Me: video game noob and a very tired teacher

These days I’m dragging my feet into this video game world, its rules, terminology, and other related things. One thing is for certain: you don’t want to be called a “noob.” I could think of worse things but that term seems to push player’s buttons. It’s supposed to be insulting to call or be called a “noob” yet the term is teasingly used among friends for poor play.

According to Wikipedia, ” Newbienewbnoob, or nub is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in a profession or activity.”

I’m in the latter category: My kids call me “noob, “but it doesn’t offend me. My noobiness is obvious when I can’t control my avatar’s movements in the game and can’t pass through doors or climb ladders. I continually ask: “What’s that?”; “How do you do that?”; “Why do I keep…?”; or “What do I do now?”

We play “Bed Wars” on the BlockMan Go app. It’s a 4 team game of 4 players who buy gear, blocks, and weapons though coins earned at each of their base’s iron forge. To get better gear and upgrade your weapon’s arsenal, you build bridges to other lands to get diamonds and emeralds. You also need to build to other team’s lands to destroy their defended bed. If you die or get killed, you respawn but lose all your inventory; however, if your bed is destroyed, you cannot respawn after dying.

My role is limited; I defend the bed with blocks, build one bridge to nearby the diamond land, gather diamonds to upgrade our team’s forge, and try not to fall into the void. It’s stressful and I wonder how my fingers don’t move as fast as I want them to.

Still, they want me on their team. It’s flattering, but it’s too much together time. We already spend an inordinate amount of time together as a homeschooling family. This activity cuts into my nap time, alone time, bathroom time, phone time, etc. I’m guessing they want me to play so I’ll lose track of time and not yell at them to stop playing. Just sayin’…

When we play, we refer to each other by our usernames. They like to show off their skills and give me tutorials. Ellis comments that I’m like her little sister in video games and that she needs to teach me how to do things. Other times, Elliot tells me to “stay back…I got you” while he kills off opponents or gets revenge on the enemy who killed me.

Avatars: Ellis (Far left), Elliot (middle), me (far right); my updated Avatar is a winking eye

Another game we play is Skyblock; you mine for blocks and use them to build your land in the sky. This is my favorite game; who thought mining could be this fun and pleasant! Kids got me better gear and unbreakable cross/ slash thunderbolt staff that I can use to defend myself from other miners who want to steal your inventory by killing your avatar. fend off attacks from other miners in the advanced mining area for higher cost blocks. Rare and special blocks can be attained through trades with other players or by using coins to buy them by selling the blocks you mined or with gcubes (gold cubes you buy with money).

We’ve kind of gone overboard and have built all kinds of structures along with making up stories. We have an evil scientist who grows poisonous berries, a young Apatosaurus dinosaur that suddenly appeared on our land (we are caretaking and teaching him while we look for his parents), kids made their stone generator business that makes stones with water and lava (cost is 1 emerald per use). Ellis also made a graveside for my father in law who passed 7 years ago, as well as one for Chris’ friend who passed recently in Dec. 2020.

I’ve been on edge since kids love these games, along with Minecraft and others, and I feel they will never stop playing. But I can’t fight it all the time, so I’m reluctantly changing my approach. This may be my rationalizing, but playing together gives us an opportunity to reverse teacher and learner roles, learn about internet safety, make good decisions, problem solve, build creatively, research information they need, understand sportsmanship, and discuss different ways people think and act on video game platforms.

This is their new obsession, so I’m seizing this opportunity to revolve learning around it for them. Being my kid’s teacher has its rewards and surprises, but in uncharted territories like this, I find the ride wild, uncomfortable, and unbelievably frustrating!! I’ve emphasized the positives here, but it gives me migraines to work with it. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜…

For every teacher, parent, and others in the second month of this school year, praying that we survive, stay healthy, and help kids on their road to become their best selves!

“Let’s play video games”: growing up and finding friends

I’m not sure at what age kids begin to talk on the phone with friends. But today Elliot initiated a phone call to his classmate to find each other on a video game server.

They exchanged (mine and his mother’s phone number) on Zoom chat and set a time to talk. Elliot counted down the minutes, and when I was punching in the number he asked me what he should say. I told him that if his mother picks up, you should say, “Hello or hi” and “My name is Elliot, …..friend. May I speak with him on the phone?” He smiled and took a deep breath.

After a ring or two, his friend answered, but Elliot tuning out the voice that answered began to say verbatim “Hello, my name is Elliot…” I motioned him to stop and put my hand to my ear indicating he should hear the voice. Once he realized it a kid’s voice, he smiled and shook his head as he put his hand on his forehead. Even still, you could see his grin. Ellis is in on it too, and now 3 of them are playing.

This is a big day for them! I feel they are growing up and finding their own voices. They continued to chat and laugh while they played games, but when Elliot had a question he asked me. I whispered that he should ask the question to his friend, not me. Making that transition from me talking for them to speaking up for themselves.

This gets me off the hook for playing video games with them for a while. They insist on teaching me how to play their video games even though I die early into the game or accidentally kill my teammates. I pretend to hate it: but I secretly think it’s sweet they want to play with me, the videogaming “noob.”

The cliche “they grow up too fast” is ringing true for me today.

being silly together
back in the day, my tiny nuggets