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Playing Video Games with My Son Isn’t What I Thought It Would Be (thecut.com)
429 points by ingve 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 172 comments



This article reminds me of playing Minecraft with my stepdaughter. When we got her a PS4, I have to admit that I had a bit of a fuddy duddy moment. Games weren't like they were when I was young, blah blah blah, NES, blah blah blah, the damned princess is in a different castle. And, when I firstlooked at Minecraft, I couldn't for the life of me, figure out what I was supposed to do.

Then, my stepdaughter took over and taught me the game. I was amazed by what an incredible teacher she was! And, I was more amazed by how much I learned about her playing Minecraft with her. That's still one of my peak experiences in step-parenting and I hope that's a memory that I will hold onto until the end of my days.

One particular moment still makes me laugh. As I mentioned, she was an incredible teacher with an ability to teach through stories and an incredible amount of patience with me. So, I said, "You know, you should become a teacher." She gave me a look that can best (and only) be described as her stinkeye and said, "I don't want to be a teacher. I want to be normal."


That’s great. One nitpick: there’s no such thing as step-parenting. For all intents and purposes this is parenting and you’re nailing it.


That's really kind of you to say. Thank you! :)


I’m constantly encouraging the second, third, and fourth year apprentices at work to be the first stop and series of escalation points for the more junior apprentices and students who come in for week-long work experience sessions as part of their high school requirement.

Part of learning is learning to teach, to share the skills and knowledge we have. It isn’t strictly necessary, but we know more is revealed when we attempt to impart a skill or knowledge because we are forced to use our Beginners Mind.

Lots of kids will just do this as part of play. I think it’s important to continue doing as we age, but maybe that’s just my secret desire to be a teacher. As tradesperson at a company with two new apprentices each year that desire is fulfilled.


I'm working on theory that we all desire to be teachers, though definitely not teachers in a school classroom. I think the desire to share what we've learned is part of the process of learning, maybe a validation step. There can be lots of factors affecting one's situation, but for the most part life can be rearranged to accommodate things like teaching. Maybe the reason we don't run out and share what we've learned is because we adults don't feel like we know anything worth sharing.

Lately I'm reading the ancient philosophy texts and thinking about what it was like to learn back then. Plato had Socrates (who didn't believe in writing!) and he had to compete with other younger students for his favor. This meant not only participating in the conversations available but also making himself available to them. Can you imagine how different the learning experience would be if teachers just made themselves available from 9am-3pm every day, and students could choose to fill all or none of their time in their company? Like if spontaneous moments of brilliance came about when something like a high school german instructor bumped into a legendary cognitive science professor and together, they discovered a new idea at the intersection. And teachers and students (who made the effort to be there) could have been there to witness the whole thing. To see the joy of learning something new, on the two faces who only together made it possible. And to themselves learn something new from it. It's amazing stuff when we let it be.

The situation in which we find ourselves today, both ends of the dialogue are confused about what to do. The students aren't sure what to seek out, and they seem to rely more on luck and fate to assemble an understanding of the world for them. This makes me think no one is telling them what they're capable of, or about all of the lifetimes of enjoyment they can find in the world without spending a cent, only their time. There are millenia of human histories to explore and help them find their place, but the teachers on the other end are seeing the lack of interest in their methods and are taking it personally.

We need a much more flexible perspective on education, and I think a big part of that is becoming great teachers in our own lines of work like you're doing. We simply cannot put "learning" in a box and on a store shelf and expect the next generation to just pick it up. This is a life-long journey for all of us, and it can be a life-long joy if we help others see and feel the value of living!


Minecraft is up there with space ships and full suspension mountain bikes, in the arena of "Greatest Things that Have ever Happened"


Nobody knows minecraft intuitively. There are many children's games that you can figure out easily, but minecraft requires "a lot" lonely experimentation or reading or someone shows it to you.


That is at least part of the fun. I bought it when it (Minecraft) when it first came out. It was FPS Lego as far as I was concerned. At the time, and still, more or less, it was a game with none of the Psy Ops modern game makers employ to get people hooked. It was just intrinsically rewarding to make stuff. My son learned to use a mouse on Minecraft (he is 11 now). Now my kids and I have a long running world where we have been working on th same castle and world for years. It is cool seeing kids grow up with this game. Watching their building skills and ideas grow with thier minds is pretty cool.

So, it isn't intuitive, but my 6 year old can do pretty much everything in the game now. Mostly her older brother showed her. So, I dunno, maybe it is lonely, but in the same way building Lego is lonely.


I did not mean "lonely" as negative. But people sometimes go "oh I dont get it instantly I must be too old for it, cant do it and kids get it naturally". And that is not the case, kids are figuring it out slowly and their play is more incapable then they think at first. However, they "feel" like they know what they are doing whole time, so learning is pleasant.

But also, I dont really think Minecraft is like lego. You can play it like lego, but you dont have to.


True. Original Minecraft had no story or game. The game was survive. You could "win" within 30 minutes of your first time learning things. The plot and end dragon and all were added a lot later.

My kids have never finished the game and pretty much only play creative mode.

I didn't think you meant it negatively. Just an interesting way to describe it.


The beauty of Minecraft is that you do your thing and gameplay emerges - it does not pushes you in any direction. And you can switch game playing style whenever you want however you want. You can be explorer, you can learn, you can build, you can roleplay, you can care about aesthetics or not, you can care about ecology or not, you can go to caves and catch monsters. Most importantly, you can mix approaches. And when you get bored by it, you change gameplay style and game dont care, there is no penalty.

All that while whole game is remarkably low stress and zen-like. In survival, you will dig for hours for material. And you can also get stress if you want to and you can put yourself in danger if you want to.


>My son learned to use a mouse on Minecraft

Funny how that works out -- I learned to touch-type because of Runescape.


> or someone shows it to you.

I heard there's websites with videos demoing game play.

(There was this youngster with an ipad that seemed to spend quite a few hours watching them. Perhaps more than playing the game.)


Lol, most kids who play Minecraft actually watch Minecraft videos a lot more then they actually play. So, you would not be out of normal.

However, fining good beginner videos is not that easy (how to move, set it on creative at first, look you can fly etc) and watching videos is time consuming for adults. The ratio of noise vs information is very very low.


Kids actually love repetition, and being able to act on it.

The better documented example of this is when Blue's Clues needed to run the same episode multiple times a week. Everyone thought their ratings would tank, but instead they spiked.


As someone who lives with two teachers, I find this hilarious and awesome. :D

I still haven't played Minecraft, but this makes me want to learn how from a kid.


