Curious about Minecraft? Interview with Minecraft for Dummies’ 16 year old author

If you have a tween, chances are you’ve heard about Minecraft. Minecraft is a game that requires using cubes to create or survive in an imaginary world in an online virtual environment where game play occurs individually or collaboratively. Game play can occur in a variety of different ways ranging from on a Mac or PC, on an Xbox, or through the mobile versions available for iOS and Android devices.

If your child has convinced you to purchase Minecraft for them and you’ve watched them play but are feeling a little lost, the new Minecraft for Dummies book can help. Written by 16 year old Jacob Cordeiro, Minecraft for Dummies is a 140 primer on everything you need to know about the virtual world. It’s an easy to read book for kids who want to know more about the game and strategy and also for parents who want to feel more educated about what their kids are doing when they’re playing Minecraft.

Between spring break and high school midterms, I had the opportunity to interview Jacob via email about Minecraft to get his perspective on who the game is most appropriate for, online safety risks that come with playing the multiplayer version, and educational benefits of gaming.

Tech Savvy Parents (TSP): Minecraft seems to be growing in popularity among my daughter’s third grade peers. How old were you when you first started playing and what age do you think Minecraft is most age appropriate for?

Jacob Cordeiro (JC): I think I was 13 when I started seriously playing Minecraft, but I think that it’s an appropriate game for all ages, because there are so many ways to regulate difficulty to your personal skill level.

TSP: For parents who are hesitant to purchase Minecraft, can you describe the educational benefits?

JC: While it doesn’t directly say so, Minecraft is a very educational game both in single player and multiplayer mode; in addition to providing an outlet for creative world-building, it teaches resource management, fundamental economics, theoretical survival skills and even programming. I’ve used it as a building tool for solving math problems, and have employed the “redstone” power system to practice circuitry and logic. Looking back, Minecraft has been a major catalyst for most of my creativity, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

TSP: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a single player versus a multiplayer game?

JC: Multiplayer mode is also a great social network, allowing players to survive together, trade, duel or simply interact in the same world. While the economics can become more society-oriented, it’s a great way to share your creative universe. In addition, Multiplayer servers can use modifications that allow for massive games of capture the flag, collaborative building or any other game the community can create.

TSP: Are there online safety risks associated with playing with others through the multiplayer game and is there an age you think it’s most appropriate for?

JC: It’s a safe way of sharing data and is appropriate for any age, though younger players might want to set up small worlds with each other rather than logging in to unfiltered public servers.

TSP: Can you speak to the differences of Minecraft as a computer game versus the iPad version? Are there advantages to playing it on a PC versus on a mobile device?

JC: Minecraft also supports platforms such as the Android, iPad and Xbox, with controls that fit the device. The PC version is much more developed, with a vast amount of content, but it’s always interesting to take your worlds to the Xbox, or edit your world on a touchscreen and take it with you on your iPad or Android.

Nature in computerized, day and leaves of the squares via Shutterstock

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  1. by Shana D

    On April 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

    My nine year old loves Minecraft. Right now we only use the free version. I’m wondering is there a big difference in the free version from the paid version?

  2. by Jacob Cordeiro

    On April 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    If you’re talking about the PC version (which Minecraft for Dummies covers), I think the “demo” gives a tutorial and 100 minutes of gameplay before the world is reset. In the full version, you can use your world as much as you want, building at any scale and having the time to catch some of the higher-end adventure.

  3. by Laura A

    On April 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you – great article! And kudos to Jacob for writing a book about it at such a young age! My teenagers also like to play Minecraft and it’s a game with a broad audience. I wrote a blog about Minecraft, too. You can read it at Just search Minecraft.

    Thanks, again!

  4. [...] are in Singapore and other parts of Asia / Australia. And not missing a beat, a few days ago Jacob was interviewed by Parents magazine as well.  Congrats! If any reader has other stories about self-publication [...]

  5. by JILL

    On April 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I dont understand how to get Minecraft.
    My 9 yr old wants it – I got the ipad version.
    He says its not the same.
    He wants the computer or xbox version.
    How do I get the game? How much does it cost?
    He wants the dinosaur mod.

  6. by source

    On April 30, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Favorited — Curious about Minecraft? Interview with Minecraft for Dummies

  7. [...] has been written about the educational benefits of Minecraft and schools are now buying into it too, so despite it’s highly addictive nature, my boys use [...]

  8. [...] author, Jacob Cordeiro, who was only sixteen at the time he wrote the book, gave an interview at Tech Savvy Parents in 2013, where he outlined the different educational benefits: “TSP: For parents who are hesitant to [...]