Back in my day, The Sims was a phenomenon. Everyone was playing the game, from Granny down the street to the teenage basement-dwelling punk. Finally, a game where you could make your avatar do exciting things like. . .go to work, and exercise, and cook dinner, and use the bathroom. Why would you want to run around like some super hero saving the world when you could really live your dreams, assuming your dreams centers around accumulating material wealth and converting it into gaudy homes? The Sims is now well into it’s four iteration and sells very well, so people are still into it, I guess. But the thing is that the gameplay kinda sucked. Go to work. Work on your skills. Buy stuff. Repeat. If it weren’t for cheat codes, I think I would have gotten bored of it within a day.

When I look at Minecraft, I see what The Sims was trying to be. It’s not just Choose Your Own Adventure, it’s Build Your Own Adventure. It’s really about living your actual dreams–assuming you dream in cubism–not only building whatever you want, but actually struggling against something other than middle management.

In terms of holding my interest, it lasted slightly longer than The Sims. Let’s call it a full month before I was itching to move onto something with a built in plot.

People love it, though, and my kids are right there at the forefront. It gives Finley a way to creatively build and–much more importantly–destroy without scattering Legos like landmines for the barefoot fool trying to get a glass of water in the middle of the night. He always wants me to play it with him. I have at times, but I honestly would rather stare into space than dig up or lay down another dirt block.

Finally, though, Finley and Kella have found an adult to drag through on their Minecraft adventures: Grandpa. Grandpa Schultz bought the game on his Xbox 360, and now the kids can play online with him, whenever they want.

When I watch them play, I can’t help but wonder if this is one of those memories of their grandpa they’ll keep forever. For me, I’ll always remember my Grandpa Gordon for his hilarious (and often slightly inappropriate) stories. Grandpa Farnsworth I’ll remember for his pocket full of pens, his weird science program on his Mac, and his oscilloscope. My kids will have Minecraft.

If that’s the case, I think that’s pretty cool. Plus it gives me a reprieve from having to build yet another bland motel that I know Finley will just blow up as soon as I turn my back. In other words, total win-win.

Dad, if you want to get in on the action, I’m sure you’re more than invited. Though considering that you stopped playing video games with Stefan and I when you couldn’t keep us with us on Super Mario, I’m guessing it’s a hard pass.