I definitely feel games like Sims and Simcity changed my perception of resource safety as a child. I played Sims/Simcity2000~3000/Civs for hundreds of hours as a kid, and I loved the "realistic" feels and setups of these games. When I started to play I always had later stage trouble when I'm overspending on building fancy roads and bridges in SimCity or buying expensive items up front. I slowly learned the way of setting up a less impressive base first, and swapping out parts and do re-designs and expansions as more resources became available.

I later found out all games have a specific pattern you follow to win, many of these patterns are available in online communities/guides/cheat sections where I'd spend tons of time to read, try and experiment. Those were probably the peak happiness and best time I've enjoyed as a little nerdy kid. I never thought too much a big deal of these experiences but nonetheless I believe definitely contributed to a base reality of how resource management work, and how I manage my personal projects, finance, and career choices as I grew up.

I'd be super curious to see research / longitudinal study coming up from the past 2-3 decades of gaming on kids, and see if conservative gaming styles leads to conservative financial decisions etc etc.

I'm not a father yet but I thought it would be a really cool idea to understand my kid through game play like this, but I also don't want the kids to be limited by my personal value though these interactions - sort of like the "observer and supporter" role the author played.

Sidenote: I'm still playing the latest Civ6 and still enjoy a lot from the dynamics in the economy managements with A.I..


I'd be very careful about applying lessons from a game to the real world. Lots of games designed by economists, for example, tend to validate the pet theories of the economists, despite not working in the real world.

Real world economics is infinitely more complex than the handful of rules in a game.


I think the biggest difference is most games tend to have anything not dead + positive resource stream = a win. People tend to build city's / county's / etc that go through a major such phase to maximize resource collection.

In reality you generally don't want to have 40 years of suck to get to some long term gain, because you need to live those 40 years.


You mean some sort of great leap forward produces negative results for your citizens until it's completed? I swear I heard a story similar to that in reality.


The thing is relative to most developing nations China has had very slow economic growth. Yes, with a massive population, but China ranks 110 by purchasing power per person. It's economy is terrible, the only thing it has going for it is scale. And it's not like it has a massive population density either ranking at #80 world wide.



developing nations

USA in 1980 was already a developed nation with a high relative standard of living. It could only grow GDP by inventing new technology and process not simply import proven tech.

China's continued failures are massive and ongoing. Some numbers look ok relative to their past failures but that's about it.


I don’t have a source — lazy Saturday here — but I recall something about city planners using Sim City back in the day as part of their education, which horrified Will Wright since in his words (paraphrasing) “sim city is just cellular automata with some differential equations sprinkled on top.”


Yeah, but who's to say that real cities aren't just cellular automata? They kind of look that way from space.


Even if they are, they don't have the same rules as SimCity's


Indeed, though in some cases it reveals that the problem is likely how we design actual cities.

http://humantransit.org/2013/05/how-sim-city-greenwashes-par...


Dear god ... that game makes so much more sense now when seen in that light. I can't believe I haven't made the connection before considering much I enjoy cellular automata.


> tend to validate the pet theories of the economists

I don't think that's really true. I don't think any game company or designer cares about forcing a pet economic theory to work.

More that game economies have a purpose and can be explicitly modelled to achieve that purpose, even if that means doing unrealistic things (such as conjure up resources out of nowhere). That's not too say that they can't be an effective test model for real world scenarios, if you bear those conceits in mind.

If an economy makes players have a bad time, they can jump ship in a way that they can't do in the real world. There is a financial incentive for game designers to build an economy that makes players satisfied. Strictly modelling a game on real life economic policies is usually not a good way to achieve this. Vast resource inequality between players is a good way to kill a multiplayer game, for example - unless you even the divide in some way, only those at the very top want to keep playing.


I agree that game designers are also trying to make a system that's a good game. But I do understand GP's point here, insofar as the designers have to build the system within a certain frame of reference.

As an adjacent example, City Skylines is a pretty fun city builder. A huge simulation, down to very complex traffic models. You can build sprawling cities with a bunch of highways.

But it's extremely hard to build anything that replicates old European cities, or denser cities like in Asia, because your smallest useful road is very big in relation to the buildings. The tools given to you basically point you directly to American-style zoning that leads to suburban sprawl and huge highway systems.

In a sense, that's the point of the game (to make you fight traffic), but it's difficult if you are trying to build a certain kind of city that we know exist and are, in fact, "better cities".

The simulation presents a certain worldview of how cities are built.


If you're designing Sim City or Cities Skylines, your balancing decisions will still reflect theories though.

For example, mixing commercial and residential buildings - will it work or not?


For example, the classic board game "Monopoly" was invented to push an economic agenda:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-scandalous-history-of-monop...


But taught me very different things...


Counterpoint: Eve Online


Hey credit where credit is due, CCP is working very hard yo make the game enjoyable by the solo/little guys again, more options than straight up grinding. Still, hope you like multiaccount moon mining.


Resource management in video games is a skill that I'm sure transfers to real world resource management. Apart from the simulators you mention strategy games like age of empires and red alert also teach about it.

Some weeks ago a co-worker told me something similar to what you share, how he learned about resources while playing SimCity. He also said his younger sister asked him "If people doesn't have money, why doesn't the government print money and gives it to people?". He said that playing SimCity would have prevented his sister from asking such a naive question.

I also would love so see the results of research about these games on kids. Maybe someday kids will play Sim City and AoE at elementary school or similar games designed for schools.


It's not a naive question. She was on the verge of re-inventing Keynesian Economics, which ended the Great Depression.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/keynesianeconomics.asp


>> Keynesian Economics, which ended the Great Depression

This is a pretty bold claim and not one that should be stated as fact.


Keynesian Economics kept Australia out of recession in 08. They literally gave everyone 800 bucks. It was awesome, went out a bit more, bought lots of takeout and a few bits for around the house. And the economy kept moving.

Now if only i could figure out a way to get more people to live in my SIM tower!


Yeah, I'm sure that mining boom had nothing to do with it...


Why stop at 800?

Give everyone a million bucks and you'd have a booming economy.


That's a bit of a lame argument, along the same lines as the 'trickle down' effect.

It probably depends on whether your economy is limited by consumer demand or by insufficient investments. For most developed nations it is clearly limited by consumer demand. Giving rich people more money aka 'trickle down' won't get the rich people to invest, because there is no demand (normal people already spend more than 100% of their income)

In this situation giving away money helicopter style makes sense.


What are the competing theories? The most common one is "WWII", which is another way of saying "Keynesian Economics"


Luck and variance are pretty good explanations, though people tend to hate them. The idea that every thing in the universe has to have a specific cause and effect plagues a lot of "analysis" in today's world. We simply aren't built for accepting luck.


