“Whilst the architects of today grew up playing with LEGO, I have no doubt the next generation will have played Minecraft”
Video games, can transport you into different worlds, be it realistic or not. Computer generated space doesn’t necessarily have to be made for gaming in the traditional sense, sometimes a video game can exist as a creative or atmospheric experience rather than an intense one.
The possibilities are (almost) endless with Minecraft. You can create essentially anything you want out of the cubes in their different textures and colours. The game has been used widely to teach children how to think logically about construction and to improve their creativity, but it has always also been embraced by creative adults. There are many very talented designers who use it to mould an interactive virtual world of their own, often creating architectural masterpieces.
Minecraft was published as a demo in 2009 by video game studio Mojang. It was made by Markus “Notch” Persson, a Swedish game designer who had been programming games since the age of seven. (IGN, 2010)
By 2011, Mojang had sold one million copies of the game, and only a few months later they reached 3 million. In 2012, it was also released on consoles after previously being exclusive on the PC and Mac, giving the game a wider reach and allowing for more users to show their creativity. (minecraftserver.net, 2012)
Since it was so popular with children and young adults around 2010 – 2014, users have grown up with the memories and skills gained from playing Minecraft for many years. The skills include architectural and engineering understanding and aesthetic composition knowledge, too.
Whilst designing in Minecraft, it is as simple as placing a block, and then deleting it if it is no longer needed. This forces the user to go through a development process of elimination, which improves your skills with every new design. Each building will have fewer mistakes than the last, embedding knowledge of spatial planning and physics into the user.
James Delaney, an architecture student at Cambridge University, created BlockWorks, a company that incorporates designers from around the world and allows them to share ideas and projects in the realm of gaming, media and education, all through the medium of Minecraft.
“Whilst the architects of today grew up playing with LEGO, I have no doubt the next generation will have played Minecraft,” Delaney says. “People have to stop thinking of it as a game. It’s a CAD tool, and as such, it is the most widely used one in the world. We’re looking forward to bridging the gaps between design and reality.” (Autodesk, 2016)
Minecraft can be played on Mobile, PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One.
Autodesk. (2016). Minecraft Architecture: What Architects Can Learn From a Video Game. Available: here. Last accessed 16th May 2018.
IGN. (2010). THIS IS MINECRAFT. Available: here. Last accessed 16th May 2018.
minecraftserver.net. (2012). Xbox 360 World Premiers Biggest Blockbuster Games and Entertainment. Available: here. Last accessed 16th May 2018.