Minecraft is the blocky building game which has taken the world by storm. Set in a seemingly simple world made from cubes you might think the game was somewhat limited. It doesn’t even have a set storyline to follow. You wake up and have to start punching down trees just to stay alive and go from there.
It is this total freedom to do whatever you like that has made the game so popular. It certainly isn’t the radically unflashy graphics. It is up to the user to imagine themselves in the world. What they do there is equally up to them. So punch down a tree, never dig straight down, and build the world of your dreams.
The beauty of Minecraft is that you can build literally anything you can think of. Hell, Marcus “Notch” Persson, the game’s creator, built a fortune of $1.5 billion from it. If he can do that the least you can do is build a house a little more complex than a pile of dirt. Each new version of the game brings new in game items but it is not these that are the main draw of laying Minecraft. There is only so much excitement a new texture of block can generate. It’s the things that you can do with it that are important.
Luckily there are people out there with big imaginations and the time to make them (sort of) reality. By combining the relatively few natural materials in the game they have managed to generate the following 15 crazy builds.
15 The Pokemon World
What’s better than one fantastically popular game? Remaking an even bigger game inside it! The PokeCraft project was set up by fans to create the Kanto region from the first Pokemon game in Minecraft.
The whole map is there and fully explorable, though sadly Pokemon-free. In many ways having caves free of Zubats makes this one better than the original. It can be downloaded for users to wander through in a nostalgia filled daze while they wait for either a better version of PokemonGo or a proper Pokemon MMORPG. Come on Nintendo, Minecraft is showing you the way!
14 A Working Calculator
There are two types of people in the world: those born to use a calculator and those born to embarrass those people by actually making their own calculators. Thanks to the inclusion of a material called redstone which can transmit a signal several people have worked out how to design calculators from it inside the game.
By arranging certain blocks in rows and controlling how signals are responded to, just like in a real world computer, Minecraft is perfectly able to model calculators. The complex ways simple rules can be exploited is mind-boggling. Using the ability of some blocks to push other blocks they are even able to have their calculator display the result of their calculations.
13 Roller Coasters
Creepy abandoned mines would be nothing without cobwebs, spiders, and mine carts. The first two are mere annoyances and atmospheric add-ons. The mine carts on the other hand have opened up a whole field of Minecraft ingenuity - as well as being a welcome source of loot. No sooner had mine carts been added to the game than users figured out they were more than a slightly faster way to travel.
Gothic Cathedrals were soaring buildings taking decades (or centuries) and thousands of men to create. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Luckily Minecraft gives a modern cathedral builder the perfect outlet for their architectural whimsies.
Some builders set out to faithfully recreate famous cathedrals – like Notre Dame in Paris. Others unleash their creativity and take the best parts of gothic architecture and build entirely new constructs. While real world churches have to submit to the laws of physics even as they rise to heaven those in Minecraft have no such limits. Towers, spires, and glass windows impossible to their medieval forebears are all the work of hours instead of decades.
11 So... Much… Pixel Art…
It did not take people long to realize that the blocks that make up Minecraft can be used like pixels to create images. The range of colours of those blocks has proved sufficient to generate art – up to and including the Mona Lisa. The Minecraft Mona may lack the subtleties of the original but Leonardo had more to work with than hay and wool.
Disneyland is the fantasy world all children long to visit. There are Disney parks all over the world and now there are parks in the virtual world too. You can even pick the Disneyland of your youth. As the parks have changed over the years so have their layouts. If you have a hankering for the 50s, someone's built it, and the same goes for parks of all eras. Legend has it there is even a cryo-chamber hidden in some of the parks with a frozen head in it.
9 Quidditch Pitch
While there are college Quidditch leagues where people run around with brooms between their legs they lack some of the excitement of the ‘real’ thing. The college version tends not to include broken arms or Bludger attacks. I suppose splinters in sensitive areas may be an issue - but it's still not the same level of thrill. Quidditch in Minecraft however gives you the chance to swoop through the field and around the towering stands.
8 The Imperial City
The Imperial City takes the grandest elements of any city in the world. The buildings come in all styles – so long as they are magnificent. The city was the work of many people and continued over a long time. Those who want to are able to download the capital city and wander through its wide boulevards.
