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NEW! Squads After School for ages 7-17.

Our summer season has come to a close, but tech learning and fun don't have to end here. Register today for fall online courses!

How many game modes can you play in Minecraft?

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What is it that makes games playable? And, importantly, re-playable? 

There are a number of factors that make video games fun, and the list is especially long with Minecraft! We’d be here for hours if we were to fully explain each one, so today we're just focusing on one aspect of the game (you can dig into others like Minecraft mods when time allows). 

So, let’s talk about the different Minecraft game modes. 

What is a game mode, exactly? Think of it as the ability to, at the flip of a switch, repackage the configuration, rules, and goals of a game in order to offer game players an entirely new experience. Quite literally, it is a game-changer. 

How many game modes are in Minecraft?

There are four different playable game modes in Minecraft: Creative, Survival, Hardcore, and Adventure. Each mode offers distinct gameplay features and mechanics, which is one of many reasons it is such an engaging, popular platform. 

(And to make sure we are covering all bases, there is technically a fifth Minecraft mode, Spectator Mode, but as you can probably gather, it is an option for players to observe worlds without interacting. At iD Tech, we’re not ones to sit in the stands, so we won’t delve into this one.)

Creative Mode

Think back to when you first heard of Minecraft and how it was described. We’re willing to bet it sounded something like this: “It’s an open-world sandbox game where you can create without restriction! Unlimited resources and the ability to build and build and build!”

Right? Well, that’s Creative mode in a nutshell! 

For kids who want to immediately jump into the game and get mining to their heart’s content, this is the mode for them. Players don’t have to worry about maintaining health, satisfying hunger, and dealing with limited resources in Creative Mode. It’s really a perfect starting point. 

Young creators have everything they need to build; no mining is necessary, and no time needed to be spent gathering resources. Plus, you can fly! What’s not to love about that?

Survival Mode

Now, while Creative mode really gets the innovative juices flowing, there is the option that’s a “truer” gaming approach with challenges, restrictions, enemies, the ability to fight, and more. 

And that’s Survival mode. Kids will have to gather resources, make items, and fight bad guys. It’s basically a gamer’s paradise. 

Here’s a tip for survival mode: the easiest resource to gather early in the game is wood, which kids can find - how else - by chopping down trees!

But seriously, kids can simply walk directly up to a tree and punch it repeatedly by holding down the left mouse button. After a few punches, Minecraft will oblige with a wood block. This is one of the best, most straightforward survival mode strategies.

Ok, we can’t resist sharing another trick for Minecraft survival mode: dirt is another easy resource to obtain and use. While it doesn't have as many uses as wood, it can be used in a pinch to make a house. To gather dirt, players need to face the ground and punch down, and the earth will begin to crack.

Speaking of houses, a home is a great place for kids to keep their Minecraft items, make a landmark, or stay safe from the elements. Just like surviving in the wild, this is key in survival mode. Especially at night in the game, kids will need a home in order to stay safe from zombies, spiders, or skeletons.

This is important because Minecraft is a game of exploration, but players can perish!

Lava, drowning, exploding, hostile MOBs—danger is out there! When players lose life, they also lose most of their items, all of their experience, and they'll start over from their spawn point.

Adventure Mode

Both Creative and Survival mode are considered to be traditional Minecraft game modes, but stopping at “traditional” is not the gamer way. To add even more excitement, other modes like Adventure mode and Hardcore mode have been made available to players. 

So, what’s special about Adventure mode? In regular Minecraft, there is no quest, but in Adventure mode, kids get to develop a game that leads the player through a particular story. And just like that, that open world “sandbox” transforms into an epic adventure. 

Adventure mode is great for building challenges or telling a story because players can't easily destroy blocks to bypass content. Instead, they’ll need the right tool to break most blocks, and some blocks can't be broken at all.

Looking to unlock the secrets of Adventure mode on Minecraft? Here are a few highlights: 

  • Some objects can break with tools 
  • You can fight bad guys
  • Pickaxes can break things like stone, sandstone, and iron doors
  • Shears can break all wool, leaves, and vines

Hardcore Mode

One big difference between all of these different gameplay options is that certain modes are only available in certain formats. Specifically, Hardcore mode is only available in Minecraft Java Edition. Since that’s our jam at iD Tech, let’s take a look at the details. 

Really, with Hardcore mode, the name speaks for itself—it’s challenging to play, and nothing is more difficult than having only one life available. It’s the ultimate survival test, with players needing to be mindful of health, hunger, experience, and of course, mobs. 

Here is a breakdown of a few things kids should know:

Health—If characters gets hit too many times, fall in lava, or stay under water too long, it's game over!

Food—Eat to survive! If the food level is less than three, characters can't run fast. If they run out of food, they lose health. But if they're full, they regenerate health.

Experience—Experience can be gained by defeating bad guys and can be used to enchant equipment.

Items—Weapons, building blocks, tools, and food; they can all be held here.

Game Modes in Command Blocks

Now that you’ve got a solid foundation of the ins and outs of the different game modes, let’s discuss how command blocks come into play.

It’s also important for kids to understand how to use these different modes, and also, when to switch game modes (FYI, there is no way to Hardcore mode after a world has been created).

  • Survival: /gamemode 0
  • Creative: /gamemode 1
  • Adventure: /gamemode 2

Putting game mode in a command block is a great way to quickly change the type of gameplay with the flip of a switch!

All things considered, there’s no denying the entertainment value found in a game like Minecraft...and that can be said for the plain, base, out of the box version from day one! 

Now, with a number of different game modes, there’s good reason why the title is still a hugely popular option for the 100+ million active players. 

A photo of Ryan

Ryan manages blog content at iD Tech, starting with the company in 2008. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. Connect on LinkedIn!