Minecraft Maniacs. The Legend of EnderZilla. Narrated by Joseph Farnsworth. Audible Audio Edition, 2014. Audiobook.
The computer game Minecraft is an international hit, and it’s spawned a mega retail industry around it. Fans can buy clothes, key chains, stuffed toys, office supplies, books, and countless other Minecraft- related and Minecraft-trademarked things. Players who put their gaming exploits on YouTube have become celebrities and authors. And books by third (fourth?) parties that center around the characters created by Minecraft YouTubers are an industry, too. It’s mind-blowing, but it’s real, and gamers love it all.
My son and I listened to an ebook written by Minecraft Maniacs called The Legend of EnderZilla. In it, two well-known characters created by Minecraft players, SSundee and Skydoesminecraft (“Sky”) head off to an island to find a treasure chest. There they meet the giant EnderZilla, from the Ender world, intent on following and destroying them. They craft weapons and eventually deter the monster long enough to escape.
The plot is quite thin, and there’s no character development, but the story is action-packed and moves along quickly. The narrator, Joe Farnsworth, is a clear speaker with no discernible regional accent, and does a good job emoting. These things, coupled with the fact that the characters and settings are well-known to fans of Minecraft, kept my seven year old quiet and completely rapt. This is no small feat, as he tends to talk through the things he reads, as well as his ideas… and everything else. It could be that the audio format, which keeps things going unless it is paused, discouraged conversation. It is short enough to invite conversation after the story is told, and we surely did that. He also asked for more audiobooks, which was interesting.
I tend to have a difficult time just listening to stories; I am very much a text-based, visual person, and the act of extended listening uses a part of my brain I (unfortunately) don’t normally use. But the use of audio to tell stories is a great way to share a book communally, to provide a break for those listeners who have a difficult time reading, and to simply sit back and enjoy a good story. While I probably won’t seek out any more from this Minecraft Maniacs series for myself, I just might for my son on a long car ride… and maybe I’ll practice a bit more extended listening, which can’t be a bad thing.