UN Turns to Indie Game Darling Minecraft to Shape the Future

on Tuesday, Oct. 2nd

It’s always great to hear when games are being used as something other than a way to kill time. Even better when they’re put to use to help design a better tomorrow. After hearing about a Swedish project that used the indie game juggernaut Minecraft to help people reconstruct their own neighborhoods the United Nations asked the game’s developer, Mojang, to create a tool they could use.

The result is “Block by Block“, a modified version of the game that aims to get youth involved in the reimagining¬†of their own communities. The Electronic Software Association crowed about it in their October newsletter, which is where I first came across the news:

Within¬†Minecraft’s digital representations, users can construct an unlimited array of buildings and public spaces, including homes, parks and offices. By collecting input from local populations, the game can inform urban planners and decision makers about the types of improvements that would be most beneficial and appealing to the overall community. The pilot project has already launched in Kibera, Nairobi.

Mojang has had huge success with Minecraft, which has been somewhat of a pleasant shock to the game community at large. The small company, founded by Markus “Notch” Persson, has raked in millions with the blocky looking but addictive sandbox game. Those millions allow Mojang to be the main financial backer of the “Block by Block” project.

The developer has pledged to work with the UN Habitat organization in a three-year partnership.

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