We are getting ever-closer to the dream of gameplay on the holodeck of Star Trek.

Last night my 10th grade son, who LOVES Minecraft, played some Minecraft mini-games on a shared server with a school friend. They audio skyped so they could talk as they played, since they were not physically together but playing from their own houses. I recorded a 9 minute video of their online gameplay with my iPhone, and Alex provided descriptive narration explaining what they were doing and what was happening. BowSpleef is the name of the mini-game they played. It’s similar to “TNT Run” but players get to shoot flaming arrows which ignite TNT in the floor instead of just waiting for the floor blocks to detonate on their own. It’s basically a “last man standing” game.

The server they played on last night is mx.hypixel.net, which is the address they put into their Minecraft software programs to connect. It’s linked from the website hypixel.net. All of the mini-games they’ve played to date have been free, but Alex said there are some which require a subscription payment to play. Minecraftservers.org is a website which lists lots of different servers players can join. Alex learned about the mx.hypixel.net server by watching the YouTube video “Minecraft: PARKOUR SKILLS (TNT Run)” by CaptainSparklez, who is a very popular Minecraft YouTuber. The server address is listed in the video’s description. That particular video has just under half a million current views. CaptainSparklez’ three most popular videos (respectively) have 115 million views, 70 million views, and 64 million views. I suspect CaptainSparklez is one of the people Alex has told me about who is a professional Minecraft YouTuber, earning his living from the Google AdSense revenue generated from his videos.

In his video demo last night, Alex also referenced Romecraft, which is the Minecraft “texture pack” he was using during their gameplay.

If you’re an educator or parent and want to learn more about Minecraft, I highly recommend the Edgamer audio podcast on the EdReach Network. (@edgamer on Twitter) They’ve done several great episodes about Minecraft. Also check out Alex’ presentation last year for the K-12 Online Conference, “Creating and Playing in Minecraft.”

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