“I built you a house,” my six-year-old niece told me a few months ago. “Whenever you play with me, you have a house,” she continued. What a sweet child. How my heart grew. She’s been asking me to play Minecraft with her for months. I never wanted to play because I thought it was a kids’ game, but of course I was willing to watch her play.
At this point I had zero clue what was going on, but I do know she’s quick with the building. I asked her to show me around her map, so she gave me a tour of what she had built. She had houses for both her and me. My abode was two-stories and had a pool. She explained the enemies and brief instructions on how to play. Again, I just saw blocks, but I knew she loved it.
She calls me nearly daily to ask if I’ll play video games with her. Last summer we played Animal Crossing together. She made me laugh with her character’s pink hair and frilly dresses. I gave her all my bells so she could upgrade her house and buy whatever she wanted. She’s mostly moved on to Minecraft these days, and because I am the awesome aunt I am, I get it on Game Pass and join her in her world.
The first thing we build in every game is a house. She’s the best teacher, but all I can do is build a standard short, rectangular house with a few windows. I can’t build anything extravagant, and besides, I’m not very creative. She builds glass houses on the water and uses creative lighting, while mine are all boring sandstone bricks.
She wants to be a video game designer when she grows up…or a doctor. Maybe she can be both, which I’d love. She’s incredibly smart, and I am fascinated by her. She uses redstone to auto-turn on lights and ding bells when stepping on a platform. I watched her build an extravagant mine cart with tracks, where one track on a cliff had no connecting pieces. I told her the cart would fly off the cliff, she said it was fine, and sure enough, the cart safely landed below on another track. She sure showed me!
I am in awe of what she can do in this game. She understands the mechanics very well, and what she doesn’t, she consults in her Minecraft game guide, “Let me check my Minecraft book.” Just as I did as a kid with my Nintendo games.
She’s also a sadistic little turd and gets such pleasure in tormenting me in-game. She has the best evil laugh. She likes to quietly change the mode from creative to survival so she can kill me by hitting me with swords or even her bare fist. The other night she had me open a chest, and when I closed it, she blew the area up with TNT. Of course, I laughed because she’s so inventive.
There was another time when she broke out blocks in my house to put spawners. She laughed when spiders spawned over and over again while I was over there swatting them with my sword. One time she auto-spawned bees all over my living room. Every time I leave my home, she sneaks something clever in there. (I need to learn how to put locks on my doors.) Don’t underestimate her. She will build you a trap with six doors and a pool of lava at the end.
A couple of friends joined us for some building recently. Leo, who is also a turd, ran around the sandbox teasing her by throwing lava everywhere, literally everywhere. And it was driving her insane. She was running behind him throwing water over his lava yelling, “Leo! Stop! No!” I laughed and took a screenshot when she wrote “Leo is a noob” in the chat.
She’s not always sadistic when playing, of course; she’s also quite creative. I watched her soak up all of the water in a small lake using sponges so, when the fish died, we’d have food to eat. She is always thinking two steps ahead. She’s clear and concise when giving me instructions on what I need to do next, and she never misses a chance to correct me. “There’s a zombie over here,” I’ll say. “No, that’s a drowned,” she’ll correct me with distaste, knowing I’ll never get it right.
I enjoy the time I get to share with her. She’s my little best friend; my favorite person to play video games with. She has taught me that Minecraft is actually a fun game, especially with someone as clever as her. I still haven’t bothered to learn how to craft anything, but that’s neither here nor there because when she’s with me, I know two things are certain: We’ll always have a roof over our heads, and I will always die a few deaths. I wish I could do even a fraction of what she can do, but, for now, I’ll stick with the mean houses she builds me. Seriously though, how do I put a lock on my doors?
“I built you a house. I hope you don’t mind the bees.”