There's a ton of competing theories that like to point out that previous depressions lasted a year or two while the Great Depression went on and on because of all the government interventions that prevented the economy from being able to recover.




"If people doesn't have money, why doesn't the government print money and gives it to people?"

Because people are not systemically important financial institutions :)


They sort of are though. It's just that a person's importance isn't individually obvious, and only becomes obvious in aggregate.


It definitely is not a naive question. Printing money is precisely what the government should do. Income tax should be eliminated, it is a relic of the past. The government should fund itself not by selling bonds, which essentially is printing money that pays interest, but by simply printing money which is more direct.


To put a finer point on it, most people still believe that (monetarily sovereign) governments are constrained by their income and by the willingness of lenders to accommodate government debt. But that view is incorrect: the real constraint to government spending is only the economy's real capacity for production. Another way to think of it is that the real constraint to government spending is inflation (because excessive government spending beyond the economy's supply capacity would lead to increased demand-pull inflation).

Whatever the reason, the empirical observation in these days of low inflation seems to be that most governments aren't even close to the true limit of spending.


Uh, this is a very interesting (and intriguing) perspective.

Couple of questions:

- Does this mean that there’s a case for QE to be made permanent under a low-inflation environment?

- Under this model, govermnents would be directly responsible for the allocation of the newly created money. How can this not lead to a depressed economic output over time?

- Where can I read more about this?


QE: Not really. The problem with QE is that it's a purely monetary operation, so the only way it could lead to real economic growth is if it somehow lead to more lending. But arguably debt leads to instability, and besides it's like pushing on a string: it doesn't work when people don't want to borrow. It'd be better for the government to outright buy stuff or give people money.

Depressing economic output: Absent inflation, economic output is proportional to overall spending, so a policy like this can't depress economic output almost by definition.

However, I'd say there is a risk of directing that output towards useless things, plus there's the risk of favouritism that leads to hidden inflation via inefficiency (see also: military industrial complex). So it matters where the money is spent.

Personally, I'd like to try something like a "citizen's dividend": just hand out money to all citizens equally each month (or permanent residents, you can argue the details), no questions asked and no strings attached, but vary the amount based on current inflation. That is, increase the dividend when inflation is low, scale it back when inflation rises above some target.

So kind of like a UBI, but with a macroeconomic motivation rather than trying to replace the welfare system. It also appeals to me because it's a sort of direct democratic approach to macroeconomic management: people can literally vote with their wallet about how the money is spent.

Where to read more: modern monetary theory is a good keyword to start with. I found Randall Wray's book very interesting. Warren Mosler's "7 deadly innocent frauds" is less academic, but it's available online and interesting since it comes from a practitioner instead of a theoretician. Though I admit it's been many years since I read either.


My naive question is why so few governments or central banks tried implementing QE as helicopter money, rather than for bond purchases. It seems to my (undergrad-only econ) perspective that the person in the street is far more likely to put the money to use in the economy.


Bond purchases or helicopter money is essentially the same thing.

1) The government sprays more money around in welfare and salaries than they raise through taxes

2) The government issues bonds

3) The central bank prints money to buy those bonds

It's equivalent to the central bank printing money to pay for welfare programs and salaries (which go to common people in the streets)


QE books purchases aren't about allowing the government to borrow more. In any rich country the government can borrow as much as it wants. It's about crowding out private purchases of those bonds so that those lenders will lend to businesses and people instead. I'd be willing to bet that a $1000 tax refund is more likely to be spent than an extra $1000 that banks may or may not lend to someone.


I disagree, buying bonds benefits above all bond holders, read funds and investment banks. The people only get the money way down in the food chain.


I've been wondering the same thing. A few points come to mind:

It's easy trot out the "but the bureaucracy!" argument.

Helicopter money is in-your-face money creation which brings out the gold bugs and inflation hyperventilators. QE as practiced is in comparison too mysterious for people to latch on to effectively.

Helicopter money was never really championed by anybody in the first place, so nobody really had to argue against it.

It's really unfortunate that a perfectly reasonable policy never got a fair chance. I do think it has a lot to do with ideological bias especially among central bankers, and with the fact that a lot of people on the left, who should naturally be in favour of such a policy, are too averse to studying economics and finance thoroughly enough to participate effectively in such discussions.


Playing games would have made it impossible to imagine Qualitative Easing? I played a lot of SimCity and it taught me that tradeoffs are very real and that mayors have a tough job; but it didn't stop me from independently coming up with the idea of qualitative easing as it happens. Still, I take the point, one can't use QE every time or in just any year to avoid a tradeoff - only when deflation is a real possibility.


What? When is monetary policy ever an issue in SimCity? How does managing a city's resources, revenue, or budget teach you anything about that?


SimCity, Red Alert, AoE so much time playing on them. I’m not sure what they teach me but I’m confident it exposed me to problem solving and persistance which are always useful skills.


Even something like Civilization can be expressive and educational. I mean, I also loved Mortal Kombat as a kid, before my parents figured out it was a game where you could punch a man so hard you could pull his beating heart out of his chest. But I also remember learning about ecology from SimEarth, and learning how to balance a budge from Theme Park.


I think combat games teach a lot about improvisation, especially if you're playing against another human, you'd have to adapt in realtime the pattern the other person is using and trying to develop a strategy to counter the other person's attack/defense. In recent combat games, the startup/cooldown time are so precise that pro players literally need to remember, compute and combine maths in their game plays in real time into combos.


I play a lot of poker, and will risk hundreds of dollars on a single hand.

All of my 401k is in money market mutual funds.

I'm not sure that a straight up games-to-financial-decision type study would be useful, there are many different motivations between playing games or even gambling, and financial decisions.


I hope by "money market mutual funds" you mean some general sort of passive-markets based investment approach (not actually holding 100% of your 401k in cash-like instruments)?


Money market mutual funds is a very well defined term.


I’d argue that, if you have a healthy relationship with skill-based gambling (i.e. poker, not roulette), you’re likelier to come out the other side with a clearer appreciation for risk and reward.

Or, more bluntly: There’s nothing like being acutely aware how easily you can lose your stack on a bad gamble to make you invest your savings wisely. :)


That’s why I never succeeded for long in Simcity 2000! I would buy the biggest items, because you know, you gotta invest, you gotta see big, so I’d buy the nuclear plant as soon as available because you know, availability makes businesses develop quicker. And I’d always fail because the slightest glitch (monster, earthquake, riot) would ruin the objectives!

