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Meatcraft: Minecraft In The Real World

How can I resist posting about this? An art project by Jeffrey Kam and Cody McCabe, Meatcraft, saw a real world version of Minecraft on display at San Jose State University in March, in which visitors were encouraged to build from the little cardboard Minecraft blocks. And rather brilliantly, this was all within a large Minecraft-themed set, guarded by a life-size Creeper. There's pics below.

There were two crafting tables, along with all the necessary pixelated tools, and even working torches. However, due to time and budget they weren't quite able to realise the cows, pigs, sheep and minecarts they'd hoped for. However, the juxtaposition of gaming content in the real world surprised many.

"The true scale of the blocks is meant to put players in the game. It highlights the awkwardness if objects from video games in our world. As you walk in the gallery, the first thing you notice is how huge the blocks are. Even those who were extremely familiar with Minecraft were surprised at how large the room felt in person compared to their computer screen. It was a strange transition."

The grass block building area may look quite small in the pics, but it contained a remarkable 1500 blocks, which must have taken some folding and gluing. And perhaps puts my desire to see something like this in full scale, perhaps in a warehouse, in perspective. I also absolutely love that the exhibit was designed to encourage visitors to interact with the display. Art you're allowed to touch - something the world is desperately short of. And those who knew what they were doing knew it was all about finding the diamond block. The artists observed that their project oddly reflected real Minecraft players, despite most of the visitors not being familiar with the game.

"We noticed several types of visitors in the gallery that very closely mirrored the different types of Minecraft players. There are players who like to mine, some who like to build structures, and even some who simply stand around and watch the awesome things people do in game. In the gallery, those who were familiar with Minecraft began digging for ore, specifically the very rare diamond (we only had 4). They exchanged them for the mini tools we had at the crafting which they were able to walk away with. Some visitors simply gathered blocks and built structures to the side (inevitably there were annoying 1-block wide skycrappers), while others simply watched the mayhem and awesomeness happen. It was interesting to see the relation between Minecraft players and our gallery visitors. All the visitors, both those whom had played Minecraft and those whom hadn't, seemed to reflect a type of Minecraft player."

Imagine if it started wobbling.

The piece is available to be displayed if galleries are interested, with details on the project's site.

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John Walker avatar

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run buried-treasure.org

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