ABOUT THE GAMEKNIGHT999 MINECRAFT SERIES
I’ve come to love playing Minecraft with my son. I didn’t get here easily though, in fact my son had to drag me there kicking and screaming. But now…I love it. You see, he saw a video about Minecraft on Youtube and of course said he had to have it. I looked at the video and said, “you don’t want that game.” Well, he did want it and was persistent in reminding my wife and I that Minecraft was great.
So finally, we caved. We bought Minecraft. I helped him load it on the computer, create his user name, Gameknight999, select his character appearance and off he went. At first, he played it on his own, but soon he was calling us into our office so that he could show us what he created…and it was pretty amazing. He had built a gigantic castle, and then an obstacle course with moving parts, and then an underground village…his creations blew us away. As an engineer, anything that offers me a chance to build something sounds instantly intriguing. So I sat there with my son and let him teach me how to play Minecraft. In no time at all, I bought a license for me to use, Monkeypants271 being my user name, and off we went into the digital realm together, building towers, fighting with zombies and dodging creepers.
He loved playing Minecraft so much that we bought a server for him the next Christmas. He spent months building things on his server: castles, bridges, underwater cities, factories, everything and anything his imagination could conceive. Next he brought in his friends from school and did some collaborative things and building gigantic structures that he designed. Of course I helped too, partially to monitor what was going on, but also because I’m a big geek and now like playing the game. I was overwhelmed with how proud he was about his creations. He made videos showing off his server and everything he’d created and posted them on Youtube.
Well, one day, some other kids were able to get onto the server, probably because my son or one of his friends gave out the IP address. These new kids destroyed everything that he’d built, griefing as it’s called. They leveled everything to the ground, obliterating months of work. The next time my son logged on, he saw his creations destroyed and was crushed. Then to make matters worse, these kids posted the video of their griefing his server on Youtube.
This was the ultimate ‘teachable moment’, to talk about cyber-bullying. I tried to answer my son’s questions about why someone would do this, what kind of person would take pride in destroying someone else’s creation, but my answers just fell flat. That was when I came up with the idea of teaching my son through his favorite thing—Minecraft. I wrote the first book called Invasion of the Overworld, and it taught kids about cyber-bullying and how it affects others as well as hammering away at the importance of friendships, using Minecraft as the tapestry on which the lesson was written. I’ve had great responses to this, getting emails through my website, www.markchverton.com, hearing from kids that loved the book and parents that loved the message. It’s been very rewarding.
My success with Invasion of the Overworld has led to a publishing deal with Skyhorse Publishing. They will be releasing Book 1 : Invasion of the Overworld and Book 2: Battle for the Nether. Book 3, Confronting the Dragon, is nearly completed and I’ve started on book 4, Trouble in Zombie-town.
Keep reading, have fun, and watch out for creepers.