Aside from being influenced by government advertising (“This airport in a no-man’s land is going to develop the no-man’s land into a city!”), it also influenced my entrepreneur life: Why see small when you can invest all you have and get increasingly more return? Why spend time debugging when I could have this other big feature on the marketing material? And that’s why I never went past a few hours in Simcity, and why my cousin, a less entreprising person, would succeed more! Ha!

What a cautionary tale.


This points out a possibility I never thought of: archiving your children's play! I suppose we already keep art that our children produce but something so complexly imagined & constructed over hours was previously fairly ephemeral.

I recently had the pleasure of reviving a game world my brother & I had built three years ago. Wandering around that was a nice trip through nostalgia. These kids will be able to do that for their ten year old selves, all the way up.


I also have visited old minecraft worlds i made with my friends, but I must say that bitrot is a serious issue. Once the world is corrupt or lost, you cannot look back at it like you did. This save and restore is what I have grown up with. I remember the day my Pokemon Silver savegame got erased, due to a depleting battery, for example.

People should not forget to take pictures and movies and make them physical, instead of dumping it on the internet. Having a small amount of pictures is more than enough, that make those events even more special.

I had a lot of gaming memories saved on Xfire. They stopped their service a couple years ago and all the contents and thus the strong link to memories are gone. Just like people you have had contact with online, eventually you'll loose contact and then these pictures can help you not forgetting that time...

Maybe we are making and processing so many events, that we'll get issues remembering stuff in a couple years?


My Pokémon games still hold their saves, about 20 years after I got them. I turned on my GBC and checked a few months ago and the saves were amazingly still there then.

I want to dump the save files but I haven’t quite found the right equipment at the right price. Does anyone know of some electronics that are not too expensive and that can be used to dump the save games onto a Linux computer?


I archived a bunch of my old worlds as well, though I need to go back and organize them and triplicate the backups as well as getting back into some of those worlds and playing around again on an updated rig. Some worlds I had to cut short due to diminishing FPS the more and more I built (shakes fist at stair roofs).

One thing I wish I had access to though were the builds I've done on public servers.


I still have a stack of floppy disks of Roller Coaster Tycoon Savegames. I should probably go convert them to some solid state media.


That reminds me, I should go back to those old hard drives and see if they're (Roller Coaster Tycoon, Sim City, The Sims, etc. [Dyno Park Tycoon anyone?]) recoverable.


I would love to be able to walk through some of my old Doom levels I made when I was younger!


I tried to play with my 4 y.o. son to NES classic games. He loved Donkey Kong County, and some other arcades, but I found games affects his behavior in a bad way. He was always asking to play more, refusing to go and play outside, working at home with books, paper, and color pens and water paints. So we're not playing for 6 months or more. He loved plasticine, and makes some really fancy and realistic animals. He likes water painting on the paper, and likes when we read him books. We believe video games is not something we should hook up our kids for. Avoiding games, and limiting the amount of youtube videos to 30-60 mins helped a lot.


Learning how to put the video game down is just as big a life lesson as many of the things the actual gameplay teaches you.

I think maybe 4 is a little young to ask a kid not to let their emotions drive them. But by the time they get to ages 6-10, video games can be a valuable tool for teaching time / life balance. Better to figure out at a young age that you have cravings to screw around when you should be doing something else, and you have to resist or bad things will happen.

Better they figure it out as a kid when "Bad things will happen" means "Parents will be mad." It's a lot tougher on them if they have to figure it out when they're a young adult, and "Bad things will happen" means "Flunking college" or "Losing a job."

Too many young adults can't deal with managing free time when they're first out on their own, and there are actual consequences to it at that point in their life.

Source: Was a kid once, was a young adult once, saw a couple other young adults wash out of college because nobody'd ever taught them how to stop playing video games when it starts to interfere with what they need to do.


I don’t have kids yet, but if I become a parent I also plan to encourage them to play more in the real world. I didn’t have access to a games console or computer at home until I was 10, so most of my youth was spent creating my own fun, usually outside.

What scares me even more is seeing parents of younger kids, giving them their phone and letting them watch episodes of Peppa Pig or similar, all the time. Guess it works to keep them quiet though...


Donkey Kong Country is SNES.

4yr-old is very young for video games.


Video games are a vice, not a hobby.

Giving your child video games is like giving him beer. (I learned this from bitter experience.)


Like most things, video games are a hobby for some and a vice for others. It has more to do with the person than the activity.

Also, a four year old is probably too young to be drinking beer but I don't think beer with a low ABV (0.5-2.5%) is particularly bad for older children as long as they don't drink enough to get drunk. I could be wrong about that though.


My kids and I use to play Terraria together. I would always challenge them by building things like a castle on the edge of space or a mine car track that ran the length of the map but hidden either in clouds or deep under ground.

I would leave them rare materials or dyes in chests and see what they would come up with.

The fun part was that we didn't have to play at the same time, every now and then I would log in and they'd have left something in my house to let me know they found my hide out.

We eventually invited some of their friends and a co-worker's kid who was getting griefed in public servers.

Every so often we'll spend an evening on the couch playing some co-op or competitive game but we don't spend much time in our Terraria world anymore.

I should check it out and see what's become of it.


Terraria is brilliant. My 7 year old son and I have just discovered it; I must say after spending quite a lot of time in Minecraft it's a fresh breath of air.


Why is it better?


I didn't say better, but they are different. It might end up as better though!

I'm loving the 2D aspect which makes it easier to find stuff, and that pickaxes don't wear out - that sort of thing. Also the number of things to discover is greater. As an adult, combat mechanics are more interesting.

You get to keep your character between games, so those rare items you find - you get to keep them.

Additionally, it's super easy to connect to a friend via Steam. On the LAN it just works every time, no need to manually enter IP address and remember the port; also I hated having to pay a monthly fee for Realms just to let my son play with his geographically distant cousin.

Son is 7 and loves a bit of action; probably wouldn't want anyone too much younger, Minecraft in creative mode is far more suitable for younger kids.


https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/a+breath+of+fresh+air

That phrase is usually used on something that's positive, after something that's negative. Notice that most of the examples use the word "boring" for the former thing they're talking about.

The person that replied to you probably just assumed you were using it the same way. I don't think I've ever seen anyone use it on 2 things they liked before.


Fair enough. We've played Minecraft for a long time, so it has indeed become somewhat boring - familiarity breeds contempt, that sort of thing.

However just because Terraria feels fresh having just discovered it, I'm not going to say it's automatically better. Only long term play would decide that. They're quite different games although they share certain elements.


