Videogames are no stranger to classrooms, however few games have made such an impact as Minecraft. There's the qCraft mod that teaches players quantum physics, and the time Denmark was recreated to scale (before being subsequently levelled), and don't forget MinecraftEdu and its official Microsoft-bought successor Minecraft: Education Edition.
The latest initiative, coming courtesy of the Museum of London, is a reinterpretation of the Great Fire of 1666 that lets players wander through the streets of 17th century London, chat to local civilians, combat the fire itself and latterly rebuild their own conceptualisations of the English capital. Three interactive maps will be made available for free from July 29, all of which will look something like this:
Map one, launching next week, features London Bridge, Pudding Lane, and the old Saint Paul’s Cathedral. A treasure hunt is designed to encourage exploration and will also give players the chance to uncover audio clips relevant to the events that led to the blaze.
To mark the disaster’s 350th anniversary, the second phase will arrive in September and will guide players through the start and spread of the Great Fire; while the third and final instalment is due to launch in February of next year—which is when players can set about rebuilding their own visions of the city.
“Minecraft is an incredible game that captivates and inspires users of all ages around the world,” says project lead Joshua Blair in a statement. “Its reach and versatility offers museums a fantastic platform to share our knowledge and collections, and create engaging experiences.”
Grab the first Great Fire 1666 Minecraft map when it becomes available next week, July 29, via the Museum of London website.