Minecraft is a survival sandbox video game developed and published by Mojang on November 18, 2011. It was first created by Swedish game developer Markus "Notch" Persson (born: June 1, 1979) in May 17, 2009, before handling the development to its co-developer Jens "Jeb" Bergensten (born: May 18, 1979 ) in 2011.
The game allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world, requiring creativity from players. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Multiple game modes that change gameplay are available, including—but not limited to—a survival mode, in which players must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, and a creative mode, where players have unlimited resources to build with. The Java Edition of the game allows players to modify the game with mods to create new gameplay mechanics, items, textures, and assets. In September 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang and the Minecraft intellectual property for USD $2.5 billion, with the acquisition completed two months later.
Minecraft received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, and has been described as one of the most influential and greatest video games in history, as well as the most successful indie game of all time. Social media, parodies, adaptations, merchandise, and the MineCon convention played large roles in popularizing the game. It has also been used in educational environments, especially in the realm of computing systems, as virtual computers and hardware devices have been built in it.
It is also the single best-selling video game of all time, selling over 176 million copies across all platforms by late 2019 while having over 112 million monthly active players. Several spin-off games have also been developed, such as Minecraft: Story Mode, Minecraft Earth, and Minecraft Dungeons.
The first ever Minecraft video uploaded on YouTube was from Notch himself on his old channel Nizzotch. The game at that time was called the "Cave Game", and the very first Minecraft video is titled "Cave game tech test", which was uploaded on May 13, 2009. A currently unavailable video from Notch had a video with the title containing the word "Minecraft" and it was uploaded on May 16, 2009. The first public video of Minecraft that wasn't from Notch was uploaded to YouTube on May 17, 2009. It is called "minecraft" and it was uploaded by jwaap. The first Minecraft video with commentary, "Let's Build in Minecraft!" was uploaded to YouTube on May 21, 2009, by The Carlz0r.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Development
- 3 Release
- 4 Spin-off games
- 5 Applications
- 6 References
Minecraft is a 3D sandbox game that has no specific goals to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. However, there is an achievement system. The gameplay is in the first-person perspective by default, but players have the option for a third-person perspective. The game world is composed of rough 3D objects—mainly cubes and fluids and commonly called "blocks"—representing various materials, such as dirt, stone, ores, tree trunks, water, and lava. The core gameplay revolves around picking up and placing these objects. These blocks are arranged in a 3D grid, while players can move freely around the world. Players can "mine" blocks and then place them elsewhere, enabling them to build things.
The game world is virtually infinite and procedurally generated as players explore it, using a map seed that is obtained from the system clock at the time of world creation (or manually specified by the player). There are limits on vertical movement, but Minecraft allows an infinitely large game world to be generated on the horizontal plane. Due to technical problems when extremely distant locations are reached, however, there is a barrier preventing players from traversing to locations beyond 30,000,000 blocks from the center. The game achieves this by splitting the world data into smaller sections called "chunks" that are only created or loaded when players are nearby. The world is divided into biomes ranging from deserts to jungles to snowfields; the terrain includes plains, mountains, forests, caves, and various lava/water bodies. The in-game time system follows a day and night cycle, and one full cycle lasts 20 real-time minutes.
New players have a randomly selected default character skin of either Steve or Alex, but the option to create custom skins was made available in 2010. Players encounter various non-player characters known as mobs, such as animals, villagers, and hostile creatures. Passive mobs, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, can be hunted for food and crafting materials. They spawn in the daytime, while hostile mobs—including large spiders, skeletons, and zombies—spawn during nighttime or in dark places such as caves. Some hostile mobs, such as zombies, skeletons and drowned (underwater versions of zombies), burn under the sun if they have no headgear. Other creatures unique to Minecraft include the creeper (an exploding creature that sneaks up on the player) and the enderman (a creature with the ability to teleport, pick up, and place blocks). There are also variants of mobs that spawn in different conditions; for example, zombies have husk variants that spawn in deserts.
Many commentators have described the game's physics system as unrealistic. Liquids continuously flow for a limited horizontal distance from source blocks, which can be removed by placing a solid block in its place or by scooping it into a bucket. Complex systems can be built using primitive mechanical devices, electrical circuits, and logic gates built with an in-game material known as Redstone.
