Much of the world remains in lockdown at the moment so there are a lot of places you can’t go. Though the real world is out of bounds that does not mean that you can’t take a little holiday, if you’re willing to get a little creative. Or enter the creative mode of Minecraft.
Minecraft is a simple game with simple rules but the blocky nature of the world in which it is set has not stopped players creating amazingly detailed recreations of both real world and fictional settings. Here are ten of the best places you can visit without leaving your laptop.
Most Minecraft players make do with building small homes to keep the Creepers out. The Danish government had rather grander designs. Using maps they created a scale model of their entire country. This was to make a fun way for people to explore the country – especially those hard to reach places. Because of the way in which the virtual Denmark was generated the buildings were incomplete and flat-roofed. To correct this Danish citizens were encouraged to help build a better simulacrum of their country. The one tool they were not allowed to use was the TNT that makes Minecraft so fun. But alas something was rotten in the state of Denmark.
Alas Denmark did not survive long before it was invaded by the forces of the United States. Players managed to sneak in TNT and set about demolishing the capital city Copenhagen. Large US flags sprung up across the virtual country. Luckily for Denmark it was a simple matter of rolling back to an earlier – Pre-invasion – version.
9 The Acropolis
The buildings, temples, and treasuries of the Acropolis in Athens were considered one of the high points of Greek civilisation. The Parthenon in particular has become an icon of the entire era. It took the ancient Greeks a vast amount of time, gold, and effort to build and rebuilt the Acropolis. After the Persian invasion and destruction of Athens it took around 50 years to complete the famous buildings that stand there to this day. In its Minecraft form it took around 3 months…
In the real world the Acropolis was situated at the heart of Athens but in Minecraft it sits among Elysian fields of grain. Another difference from the Acropolis as it was originally built is that the Minecraft version preserves the current white state of the Parthenon. In reality the buildings of the Acropolis were a riot of, to our eyes, garishly painted colours.
Cathedrals were literal and metaphorical pinnacles of European building in cities. Enclosing vast spaces they were designed to make people look upwards and explore the nature of the divine. Of course building such huge structures out of stone and wood was a complex affair and could take a while. In the case of Cologne cathedral it began in 1248 and wasn’t completed until 1880. The Minecraft version took a little less than the 632 years of the original. The Minecraft cathedral preserves every spire and flying buttress of the original and is richly decorated inside with hanging chandeliers.
If Cologne cathedral is not to your taste you can always visit Notre Dame in Paris. Of course since the real cathedral suffered a tragic and devastating fire it may be some time before the original is open to the public. Minecraft is the next best thing.
Of the seven wonders of the Ancient World only the Great Pyramid stands in any recognisable form. Some like the Colossus of Rhodes were felled after only a few years and disappeared from history. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were build around 600 BC by king Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife and were just one of the marvels the Babylonians created in their capital city.
The recreation of Babylon in Minecraft includes not only the Hanging Gardens but the fabled Tower of Babel. While that was designed to reach the heavens this tower is limited by Minecraft’s 256 block height limit. The Ishtar Gate that guides you into the city are flanked by winged bulls – a strange but common motif in Ancient Babylonia.
6 Minas Tirith
“Have you ever seen it, Aragorn? The White Tower of Ecthelion, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, its banners caught high in the morning breeze.” The capital city of Gondor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Minas Tirith is a city built on seven levels that clings to the side of a mountain and towers above a plain. In Minecraft fans of the books and films have recreated the city, down to its billowing banners.
While some other sites on this list cannot be visited because they are in dangerous locations or have been destroyed Minas Tirith suffers from the drawback of being fictional. If you want to visit it then Minecraft is your only option.
Many young people dreamed of being whisked away to a magical world and the Harry Potter universe gave them the perfect opportunity. The Floo Network spent years producing a version of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts school in Minecraft. Every detail of J.K. Rowling’s world from the Shrieking Shack to the Whomping Willow to her love of alliteration is presented for those who want to learn to be a witch or wizard. They even have floating candles in dining hall.
To complete the world they also went to the trouble of building parts of the real world city of London where one of the ways of entering the magical world is found in the books. The Minecraft version of London it must be said is slightly tidier than the real thing…
Across the world hundreds of events big and small have been cancelled this year. Some of the biggest music festivals will not be taking place for the foreseeable future due to the risk of spreading the Coronavirus. One of the benefits of sitting alone in your room on Minecraft is that you have very little chance of contracting a real illness. So some musicians are turning to Minecraft as a way to connect to their fans.
While much of the time when Minecrafters get together on servers there can be some destruction and more than a little placing of TNT many gig have now taken place. Other games like Fortnite have hosted musical events but Minecraft with its open worlds and servers gives more scope for bands and musicians to shape their gigs. Admittedly there is somewhat less atmosphere when instead of jumping around in real life you are jostling a rectangular skin up and down.
3 The Earth
At present your options for places to go are limited to Earth or, if you are lucky and incredibly wealthy, low Earth orbit. Why not take a trip to another version of Earth? It is one that should be comforting for those who cling to the flat Earth theory as well.
There are several versions of Earth available in Minecraft. One is just a little bit smaller than the real one but is still 16200 by 32400 blocks across, making it a 1:1500 scale model. Each area of the planet is recreated in one of the biomes available in Minecraft’s repertoire. For some though this is not nearly close enough to the real thing.
The “Built the World” project is working on making a 1:1 scale model of the Earth in Minecraft. Over 100,000 Minecraft players have expressed interest in helping to build this new world. Given the huge nature of the project different teams will work on different areas and their creations will stitched together at a later date.
2 Los Angeles
Los Angeles is one of the most visited cities in the world and attracts people to its hustle and bustle. Imagine having it all to yourself? Well now you can, sort of, in Los Angelcraft. Not meant as a perfect representation of Los Angeles it is instead inspired by the city in its style. There is everything from towering buildings that literally scrape the Minecraft world’s sky to little houses in the suburbs. If you’ve ever dreamt of owning property in the City of Angels then this might be your best bet.
Each of the buildings is lovingly furnished inside as well as stunning outside. This was a labour of love for the creator – someone who has never actually been to Los Angeles.
It’s safe to say that the final season of Game of Thrones was… divisive. If divisive means universally panned. So why not play out your own adventure in a stunningly detailed version of Westeros?
Coming in at 22,000 by 59,000 blocks it may not be quite the size of the Game of Thrones (in real life) but hundreds of people have created almost every location mentioned in the books or shown on screen. Something like the Wall is relatively easy to build, being just huge blocks of ice. But the capital city of King’s Landing features the Red Keep palace and Iron Throne but it is the city itself that is most impressive. There are precisely 4,788 individual homes in the city and they are all unique. It took 4 months to build the city, and then the creators completely rebuilt it to take advantage of new materials and textures added to the game.
The people running WesterosCraft have a pretty stringent set of rules about what can be built and what the interior design should look like. One commented “Westeros has a literacy rate of 0.1%, limiting it to the upper classes. When I see books in a low/middle class home, I want to gouge my eyes out.” Those readers waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish his next book are used to that feeling…