Gamification of the Everyday Tasks in Minecraft

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Minecraft is a sandbox video game created by a Swedish developer named Markus Persson in 2009 for children 7 and up. Since then 180 million copies of the game had been sold across the world with over 112 million monthly active players. Minecraft can be played through various modes such as a creative mode where players are given limited resources so they can build whatever they feel like, a survival mode where players can explore and mine resources to feed, house and defend themselves. Players from all over the world can even come together and make up their own rules. Essentially, the game teaches children to think both creatively and critically which they can incorporate into the real world.

The study of gamification looks at using elements of game playing into everyday tasks, which would encourage the completion of those tasks. The use of Minecraft regarding gamification is often used by teachers who use the game as part of their curriculum to better engage students when it comes to certain subjects. After Microsoft bought Minecraft they created a version to be used in the classroom. Teachers can change the gaming experience within Minecraft by downloading different mods and creating worlds best suited for their teaching. One example is when history teachers recreate ancient civilizations for their students to explore and interact with others. Teachers even create escape room experiences where students have to find certain things about their schoolwork to achieve points and prizes. In Montreal, a contest was held where various students would have to use Minecraft and re-create historic sites and events to help celebrate their 375th anniversary.

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Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses play to assess, prevent, or treat psychological challenges. This is good for children who might lack the cognitive and verbal skills to talk about certain issues that are on their minds. Minecraft can be used as a form of play therapy, more specifically, sand tray therapy. This is when a child recreates a scene in a box that’s filled with sand using toys given to them, it allows them to reflect what he/she is going through in real life. In this case, instead of a sandbox, we are using a virtual game. Play therapy also offers group therapy where children with similar feelings such as grief, can come together and play. Furthermore, Children who have AHDH can also benefit from the use of Minecraft as a form of play therapy since they are putting the majority of their concentration into creating various worlds or partaking in one with others. A journal called ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder published that through play therapy, there was a decrease in hyperactivity with kids who have ADHD.

Escape behavior is not to be confused with avoidance behavior. Escape behavior is a response that has been created to rid an already existing aversive stimulus. Escape behavior can relate to the mind through fantasy, daydreams, and of course; video games. Video gaming is not only about having fun; it can be a well-designed artistic and powerful form of expression or storytelling, thus making it the perfect medium to escape. While gaming can be used to exercise skills, it is also a way for people to satisfy their psychological needs to battle dissatisfaction. Minecraft allows players to be in control of their destiny, build, create, and write their storylines. It is intellectually stimulating and it allows players to think and use their judgment in certain instances. The level of immersion is unmatched when it is compared to other modes of expression.

In stimulus enhancement, a presenter reveals a specific stimulus to a participant which then allows the participant to connect the correlation between the stimulus. Through video games, the mind is trained through cognitive intervention; which has the potential to intensify day-to-day rudimentary functions, along with remedy impairments. Playing video games requires visual attention, learning, and memory. These well-designed games can absentmindedly facilitate cognitive enhancements that go beyond certain experiments and situations. With Minecraft specializing in building and problem solving, players can engage their neural circuits that mediate executive functions.

Intrinsic motivation is a behavior that is motivated by internal rewards. The motivation to participate in behavior or action comes from the individual’s desire to satisfy themselves. Minecraft is an amazing example of an intrinsically motivated game. The game is operated without the basis of rewards and punishments. Players play the game for the sake of playing; there is no pressure, no time limit, and most importantly, there is no punishment for choosing to not participate. People who play this game have the internal drive to play out of pure enjoyment; making it the perfect game for all kinds of people. Researchers suggest that a closer structure with players’ internal drive garners greater satisfaction, thus making intrinsic motivation important. When a game proves the opportunity for players to acquire new skills and offers challenges, the feeling of accomplishment is high; making competence an intrinsic motivator for players. The freedom of choice, non-controlling instructions, and the sandbox nature of Minecraft allow players to use the platform as their domain.

Social learning is learning behavior that is managed by environmental impacts instead of innate or internal factors. As children, or those with impressionable minds, watch others they learn different behaviors such as emotions (aggression to be specific), social interactions, cooperation, and sharing. Video games provide an organized environment for learning complex interactions and behaviors quickly. When used in a teaching context, games can teach, train, provide research, therapy, and of course to entertain. Many times games are used for teaching interpersonal skills and communication. Although Minecraft is not a risks, benefits, or costs based game, players can learn from the information embedded throughout the games’ dynamic, the natural processes that the game creates, and the strategies that come about from decision making. This project is relevant outside the classroom because the use of gamification in the real world has a huge impact when it comes to a person’s wellbeing both psychologically and physically. The use of gamification allows cognitive development to adolescents. This is because there is an increase in activity within parts of the brain, such as the Cerebrum, this area allows the coordination of movements, touch, vision, hearing, judgment, problem-solving, and learning. Gamification can also be used by parents when it comes to helping their children with certain tasks. If a child is having trouble with schoolwork or finishing their chores, parents can incorporate game-like elements such as giving points or leveling up after completing certain tasks. This will not only encourage children to do their work but also allow them to enjoy while doing so.

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