Thursday 20 February 2020

Why Minecraft is suddenly better than Fortnite

Minecraft and controller

Warning: This isn't a gaming post ;-) Despite its appearances, its title and indeed my continuous rant that games and tech benefit my kids - this one isn’t about that. It’s about an 11-year-old autistic boy who has suddenly realised he might like a friend.

Last year something great happened for Anthony. After years of being at a school that he felt was wrong for him, he got into one that he liked. He was so happy he cried about it. I had no idea the difference an educational setting could make to the mental health and well-being of my child.

Six months on and his school is still the best in the world according to Anthony. He seems very happy at home and spends a lot of time on YouTube watching videos of people playing video games and sports too. Fortnite had always been a popular thing to watch as he found it particularly hilarious. Then all of a sudden, he popped out with "Well I don’t like Fortnite anymore, it’s not the best. Minecraft is much better."

Anthony used to play Minecraft with his dad sometimes, but struggled a bit to create such a game on his own. He absolutely loved the Minecraft story mode games but completed them quite awhile ago.

He informed us that on the list of the top games from the 21st-century, Minecraft was top and Fortnite was somewhere in the mid-teens. Anthony does love a list to prove his point - that’s why Avengers Endgame is the best movie ever, because of its highest grossing film status.

But a few weeks ago he started to come from home from school and declare that he’s a bit sad. "I don’t have any friends and I’m never going to have one" he said.

Honestly this came as a complete shock. As a kid with autism we’ve always really tried to help him develop friendships whenever it’s been possible, but he’s not really been interested. He specifically told us how at his last school he had 'classmates' not 'friends'. Plus he didn’t need any friends because he had us.

But suddenly he was saying things like, "I want someone to talk to who is my own age". My husband and I tried not to fall over each other in an attempt to support him with his desire to make friends. But it’s not that simple in a school with loads of kids of social communication difficulties and live, in some cases, several miles apart match other.

The next week happened to be parents evening at Anthony's school so we mentioned it.   It seems to be a theme for all the kids at the school. They’re doing a lot of work on working in teams and how to build friendships and there’s been some changes in the classes that are meant the dynamics have changed too. A new kid in the class can make people feel unsettled and unsure of their position in a group that they’ve connected with.

It turns out that Minecraft is far more a topic of discussion in the class than Fortnite.  Infact Fortnite is considered 'inferior' amongst his peers. We’ve no doubt that it’s this that affected his opinions on the games.

In an attempt to gain friendship he appears to be changing his opinions based on that his group. Something I definitely remember doing as a youngster to get that feeling that I belonged and that people liked me.

In the meantime however he still continues to watch videos on Fortnite and Minecraft and other stuff too. We are currently not allowed to ask him about friends unless he brings up the subject so it’s a little difficult to figure out how he’s getting on with it.  All we can try and encourage him to be himself because actually he’s quite great and we know that’s the best thing for him in the long run no matter what game you please.

We are featured in Twinkl’s Friendship blog, which aims to give tips towards improving relationship-building across children with SEND. Feel free to look at the other inclusive resources available on their site.

This post supports the #wetalkmakaton signs see 'friend' and 'games console' to learn them. 


  1. Friendships are so so tough... my son struggles too. Fingers crossed he finds a good one x

    1. Thanks - we will see. I think at the moment it's more a friend at school but we will see

  2. It is so hard when all the kids live so far apart. It has been lovely for us this half term as we have met up with some other families from my sons school. However at the moment he couldn't be less interested in friendships. It is brilliant that your son is wanting to form friendships but a difficult road lies ahead - hope he finds a good friend or two xx

    1. Let's see how it develops - he might change his mind next week!

  3. In some ways, adjusting your opinions to those around you can be seen as a positive sign of social awareness, I think? And he's probably at the stage in life where he's exploring his own identity more, as we generally do when transitioning from childhood towards becoming an adult. I doubt that my son will ever show that same level of social awareness, and in a way that currently makes the teenage years seem less scary, at least in that aspect. The whole idea of changing to fit in with friends, or even care about having any friends or not, isn't relevant to our boy (and I'm not sure it ever will be). For better and for worse.
    I hope your Anthony finds a good group of friends, or just the one good friend. Perhaps even one who likes Fortnite more than Minecraft ;-) xx

    1. I don't imagine us having these issues with our other son David either. He's 8 and pre-verbal and it's hard t thik about what he might be like as a teenagers - we may have more different issues to help him with! Yes, would be great if he could develop friendships - even if just for when he's at school. xx

  4. It's never easy, this fitting in business, especially at school. But it does seem to improve. Our son is quite introverted, but he is also his own man, and does really well one on one. A bit like myself. #KCACOLS

  5. Friendships will come. It is just not something that can be forced or that we can make happen instantly through good parenting. I’ve never played mine craft but many games even have communities within them that he may be able to make friends within, even if it is not quite the same as someone he can see every day.

  6. Friendships can be so tricky to navigate. My sons always change what they are into to impress someone else. #KCACOLS

  7. Trying to explain friendship to my son is so tough - he is only six but even now, fall outs and influences from his peers are rife. On a side - he is obsessed with Minecraft.
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!

  8. It's hard, and heartbreaking to watch. Hopefully tho, things work out. Sometimes it's a long road but I honestly beleive there's a tribe out there for everyone. One way or another. #KCACOLS


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