Minecraft is adding parrot taming in an upcoming patch, but a controversy has led Mojang to change how players tame them. Parrots are an all new creature type in Minecraft's upcoming 1.12 update, which currently has no announced release date. But taming them, which requires a cookie, has led to the game's Reddit community requesting a change since chocolate is poisonous to many types of parrot and other birds. Mojang has now confirmed that a change is in the works.
Reddit user 1jl made the initial post on Minecraft's subreddit, noting that millions of kids played the game and may feed cookies to birds not knowing that chocolate chips could kill them. While 1jl's post refers mostly to pet parrots, it also rings true for many birds, which are also susceptible to poison-by-chocolate. Here's a portion of that initial post, which garnered over 37 thousand net positive upvotes:
"I get that you want to give chocolate chip cookies a use in the game, but literally millions of kids will play this game and chocolate and pet parrots are common enough that this will cause a problem. There is no question about that. You can't tell me some 6 year old is going to play Minecraft and then try to feed their Mom's 45 year old Macaw chocolate chips or a chocolate chip cookies."
Many of the comments tied to the post discussed what other items Mojang could use instead of a cookie, including various types of seed already in the game. Many others were understanding of Mojang's choice, since cookies currently serve little purpose in the game, but ultimately considered the change a good thing.
Mojang's Lead Designer Jens Bergensten responded to inquiries regarding the sudden controversy with understanding and empathy:
"If Minecraft has any effect on children's behavior, we want it to be a positive one, so we'll change the item used to breed parrots before the 1.12 update is released. Our reasoning for originally using cookies was twofold; it gave cookies a reason to exist within Minecraft, and it was a subtle reference to the Nirvana song 'Polly.' However, we didn't consider what the chocolate ingredient would mean to real life parrots!"
For those who aren't familiar with Nivana, their song Polly references giving a bird a cracker. Since crackers don't exist just yet in Minecraft, a cookie was likely considered close enough.
In addition to the promise that the cookie-taming will be changed to something more considerate of a parrot's diet, Mojang has also created a new Splash. Splashes are lines of text that are shown on the game's launcher, randomized each time it's opened. The bit of text will read, "Don't feed chocolate to parrots!" and will serve as testament to the community's joined action to save family pets across the world.
Minecraft is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices, and many other platforms. Patch 1.12, which will feature parrots, has no current release date but will come to PC first and other platforms over time.