To further support my growing Minecraft
addiction hobby, here's an article from the New York Times blog Disruptions: Minecraft, an Obsession and an Educational Tool:
Unlike other video games, there are few if any instructions in Minecraft. Instead, like the name suggests, the goal of the game is to craft, or build, structures in these 16-bit worlds, and figuring things out on your own is a big part of it. And parents, it’s not terribly violent. Sure, you can kill a few zombies while playing in the game’s “survival mode.” But in its “creative mode,” Minecraft is about building, exploration, creativity and even collaboration.
The Xbox 360 version I've played with my son includes a fair amount of built in instruction simply because it's more difficult to do some of the crafting/building with a controller. But having recently tried the PC version there's little to no instruction included in the game, especially when it comes to how to craft the various in game items and tools.
Earlier this year, for example, a school in Stockholm made Minecraft compulsory for 13-year-old students. “They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,” said Monica Ekman, a teacher at the Viktor Rydberg school.