One of the nice things about newer worlds created with Terraria is the event system. There are cyclical events around phases of the moon and holidays. And there are world changing events like defeating Skeletron that unlock harder modes and access to new materials and crafting abilities.

The full game isn't available all the time and has to be discovered tonit gives you something to work towards.


There should be more collaborative games rather than competitive games. One of my fondest memories is playing Quake 2 in COOP mode at a LAN Party back in the 90s getting stuck in a mineshaft with the group way past midnight. Extremely immersive and bonding experience. We still talk about this moment years later.


A lot of the really popular shooters out there now are collaborative, or have a strong collaborative element. For example, Destiny 2 can be solo, but really encourages you to group up with a couple friends to run 3 person strikes and other activities. Overwatch is a 6v6 game that is unwinnable without teamwork, and similarly R6 Siege requires advanced team collaboration. PUBG (2.2 million current active players at this minute) and Fortnite both derive a large part of their appeal from their very popular duo and 4 person squad modes. If you look at what people are actually playing right now, a huge chunk of it is largely collaborative games.


I definitely wish there were more collaborative games. I like to game with my wife, and we don’t prefer games where the objective is defeating each other.

Minecraft far and away is the game we play together most of the time. Alas it has finally gotten old to us.

One Christmas we played eve online. That was a great bit of fun. Bit of a time sink though.

I wish The Long Dark had coop.


Stardew Valley once its multiplayer launches. Magicka for weirdness.

Warhammer Vermintide 2, Left For Dead 1/2 or Borderlands 2 for FPS coop. Dead Space 3 if you don't mind a few scares. Ark is decent for PvE coop.

Portal 2 for puzzles. Rocket League for sporty action (albeit coop vs other people). Throw in Factorio for building.

Path of Exile/Diablo 3/Torchlight 2 for ARPG. StarCraft 2 for RTS.

But overall I'm with you, I feel all games can be enhanced with coop.


My fondest memories are playing duke Nukem 3d with my best friend, modem to modem. 1v1 deathmatch.

I don't think there is anything wrong with competition. I think it's the company that makes the experience.


Nintendo is still the go-to for couch co-op, especially with players of varying skill levels. Between the flagship and indie games, their brand is still very much based around family and friends playing together.


I can warmly recommend Warframe for that coop shooter feeling. :)


> In Minecraft, the imaginary worlds my son dreams up are expressed and realized in a virtual environment multiple people can occupy and affect together. When he tells me the floor is lava, I look down and notice that the floor is indeed made of burning lava, fatal on contact. In response, I construct a bridge.

I always wondered about my nephews fascination for minecraft. This is probably one of the main reasons.


A friend makes elaborate Minecraft worlds with his five yo daughter and it echoes what is here.

But there is another darker Minecraft world he operates with entire subspecies of Minecraft being chained helplessly in dark towers making lava derived net worth in a very Faustian "it's just a machine" life. Even their bodies when done with plummet into trains, to be taken for subsequent processing. We do talk about this. Will he introduce his daughter to mechanized entity-farming? How will he vocalise the stages? "This is where the bodies are taken to be turned into chicken food for the egg factory..."


What age is ok to start Minecraft with? Can you do couch coop with it? I have a steam link and some couch coop games but it doesn't work very well for my 5 and 7 year olds. (Steam link and steam conrollers are really finicky to set up, too). Should I just get a ps4 or xbox?

And how does minecraft compare to Lego Worlds? I've played Terraria in the past, but that seems too hard for that age - at least for kids who aren't really intrinsically interested in video games like mine. Maybe one day...

(Could probably google this, but I imagine there must be ppl here who have actual experience)


You can disable monsters altogether, if that's the concern. :)


I remember my kids playing Minecraft at 6, the exploring and the building like the article describes. But by 8 they had discovered the 'other side' of Minecraft, the servers that turn the world into a low-res version of a PvP game, and most of the 'building' went out the window. My greatest times playing together with my young sons was had not in Minecraft, but in Age of Empires II (vastly preferred by all over I or III). Usually we'd play us against the AI, and they got pretty good at it so we'd sometimes play against each other as well. I think the RTS genre holds more potential for a common ground between parents and kids than either the 'virtual lego' or the FPS categories.


>He loves extreme symmetry, varying bands of bright colors, and elaborate lighting comprised of dozens of fixtures.

Um I'm pretty sure if you don't go overboard on the lighting monsters spawn. This is more of an in-game thing than a preference thing.


To avoid monsters, one torch covers a radius of about 7 or 8 blocks (in Manhattan distance). But judging by that bedroom screenshot, he's being really overboard.


Most kids I know play on sandbox mode. Building a fairytale scenario in normal mode takes dozens of hours, which most kids don’t have the patience (or computer time) for.


That's my biggest problem with Minecraft as a game, I think there are a lot more options to handle this that don't force aesthetic choices on the player.


Stick a Magnum Torch somewhere, or just turn off monsters entirely.


1. Console sales outnumber PC sales, or at least they did a few years ago. Meaning no mods for most players.

2. I didn't specify because the discussion was on the number of torches placed, but the problem is not just the visual piece. It's the requirement that the player understand an invisible mechanic. Magnum torches don't fix the underlying issue.

3. Turning off mobs is not a reasonable solution.

I'm not talking about using the current system to prevent spawning, I'm talking about making a better spawning system. There are a ton of ways the game could handle spawning rules and making an area safe:

* Could track what blocks were naturally generated vs. placed by hand, and spawn enemies away from player made structures.

* Could refuse to spawn mobs around any blocks that don't spawn naturally.

* Could track visited areas in a separate file per chunk, creating a sort of lightmap for what the player can see, and only spawn enemies in unvisited areas.

* Could create more detailed rules about where mobs spawn, such as having zombies rise out of the dirt or endermen falling from the sky.

* Could decouple the lighting system from the radius-based safety. For example: enchanted items that work sort of like a magnum torch. Or (a closed loop of) crafted fences/walls could prevent spawning. (3D presents issues of course)

* Could use a game-of-life style system to track migrations/populations of friendly and hostile mobs on a per-chunk basis.

* Could mix and match from the above.

And that's just from less than five minutes of brainstorming.


All you need to do to prevent spawning is put torches on a regular grid, not "varying bands of bright colors and elaborate lighting comprised of dozens of fixtures."


I grew up playing computer games with my father. He was terrible at the actual button pressing so I would drive and he would be responsible for the logistics (and often for removing the copyright cruft, as these games were pirated in USSR). It was kind of like buddy programming. I don't think we would bond as much if we played on separate computers.


