Originally created by Swedish programmer, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and now owned by Microsoft, Minecraft is what is known as an open-world sandbox game in which players build creations and explore a virtual world. Using tools, players can chop down trees, cut stone and use these resources to build a life in their unique online world. Luckily, there is plenty of support to help you get through those tricky first few days. As well as numerous online guides, there is now also the Minecraft Blockopedia book – a “comprehensive reference tool for beginners and more experienced players alike”. This hexagonal hardbook is fully illustrated and a great gift for a loved one (or yourself!).
While all players start by building the basics in order to survive, there are those who take their creativity to the next level. And the results are mind-blowing. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing creations in the game, ranging from landmarks to cities and countries. Let us take you on a (virtual) trip around the globe and marvel at some of the world’s most impressive creations – Minecraft style. Enter a world that is truly at your fingertips…
If you think it’s impossible to create realistic-looking architecture with lo-res bricks, then think again. Germany’s historic Reichstag building has been recreated by one dedicated Minecraft player who placed every block by hand to recreate this iconic building that has been home to the German parliament since 1999. The actual Reichstag has had an ill-fated past, being bombed, set on fire and even closed for a period of time. Perhaps fittingly, one of its virtual re-creators also faced a number of problems from griefers (players who deliberately set out to disrupt and harass other players). The Minecraft version is complete with the large glass dome that has panoramic views over Berlin.
From the reflective pool in front of India’s most iconic landmark, to the famous gardens that surround it, the detail that has gone into creating Minecraft’s Taj Mahals (there are many) is amazing. The most impressive of the bunch have been built to scale, and are resplendent with their replica domes, arches and minarets. Construction of the real Taj Mahal took more than 20 years and tens of thousands of workers to complete. One of these Minecraft equivalents can take just a couple of weeks.
Admittedly, not quite as much fun as the real thing, but if you want a holiday as part of your virtual travels, why not head to Disney World? The idea for a Minecraft version of the theme park came to one player who realised that thousands of people would never get the chance to visit the real-life Disney World. After three years, and lots of help from other players, the park was complete and now sees hundreds of visitors coming through the gates every day to see Cinderella’s castle and the other fun-filled attractions. And just as Disney changes every six months, so too does its virtual counterpart. It’s hard work keeping the magic alive…
If you want your journey around the world to start with a trip through the UK, you’re in luck. The UK’s national mapping company, Ordnance Survey (OS), created a detailed map of mainland Great Britain and its surrounding islands in 2013. Shedding its usually stuffy image, OS was unable to resist the allure of Minecraft and this year has revamped its map to include buildings, railway lines and trees as well. Complete with Ben Nevis, the River Thames, Stonehenge, Lake Windermere and more, the OS Minecraft map took around seven hours to complete. The updated map is so detailed you can even find your house on it.
New York City
Frank Sinatra was right, we do all want to be a part of it – and that includes Minecraft too. New York has been recreated on the game by a student who spent two years creating Titan City – a virtual city based on NYC. Although not an exact replica of the US metropolis, Titan City includes a virtual version of the World Trade Center and was inspired by New York’s skyline and streets. Constructed using 4.5 million blocks, the virtual city currently contains 96 buildings, with more on their way…
What’s the biggest thing you can build in Minecraft? Forget a building or a city, how about an entire country? The Danish GeoData Agency recreated the whole of Denmark to encourage children’s interest in geography. Consisting of about 4,000 billion blocks, the virtual replica unfortunately became the victim of vandalism earlier this year. Small areas near the start were blown up (despite the creators’ ban on the use of dynamite) and American flags were erected at the scene. Fortunately, the Minecraft community is a caring group and the first people to start the clean-up operation were the players themselves, replacing grass and flowers, and erecting peace signs. The message? Don’t break Denmark, please.
The end of the journey?
The way Minecraft has been created means that if a player chooses to walk in one direction, then a world will open up in front of them. But what happens if that player simply doesn’t stop walking? They head closer to what is known as the Far Lands. One player has embarked on this journey, only to discover his trip is going to take him 25 years. However, all is not lost as he has created a YouTube series mapping his adventure as he fends off zombie attacks, navigates tricky terrain, and tames wolves. Just another day in the virtual life of a Minecraft player.
Minecraft guide Blockopedia is available to buy online today.