What is this crazy talk about? It's a game that is kinda like legos in that you can build anything you want, but it's also an adventure game. You know exactly what to expect, and it sucks you into it's world and out of your own confusing real world. It's addicting for sure. Escaping from reality to a place that you pretty much build to your liking.
Because of the known addiction factor I know some parents who won't allow there children to play it at all. Perhaps they see it as a waste of time, or an anti-social behavior. Those of you who know me personally also know that I limit screen time like a card carrying hippie (not that a hippie would carry a card, but anyway.) I'm very pro art projects, reading, and imagination. However, this is a game that I can get behind.
I have a tween who until recently wasn't too into communicating with others. That is not until this little thing called an Ipod touch entered her hands. Now she is instant messaging kids from school, posting videos that she makes and emailing up a storm. This virtual world is an easier way of communicating for people on the spectrum because there is no eye contact, confusing body language, or constant need for back and forth communication. They have time to think, form there sentences, make sure there is perfection in the words, and then press send. If you don't want to email or text back right away, you don't have to. The communication is under your control and can be put on the shelf whenever you want.
I met my husband on the internet, he introduced himself with an email and then we would " hang out" in a chat room for hours at a time. He was a wonderful company, funny and clever and full of dreams and imagination. I looked forward to our chats everyday and after "talking" to him like that for several weeks we talked on the phone. It was very confusing. I was certain that he was not interested in me at all. He seemed distracted, bored, and very distant. I started questioning everything that I had thought before and when the call ended I was almost certain that he would never talk to me again. Then, he came into the chat room again the next day and all was normal. I was perplexed. 11 years of marriage later and several books on aspergers read (I recommend Alone Together if you have an aspie spouse) and I now know why our phone call went so badly. I thank God that there was an internet or I'm not sure how we would have got to know each other. Also, he lived several states away so really, the internet was pretty invaluable. The window to our getaway car after our wedding actually said "Thank God for the internet" courtesy of the groomsmen.
So it seems like I trailed off and forgot all about minecraft, but I haven't. The face to face communicating for aspie kids (or adults) is tricky business. You have to plan it out and follow lots of unwritten social rules. It's a very tiring experience. However, when you are talking about your very favorite thing ( currently MINECRAFT) you have no trouble at all knowing what to say. You share tips, tell about adventures, discuss things you built and how to build them. It's not just the aspie kids who are playing either, that is the beauty of the game. It's not like you need to be labeled a Star Trek nerd, or know about some unique type of anime that is in Japanese subtitles. It's popular with all the kids and so it gives the aspie kids a gateway into conversations with kids that normally would have nothing in common with them. The aspie kid can talk to the neurotypical kid for long amounts of time and nobody gets overwhelmed or bored. They are both genuinely interested not only in what they are saying but what the other person has to say as well. I know once the games popularity dwindles so may the friendship but the experience of communicating together will last and who knows maybe they will magically drift off the topic of mindcraft and discover other things they have in common.
This past week my daughter went to a day camp with the theme being Minecraft. They played the game together (teamwork), and played other games like hide and seek or tag but with a Minecraft twist. She had a blast but the other thing that happened was that she started getting phone calls from the other kids in the camp and requests for playdates, to no doubt talk about and play the game. If you have a neurotypical (non-aspie) tween girl then the phone call and playdate request are most likely not a big deal. You may wish your tween would get off the phone but it's a rare thing in my house so I am excited about it.