I tried Minecraft for the first time in my life a few weeks ago. Together with my 5 year old son. He loved it, and I liked it too, but we really didn't get very far - the moment night fell, we got brutally slaughtered by zombies or whatever. Respawning only made things worse, because later nights seemed to bring stronger attackers.

I played some Quake back in the day, it's not like 3d games are totally new to me. Still, I felt completely incompetent. Does anyone know what someone should do to get past these first few days? I keep reading articles like these on the internet about how kids build fantastic structures, but how do you do that if half the game is basically about being hunted down by mindless killers?

I feel like there's some key aspect I don't understand. Any tips?


You have survival and creative mode. In creative mode you have all the blocks you want to make great buildings, dont need to mine them and you can even fly around.

Start with your son in creative mode and practice building basic stuff. Then learn how to go survival mode watching some youtube tutorials. Small kids really enjoy creating their own houses, towns and megacaves in creative, when they feel comfortable they ask to go to survival on their own. Then they discover roblox (that has hundreds of mods) and there is no back! Hope it helps.


Searching for "how to survive first night minecraft" yields 2.2M results. Have you checked any of the videos out?

E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VWnQHS-ffs


Spend night underground, mining. There won't be any enemies as long as you put up enough torches and don't explore natural caves.


Hmm, that's not true. Torches stop mobs from spawning right there, they don't stop them approaching. Also mining enough wood and coal to make lots of torches isn't that simple when you've not played before.

Usually it's easier to mine a couple of blocks of wood, kill 3 same-coloured sheep, make a bed. Then just build a prison of earth around you, including a roof, to stop mobs (ie monsters) getting in. If you can't make the bed, just entomb yourself and wait for morning!


First, remember that there are two modes - creative and survival. Creative is a world where nothing will try to kill you and you have access to all the materials without having to explore/mine for them. In survival, you're dropped off with a few basic items and told to survive. Both are fun, but if you're having trouble in survival, it's good to start in creative to learn mechanics and build some really cool things!

When I've played survival with my stepdaughter, in the beginning, we usually spend our days collecting resources to craft torches, doors and pickaxes, then spend our nights underground, where we build large mines (and often build elaborate underground structures). We keep this up until we have a steady food supply, good quality armour/weapons and lighted defensive structures outside.


This series, by Paul Soares, is the canonical Minecraft how-to.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7326EF82122776A9


Find some sheep as quickly as possible, then you can construct beds and "skip" the night. You won't be bothered by monsters again until you venture into dark caves.


>Once, a friend yelled at me for having breathed too audibly while he played a hard level of Batman. Since it was his Nintendo, he decided I would from then on hold my breath during his turns, lest I corrupt his delicate focus.

This is so incredibly nostalgic.


Oddly, my favorite memories of playing games with my parents were of the Myst series. We huddled around our computer, took turns "driving" and taking notes and managing the CD changes (in Riven at least) and just generating ideas to try. It was exhilarating and great bonding time. Like exploring a new world together and piecing together mysteries.


Yes! Helping my dad with point and click games is a very fond memory of mine. Especially Rama (game based on the books by Arthur C. Clarke)

I should try getting it to run again sometime.


Anyone here spent their childhood playing Transport Tycoon 2 ?? I would soent ages reinwenting and redesigning my whole network as better engines become available, until I had MagLev networks running everwhere in loops (one way so that multiple tracks where one after another). Golden times never to come back again ;(


Did a ctrl+f to find someone who mention ttd.

Transport Tycoon Deluxe, was the first game I did a all-nighter at 11 years old; parents was not happy!

But it was the first game the whole family played; and my dad liked it because he believed it thought us how to interact with windows ui's... little did he know later in live I will fall in-love with tmux(screen alternative) and groom a unix beard.

For anyone interested, there a open source version[0], true to the original.

[0]: https://www.openttd.org/en/


On the Switch playing Mario Kart 8 with a 5 and 3 year old is everything I wanted. It can both be cooperative and competitive. We have also ventured coop through Mario Odyssey. I think Minecraft is fun, but you definitely have whole bunch of games you should explore with the kids.


Mario Kart is now banned in my house. My youngest never wins and he never takes it well. Mario Odyssey is everyone's jam. They kinda like Minecraft on and off.


on the wall in our living room, about 2 feet up from the floor an indentation was made by a Mario Kart steering wheel that was hurled across the room with great passion


I found playing Minecraft with my 9yr old son a painful experience.. all he wants to do is get into creating mode and make stuff then grief it. All I wanted to do was explore and battle against the odds with what I could make of it.

It was/is a disappointing experience.


I have experienced this with my kid of similar age. I think the survival mode is a bit scary even if they won't admit it.


I’ve play so many games and had every system that came out up to ps3, Xbox 360 from NES. I still don’t know how to properly play Minecraft. Is one of those game I feel sorry for myself for still now knowing how to play lol!


Every time I start a new Minecraft game, I would start throwing random bricks and beating up chcickens and saying to myself, that’s it?


I think the open-endedness of Minecraft isn't for everyone. When I started I just enjoyed exploring and trying to make fun little houses/buildings/etc. Every world gave way to a new landscapes and designs. The cave systems in particular were a lot of fun.

Then when redstone came out you had the ability to create some seriously cool contraptions (though I was never particularly good at that).

Playing with friends is much more fun, and there are a lot of cool adventure maps around if you're into those.

I guess playing on PC has a lot more perks when it comes to custom worlds and mods. Certain Modpacks introduced oil, gass, and engines and all kind of cool stuff.


His daughter will probably end up wanting to play Mortal Kombat and Overwatch.


Playing with my son has gone from me beating him and feeling bad, to him beating me and feeling bad. Damn those teenage reflexes.


That only happened because you were willing to beat him instead of going easy. You did good.


Touring the worlds that my son has settled over the last couple of years, I find a lot of the imagery one might expect from a kid his age. Throughout are standard fantasies like living in a treehouse or on a boat. The dominant themes vary as I pass through time: trains in his earliest worlds, then robots, a long streak of pyramids. Pirate ships, particularly half-sunken ones with treasure chests, remain a constant.

If only all kids were so innocent. Maybe he's just young. It'd be mildly amusing to read this from the perspective of a parent horrified that their son developed into one of those raging lunatics that occasionally haunt Dota 2.

When I was about 14 or so, I used to play this oldschool game called Underlight. It was a roleplaying game unlike any other, before or since: You're forced to play a character. You're not allowed to talk about real life or even admit that real life exists at all.

It was so cool, mostly because this was the world of adults. This was also before the era of voice chat, so they had no clue I was 14.

