“Are girls allowed to play soccer?” That is the question my four-year-old daughter asked me this evening while we snuggled watching Costa Rica beat Mexico 1-0 in their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier. Like little children do, her question was just exactly the right one, at the right time. Her question comes in a week that has been filled with ever more sensational news about the hate-group-disguised-as-a-social-movement, #gamergate. Her question also came just minutes after I, in an eloquent soapbox rant to my wife, had a realization about myself as a “gamer,” as a nerd, as a soccer fan, as a man, and as a father.
If you haven’t heard, Microsoft is buying Mojang, the creators of the insanely popular Minecraft open-world creation game. My children love Minecraft. They fight over who gets what device, and then when settled spend hours playing with each other an an enormous creative world. These are children who will not get along for anything. They love Minecraft. Sometimes all they talk about is Minecraft. But it gets them talking. To each other. For that reason, if for no other, I love Minecraft. And yet the game itself is a ton of fun (which I discovered for myself during my annual vacation this last summer).
So the news that Microsoft is buying Mojang? Horrible. I come from the generation that couldn’t spell the name without dollar signs. Micro$oft was my generation’s Babylon the Great, Whore of All the Earth. The Enemy. The Man. The primary justification for the existence of Linux. And then, about the time my kids came along, Microsoft just wasn’t that important anymore. They had much more competition, and were even struggling to keep relevant in a new age. I thought that the undying hate might actually die with me, and my children would grow up in a world of peace. But today that all ends. Children, meet the enemy from Redmond.
Disclaimer Note: I have grown up some since my youth, and in spite the tone of my comments above (which carries more of the anger of my children than of my own), am not an outright opponent of Microsoft. I use Windows (reluctantly) at work, and even have a Windows partition somewhere on my laptop for those few things (Adobe Illustrator) that just won’t run in Linux. If I had to say, these days I am rather ambivalent about the whole thing. But Mr. Satya Nadella is making quite a statement buying Mojang, and has the opportunity to absolutely piss off an entire generation of children if Microsoft gets this wrong (like they seem to have largely done with acquisitions in the past).
Copyright Note: The featured image is posted all around as a Creative Commons image, but I have not yet been able to find an original source or author. If you know where it came from, please point me in the right direction. Thanks.