Posted on Leave a comment

New Realms Plus monthly subscription service now available for Minecraft multiplayers

Are you familiar with Minecraft Realms? It was our monthly subscription service that let you and up to ten friends play online Minecraft multiplayer together in your own private server! And as of today, it’s GONE FOREVER 🙁

But the good news is, we’re replacing it with something better, Realms Plus! With this new monthly subscription service, you still get your own private server for you and your friends to enjoy, plus you get over fifty pieces of Minecraft Marketplace content. All for the same price!

So if you’re currently subscribed to Minecraft Realms, you’ll be upgraded to Realms Plus for free. If you’re not currently subscribed to Minecraft Realms, you won’t be upgraded to Realms Plus for free, because we had accounting run the numbers and apparently that’s not a great business model for us. Sorry! Take solace in the fact that you can try your first month of Realms Plus for free.

Let’s enjoy the launch trailer:

Posted on Leave a comment

Back-to-school update for ‘Minecraft: Education Edition’ now available

We are excited to bring you the Back to School Update for Minecraft: Education Edition, now available for all users. The update was first announced at ISTE, and over the past month we ran a beta program to collect feedback from thousands of educators across our global community. This new set of features further supports student-centered learning and improves the in-game experience, just in time for many of you to return to the classroom!

We have integrated Immersive Reader, added a Single Sign On (SSO) option for one-click authentication, improved the user interface and multiplayer experience with join codes, and more. These features are available for download on all Minecraft: Education Edition supported platforms (Windows, macOS, and iPad).

Windows and iPad users will receive an automatic update at the next login. MacOS users will have to reinstall Minecraft: Education Edition to access the updated version (remember to back up your worlds). If you have any issues, please fill out our product feedback form.

Here is a summary of what the Back to School Update brings to Minecraft: Education Edition:

Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader is now integrated into Minecraft: Education Edition to support reading and translating in-game text, such as NPC dialogue and boards. The tool offers formatting options for students with learning differences such as dyslexia, and a Picture Dictionary with Minecraft-specific imagery such as ‘Creeper’ and ‘Mooshroom’.

Improved multiplayer

Students can now invite others to join their Minecraft world using fun join codes. Students must be invited to participate in a multiplayer world, promoting digital citizenship and a smoother user experience. We’ve also made it easier to set and change permissions for how others join your world. Invite others to join as a Visitor or give them full Member permissions to build and create together. Learn how to use multiplayer in our Help Center.

Single Sign On (SSO)

Users can choose to be automatically logged in based on their credentials, and also sign out at any time and sign in as a different user as needed.

new Minecraft: Education Edition site map

new Minecraft: Education Edition site map

Site Map Updates

A more visual site map helps educators and students find Minecraft worlds in the Library, or navigate to their in-progress worlds.

Share Link to Library Content

We’ve also made it easier to assign or share a link to worlds from within your Learning Management System (LMS).

Export as PDF

Students can now use the export function in the Book & Quill tool to save their work as a PDF. This new feature supports formative assessment, in addition to helping students document and share their work. Learn how to use helpful items like the Camera, Portfolio, and Book & Quill here.

As always, we welcome your continued feedback and would love to hear how you’re using these new features in your classroom! Join our community to earn badges, and stay tuned for updates by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and signing up for our monthly newsletter.

The post Back to School Update Now Available for All Users appeared first on Minecraft: Education Edition.

This post was originally published on this site.

Click here for free STEM resourcesExplore tools for student-centered learning

Posted on Leave a comment

Toy Story Mash-Up pack now available in the Minecraft Marketplace

Explore some of the places you love (Andy’s bedroom!) and maybe are a little afraid of (I still have nightmares about Sid’s bedroom), from the teeny perspective of the toys. Yes, you are indeed tiny, which means you’ll have to climb, jump, and solve puzzles to find your way through an enormous, yet familiar world!

The Toy Story Mash-Up pack is available in the Minecraft Marketplace now. Go play!