It was also around that time that I was discovering myself, and it usually took the form of various relationships with various women. These relationships could feel quite real, though it was solely a text-based medium. And "sex" was obviously involved, or as close to it as you can get. (On the forums it was called "Quality Roleplaying," or QRP, hah.)

That was a very small component of the game, but it was there. The point was that it emulated real life in a few ways. There were politics. There were 8 "houses" (basically clans), with various leaders. I even participated in a murder once, an extremely rare event in any game. It was true murder, in a sense, because you're not allowed to log in to your character after that, and only a select few people ever had the ability. It cost 10 points of health permanently. It was basically the world of Harry Potter, and I was in Slytherin. So we had certain abilities that no one knew existed, one of which was the ability to end other characters. As far as I know, this ability was used only three times in the history of the game, so it was quite lucky to see it firsthand.

My dad once came down and sat behind me, perhaps out of curiosity. Unfortunately this was right in the middle of one of the QRP sessions. I spent about 20 minutes doing nothing but staring at the screen and frantically clearing the text whenever she said anything. He never understood what was going on. Eventually he got bored and left, and I was able to pick up right where we left off. Quite hilarious in retrospect. He never bothered to try to understand what I spent so much time doing, and I certainly never offered any info.

Video games are an increasingly important component of childrens' habits, and we shouldn't be quick to dismiss or trivialize their positive effects. I wasn't so good at writing until a few years of being forced to be.


Are you aware of any currently active multiplayer games which require that level of commitment to character?


I'd absolutely point to Space Station 13. A old game built on a terrible engine, but with an active development community because the source is open. Each server runs a slightly different variant of the game, and a fair number of servers enforce "heavy role play."

I'd recommend a server like Baystation 12 if you're looking to get involved in an RP server. A small bit of googling can point you in the right direction.


A long time ago I played http://www.sindome.org but my English was not very good back then. Out of character talking was allowed but with a particular marking (I think it was double parentheses). I guess you can filter OOC talk.


Wow, that's a blast from the past. Seriously, thanks so much for posting that link - I've been dying to get into some hardcore roleplaying and it's nice to know that Sindome is alive and well.


I hate to tell you this now after all those years, but you most likely were not cybering with actual women


I'm bi, so I don't mind. :) But it really was a small part of the game.

I fell in love there once. We spent a lovely summer canoeing down a river. When she had to board the plane home, we both cried for an hour leading up to it.


> But those games are about stretching and challenging him to fit the mold of the game’s demands. When we play Minecraft together, the direction of his development, and thus our relationship, is reversed: He converts the world into expressions of his own fantasies and dreams. And by letting me enter and explore those dream worlds with him, I come to understand him in a way that the games from my childhood do not.

Is this a Minecraft PR Piece? Because the games of my childhood were not just action games of the NES. Adventures games made you think and be creative (even more so the text games!) - RTS made you build bases from scratch and react to impending waves of enemies until you finally could crush them. Flight simulators were all about "open world" since you could have missions and the like but let's face it, it was more fun to just fly around and test your plane where you went. Games like 4D driving were also Minecrafty-like since you were encouraged to build your tracks from scratch.

No, really, I don't feel like I missed anything in my childhood by not having Minecraft. If anything, it's sad that Minecraft is so popular that it eclipses everything else for most kids.


I played a lot of red alert as a kid, and flight simulators, but honestly, calling the first 'creative', and the second 'open world' is ridiculous. They were nice games - but if you play them today, you'll see how far games have come.

You can literally build a computer in Minecraft. I don't like the game, don't like that the developer ripped off the idea, and find the art obnoxious - but you have to admit, it's basically dwarf fortress for kids. That's an order of magnitude more creative than anything we had twenty years ago.


> don't like that the developer ripped off the idea

Minecraft and Infiniminer are two very different games, similar in superficial visuals and technological implementation but completely different in terms of gameplay.

Besides, if you enjoy a game and then development of that game stops, what's wrong with making your own?


I guess I think it's a bit of a tragedy that the most successful game since Doom was a copycat.

It's also a shame that really creative game-makers, like ToadyOne or Zach, tend to not do that well - while Notch, who basically copied an entire game, presumably having even read the source code, is now made out of money.

I've no idea about the exact mechanics of the copying - whether he just copied the idea, or copied the implementation from the source, or indeed used parts of the source in his game - but I think these are largely small differences. The real problem I have is it seems like this is basically how our society works - somebody thinks of something cool, then somebody else gets rich / famous / tenure off it, while the person who did most of the work is lucky to get a footnote.


Again, that both games are made of blocks (not voxels, for the record) is a sidenote. They are completely different styles of game.

When a game comes out with a 2D tilemap it's not thought of as a clone of the games that came before it. Why does extending the concept to 3D and making it user-editable make it a clone?


Isn't infiniminer just a computerized copy of Lego.

As the old saying goes, "If you could have invented Facebook, you would have invented Facebook". Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.


I generally agree. To be honest, I wasn't so much making a general moral judgement about copying. Hamlet was a copy. Bach was a music kleptomaniac. Execution is way more important. I just find minecraft a particularly uncreative copy, and personally like zachatronics - so I 'don't like that he ripped it off'. Which he did. I don't think this dislike could or should extend to other copied pieces of work, games or otherwise.


I like Zachtronics, but I really, really don't get how you view Minecraft as a ripoff of Infiniminer.

Infiniminer is a competitive class-based game in a constrained arena. The goal is to get a higher score than your opponents.

Minecraft is a survival game in an infinite world. The goal is to build a base and progress through a tech tree, or to build things for fun.

Ace of Spades is closer to being a ripoff of Infiniminer, though with more of a focus on combat. Minecraft is a game that has a similar (but more polished) aesthetic but with completely different rules.

Star Wars is not a ripoff of Star Trek just because they're both set in space. They're fundamentally different at every level.


Well, the explanation is probably that I've been taken in by a meme. I should have added a disclaimer that I've not actually played infiniminer a good deal earlier in the thread, and my feeling that Minecraft was derivative was almost entirely based on its timing, visual similarity, and my understanding that the basic mechanic (digging through voxel based terrain) was the same.

An additional factor that made me extra-specially susceptible to this meme is that when I played minecraft, I immediately thought it was essentially a dumbed-down version of dwarf fortress with better graphics. What I saw at the time as the basic innovation - which I think is still what makes dwarf fortress exceptional, is a game that uses a tiling or cubic grid to allow for real creative play, with an attendant focus on mining, survival, and craft.

