Seattle's Child

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minecraft review photo by JIll O'Connor, revised on 9/30/20

Review: Kids can creep on over to Minecraft at MoPop (video)

A goldmine of fun awaits — with safety updates for COVID.

You can reserve a timed ticket at MoPop, grab a mask and some hand sanitizer, and enjoy the reopened “Minecraft: The Exhibition,” which will be on display only until spring 2021.

Kids can get up close and personal with a wolf, a llama, a panda and a Creeper. (The Creeper will explode. And, yes, it’s worth trying that out.)

It’s an immersive version of Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time, and parents and grandparents can get in on the fun and gain some perspective on how to play — and how players build different worlds in this decade-old game.

minecraft review photo by JIll O'Connor, revised on 9/30/20

A giant iron golem awaits at MoPop.

The exhibit made its world debut here at MoPop on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 and will tour the United States and beyond after it leaves Seattle.

The exhibit also explores how Minecraft, created by Sweden’s Mojang and now owned by Microsoft, has made attempts to change the real world with game-linked initiatives for ensuring access to clean water, protecting pandas and restoring the growth of coral reefs near Mexico. There’s also a display where one can play and explore Minecraft’s education initiatives, which includes a world that gives a tutorial on Maori culture and language.

It was surreal to hear the Minecraft music outside the confines of my own living room, where Minecraft has been a regular presence since about 2013, but that made me realize it would also work well as a calming but slightly somber soundtrack in the lobby of an upscale hotel. (It would pair quite nicely with some strawberry- and rosemary-infused water.)

minecraft review photo by JIll O'Connor, revised on 9/30/20

Meet a Minecraft panda, too. The exhibit is open until spring 2021.

There’s an interactive crafting table that will likely be a big hit with toddlers and curious adults who enjoy making diamond pickaxes, and you can step into the Nether, too, which is a Mojang version of, say, Hades, the underworld in Greek mythology. The purple-tinged metallic streamers at the entrance enhance the feeling that you’re indeed going into another  world. The Zombie Pigman inside confirms that.

Outside the Nether, you can hit a tree to get a piece of wood, just like in the game. (Which, of course, I had to do.)

And, of course, there are various easy-to-clean controllers inside the exhibition where you can just, you know, relax and play Minecraft. If you survive your first night.

This review was originally published in October 2019. It was fact-checked by the author’s son, now 11. MoPop is currently open to visitors on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

About the Author

Jillian O'Connor

Jillian O’Connor lives in Seattle with her husband, two sons and a dog named after the Loch Ness Monster.