On Wednesday April 29th, 15 curious explorers embarked on a grand adventure to explore a new world. One by one each player opened their digital eyes to a small river winding its way through lush green hills, surrounded by a dense forest cuddled at the bottom of a mountainside. After some brief exploration of their new environment, the first foundation block of a new village house was built and placed in the ground, and with that The YMCA Academy Minecraft world was born.
During the first session, we spoke about the challenges players may face interacting in a virtual world. Students were asked to create a list of community guidelines, rules and outcomes for specific scenarios and behaviours that may happen in a living, breathing virtual environment where many complex issues can arise. How do we resolve conflicts? What happens if there is a land dispute? Who gets to claim resources to the south of the village? The discussion was very thorough and students came up with a list of how they would like to govern this new virtual frontier.
After we had reached a consensus on how we will interact as a community the first bold steps were made to establish our new village. We had agreed to carve out a specific piece of land, which was designated the communal village, and inside these borders no player could claim ownership of property, or build without approval from the rest of the community. Within the span of a few hours, several small huts were constructed just outside of the village, to act as personal homes, and a base where students can build, craft, and launch expeditions from. As the day went on, groups of explorers left the communal village and explored the depths of the forest finding new resources, treasures, and even another village inhabited by NPCs (non-player characters).
The first session of the Academy’s Minecraft club surpassed my expectations in almost every way, and I eagerly await the adventures to come this coming Wednesday as we continue to explore and socialize in this new virtual world.