I first learned about Minecraft when a friend showed me a video of this cool new world – people exploring a cave in the game Minecraft. I was immediately awed by Minecraft’s different and open approach to gaming. It was the summer between 5th and 6th grades and I didn’t know what to do with my time so I started playing Minecraft free. When school began, I found people that also played the game and we would talk about it at lunch, we would tell stories about our trips into the deep dark cave or that time we killed a creeper. We all agreed that Minecraft was a more exiting life than the one we were living at the time. But there was one problem: we couldn’t play together in the same world.
I started then to play with the idea of hosting a server on my own home network. I watched many videos and guides about how to port forward and how to run the server program but I just didn’t get it. 6th grade ground on and Minecraft got more updates and patches from its inventor, a programmer in Sweden whose screen name is Notch. I started to become interested in Notch and the story of how he single-handedly programmed Minecraft, a game that had sold at that point just about one million copies all over the world. Notch’s company, Mojang, was exploding with talent as more and more money came pouring in. At the start of 7th grade, I was introduced to the Computer Science programs at my school. In that class we learned to make simple games in a program called Scratch, where you put different blocks together to make a line of code. I can remember sitting in that class staring at Notch’s blog, just waiting for the release of the next patch from Mojang.
Finally one day Minecraft version 1.7 came out and I was reinvigorated to make the server that my friends and I have been wanting. I figured out how to use a service called Hamachi to host the server through a Hamachi IP. The next day I came to school so excited I couldn’t wait to tell my friends how to connect to the server, and we all started to play later that night. We played for what seemed for what seemed like an uncountable number of hours over an uncountable number of days. That year of middle school flew by so fast and suddenly it was 8th grade, my last year there. I was in the same Computer Science class learning more advanced topics. That year I learned how to safely open my Minecraft server to the whole world not just a select few friends. First it started out as a PvP (player vs player) server where you have to fend for yourself in the dangerous world of Minecraft. The highest amount of players on that sever was about 30 — a lot of people fighting to the death! I loved to play on that sever with my friends and some people from around the world, and that’s when I realized that my work on computers could affect people I have never met before and that fact blows me away.
Learning How to Code
Now, in my freshmen year of high school I’ve taken a step up in the computer science field. I’m now taking an “advanced placement” class and I am the only freshmen in the class. We are learning some hard stuff, like Java — learning how to do 3-D arrays, ints, doubles, booleans, strings, methods — just about every aspect of Java that there is to learn. All this year I’ve also been playing Minecraft: even as I learn a lot more about computers and programming and even after three years of play I still find it challenging and interesting – it’s about the only game I can say that about, too. I feel like I can drop $60 on a new game and be bored with it in a month, but Minecraft has the capability to be modded practically until you don’t know it’s Minecraft anymore. Right now, I’m in playing with a mod pack that adds around 64 tech mods, adding in nuclear reactors and a whole really cool magic system to the game: the game experience can be so complex that sometimes you don’t even know what you mining!
What’s also amazing about Minecraft is that it’s a way of interacting with other human beings, Minecraft character to Minecraft character. Minecraft has the ability to build community and to change players to make them more cooperative – it’s definitely not just a game to fill time. Learning about Notch’s ideas about Minecraft has led me to programming, which is really interesting. If my friend didn’t show me that first video three years ago, I probably wouldn’t be the same person that I am today.