I don't think Star Wars is a rip-off of star trek, but it absolutely is and was always intended as a derivative work. All the ideas and content was developed in earlier sci-fi. Star Wars was an interesting contribution in terms of execution - and that's exactly why I like it. It had genuinely new ideas about set design and special effects. Minecraft, on the other hand, has no new ideas I can think of.

I still think it's a good game - and I'm very happy that when my kid hits the age where they wanna play games, I can point them to Minecraft and be pretty certain they're not going to be loading naked kidnapped people into a sausage factory (I played GTA2 when I was a kid), or squashing people with tanks, or irradiating them until they turn into mush. I mean, I guess they'll do those things at some point to, but it's nice that there's an actual honest-to-goodness kids game out there that doesn't suck.


It's not even execution, it's luck (and marketing). Minecraft was marketed as a toy, even though 3d modeling tools already existed (I'm assuming) but they were marketed as professional tools for trained artists.


Minecraft wasn't marketed at all, outside of some posts on the Indie Gaming Source dev forums. Its explosive success was entirely word-of-mouth. Of course Microsoft is pushing it all over now that they own it, but it was a megahit long before that happened.


I don't mean marketed as in they advertised it or whatever, I mean what it was presented as.


It's true they make less money, but I think ToadyOne is happier than Notch is. I don't know that Notch is as happy with the way things turned out as you imply.


> I guess I think it's a bit of a tragedy that the most successful game since Doom was a copycat.

Infiniminer is a class-based team FPS in a closed arena. The only thing Minecraft shares with it is the block mechanic.

There's a mental quirk that seems to happen with game mechanics. Do something first, you're a genius; do it for the 100th time, you're iterating on classic gameplay; but do it for the second time, and you're a thief. I don't think it has to be that way.

> It's also a shame that really creative game-makers, like ToadyOne or Zach, tend to not do that well - while Notch, who basically copied an entire game, presumably having even read the source code, is now made out of money.

Last I heard, Toady was making $100,000+ a year off of Dwarf Fortress donations. Zach Barth has been making games full-time since SpaceChem, cranking out successful titles once every year or two for most of the decade. Notch, meanwhile, appears to be miserable, bitter, and directionless.


I think the thing is, you give Zach money, he uses it to make even better games. He's clearly had a good artist helping him out with some of his recent stuff. You give ToadyOne money, he uses it to say 'I'm gonna spend the next ten years developing the magic system'. That's because they're exceptionally creative people. Notch comes across as more of an ordinary guy - smart, sure, capable, also, but fundamentally ordinary. So while if you gave Zach Notch-level money, I'd expect him to make Zachatronics into a game studio, or if you gave ToadyOne - I can't even imagine where that would lead. On the other hand, if you give most ordinary people shitloads of cash, it just makes them directionless, and puts them in a nasty position where they don't work on other people's projects because they don't have to, but they don't enjoy working on their own, because they're fundamentally not too good on new ideas.

So that's why it'd be nice when somebody who's come up with a really new idea meet some success - they'd probably have some ideas about what to do with it.


See my comment at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16591278 for why I think that's maybe not true.

It's not due to the people involved or the money. I think it's the community around Minecraft.


> Notch, meanwhile, appears to be miserable, bitter, and directionless.

I don't think that's because of either the money or Notch as a persson. It's because of the incredibly toxic community that came up around such a light hearted and simple game.

There's a shitload of backlash whenever he makes anything that's not Minecraft. See his space game with a programmable 6502 or his game jam games or...

Put Toady or Zachtronics under the same microscope and they'll shut down too. Human beings just aren't made for that.


I believe the OG is referring to "CastleMiner Z," the other, not-so oft mentioned, precursor to Minecraft. The investigative should also take note, that Infiniminer is also based off of CastleMiner Z. And that CastleMiner Z itself, was based off of another game.


I was playing Minecraft in 2009. CastleMiner came in in 2011 and the sequel CastleMiner Z came out four months later.

I don't believe that your timeline is correct here.


RAedit (the Red Alert game editor) was simple enough for a child to use, and powerful enough to basically build your own RTS. I spent hours designing maps for Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 as a kid. It was really not that different from how I played Minecraft as an adult.


I used the same editor. You could draw like, cliffs. Water. Trees. That's not a RTS. That's a picture and some pathfinding. Actually, I don't know how Red Alert did their pathfinding - perhaps it's just a picture. Building a RTS implies making your own gameplay - not just playing the same game on a different geometry.


I made my own units, too. And you could write events in their scripting language. I think you could make a basic mod without much trouble.

I mostly made a lot of giant bases and scenarios, but the tooling was quite powerful.

The move to 3D basically killed that for me. Editors became much more complicated. In a way, simplifying the interface for building things in 3D was one of Minecraft's great successes.


> You can literally build a computer in Minecraft.

It's not because you can that everybody is using it in this way. I mean technically you can make a piece of art with brushes and paint yet almost nobody can.

> That's an order of magnitude more creative than anything we had twenty years ago.

Wow, you just brushed off like 30 years of video games in one sentence, without any argument. Well done.


I don't think that is fair, adventure games and RTS still has a purpose, an plot. Minecraft is more like lego, it doesn't have an end game. I think the closest we had was Simcity?

Not sure why you are making this a personal attack on you? I though this was an interesting read, and something I hadn't thought of before.


Nothing like a personal attack. But he is pretending previous games were simplistic or worthless compared to Minecraft.


> Is this a Minecraft PR Piece? Because the games of my childhood were not just action games of the NES.

You accuse this of being a paid plant because you can’t imagine that someone played different games than you as a child?!

> RTS made you build bases from scratch and react to impending waves of enemies until you finally could crush them. Flight simulators were all about "open world" since you could have missions and the like but let's face it, it was more fun to just fly around and test your plane where you went.

You’re thinking 10-15 years too late.


> You accuse this of being a paid plant because you can’t imagine that someone played different games than you as a child?!

I accuse them of making a very simplistic comparison against "old video games" while that person does not seem to have much exposure in terms of video games genres in the first place. Either they are ignorant or dishonest. It's difficult to be ignorant these days with the mass of information on the Internet.


The whole point of the article is that it's about the author's experience of video games compared to his son's. It's clearly not meant to be a comprehensive comparison of games of his generation and now.


RTS and flight sim games were the domain people who could afford PCs. The average American kid only had a game console.


> RTS and flight sim games were the domain people who could afford PCs.

Not at all. You could play them on an Amiga or an Atari which were miles more affordable than a PC.


What games?


Kaiser and Defender of the crown were turn-based but I don't recall RTS or flight sim.


[flagged]


I also didn't understand what this intro had to do with the rest of the post. There is zero reference to this context in the entire article.




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