If you’re a parent or teacher, you’ve likely heard your children or students talking about Minecraft or Fortnite. マインクラフト (Mainkurafuto, Minecraft) — or マイクラ (Maikura), as the kids like to call it — was the most popular game among 小学生 (shōgakusei, elementary school students) in Japan last year, followed closely by フォートナイト (Fōtonaito, Fortnite) and ポケモン (Pokemon, Pokemon).
Now, you could do what parents throughout history have done — shrug your shoulders and tell your kids, 宿題しなさい！ (shukudai shinasai!, do your homework!) Or, you could try joining a conversation with them. You’d think kids might not want to talk about ゲーム (gēmu, games) with their parents or teachers, but more often than not they’ll appreciate you taking an interest in whatever they’re passionate about.
If all you’ve heard is the name, マイクラ is what’s known as a サンドボックスゲーム (sandobokkusu gēmu, sandbox game); meaning it doesn’t have a story but instead gives the player a wide range of freedom in how they play. So, どうやってプレイできるの？ (dōyatte purei dekiru no?, how can I play this game?)
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