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New 'Minecraft' Map Teaches Players The Importance Of Social Distancing

New 'Minecraft' Map Teaches Players The Importance Of Social Distancing

It's a free download for the Java Edition.

Sarah James

Sarah James

Social distancing is a concept that I'm sure most of us never imagined we'd have to employ. And as each of us attempts to deal with the restrictions placed on our daily lives, if you're not directly affected by the consequences of COVID-19, it can be difficult to remember why it's so important.

Luckily, Minecraft has a map that you can download which will teach you the importance of social distancing - and why it's effective in the fight against coronavirus (thanks, Gamespot). The map, Blockdown Simulator, was created by design and innovation company AKQA and is free to download for the Java Edtion of Minecraft - so no console versions, unfortunately. You can check out the video below (or here is a direct link).

In Blockdown Simulator, you can play as an observer or take a more hands-on approach as a nurse. There's no specific game mode, but creative hard mode is recommended for the simulation to "generate the right circumstances". There are three different scenarios you can toggle between: free-for-all, quarantine, and lockdown.

The map has two levels. The village is the main area and houses a tower which contains levers and buttons which are used to simulate an outbreak and will spawn Villagers and Zombie Villagers or lock or unlock doors. According to the official blog post, "By toggling between different variables in the control tower, players can observe how quickly Villagers can turn into Zombie Villagers."

The second level is a hospital which can be used to cure Villagers. "To simulate a real-life healthcare system, only one Zombie Villager can occupy a ZICU [Zombie Intensive Care Unit] at a time. The rest is up to the player, who has to administer golden apples to all patients in order for them to fully recover."

"We felt compelled to use our skills to make social distancing models accessible to everyone," explains Joseph, co-creator of Blockdown, "especially younger audiences who might be confused about the new reality we are living in. As a partner to Mojang and Heart17, we felt this was a fertile ground to speak about this issue to new audiences."

"Minecraft was the perfect platform to show social distancing in a more tangible and meaningful light," adds co-creator, Hugo. "By releasing Blockdown Simulator to the community, we hope to encourage positive discussions among its players, and beyond."

A similar, educational event was hosted on the private World of Warcraft server, Elysium, a couple of weeks ago. During the event, the "virus" was placed on an in-game object and within 15 hours, it had infected over 2,000 players. That number increased to 7,000 within a day and ended up hitting 88 percent of active players.

Virtual or not, it's certainly eye-opening to see how fast a virus can spread if left unchecked.

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Topics: Minecraft