Posted on Leave a comment

Download free map and skin pack, The Travelling Trader, and Minecraft will donate to charity:water

“But hang on,” I hear you cry. “Does this mean I get a free llama skin? Also, what does this have to do with charity: water?” Well, to answer both your questions, you actually get two llama skins, and as soon as The Travelling Trader has been downloaded from the Minecraft Marketplace 100,000 times, we’ll make a new donation to charity: water of $90,000. That’ll bring us to $100,000 donated, which means ten water projects supported by Minecraft!

Charity: water estimates that the number of people impacted by a $100,000 donation is over 3,300. So all you have to do is download a great map and skin pack, and you’ll help us help a fantastic cause! Every time we call on you to do something like this, you always smash the target in an incredibly short amount of time, and once you’ve downloaded the map 100,000 times, we’ll share the great news on Twitter!

Head to the Minecraft Marketplace now and thank you for helping us help charity: water!

Posted on Leave a comment

‘Minecraft Village & Pillage’ update now available

Did it take a village to finish Minecraft’s biggest update yet? Oh pah-lease. It took so much more! It took hardworking developers, pixel artists, that wonderful person who keeps the office fridge stocked, far too many employees to thank here, and most of all – you! – the players, giving us your constant feedback every step of the way. You helped make Village & Pillage an update we couldn’t be more proud of.

Best of all, we get to release it today! Xbox One, Windows 10 Edition, iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch players will find the update ready to be installed either right now, very soon, or in the recent past – in fact, why not check your chosen Minecraft platform now and see if you’re ready to join all new-villages, fight all-new mobs, and discover tons more all-new all-great features!

(Playing Minecraft: Java? You get Village & Pillage today too! Click this lush line of emerald green text to find out more).

You’ll find a full changelog below, but while you’re still up here, I’ll highlight some of my favourite new features:

  • Pillagers! What can I say? I love a good scrap, and so do the newest mob to enter Minecraft, even if they’re not too bright. Quick, craft a brand-new crossbow before they attack you with theirs!
  • The Wandering Trader! A mysterious merchant who travels the lands in search of sales. Sure, I could waste more of my life telling you all about this sales savant, but why bother when I can just link you to this ace video all about the Wandering Trader instead? Or this brilliant article written by Per ‘you better mention I also worked on that video’ Landin?
  • New villager trades! You’ll find villagers busy beavering away at their new jobs in each village you visit, and we’ll have a deep dive into all their new occupations this Saturday!

Keep checking Minecraft on Xbox One, Windows 10 Edition, iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch for the update, and enjoy!

Want to chat with us about the update? Join us on the official Minecraft Discord at

Known Issue: some mobs are bugged and might look like new villagers in some Marketplace maps. We’re working on a hotfix and we want to get it out to you as soon as we can – please don’t open these worlds until then. See for more information.

Please note that there is a bug that currently affects HD texture packs on mobile devices. Using these texture packs may cause your game to crash. Until we get this bug fixed, we advise you to not use HD texture packs on mobile devices. We hope to get this bug fixed soon!



  • Updated Villages

    • Many new building types and enhanced village generation

    • Biome specific architecture for plains, desert, savannah, and taiga

  • New Villagers

    • Villagers have new clothing to indicate their level, profession, and biome

    • Added Mason and Nitwit villagers

    • Villagers now sleep in beds

    • Villagers now visit their job sites during the day and go home at night

    • Greatly improved villager pathfinding

    • Villagers in existing worlds will convert to new villagers (if they are not part of a template world)

    • Zombie Villagers now have biome-specific and profession skin layers

  • Village Job Sites

    • Villagers can now take on a new profession when near a job site block

    • While villagers claim these sites, they also have functions for players

    • Cartography Table – Provides an easier way to copy and enlarge maps. Maps can be locked by using glass panes

