“Hellllllllooooooo this is Stampy”
If reading that sends a little shiver down your spine then there’s a strong chance that you, like me, are one of millions of parents with Minecraft obsessed kids. I was sceptical at first, I admit. How could watching a video of someone playing a game rather than playing the game yourself be fun? surely Stampy and co were just old slightly obese unemployed layabouts preying on innocent children and making a ton of money?.
After a while I learned to embrace Stampy, the voice is annoying but one Stampy trip to the Ether (or nether, Im not entirely sure – its a made up world) lets me do some work, a load or two of laundry plus get the dinner on. I’m at a place of acceptance now, I’d rather my children sit and watch his youtube videos than Austin and Ally (I hate them, bring back High School Musical I say). The Minecraft game itself is harmless enough, theres no killing or swearing either on the game nor the majority of the videos on Youtube, and its something that Luis, Maxi and Amelie can play together. I even researched Minecraft a little bit and now know about Stampy (not an old man it turns out) and about how children ‘on the spectrum’ could really benefit from playing. Luis even had a Minecraft party this year. Its safe to say Minecraft is here to stay.
On a chance encounter at the Raddison Athlone on Monday this week we discovered that there was a Minecraft Convention happening – MineVention (see what they did there?!). A chat to the lovely host Lisa and a peek into the room filled with Xboxes and computers galore, happy kids all chatting and playing and laughing, a heap of Lego challenges going on and a gigantic screen being manned by the friendliest youtube stars ever (one of them was Stampys sister) convinced us to sign the kids up in about 5.2 seconds.
MineVention is owned and run by O’brein events and they completely knocked it out of the park with this. We arrived in the morning to be greeted by Lisa and her team who took such good care of Amelie who as usual was doing her ‘anything boys can do I can do too’ act. They then had questions and answers with the youtubers who actually were all really lovely normal people and aren’t preying on young people and laughing all the way to the bank. They met NettyPlays, Zoe the Pigeon, Gunshot and MiniMukka, who all stayed the whole day and played group games (non computery ones) Minecraft challenge games, and were on hand for advice and fun. They also very kindly signed autographs, Minecraft books and fielded various questions from Amelie about how they could be real people and not purple boxes with legs.
The Q+A session with the YouTubers was a huge success with Luis, who is really keen on making videos himself. He already knew Netty and ‘Gunshot’ (im not entirely sure what his actual name is!) as they feature on Stampy’s videos so he was in heaven chatting with them throughout the day and listening to their wisdom on all things Minecraft. I also spoke with them about how setting challenges and filming videos has increased their confidence and their organisation skills. Not a bad thing for any child to start doing really. It can also be a great tool to explain internet safety and about self esteem and not letting online trolls and bullies bring you down, it was really quite inspiring to be honest.
Value wise it was excellent €50 per child from 9:30-3 including a hot meal at lunch time. They also got an awesome swag bag at the end of the day of a really nice canvas bag, photos of them with their celeb mates, t shirt and glow in the dark armband. The real value is in the days events – lego, challenges, games, xbox, computers. There was even a scratch and coding session and the team who really make the day with their enthusiasm and drive. Even Vivienne made out with some MineVention goodies which she has been clutching since Tuesday which was very kind of them.
The next MineVention’s are scheduled for Meath and Galway before they hop over to the UK on 12th September. I would thoroughly recommend this event to anyone with Minecraft loving kids. Mine were some of the youngest ones there but had a great time. There were lots of older children there (age 10+) and a fair few teenagers (who all had better phones and grasp of technology than me). The mini Clevs had a great day and have not stopped talking about the people they met, the games they played and the chicken nuggets they ate (Luis has only asked for his own laptop four times since leaving, which is the only downside of the day!!!).
You can find the lovely folks from MineVention on Twitter and Facebook. For any Stampy-sick parents point your kids in the direction of Netty, Gunshot, Zoe the Pigeon or MiniMukka’s YouTube channels. My children are already asking when they can go back!!