When I read online about the opportunity to test a T1D demo for the Minecraft PC game, I knew I had to try to get my 6 year old son, Parker, to play it. As a person with T1D himself, he had lots of creative ideas of how to incorporate aspects of diabetes into the game when we first discussed it. And as a parent, I believe the demo lived up to both our expectations.
To begin the game, a bolt of lightning “strikes you with diabetes” without any instruction about how this will affect your missions in the game or how you need to care for yourself. The standard Minecraft game already has the concepts of Health and Hunger for each player and this T1D version adds in BG (blood glucose) and Insulin. As you proceed through the game, your BG rises or falls and you need to eat and/or dose insulin accordingly to keep your BG in the “safe” green range. You are given a limited dose of Insulin to play each mini level and there is plenty of food to eat from protein to carbs. If your BG is too high or low, your vision in the game gets blurry and shakes around, making it even more difficult to battle monsters and jump over lava pools!
Parker really enjoyed playing the demo and discovered that adding in T1D really compounds the challenges that already exist in the game. Much like in reality, the game forces you to wait after a treating a low until your BG is back in range to use some of the special abilities of the character. Since Parker is not independent in his diabetes care yet, I really appreciated some of the safety lessons that the demo reinforces. I think that this version of the game would be a cool way for kids with T1D to spread awareness by introducing some of their daily challenges to their friends in a fun way. I also feel that the game would be a useful tool for newly diagnosed families and caregivers since it explains some of the main concepts of T1D care in an entertaining way. We would encourage all Minecraft fans to try it out if you are able, and we hope that MC:T1D can make it into the hands of more kids and their families!
MC:T1 is still in the Beta phase, but you can request instructions on how to play HERE.