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Gifts that Fascinate and Enlighten

eat, family meals, fitness, GEAR, holidays, kids, self, Shopping Reviews, tech By November 30, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

It’s shocking, but we are almost done! Day 11 of our 12 Days of Christmas Gift Guides focuses on gifts that fascinate and enlighten. In case you missed any, we’ve done a round-up of all of our guides, along with a chance to win $250 in Visa gift cards.

install minecraft pixelmon mod

The Pixelmon Minecraft Mod

LIVE, play By July 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , 3 Comments

My son has been heartbroken, as the servers that we’ve been trying for the Pixelmon Minecraft mod haven’t been working at all. I offered to tweet the Minecraft guys. I tried to add different servers. No go. Figuring out how to install mods in Minecraft is tricky, as it depends on whether you use a PC or a Mac, and takes patience.

But then I watched a few Youtube videos about how to do this stuff, and made my son the happiest man in the house. I added a mod to Minecraft so that he could play as his beloved Pokemon characters.

It really wasn’t that difficult. First, you go to Pixelmonmod – it’s a great resource. Unfortunately the servers just wouldn’t work with the version of Minecraft that we have – 1.7.10. What I learned was that we had to instal a mod instead. We downloaded Forge in order to quickly install a mod. Once you open it click the top option to install the files. It will end up saying that 11 files have been installed. I found a free Pixelmon mod on Minecraft Six. Mods are saved as ‘jar’ files. Once downloaded to your computer, search your computer files for the Minecraft folder. In this folder will be a subfolder for ‘mods’. Pop the jar file into this folder, and you’re good to go.

When you open Minecraft, you must select the bottom (Forge) version from the dropdown menu. My son can now select his Pokemon characters and continue to build and explore the very spacial world of Minecraft.

Happy kids, happy Pokemon, and endless fun. And mommy looks like a computer genius rockstar! I just wish I could build half of what the kids can in Minecraft – actually I should start with a lesson on moving my character without bumping into walls and falling into oceans!


Beware the Minecraft Mod

apps, GEAR, tech By November 15, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 40 Comments

Swimming around in the Westin Calgary pool, we were both happy as clams.  My son loves Minecraft (especially computer version) and asked if he could get a new MOD (translated to ‘modification of the original – I think).  Personally knowing the student who had told him about add-ons to Minecraft, I was skeptical but decided to be open-minded.  Daddy and I would research the MOD to see if it was appropriate.

Pushing me, my son explained that you could get a girlfriend and make ‘it’ do things.  Red flag #2.  He insisted his friend said there was a Youtube video that would explain it.  And he wanted me to watch it NOW.

I looked and there were no age restrictions, so we watched it together.

For ten minutes.

And my heart sank deeper and deeper and I knew that we’d entered tech hell, a place that I may have to go back to school to understand because I can’t be a great parent without a full understanding of that world.

In the video (that was like a gender-biased, sexist train wreck I couldn’t stop watching), I learned that ‘mail-order girlfriends’ emerge from a box shipped to the miner.  They do your bidding and their weapons are shoes tossed at the creepers.  If you like, you can give them a sword but must take it back promptly.  They are tamed with a rose and will do what you tell them once they are in love with you. You can dress them in 16 different outfits and if you draw them to water.. wait for it… they will change into a bikini! (Of which there are many styles as well).  Building a dance floor of 5×5 bricks will compel them to dance for you to ensure your happiness.  And finally, to break up with these creatures you just have to give them a dead bush. Hopefully the symbolism isn’t evident to my son.

I was silent.  I asked my son how he would feel if it was me who got out of the box.  He said he wouldn’t like it, but if you marry them with a diamond you can get a baby from inventory and even eat dinner together.  At a table in a restaurant.

I explained that he had not done anything wrong, but that this particular MOD divided genders and included harmful thoughts about women.  He still begged to get it and promised he’d never treat a girl like that in real life.

So I guess he realizes some of the negatives.  But the weaponry, clothing changes and newness is still too enticing.  And now I’m petrified.

This video has over 6 million views.  Developers such as TheDiamondMinecart make or simply video and explain the workings of these MODS. They are certainly not screened for content.  Parents who may think their child is playing ‘Minecraft’ has no idea about the can of worms introduced by coders who want to extend the range of the game.

So much for work.  I’ll be looking over his shoulder from now on.  And before he can download ANY SIM?  He has to learn how to code and build the damn thing himself if he’s still interested.  (Hopefully it will take a few years).  There was a great article on Babble about teaching kids coding.  Spanish can wait.  Coding and the reinforcement of gender equality are next on the list.  And just because you trust what you read about Minecraft and it’s developers, be careful not to consider all-things-Minecraft as kid-appropriate.

In the meantime? Any advice on how to deal with the family of the 7-year old who hyped the Girlfriend Mod would be much appreciated.

by Jill Amery