Edit: Unfortunately I can’t post a direct link to the video (hello monetization!) so I’ll post a link to polygon.com’s article where the video is available.
This is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen done in Minecraft. Two friends, one a designer and one a programer, have decided to recreate the original Legend of Zelda within Minecraft. LoZ is, of course, a two dimensional game. But they have turned the game into a fully functional, 3 dimensional, exact replica of the LoZ map! While this is technically still a work in progress, the map is fantastic!
Let’s take a look at what the actual Nintendo Legend of Zelda map looks like.
And here’s a look at the in-game map showing an overview of the world.
That’s some serious dedication … and keep in mind that buildings, mountains, trees and other in-game objects are three dimensional!
The true beauty of this project is exploring the limits of what Minecraft can do, as well as the incredible ingenuity required to make everything work. On a smaller scale, this has some exciting implications in the classroom. Historical events, real cities and other places can be recreated and characters or historical figures can be programmed to interact with players as they explore the map. Puzzles, hidden treasures and monsters can all be included to make the game interactive, realistic or just more fun!
The guys behind this project have done an incredible job and it’s worth keeping an eye on the project to see how it turns out. Here’s a link to their website and reddit discussion thread:
… it’s so exciting to see the iconic room with the old man and see the words “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this!” appear on the screen.
Regardless of your views of education, learning, gaming, gamification, serious games or any other buzzword that is thrown around, games like Minecraft are proving themselves to win people over for their inherent “fun” factor and potential as a learning tool. Not everyone agrees that games can be useful for learning and sometimes that isn’t even the point that those of us who extol Minecraft’s virtues are trying to make.
One recent article considered how much fun Minecraft was and made the point that has no educational value, yet, still has value as a tool which promotes creativity. Again, that’s the whole point of Minecraft. Whether or not learning is directly implied, Minecraft is fun and has value that is (without a doubt) tangible. Minecraft is a creativity game that allows children to express their creative side through building and construction. It’s a cooperation game that encourages players to work together. It’s a planning game that forces participants to calculate what they need and how big things are going to get. It’s a challenging game that invites users to expand their horizons by building PCs, writing mods, participating in communities that develop Minecraft plugins. It’s an expressive game that inspires its fans to draw comics, paint pictures, write jokes and sing songs.
Minecraft is all of those things … and at the end of the day there’s no test. There’s no essay or assignment. There’s no teacher marking down grades on a rubric. There’s only fun … and through fun comes the learning.
When you play computer games you learn, whether you want to or not … and that’s a pretty good reason to play games!
*For the record: There is a Minecraft curriculum. Minecraft teachers write units and build curriculum around the game and teach it in their classrooms. But that’s not the point. Minecraft inspires people to play, and to learn, and to do amazing things. You don’t need a curriculum for that!
As a fun little follow up to a recent post about celebrities playing Minecraft, JK Rowling today tweeted that she’s working on a book but is distracted by other interests – including Minecraft. This, of course, caused a stir amongst the Minecraft fanbase. If I had to guess what Ms Rowling’s favourite activity is while she’s playing Minecraft, my guess would be … enchanting!
American rapper Waka Flocka Flame plays Minecraft on a popular server called Minecraft Universe. It’s inevitable that celebrities and their children are discovering the joy that is Minecraft. Even actors as big as Jack Black have been spotted wearing Minecraft tshirts in the wild. Ostensibly, this has little educational value, but promoting Minecraft using the “celebrity cred” draws more attention to the game and elevates its status as important and relevant. Hopefully, some of that coolness can overflow into education and we can benefit from it too!
Why the indie success should continue to be used as a learning tool in schools.
A lot has been mentioned about Minecraft’s benefit in learning. However it’s rare to hear about Minecraft and learning from a students’ point of view. Students are starting to see the potential of combining their love of gaming and the opportunity to learn in a way which is both motivating and relevant. What does the future hold for games like Minecraft? Is it possible that Minecraft will one day be a part of the common core, or government mandated national curriculum?
About the Massively @ jokaydia Guild.
Massively Minecraft is a kid-friendy (and parent friendly) community with private whitelisted servers for kids to play on. The premise is to give them a safe place to play, as well as providing an opportunity to develop digital skills, explore creativity and develop good online habits and social skills.
The group has been around for about 3 years and boasts a thousand members. Players can progress up the guild’s ranks by taking on tasks and achieving the awards. Doing so gives players increased responsibilities and privileges, while at the same time improving the player’s community skills.