Minecraft has two alternate dimensions besides the Overworld (the main world): the Nether and the End. The Nether is a hell-like dimension accessed via player-built portals; it contains many unique resources and can be used to travel great distances in the overworld. The player can build an optional boss mob called the Wither out of materials found in the Nether. The End is a barren land consisting of many islands. A boss dragon called the Ender Dragon dwells on the main island. Killing the dragon cues the game's ending credits and a poem written by Irish novelist Julian Gough. Players are then allowed to teleport back to their original spawn point in the overworld and continue the game indefinitely.
The game consists of five game modes: survival, creative, adventure, hardcore, and spectator. It also has a changeable difficulty system of four levels. For example, the peaceful difficulty prevents hostile creatures from spawning, and the hard difficulty allows players to starve to death if their hunger bar is depleted.
In survival mode, players have to gather natural resources such as wood and stone found in the environment in order to craft certain blocks and items. Depending on the difficulty, monsters spawn in darker areas outside a certain radius of the character, requiring players to build a shelter at night. The mode also has a health bar which is depleted by attacks from monsters, falls, drowning, falling into lava, suffocation, starvation, and other events. Players also have a hunger bar, which must be periodically refilled by eating food in-game, except in peaceful difficulty. If the hunger bar is depleted, automatic healing will stop and eventually health will deplete. Health replenishes when players have a nearly full hunger bar or continuously on peaceful difficulty.
Players can craft a wide variety of items in Minecraft. Craftable items include armor, which mitigates damage from attacks; weapons (such as swords), which allows monsters and animals to be killed more easily; and tools, which break certain types of blocks more quickly. Some items have multiple tiers depending on the material used to craft them, with higher-tier items being more effective and durable. Players can construct furnaces, which can cook food, process ores, and convert materials into other materials. Players may also trade goods with villager or piglin NPCs throughout a trading or bartering system, which involves trading emeralds or gold for different goods and vice versa.
The game has an inventory system, allowing players to carry a limited number of items. Upon dying, items in the players' inventories are dropped, and players re-spawn at their spawn point, which by default is where players first spawn in the game, and can be reset by sleeping in a bed or using a respawn anchor. Dropped items can be recovered if players can reach them before they disappear, or despawn, after 5 minutes. Players may acquire experience points by killing mobs and other players, mining, smelting ores, breeding animals, and cooking food. Experience can then be spent on enchanting tools, armor and weapons. Enchanted items are generally more powerful, last longer, or have other special effects.
Hardcore mode is a survival mode variant that is locked to the hardest setting and has permadeath. If a player dies in a hardcore world, they are no longer allowed to interact with it, so they can either be put into spectator mode and explore the world or return to title screen.
In creative mode, players have access to all resources and items in the game through the inventory menu, and can place or remove them instantly. Players can toggle the ability to fly freely around the game world at will, and their characters do not take any damage and are not affected by hunger. The game mode helps players focus on building and creating projects of any size without disturbance.
Adventure mode was designed specifically so that players could experience user-crafted custom maps and adventures. Gameplay is similar to survival mode but with various restrictions, which can be applied to the game world by the creator of the map. This forces players to obtain the required items and experience adventures in the way that the map maker intended. Another addition designed for custom maps is the command block; this block allows map makers to expand interactions with players through scripted server commands.
Spectator mode allows players to fly through blocks and watch gameplay without directly interacting. Players do not have an inventory, but can teleport to other players and view from the perspective of another player or creature. This game mode can only be accessed within the Java or PC edition.
Multiplayer in Minecraft is available through direct game-to-game multiplayer, LAN play, local split screen, and servers (player-hosted and business-hosted). It enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single world. Players can run their own servers, use a hosting provider, or connect directly to another player's game via Xbox Live. Single-player worlds have local area network support, allowing players to join a world on locally interconnected computers without a server setup. Minecraft multiplayer servers are guided by server operators (op for short), who have access to server commands such as setting the time of day and teleporting players. Operators can also set up restrictions concerning which usernames or IP addresses are allowed or disallowed to enter the server. Multiplayer servers have a wide range of activities, with some servers having their own unique rules and customs. One of the largest and most popular servers is Hypixel, which is visited by over 14 million players. Player versus player combat (PvP) can be enabled to allow fighting between players. Many servers have custom plugins that allow actions that are not normally possible. In 2013, Mojang announced Minecraft Realms, a server hosting service intended to enable players to run server multiplayer games easily and safely without having to set up their own. Unlike a standard server, only invited players can join Realms servers, and these servers do not use IP addresses. Minecraft: Java Edition Realms server owners can invite up to twenty people to play on their server, with up to ten players online at a time. Minecraft Realms server owners can invite up to 3000 people to play on their server, with up to ten players online at one time. The Minecraft: Java Edition Realms servers do not support user-made plugins, but players can play custom Minecraft maps. Minecraft Realms servers support user-made add-ons, resource packs, behavior packs, and custom Minecraft maps. At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016, it was announced that Realms would enable Minecraft to support cross-platform play between Windows 10, iOS, and Android platforms starting in June 2016, with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch support to come later in 2017, and support for virtual reality devices. On July 31, 2017, Mojang released the beta version of the update allowing cross-platform play. Nintendo Switch support for Realms was released in July 2018.
