By Valerie Kellogg
Mark Cheverton’s then-8-year-old, Jack, learned about bullying where it really hurt — Minecraft. The online game gave the quiet child a place where he could feel like an expert, where he could teach dad, a physics and math teacher, everything from creating a server to building a cannon that shoots TNT.
He spent hours creating a world with his friends, and then someone came along and destroyed it all, a process gamers call “griefing.”
“He was crushed,” says Cheverton, who lives in Albany. “It was terrible to see.”
Cheverton tried to explain to Jack why someone would grief — to annoy people, to get revenge, to have fun — but he didn’t understand. So Cheverton decided to write a novel, “Invasion of the Overworld: A Minecraft Novel …” (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $7.99). My 10-year-old Minecraft junkie, who has griefed and been griefed, loved it.
The 170-page book is about a boy who goes by the Minecraft handle Gameknight999 who loves to grief. “He gets magically transported into the game through one of his father’s inventions,” Cheverton says. “He has to live out the game for real. At the beginning of the story, he is the bully. Through the story, he learns what that does to other people.”
Cheverton, whose son is now 10, says he plans to write a series. He says parents should consider playing Minecraft with their kids to get closer, as he did. “It’s a great opportunity to bond and talk and learn about cooperation,” he says.