Just about the only practical limits to “Minecraft” are the imagination, creativity and persistence of players.
Independent tinkerers and gaming enthusiasts have wielded their creativity to fashion an array of worlds that go well beyond the basic environments through which people can wander and attempt to survive, as well as fresh codes that can introduce new characters and twists to the game.
More than a few of the independently created worlds available to visit and even help to build are straight out of the realm of popular television shows and real life, such as a “Game of Thrones” world and even a rebuilt Disneyland, while software patches can introduce new animals or other in-game treats.
“I like to go to the ‘Game of Thrones' world,” said Tanner Higgin of Common Sense Media. “I love that server and it's great to see how far they've gotten with that world.”
These “Minecraft” servers and modifications –“mods” in fans' parlance — are for mainstream enthusiasts, and not merely a digital 1 percent of game creators, experts say.
“The consumer essentially has access to the same tools that game developers have,” said Jeff Haynes of Common Sense Media.
However, these advanced scenarios are likely going to mean parents getting more involved, especially for younger children — visiting public servers increases the chance of a child running into a bad apple, and downloaded mods can be bundled with, or actually be, dangerous and spammy software. And if your child wants to create his own “Minecraft” world for others to visit, you'll need an advanced setup.
“You will need a certain type of server with plenty of capacity and speed, and you need a certain level of broadband,” said Ben Bajarin, principal executive with San Jose-based Creative Strategies, a tech market research firm.
Getting more involved can be beneficial, though, offering a bonding experience and teaching your child more about computers. Bajarin said he often plays “Minecraft” with his two daughters.
“It's not mind-numbing, let's dumb ourselves down with mindless entertainment,” he said. “It's quite productive.”