Level—Up is a parent's interactive guide for learning more about the potential positives of Minecraft. This site features the voices of authorities and children to convey both of their perspectives in a unified way.

The goal of this project is to help destigmatize games by showing parents the wonders and possibilities within games. The hope is that, by knowing some of beneficial levels of gaming, parents can help better support their kids and their interests in video games.

This Project

Designed and developed by Kevin He.

Created as part of an independent study in Interaction Design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

Special thanks to my coach Jonathan Hanahan, John Hendrix, Will Bates, Molly Needelman, Aaron Zemach, and the Communication Design program for taking me under their wing and helping me realize this project.


A Parent's Guide to the Possibilities of Minecraft in Three Levels.
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the World of
Infinite Creativity

"Minecraft has given me a space to explore my creativity and build things I could only dream of. It's like virtual legos... Without Minecraft, I wouldn't have decided to study architecture."


One of Minecraft’s greatest assets is its scale. With an infinitely expanding world, kids have access to one of the best playgrounds in the world. They can make and shape this world to be what they want it to be. The world seed of Minecraft gives them the greatest sandbox, but it is ultimately a place where kids can truly be themselves and find/make what they want.

Design with

When in Minecraft, kids get the ability to conform the world to their own liking. With this power, kids have the ability to design the world to their liking. Do they wish to optimize their farms and chests? Or do they want to just make a super cool base? The world is their oyster and Minecraft gives kids the ability to shape as they see fit.

A Personal
World of

Within the realm of Minecraft, kids are given the ability to be who they want to be. With a wide array of skins to choose from as well as a vast and ever-changing world, kids have the ability to become part of the world they make or join. Whether it be Hogwarts, Star Wars, or Pokemon, there are so many avenues for kids to express themselves for who they are personally and what they’re passionate about.

through a
Sense of

"Whenever I play Minecraft, I feel like I can do anything. It makes me happy whenever I build something super cool or find something new! It's always exciting when I play since I get to decide how I want to play!"

Confidence Building

For kids, one of the greatest things in Minecraft is the ability to achieve and do what they want. This potential of goal-setting and resulting achievement helps build confidence in kids and their abilities. This aspect of drive and fulfillment is one that builds up over time and helps kids realize their potential both in-game and outside in the classroom, on the field, or in any of their other interests.

Setting Goals
for Success

With the wide array of material available in Minecraft, there are many things for kids to do while they’re playing - too many even. One of the best solutions to this is goal-based gameplay. This allows kids to break their gaming into goals, actions, and achievements, and by doing so, gives them a more structured approach to their playtime. The goal-oriented playstyle in Minecraft could look like quests, exploration, and/or crafting, and it gives kids the ability to structure their fun while also working and being active in game.

to Fail

While Minecraft has plenty of opportunities to build confidence in kids through success, one of Minecraft’s biggest strengths is giving them a place to freely fail. With its virtual world build from singular blocks, Minecraft gives kids the freedom to explore, build, and invent their own creations with the rules or constraints of reality. This gives them plenty of rules to experiment with in-game, as well as give them the ability to fail and learn at their own pace without external consequences.

built from
A Virtual Community

"Minecraft is where me and my friends get together and play — It's really fun when we get to explore and build together! Sometimes we even go play on servers with people from all over the world. Everyone is so nice and it makes the game just so exciting and fun!"

Teamwork &

In Minecraft, kids are allowed to play together either locally or online. This gives them the opportunity to learn how to communicate and work together with their friends. Will they want to build and explore individually or collectively? That’s up to them to decide. Minecraft gives them a place to learn how to coexist with others to build amazing structures or explore wider areas beyond what an individual can do.

Joining A
Global Network

Part of this amazing community stems from Minecraft’s global presence. As a game with over 112 million monthly active players, kids have access to an amazing global network of players. These players set up servers for people to play on together, create custom skins and game modes for people to explore, and build amazing worlds from scratch just to help share their love and passion with others. Kids have a wonderful chance to tap into this resource and see a wider world of infinite possibilities that inspires them to do more.

A Space for

Finally, all these online spaces give kids a personal space for solace. Within the world of Minecraft, kids can build a virtual space to hang out with their friends. Minecraft gives kids the opportunity to build a space either by themselves or with their close friends for them and themselves only. This is a space where they can truly be themselves and truly make irreplaceable memories.

The Next Level

Through these 3 levels, the hope of this project is that parents will be able to better understand why kids are so invested in Minecraft and other virtual spaces. Minecraft represents escape, immersion, creativity, and exploration for these kids. It is a place where they can find themselves, be true to who they are, and just be kids. It is a world where memories are made, laughter is shared, and dreams are realized. There’s always a new adventure on the horizon in Minecraft, and this project’s goal is to share that possibility and potential to parents so that they may find their own silver linings to this game.