Minecraft: Games and Gamification

The Minecraft Experience Panel Presentation Games for Change NYC April 24th 2014


Extended Description:

Last year at G4C Nick Fortugno threw some controversy into the conversation about Minecraft by suggesting Minecraft was not a game but a toy. The proposed panel extends that conversation by asking what is the Minecraft experience, can it be defined or categorised and what as game designers and exponents can we take from understanding its zeitgeist and the impact it has had on the serious gaming landscape?

In 2012/23 at both GLS and G4C many presenters made jokes about including the obligatory Minecraft slide and for very good reasons. Minecraft is arguably a game of immense impact. It has been embraced as part of learning programs focussing on seemingly disparate areas from digital citizenship, history, coding and the maker movement. It is probably the first game brought into the classroom by teachers to leverage the out of school groundswell of existing player excitement. It’s impact is multi generational and perhaps more global than any game before it. The fan base and user community/ies are strong and well supported and exemplar of the potential Jim Gee describes for Big G game. This panel proposes to leverage that Big G space in the lead up to Games for Change 2014 and to honor the voices of its players.

Minecraft has been variously described as a game, toy sandpit, learning space, creative environment, virtual world, and game-infused service. But what really are the affordances of this blocky 16 bit program and how can we even begin to define its value to learning? Enter the Minecraft Experience, a global crowdsourced program managed by Bron Stuckey of The Massively Minecraft Project. People engaging in Minecraft activities about the globe are being invited to describe Minecraft in all its contexts and adaptations. The categories for these experiences will emerge from the crowd sourced content as members contribute thoughts, media, resources and questions to build the __Minecraft Experience__ evidence base.

This panel of notable speakers has been drawn together to answer provocative questions about Minecraft’s success and define its relationship to and impact on learning. The panelists have been chosen to represent play in many contexts formal education, informal learning, self-organised learning, schools and non-school contexts. They include game designers, educators, researchers, learners and parents who have each had a personal and professional experience of this and many other games.

Panelists take a position on the Minecraft experience and use the resources provided by members of the project to inform, support and evidence their case.

How are players, educators and researchers invited to contribute?

  • project wiki to prod, poke, stimulate and support crowd sourced content and dialog
  • live youth speakers on the panel
  • social media and wiki activity in lead-up using selected #minecraftproject
  • video inclusions of educators, parents, kids/youth arguments, evidence and questions
  • promotion of youth media pieces from existing YouTube etc to support and stimulate various provocative dialogs
  • livestream of the panel to global contributors with live feedback and questions.

Who could benefit from joining this project and attending the G4C 2014 panel session?

  • Educators seeking to understand Minecraft’s value to learning
  • Programs seeking to adapt Minecraft as part of a program of impact or change.
  • Game designers seeking to build in its wake
  • Anyone wanting to consider issues of fidelity, adaptation, constructionism, popular culture, and impact in gaming.