There is a great deal of excitement around engaging young people in the game Minecraft, and deservedly so. Minecraft is an incredibly rich game world that promotes creativity and creation as young people build worlds on their own and with friends. Numerous projects are now utilizing Minecraft to provide rich learning experiences for kids.
However, we know little about how youth experience and learn in Minecraft – particularly those from under-represented groups. What are their experiences and what can we learn about using Minecraft in equitable ways? As recent events such as Gamergate suggest, there are still stark dangers for groups such as female gamers, and gamers of color, within broader gamer cultures.
I’m happy to share a recent study we published, led by my great doctoral student, Anthony Pellicone, in Games and Culture. We present an ethnography of an adolescent, low-income, African-American youth who has become an avid Minecraft player, producer, and server admin. We show how he stitches his experience together across numerous platforms and affinity spaces, with Skype being a core technology in his practices… but we also document how deep issues of race, class, and gender are prominent in his Minecraft experience – and could offer stark obstacles for young people of color, female gamers, and other under-represented groups from learning and benefitting from this rich game.
Check out the online first article here: http://ter.ps/ak2