Unless you’re too young to know or too old to care, chances are you’ve heard of the game. Minecraft. It is the popular sandbox game where everything is made of blocks and you as a player can do whatever your heart desires – there are no rules in the world of Minecraft. More than 200 million units they have been sold as of 2021, making it one of the most successful games ever made. It has spawned thousands of “let’s play” videos on YouTube, established its own annual fan convention, and at one point was even considered to be made into a movie. But is there more to Minecraft than just blocks and a few hours of fun? Psychologists at Iowa State University believe that gaming can be beneficial to the minds of creative people.
“The only limit is your imagination,” says the narrator in the official previewAnd that statement is very true. With hundreds of items to use, the world of Minecraft is your oyster. Each world you create is auto-generated – no two worlds are the same (unless you’re using a simple, flat world), and you have the option to explore them in one of four different game modes: Survival, Creative, Hardcore and Adventure. .
In Survival, you fall into a world with only your instincts, and must collect resources, kill animals and survive hostile mobs to continue living; in Creative, you can fly freely around your world and all the elements of the game are at your disposal; in Hardcore, your game becomes more difficult and you can’t access your world again if you die; and in Adventure, you’re free to explore your world without starving, but you can’t destroy blocks either.
When it comes to more expressive and artistic gamers, Creative mode is their game of choice. With this, players have the freedom to build whatever they want without wasting resources or dying. Through this mode, players have built some of the most beautiful and fascinating creations ever seen. Some brilliant examples include recreations of famous world landmarks, endless cities, giant sculptures, and even all the earth itself. Using “redstone dust,” the gaming equivalent of electrical wiring, talented players have managed to create clever contraptions like calculators, computers, and giant mini-games. With the ability to use command blocks, which can be used to change the weather, move entire structures from point A to point B, summon animals, and more, players can essentially become a god. Such a simple gameplay can lead to some fantastic achievements.
It is this creative mode that has the attention of ISU psychologists. a few years ago, a test was performed to see if Minecraft could open the door to creative minds. The 352 participants selected for this test were randomly divided into four groups. Group one played Minecraft however they wanted, group two played it “as creatively as possible”, group three played a racing game, and group four watched a TV show. After 40 minutes of doing these activities, all participants were asked to do other creativity-related activities, one of which was to draw an otherworldly creature. More “creative” creatures would receive high scores, while less creative creatures would receive lower scores. The end results were quite amazing.
“We think that those two conditions would be the same, or maybe even the one in which we prioritize creativity would be the most creative. There seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters,” said Douglas Gentile, professor and supervisor of experiments. It turned out that the group told to play Minecraft the “creative” way had the lowest scores on the creativity test. In contrast, the group that played Minecraft without rules ended up with the highest score.
Gentile stated that there was no concrete explanation as to why this was so, although he had some ideas. Since the group with the lowest score was instructed to play Minecraft “creatively”, they may have pressured themselves to make specific decisions to satisfy the criteria, which ironically stifled any creativity they might have had. Another idea was for “creative” players to exhaust their creative juices while playing, leaving them with nothing when it came to the drawing test.
in its thesis work, the psychologists concluded that the mechanics of the game do not contribute solely to the results; the way a person plays the game also affects the performance of the game. In the case of the Minecraft experiment, they learned that the game not only aided in the creativity of the subjects, but that creativity in general can flourish better with little or no restrictions. This idea can be attributed to almost any form of creative expression, be it art, literature, music, etc. When constraints like time or criteria hold you back, it can be hard to find that creative spark and keep it burning. Freedom from restrictions can help not only keep the spark burning, but also transform it into a raging fire, hopefully one that will last a long time.
Despite this might not be as popular As it was in the early 2010s, Minecraft remains a great place for expressive young minds to cultivate and hone their skills. It should also be noted that Minecraft isn’t the only game capable of doing this; other games can also be used as a means to help people. For example, psychologists believe that first person shooter games can be used to help with strategizing skills. Come to think of it, many games involve some level of creativity and thinking skills, ranging from puzzle solving to strategy.
Society upholds these values, so why are they ignored when it comes to gaming? Perhaps it is the negative stigma surrounding them that is to blame. The media has frequently vilified the games, believing that they encourage acts of violence, laziness, or antisocial behavior. It has been going on since games were first invented, and while there is certainly some truth to these beliefs, it should be noted that there are in fact positive aspects.
Think of it this way: if a person proves to be wildly imaginative in Minecraft, then maybe their skills translate to the real world. With enough education and guidance, they can use their abilities for a meaningful purpose. Creativity is not limited to flashy colors and impossible realities; Every aspect of our lives required some kind of invention, from automobiles to light bulbs. Minecraft, along with other games, can be used as a springboard to guide innovative young minds into a bright future.
“Research is beginning to tell a more interesting and nuanced picture. Our results are similar to other gaming research in that you get better at what you play, but how you play may be just as important,” said Gentile.
Hopefully, in due course, people will finally recognize the benefits of gaming and be able to implement it in a way that is healthy, beneficial, and fun at the same time. Perhaps if we used the game format in schools, learning would be more entertaining and attractive. Already, Minecraft: Education Edition has been integrated into schools in both the United States and Sweden (the home of Minecraft’s developer), and it has been shown that educational benefit the students who use it.
It’s time to sweep away the negativity surrounding these games and finally embrace their true potential.