Earlier this year, eight-year-old Jivan Armen logged onto a Minecraft server in his home in east Vancouver to start building something new, as millions of his peers do each day. Jivan loves roller coasters and had begun constructing one to transport sheep throughout his world. Then disaster struck.
A griefer logged on and set his roller coaster ablaze. There was no recourse; only tears. Jivan ran to his father for consolation. “It’s not a great introduction to the Internet,” Jivan’s 46-year-old father Haig says. In fact, since then, Jivan has been shy to log into his favorite game out of fear of abuse.
Later, on the 10-minute walk to school, Haig shared the experience with other parents, many of whom echoed poor Jiven’s tragedy. “They all said that inevitably some jerk gets on their child’s server and ruins everything,” Haig says. Fortunately, for Jiven and the children of Vancouver, Haig Armen has a solution.
About a year and a half ago, Haig began working on an ingenious device called the Mineblock. A physical object powered by the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer and not much larger than your hand, the Mineblock does just one thing: run a private Minecraft server.