Markus "Notch" Persson began developing the game as a project. He was inspired to create Minecraft by several other games such as Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and later, Infiniminer. At the time, he had visualized an isometric 3D building game that would be a cross between his inspirations and had made some early prototypes. Infiniminer heavily influenced the style of gameplay, including the first-person aspect of the game, the "blocky" visual style and the block-building fundamentals. However, unlike Infiniminer, Persson wanted Minecraft to have RPG elements.
Minecraft was first released to the public on May 17, 2009, as a developmental release on TIGSource forums, later becoming known as the Classic version. Further milestones dubbed as Survival Test, Indev and Infdev were released between September 2009 and February 2010, although the game saw updates in-between. The first major update, dubbed alpha version, was released on June 29, 2010 . Although Persson maintained a day job with Jalbum.net at first, he later quit in order to work on Minecraft full-time as sales of the alpha version of the game expanded. Persson continued to update the game with releases distributed to users automatically. These updates included new items, new blocks, new mobs, survival mode, and changes to the game's behavior (e.g. how water flows).
To back the development of Minecraft, Persson set up a video game company, Mojang, with the money earned from the game. On December 11, 2010, Persson announced that Minecraft was entering its beta testing phase on December 20, 2010 . He further stated that bug fixes and all updates leading up to and including the release would still be free. Over the course of the development, Mojang hired several new employees to work on the project.
Mojang moved the game out of beta and released the full version on November 18, 2011. The game has been continuously updated since the release, with changes ranging from new game content to new server hosts. On December 1, 2011 , Jens "Jeb" Bergensten took full creative control over Minecraft, replacing Persson as lead designer. On February 28, 2012 , Mojang announced that they had hired the developers of the popular server platform "Bukkit" to improve Minecraft's support of server modifications. This acquisition also included Mojang apparently taking full ownership of the CraftBukkit modification, although the validity of this claim was questioned due to its status as an open-source project with many contributors, licensed under the GNU General Public License and Lesser General Public License. On September 15, 2014 , Microsoft announced a $2.5 billion deal to buy Mojang, along with the ownership of the Minecraft intellectual property. The deal was suggested by Persson when he posted a tweet asking a corporation to buy his share of the game after receiving criticism for "trying to do the right thing". It was arbitrated on November 6, 2014 , and led to Persson becoming one of Forbes' "World's Billionaires". The original version of the game was renamed to Minecraft: Java Edition on September 18, 2017 to separate it from Bedrock Edition, which was renamed to just Minecraft by the Better Together Update.
Minecraft's music and sound effects were produced by German musician Daniel Rosenfeld (born: May 9, 1989), better known as C418. The background music in Minecraft is instrumental ambient music. On March 4, 2011 , Rosenfeld released a soundtrack, titled Minecraft – Volume Alpha; it includes most of the tracks featured in Minecraft, as well as other music not featured in the game. Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku chose the music in Minecraft as one of the best video game soundtracks of 2011. On November 9, 2013 , Rosenfeld released the second official soundtrack, titled Minecraft – Volume Beta, which includes the music that was added in later versions of the game. A physical release of Volume Alpha, consisting of CDs, black vinyl, and limited-edition transparent green vinyl LPs, was issued by indie electronic label Ghostly International on August 21, 2015 .
