Popular Video Game Sparks Parrot Controversy
If you examine a list of the world’s best-selling video games you will discover Minecraft at number two. Outsold only by Tetris, Minecraft was created by a self-taught Swedish programmer. It boasts simple graphics and gameplay that involves digging for blocks which can then be used to build any structure that your imagination can conjure.
Minecraft now has over 100 million registered users and a fair number of them have been complaining vigorously about a feature of the game which involves parrots. The parrots concerned are relatively new additions to the game and players must feed them in order to tame them and to induce the birds to produce offspring. Nothing controversial there. It is the treat that players must feed the parrots which has sparked a firestorm on Reddit.
The parrots are fed using the Minecraft’s chocolate chip cookie. It didn’t take long for one enthusiast of the game to point out that chocolate is poisonous to parrots. In a Reddit post which has become the most upvoted of all time in the Minecraft subreddit, the player asked for this gameplay mechanic to be removed, fearing that children would copy it in real life and feed chocolate to parrots. He had visions of dead parrots all across the globe.
There have been more than 1500 comments on the post and most of these have been observations regarding children’s intelligence and proper parenting! Many observers seemed to be a little put out about any suggestion that their kids might copy what they see in a video game. Perish the thought! But are parrots really being endangered by Minecraft?
Parrots and Chocolate
Parrot expert Marc Morrone from Long island, new York, thinks not. He has pointed out that a parrot would have to eat a fair amount of dark chocolate in order to be poisoned by the theobromine that it contains. But this type of chocolate is very bitter and so parrots would be unlikely to attempt to eat any after they have tried a piece. Milk chocolate contains very little theobromine and so would not be problematic for the birds.
Nonetheless, Mojang, the developer of Minecraft and its parent company Microsoft have listened to the criticism and intend to remove the chocolate cookie feeding mechanic from the game. Everyone who had concerns for the parrots can now breath a huge sigh of relief because kids across the world will no longer learn to feed chocolate to these birds.
Of course, kids can still play games in which they can gun people down and drive like a lunatic!
But that clearly isn’t nearly as worrying!