But what makes it so popular? Any why is it so addictive? It’s one of those games that you have to play for yourself to truly understand, but one of the main draws has to be that it lets players’ imaginations run wild. Another draw is that players can tailor their interests in the real world and incorporate them into this virtual world. Hooked on Harry Potter? Then recreate his wizardry world in the game. Love Lord of the Rings? Who’s stopping you creating Bilbo Baggin’s hillside home?
Luckily, the quest to create a Minecraft hide-out based on a favourite story just got easier. This week sees the release of Minecraft Blockopedia, the latest in a line of Minecraft reference guides. This hardback, hexagonal book is packed with images and information about the all-important blocks – and what to do with them. Don’t attempt to build a fantasy world without it!
Here’s a quick guide to some of the most impressive literary Minecraft builds featured on the game today, in this ever-expanding virtual world.
The original fantasy world, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, has a special place in the hearts of everyone who fell in love with his books. The author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit based this fictional universe on a mythical Europe in which orcs, goblins, elves, dwarves and other mythological creatures roam the land. Its impact can be seen far beyond the pages of his many tomes, and have been immortalised in film, video and games. Is it any surprise, therefore, that die-hard fans of Tolkien’s legendary literary world have built Middle Earth within Minecraft? A collective known as Minecraft Middle-earth group are responsible for this mammoth operation, and these ‘Ringers’ are truly dedicated to the cause.
All fans of The Lord of the Rings will be familiar with the city of Minas Tirith. The capital of Gondor is a tower-like city set on seven levels, each level walled and gated. Spiralling up to a height of 700 feet, the walls are built from white stone and the architecture is deliberately higgledy-piggledy. The planning and man-hours that have gone into recreating Minas Tirith on Minecraft is mind-blowing. However you look at it, the resulting replica is an impressive virtual feat of engineering.
The green and pleasant land that is home to the Hobbits is yet another of Tolkien’s fictional locations recreated on Minecraft. The Shire has already been recreated in the real world on a cattle farm in New Zealand for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit film trilogy. Now it has also been recreated in all its blocky computer-generated splendour in Minecraft, too. Bilbo and Frodo would be proud.
In George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones novels, the medieval action takes place across seven kingdoms within the continent of Westeros. It is a land where lords and ladies compete for the throne, threatening to disrupt the peace of this feudal society. In Martin’s novels, readers are given detailed maps by which they can navigate their way through this literary land. It also means that WesterosCraft has been able to recreate the land in all its fictional glory. This group are on a mission and won’t stop until the entire fantasy world is complete. And who are we to stop them?
The capital city of Westeros, King’s Landing, is a pivotal location for the plot’s action. King’s Landing is yet another place that began life on the pages of a book, was created for a television series, and has now been recreated within Minecraft’s creative mode. This virtual version looks exquisite from an aerial view and becomes a series of stunning buildings and a maze of streets once you enter the city. Featuring around 3,000 buildings, King’s Landing took 100 players four months to build. Highlights include the royal castle, Red Keep, the iconic Great Sept of Baelor, and the ruins of the old Dragonpit. It even features Flea Bottom, the city’s slums. Take in the splendour and the squalor as you look around.
As with all these Minecraft creations, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been given the Minecraft treatment many times over. Pottercraft, Streetzer and Laroch are just some of the groups to have immortalised Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From the Great Hall and classrooms to each of the four houses, these reconstructions are precise and extremely detailed. Of course, Minecraft building work hasn’t stopped at Harry Potter’s school; it extends to Azkaban, Hogsmeade village, the Burrow, the Hogwarts Express and beyond. Even Master Potter himself has had a Minecraft makeover. And if you fancy a virtual wander around one of these areas, make sure you look the part by donning a Harry Potter player skin.
The Survival Games is a Minecraft mod (short for modification) based on The Hunger Games book and films. Author Suzanne Collins recruited a healthy fanbase when her series of books were published, the films have been (and continue to be) a box office smash, and Minecraft’s The Survival Games is reaching out to a wider audience still. Start playing The Survival Games and you will find yourself pitted against other players, faced with puzzles, action and intrigue in your bid to stay ‘alive’. Staying true to its literary roots, it also has a few twists thrown in for good measure. You’ll need your wits about you.
Was there ever any doubt that someone would recreate the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) using Minecraft blocks? Not strictly a literary reference – the TV series, which first aired in 1964 has been adapted into novels and short stories since 1968 – but we couldn’t resist including it. Take a stroll around the full-scale Star Trek starship and it is not only the scale of the project that will impress, it also has a fully kitted out interior, from the Holodeck to the bridge. This was one of the first Minecraft creations to grab the headlines; after all, once a Trekkie, always a Trekkie.
Minecraft guide Blockopedia is available to buy online today.