A wide variety of user-generated downloadable content for Minecraft, such as modifications, texture packs and custom maps, exists and is available on the Internet. Modifications of the Minecraft code, called mods, add a variety of gameplay changes, ranging from new blocks, new items, new mobs to entire arrays of mechanisms to craft. The modding community is responsible for a substantial supply of mods from ones that enhance gameplay, such as minimaps, waypoints, and durability counters, to ones that add to the game elements from Pokémon, Portal, and The Hunger Games.
Community-created resource packs, which alter certain game elements including textures and sounds, are also available. Players can also create their own maps, which often contain specific rules, challenges, puzzles and quests, and share them for others to play. In August 2012, Mojang added adventure mode for custom maps and in October 2012, Mojang added command blocks, which were created specially for custom maps.
The Xbox 360 Edition supports downloadable content, which is available to purchase via the Xbox Games Store; these content packs usually contain additional character skins. It later received support for texture packs in its twelfth title update while introducing "mash-up packs", which combines texture packs with skin packs and changes to the game's sounds, music and user interface. The first mash-up pack (and by extension, the first texture pack) for the Xbox 360 Edition was released on September 4, 2013, and was themed after the Mass Effect franchise. Unlike the PC version, however, the Xbox 360 Edition does not support player-made mods or custom maps. A cross-promotional resource pack based on the Super Mario franchise by Nintendo was released for the Wii U Edition worldwide on May 17, 2016 . A mash-up pack based on Fallout was announced for release on the Wii U Edition.
In June 2017, Mojang released an update known as the "Discovery Update". The update includes a new map, a new game mode, the "Marketplace", a catalogue of user-generated content that gives Minecraft creators "another way to make a living from the game", and more.
Personal computer versions
The game can run on multiple operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux. Apart from Minecraft: Java Edition and Minecraft for Windows 10, there are other versions of Minecraft for PC, including Minecraft Classic, Minecraft 4K, and Minecraft: Education Edition.
Minecraft Classic is an older version of Minecraft that was first available online and can be played through the game's launcher. Unlike newer versions of Minecraft, the Classic version is free to play, though it is no longer updated. It functions much the same as creative mode, allowing players to build and destroy any and all parts of the world either alone or in a multiplayer server. There are no computer creatures in this mode, and environmental hazards such as lava do not damage players. Some blocks function differently since their behavior was later changed during development.
Minecraft 4K is a simplified version of Minecraft similar to the Classic version that was developed for the Java 4K game programming contest "in way less than 4 kilobytes". The map itself is finite—composed of 64×64×64 blocks—and the same world is generated every time. Players are restricted to placing or destroying blocks, which consist of grass, dirt, stone, wood, leaves, and brick.
Minecraft: Education Edition is a version of Minecraft created specifically for educational institutions and was launched 1 November 2016. It includes a Chemistry Resource Pack, free lesson plans on the Minecraft: Education Edition website, and two free companion applications: Code Connection and Classroom Mode.
Minecraft for Windows 10 is currently exclusive to Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. The beta for it launched on the Windows Store on July 29, 2015. This version has the ability to play with Xbox Live friends, and to play local multiplayer with owners of Minecraft on other Bedrock platforms. Other features include the ability to use multiple control schemes, such as a gamepad, keyboard, or touchscreen (for Microsoft Surface and other touchscreen-enabled devices), virtual reality support, and to record and take screenshots in-game via the built-in GameDVR.
On August 16, 2011, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released for the Xperia Play on the Android Market as an early alpha version. It was then released for several other compatible devices on October 8, 2011 . An iOS version of Minecraft was released on November 17, 2011 .
A port was made available for Windows Phones shortly after Microsoft acquired Mojang. The port concentrates on the creative building and the primitive survival aspect of the game, and does not contain all the features of the PC release. On his Twitter account, Jens Bergensten said that the Pocket Edition of Minecraft is written in C++ and not Java, due to iOS not being able to support Java. Gradual updates are periodically released to bring the port closer to the PC version. On December 10, 2014, in observance of Mojang's acquisition by Microsoft, a port of Pocket Edition was released for Windows Phone 8.1. On January 18, 2017 , Microsoft announced that it would no longer maintain the Windows Phone versions of Pocket Edition. On December 19, 2016 , the full version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. On July 31, 2017 , the Pocket Edition portion of the name was dropped and the apps were renamed simply as Minecraft. The Pocket Edition's engine, known as "Bedrock", was ported to non-mobile platforms Windows 10, Xbox One, Gear VR, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Nintendo Switch. Bedrock engine ports are commonly referred to as the "Bedrock Edition".
