Jane and Wilson are hooked on Minecraft, and we’ve equipped them with a paid version on an iPad and old iPhone we call the game phone. They’ve become quite good at the game, either building creative landscapes, surviving mobs, or embarking on quests. They can play at the same time, interacting with each other in a virtual world. I lovingly call them my Minecraft midgets.
An interesting development is that I’ve also downloaded Minecraft on my phone. I don’t enjoy the game as much as the kids, but I get to participate with them. When they spawn into the virtual world, I can spawn in alongside them. We play for as much as hour in the virtual realm.
I see the virtual interactions as a twist in the evolution of our parent-child relationship. As they’ve matured and gone into new activities, I’ve followed them there. This has helped maintain some relevance in our relationship. Not only when we play together in the virtual realm, but we can also discuss it at dinner or on walks. They bring their Minecraft surprises and delights to me, like when they captured an axolotl (a rare animal) in a glass bottle, built tunnels between bases, or suffered the dreaded explosion when a creeper blew up a house.
Our virtual world = Planet Chewtle (named for our collective favorite Pokemon, Chewtle)
Jane’s character handle = Chewtle’s Revenge
Wilson’s character handle = Took Took (A nickname for Wilson)
Dad’s character handle = Padre Hurtado (named after a nearby street in Vitacura)