The harbour contains a classic lighthouse and giant statues. Venetian townhouses crowd the waterfront. The river which cuts through the city runs in front of an enormous Winter Palace. Parks and markets and squares are dotted throughout. There is even a Roman style circus if you want to take in a chariot race. If you feel it's missing something (I can't think of anything) then you are free to add to the glory of the Imperial City. Just think big.
7 Sonic the Hedgehog Game
The Pokemon recreation mentioned earlier is cool but if you want a playable game then you have to give it to this Sonic the Hedgehog. The whole design is pretty perfect in terms of appearances. The block of Minecraft lend themselves to the low resolution world of the early Sonic games. If it was just that then it would still be a nifty build. But this set up comes with its own playable track and an in-game timer accurate to a tenth of a second to check how well you do.
6 Ancient Babylon
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And nor was Babylon. This city, modelled on the Ancient city, was build by one Minecrafter and his girlfriend over months. While not a totally faithful reconstruction it borrows from the style of the Babylonians.
Others have built their own versions of Babylon which include the ancient wonder – the Hanging Gardens. In fact all of the ancient wonders – pyramids, temples, statues – have been built in block form in Minecraft. Since only the pyramids still survive in anything like their original form there’s no way of telling how accurate the Minecraft models are. But they’re certainly impressive.
5 Minas Tirith
Minas Tirith, capital city of Gondor in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, is one of the most iconic fantasy cities. Built around a jutting mountain with concentric layers of city behind walls it towers above the plain below.
The gleaming white city is beautifully detailed. From the huge single gate in the outer wall to the white tree growing in the upper courtyard it follows the depiction of the city in the final Lord of the Rings film. Each of the houses is modelled in detail and has a decorated interior, should you wish to drop in for a mug of mead. There are even catapults on the outer all to defend against the armies of Mordor. You can even leap from the cliff if you fancy doing a Denethor.
4 Playable Guitar
The music used in Minecraft is as stripped back and minimalist as the game itself. If you want to create something a little more complex then you’ll just have to make your own instruments. By standing on pressure sensitive pads you can send signals to noteblocks that play a single note. Inspired by the piano scene in the movie BIG someone put together a walk-on keyboard.
Here someone went in a more stringy direction. Using some of the fancy circuitry made possible by redstone you can loop notes and use them to create any song you like. Okay, it only has ten chords, but that’s still more than most people ever learn to play. Building your own guitar makes it more impressive than just mastering Guitar Hero.
3 Working Computers
I have no idea how my computer works. It might as well be magic elves pulling strings in there. Luckily for me there are those who know how to make computers. And there are people who know how to make computers within computer games.
It is one thing to create a fantasy setting in Minecraft – who will know if you get anything wrong? It’s another thing to make a whole nation on a 1 to 1 scale. Simple scale maps have been produced by other people but Denmark went one further. Using satellite imagery the Danish Geodata Agency generated a complete virtual Denmark. They even managed to map buildings in cities.
The creators did take some short cuts. All the buildings have flat roofs. But the government was offering this project as an educational tool so they didn’t much care. They wanted people to explore parts of the country that people rarely visit and they also wanted them to make the map more accurate by rebuilding it. They also wanted people to learn about city design and management. They encouraged visitors to plant forests and beautify the landscape.
WesterosCraft was a project to build an entire continent. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of books is mostly set in Westeros. To build a Minecraft copy took hundreds of dedicated users years to complete. Seen above is Kings Landing, the capital of Westeros, but all the other cities and towns and major locations mentioned in the books are there.
In many ways this is a better representation of the books than the Game of Thrones TV show. The show never visits some of the most interesting parts of Martin’s world. If you want to mine for gold you can dig under Casterly Rock. If you want to walk the entire length of the Wall, you can. If you want to enjoy the delights of Little Finger's brothels... well you'll have to look somewhere else. This is a family reconstruction.
Now you have something to do in the Long Night before the arrival the next book in the series - make your own Westeros. Don't worry, you've got time.
Sources: WesterosCraft, BBC, YouTube, Planet Minecraft.
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