An Xbox 360 version of the game, developed by 4J Studios, was released on May 9, 2012. On March 22, 2012 , it was announced that Minecraft would be the flagship game in a new Xbox Live promotion called Arcade NEXT. The game differs from the home computer versions in a number of ways, including a newly designed crafting system, the control interface, in-game tutorials, split-screen multiplayer, and the ability to play with friends via Xbox Live. The worlds in the Xbox 360 version are also not "infinite", and are essentially barricaded by invisible walls. The Xbox 360 version was originally similar in content to older PC versions, but is being gradually updated to bring it closer to the current PC version. An Xbox One version featuring larger worlds among other enhancements was released on September 5, 2014 .
Versions of the game for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 were released on December 17, 2013and September 4, 2014 respectively. The PlayStation 4 version was announced as a launch title, though it was eventually delayed. A version for PlayStation Vita was also released in October 2014. Like the Xbox versions, the PlayStation versions were developed by 4J Studios.
On December 17, 2015, Minecraft: Wii U Edition was released. The Wii U version received a physical release on June 17, 2016 in North America, in Japan on June 23, 2016 , and in Europe on June 30, 2016 . A Nintendo Switch version of the game was released on the Nintendo eShop on May 11, 2017 , along with a physical retail version set for a later date. During a Nintendo Direct presentation on September 13, 2017 , Nintendo announced that Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition would be available for download immediately after the livestream, and a physical copy available on a later date. The game is only compatible with the "New" versions of the 3DS and 2DS systems, and does not work with the original 3DS, 3DS XL, or 2DS models.
On December 18, 2018, the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, and the Wii U versions of Minecraft received their final update.
A version of Minecraft for the Raspberry Pi was officially revealed at MineCon 2012. Mojang stated that the Pi Edition is similar to the Pocket Edition, except that it is downgraded to an older version, and with the added ability of using text commands to edit the game world. Players can open the game code and use programming languages to manipulate things in the game world. The game was leaked on December 20, 2012, but was quickly pulled off. It was officially released on February 11, 2013 .
On May 20, 2016, Minecraft China was announced as a localized edition for China, where it was released under a licensing agreement between NetEase and Mojang. The PC edition was released for public testing on August 8, 2017 . The iOS version was released on September 15, 2017 , and the Android version was released on October 12, 2017 . The PC edition is based on the original Java Edition, while the iOS and Android mobile version is based on the Bedrock Edition. The edition is free-to-play, and had a total of 150 million registered accounts across all platforms by October 2018.
Early on, Persson planned to support the Oculus Rift with a port of Minecraft. However, after Facebook acquired Oculus in 2013, he abruptly canceled plans noting "Facebook creeps me out." A community-made modification known as Minecraft VR was developed in 2016 to provide virtual reality support to Minecraft: Java Edition oriented towards Oculus Rift hardware. A fork of the Minecraft VR modification known as Vivecraft ported the mod to OpenVR, and is oriented towards supporting HTC Vive hardware. On August 15, 2016, Microsoft launched official Oculus Rift support for Minecraft on Windows 10. Upon its release, the Minecraft VR mod was discontinued by its developer due to trademark complaints issued by Microsoft, and Vivecraft was endorsed by the community makers of the Minecraft VR modification due to its Rift support and being superior to the original Minecraft VR mod. Also available is a Gear VR version, titled Minecraft: Gear VR Edition. Windows Mixed Reality support was added in 2017. The only officially supported VR versions of Minecraft are Minecraft: Gear VR Edition and Minecraft for Windows 10 for Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
Minecraft: Story Mode
Minecraft: Story Mode, an episodic spin-off game developed by Telltale Games in collaboration with Mojang, was announced in December 2014. Consisting of five episodes plus three additional downloadable episodes, the standalone game is a narrative and player choice-driven, and it was released on Microsoft Windows, OS X, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via download on October 13, 2015 . A physical disc that grants access to all episodes was released for the aforementioned four consoles on 27 October. Wii U and Nintendo Switch versions were also later released. The first trailer for the game was shown at MineCon on July 4, 2015 , revealing some of the game's features. In Minecraft: Story Mode, players control Jesse (voiced by Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber), who sets out on a journey with his or her friends to find The Order of the Stone—four adventurers who slayed an Ender Dragon—in order to save their world. Brian Posehn, Ashley Johnson, Scott Porter, Martha Plimpton, Dave Fennoy, Corey Feldman, Billy West and Paul Reubens portray the rest of the cast.
