Nvidia's festive Minecraft map packs an RTX-powered wonderland into a snowglobe

Three penguins up to no good.
(Image credit: Microsoft)
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'Tis the season for festive gaming. This year, Nvidia is rolling into the holidays with another graphical showcase, adding to its Minecraft RTX showcase collection (opens in new tab) with a snow-swept Winter World commissioned as part of a charity fundraising campaign.

Created by prolific Minecraft builder Ushio "Dr_Bond" Tokura (who had previously built Nvidia's Aquatic Adventure RTX showcase), Winter World offers a jaunt through a festive wonderland split across three massive snow-globes, framed by a series of quests for the jolly old gift-scoundrel himself.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

After chasing down post and loose buttons for Santa in a dark forest, you're whisked away to a bustling winter market. It's here that RTX really gets to flex its muscles, with string lighting reflecting off cobbled pavements and warping through ice sculptures. A grand hall overlooks the scene, and its dark windows provide near-flawless reflections of the glowing scene behind.

Perhaps the strangest effect of RTX comes from the sky itself. Winter World takes place in a series of massive snowglobes, but Minecraft being Minecraft, these globes are formed of thousands of glass blocks. Reflections shimmer and blend strangely against its surface, lending each scene an almost dreamlike quality.

(Image credit: MIcrosoft)

Winter World also contains a complete recreation of Great Ormond Street Hospital, the London children's hospital for which the world was created. An in-game QR code will link you to a donation page for the hospital's Home for Christmas fundraising campaign (opens in new tab).

Oddly, Winter World isn't available through the in-game Minecraft Store as-per Nvidia's other showcase levels. You can instead download it via the third party map hosting site Planet Minecraft (opens in new tab).

Disclosure: I used to work on Minecraft DLC as a level artist, and many of the projects I worked on are still available on the Minecraft store.

Image (opens in new tab)

Minecraft seeds: Fresh new worlds
Minecraft texture packs: Pixelated
Minecraft skins: New looks
Minecraft mods:  Beyond vanilla

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.