Minecraft in lockdown

The Merchant Venturers Building (home of Computer Science at the University of Bristol) in Minecraft

Minecraft in Lockdown

Online communities have long given people an opportunity to connect, play and make friends. The Covid19 lockdown means that more people than ever are spending time online and looking for ways to channel their creativity. We spoke to Dan and Brandon from the Computer Science Society about how they (and others) are using Minecraft during the lockdown.

Can you explain Minecraft for those who haven’t played?

Minecraft is an adventure and building game where players can explore randomly generated worlds which have features such as villages, mineshafts, pyramids, sunken ships, and more. Players gather resources and craft them into different items or blocks which can be used to help exploration or build structures. 

Unlike other games Minecraft isn’t story based. It provides an opportunity for players to create their own world and adventure. It’s the first of its kind, it has no real end goal and literally defined the term “sandbox” game. The best way to understand is to play it yourself

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If you play Minecraft with the default ‘objective’ then it’s a good game but that’s not why it’s the most popular game ever made. Minecraft provides a platform for anything you want. Multiple communities have formed around it. Servers can take the base game and make any other game from it and that is without client-side mods. With Minecraft anything is possible, if you play it with the goal to finish it then sure, you can do that and you can have a lot of fun. But the real joy of the game comes from the players and sharing it with other people.

How does Minecraft help people to feel more connected?

Minecraft allows individuals to connect with people throughout the world, build relationships, and join communities on different servers. Each server has their own team who organise events and decide how the server works. Some, such as the Hypixel server include mini-games. Others offer a more ‘vanilla’ Minecraft experience where you build and play with friends (without using any mods). This allows people to work together on projects which can be a great way to escape the feeling of being stuck inside with nothing to do. There were loads of servers before, but there are certainly new ones which have been made in response to lockdown.

The Wills Memorial Building on Minecraft with the Clifton Suspension Bridge and hot air balloons in the background
Students have built university and Bristol landmarks


How are Bristol students are using Minecraft during  lockdown?

Computer Science students are taken advantage of their dedicated server to take a break, relax, and play with friends. In the wider Bristol community Bristruths have set up an independent server to allow students to connect and play Minecraft together. They’ve hosted events on the server, including an Easter Egg Hunt and a building competition. They’ve created Minecraft versions of University of Bristol buildings and landmarks like the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

How can Minecraft be used as a learning resource?

The University of Bristol Queen's Building on Minecraft
The University of Bristol Queen’s Building in Minecraft
The creators have made an education edition to support remote learning. Unlike some games which shoehorn educational aspects in, this encourages (like all other things in Minecraft) the player to explore this on their own time.
The base game can be used to build some basic logic circuits using redstone which bears enough similarity to real life electronics that you can make a basic computer within Minecraft.


Our Digimakers programme has a bank of resources for young people

Whilst Digimakers events are on-hold you can still access resources to inspire creativity, confidence and learning using tech. Check out the free worksheets and resources from Minecraft, to Microbit Block Programming to sewing circuits and wearable tech