Minecraft Earth is an upcoming augmented reality game that was announced by Microsoft in May 2019. The game will allow players to interact with the world and build Minecraft-style structures and objects that will persist and can be modified by other players. The game will implement the resource-gathering and many of other features of the original game in an augmented-reality setting. The game had a beta release in July 2019.
Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon crawler game that was announced to be development at MineCon 2018. Set in the Minecraft universe, the game can be played alone or in a party of up to four people. It was released for Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 in 2020.
The possible applications of Minecraft have been discussed extensively, especially in the fields of computer-aided design and education. In a panel at MineCon 2011, a Swedish developer discussed the possibility of using the game to redesign public buildings and parks, stating that rendering using Minecraft was much more user-friendly for the community, making it easier to envision the functionality of new buildings and parks. In 2012, a member of the Human Dynamics group at the MIT Media Lab, Cody Sumter, said: "Notch hasn't just built a game. He's tricked 40 million people into learning to use a CAD program." Various software has been developed to allow virtual designs to be printed using professional 3D printers or personal printers such as MakerBot and RepRap.
In September 2012, Mojang began the Block By Block project in cooperation with UN Habitat to create real-world environments in Minecraft. The project allows young people who live in those environments to participate in designing the changes they would like to see. Using Minecraft, the community has helped reconstruct the areas of concern, and citizens are invited to enter the Minecraft servers and modify their own neighborhood. Carl Manneh, Mojang's managing director, called the game "the perfect tool to facilitate this process", adding "The three-year partnership will support UN-Habitat's Sustainable Urban Development Network to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016." Mojang signed Minecraft building community, FyreUK, to help render the environments into Minecraft. The first pilot project began in Kibera, one of Nairobi's informal settlements, and is in the planning phase. The Block By Block project is based on an earlier initiative started in October 2011, Mina Kvarter (My Block), which gave young people in Swedish communities a tool to visualize how they wanted to change their part of town. According to Manneh, the project was a helpful way to visualize urban planning ideas without necessarily having a training in architecture. The ideas presented by the citizens were a template for political decisions.
In April 2014, the Danish Geodata Agency generated all of Denmark in fullscale in Minecraft based on their own geodata. This is possible because Denmark is one of the flattest countries with the highest point at 171 metres (561 ft) (ranking as the country with the 30th smallest elevation span), where the limit in default Minecraft is around 192 metres (630 ft) above in-game sea level.
Minecraft has also been used in educational settings. In 2011, an educational organization named MinecraftEdu was formed with the goal of introducing Minecraft into schools. The group works with Mojang to make the game affordable and accessible to schools. The version of Minecraft through MinecraftEDU includes unique features to allow teachers to monitor the students' progress within the virtual world, such as receiving screenshots from students to show completion of a lesson. In September 2012, MinecraftEdu said that approximately 250,000 students around the world have access to Minecraft through the company. A wide variety of educational activities involving the game have been developed to teach students various subjects, including history, language arts and science. For an example, one teacher built a world consisting of various historical landmarks for students to learn and explore. Another teacher created a large-scale representation of an animal cell within Minecraft that student could explore and learn how the cell functions work. Great Ormond Street Hospital has been recreated in Minecraft, and it proposed that patients can use it to virtually explore the hospital before they actually visit. Minecraft may also prove as an innovation in Computer Aided Design (CAD). Minecraft offers an outlet of collaboration in design and could have an impact on the industry.
With the introduction of redstone blocks to represent electrical circuits, users have been able to build functional virtual computers within Minecraft. Such virtual creations include a working hard drive, an 8-bit virtual computer, and emulators for the Atari 2600 (including one by YouTube personality SethBling) and Game Boy Advance. In at least one instance, a mod has been created to use this feature to teach younger players how to program within a language set by the virtual computer within a Minecraft world.
Microsoft and non-profit Code.org had teamed up to offer Minecraft-based games, puzzles, and tutorials aimed to help teach children how to program; by March 2018, Microsoft and Code.org reported that more than 85 million children have used their tutorials. In September 2014, the British Museum in London announced plans to recreate its building along with all exhibits in Minecraft in conjunction with members of the public.
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