My son took to Minecraft like fish to water. He started playing not long after it was first released. He would have been maybe 5 years old. Very soon he, playing as Steve, was mining and crafting very elaborate structures, portals and other contraptions. He was also fighting Creepers, Zombies, Skeletons and wolves.
I came home from work one day and he was excitedly showing me his latest work in Minecraft. I sat there and watched this elaborate machine where you drop balls and they would move and drop to some designated containers that obviously meant something. After a few minutes of watching, I asked him what does it all mean, and he replied that it’s a binary adding machine and the containers designate powers of 2 and if the ball is in the container it means 1, otherwise 0. That left me scratching my head especially because the little guy hasn’t even mastered multiplication tables yet…
Fast forward to present, he’s about 15 now and has discovered programming. He still plays Minecraft and is creating much more elaborate things using Redstone and command blocks. For the uninitiated ones, command blocks execute commands. Assembling them together allows for running multiple commands in a pre-defined order. This is analogous to executing a program. These days, however, it is more fun to play on a server with friends.
I asked him if it were possible to use command blocks and redstone to give Steve (or create some other character) artificial intelligence so that he would replicate and form societies? My son rose to the challenge but said that it would be very difficult. I said, son, if you pull this off, you can rename Steve to Adam and call yourself god 🙂