraftEdu world (as an extension of my affinity space).  I was excited when someone reached out to me and told me about a Minecraft chat on Tuesday.  Although this is later than I usually stay up (10pm), I am excited at the opportunity to engage with this group of people.

twitter chatI think next time I am going to do a little research before I engage in a Tweet chat.  I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first one, but now I know a little more how they are structured.  As I mentioned earlier, I do not use narrative and games together on a regular basis but there was still a lot to learn from this experience.  As a result of this chat I have a few new followers and I have a link to my affinity space.  What more could I ask for?!


Sit back, relax and enjoy this puzzle



     Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. The player guides the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, to uncover hidden paths, unfold optical illusions and outsmart the enigmatic Crow People.

monument-2For my play journal, I decided on a puzzle game on my Iphone.  This game is a deliberately slow paced game, in which the relaxed tempo and calming music, adds to this effect.  It relies on optical illusions and hidden solutions to achieve the goal of moving the main character from a start point to an end point.  The use of perspectives and angle changes adds to its challenging nature.  There really doesn’t seem to be many rules to this game.  It is a fluid experience of discovery.

In Monument Valley you are playing a girl walking around trying to maneuver around staircases, walk ways and odd crow people who want to block your path.  The game design is probably the most creative and well thought out of any game I have ever played.  It was more than just random trees or distracting backgrounds.  Every staircase and every bridge had a purpose for being part of the puzzle.  As you twist one road your perception of the entire stage changed.  It is almost difficult to explain in words the creativity the designers were able to capture.  Your only downfall in playing this game is not thinking far enough outside the box to complete the seemingly simple puzzles.

monument-1I choose this game because it won quite a few awards.  I read that it was a very mellow and calming game play.  Who doesn’t need something like that in their life?  I began playing this game as I rode the light rail to work every day.  It was a relaxing experience being able to play a game that is so detracting on my way to work.  Previous to this, I would read the news on the light rail.  Playing this game evoked a completely different emotion in me.  It helped my day start off on a much different note.

Playing Monument Valley, made me think of the readings from this week.  In particular the article written by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan.  This article focused on the changes that occur in people’s brains when gamers solved puzzles.  While playing this game I became better at working through countless trial and error strategies.  I think I would perform better than a non-gamer in finding solutions to the puzzles.  If this game was used in the study above, I think the results would be the same.

     Not only did the gamer group do a lot better at the task, they used a more complex “multi-cue” strategy to complete it.  (Campbell-Dollaghan, 2015)

monument-4There wasn’t a budget or time frame for completing this game when it was designed.  It is based off of M.C. Escher’s concept of puzzles.  I read about the background of this game.  It only took a mere 10 months to complete.  The basic concept was the idea of perspectives being pivotal in figuring out how to complete a stage.  I was surprised at how easy Monument Valley was to learn to play.  There is no wrong way to play.  Instructions and tutorials are none existent, because it is a fluid visual puzzle.  I am curious at how they developed all of the intricate stages of this game.

I would recommend this game for anyone who enjoys visual puzzles or for a person who needs a peaceful distraction from life.