As just about any 11-year-old will tell you, Minecraft is a blockbuster of a videogame.
The virtual-world game has sold more than 18 million copies online since its launch in November 2011. On Christmas Eve last year, reports the Chicago Tribune, the game sold more than 450,000 copies for PC alone. It also actually involves much busting of blocks.
And in one Swedish school, it is now compulsory.
After incorporating Minecraft into a national competition based on designing the ideal future city, teachers at the Viktor Rydberg School decided to install it in the syllabus for 13-year-olds.
“It’s their world and they enjoy it,” one teacher told Sweden’s English-language news site The Local. “They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future.”
While “some parents were uncomfortable with the idea at first”, they had come around to the idea, recognising that “it’s a fun way of learning”.
Hekia Parata, you know it makes sense.
Many a Minecraft parent will attest to the struggle to ration their children’s screen time.
But the father of one keen gamer in China has gone to extreme lengths to curb his son’s habit, according to a report at the videogame news site Kotaku.
Alarmed at the time his 24-year-old unemployed son, Xiao, spent glued to online role-playing games, Feng sought out an “online hitman” – he “decided to hire players in his son’s favourite online games to hunt him down”.
Apparently, “Feng’s idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job”.
The tale ends disappointingly. The account by Kotaku, which itself draws on a report from a Chinese newspaper, concludes: “It’s unsure if Feng has called off his assassins or if Xiao has found a job.”
Sorry about that.