    • Grindstone – Used to repair weapons and tools, plus disenchanting

    • Barrel – Stores items like a chest but can still be opened with blocks on top of it

    • Smoker – Cooks food much faster than a furnace

    • Blast Furnace – Faster ore smelting

    • Composter – Adding enough crops will produce bone meal

    • Stonecutter – Easy crafting for stone and cobblestone items

    • Smithing Table and Fletching Table – Functionality coming in a later update

  • Villager Trading

    • Added brand new villager trades (169044)

    • Villagers now have a visual based trading system and will hold up an item they wish to trade if the player is holding something they want

    • When villagers make trades, they gain experience. When they gain enough experience, they level up. Leveling up unlocks new trades

    • Villagers will resupply their trades when arriving at their job site (172559)

  • Wandering Trader

    • A villager mob that will appear at a village’s gathering site periodically and stays for a period of 2-3 game days

    • This trader offers items from a wide variety of different biomes, random dyes, and other rare materials

    • Accompanied on their journey by two fancy llamas!

  • Bells

    • When rung, all villagers will run into their houses

    • Bells ring when players interact with them or are powered by redstone


  • Pillager Outposts

    • The new tower hangout for pillagers that generate in the same biomes as villages

    • Pillagers will respawn around the tower

    • Clear them out and score some loot!

  • Illager Captain

  • Raids

    • When a player enters a village with Bad Omen, a raid will be triggered

    • Pillager enemies will attack a village in waves

    • Players that successfully defend a village from a raid will receive the Hero of the Village effect, giving a steep discount on trades with villagers

  • Ravager

    • A powerful, new enemy mob found in illager patrols and during village raids

    • When running, it can destroy some blocks like crops so watch out!

    • Can be ridden into battle by illagers

  • Pillager Patrols


New Features

  • Campfire

    • A new light source to cozy up your village

    • Works great as a fireplace in a home, with no fire spread to worry about

    • Throw some food on it and become a campfire cooking pro!

  • Sweet Berries

  • Bamboo Jungle

  • New Achievements

    • Plethora of Cats – Befriend twenty stray cats (20G)

    • Kill the Beast! – Defeat a Ravager (30G)

    • Buy Low, Sell High – Trade for the best possible price (50G)

    • Disenchanted – Use a Grindstone to get experience from an enchanted item (20G)

    • We’re being attacked – Trigger a Pillager Raid (20G)

    • Sound the Alarm! – Ring the bell with a hostile enemy in the village (20G)

    • I’ve got a bad feeling about this – Kill a Pillager Captain (20G)

  • Roaming Skin Choice

    • When choosing a skin from a skin pack, the selected skin will now be selected automatically on other Bedrock devices using the same account

    • Some skin packs may not be eligible for roaming selection

  • Accessibility Features

    • Text to Speech can now be enabled to read in-game chat

    • UI Screen Reader can be enabled to say the name of interface controls and their current state

    • Accessibility features can be enabled in Settings


  • Note on World Generation: In order to deliver the coolest generated villages possible, some world seeds may have villages generate in different areas than they used to before this update

  • A fresh new batch of seeds are now available in the Seed Picker when creating a new world

  • Added even more new textures to blocks and items, including stained glass

  • Increased the amount of scaffolding that can be placed out from its initial support

  • Changes to the way cats spawn in villages:

    • Cats now respawn based on number of beds in the village

    • The number of cats = 1/4 the number of beds

    • Cat total caps at 10 cats per village

  • Lecterns now emit a redstone signal when turning pages

  • Darkened portions of the game’s menus to provide stronger contrast for accessibility


Posted on Leave a comment

Celebrate MINECON Earth at Microsoft Store parties Sept. 29 in the US and Canada

MINECON Earth, Minecraft’s worldwide celebration livestream of all things Minecraft is just around the corner! It’s happening this Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PDT and we’re inviting the Minecraft community to join us at Microsoft Stores across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

A MINECON Earth party is not only a great place to meet other players and learn from skillful creators – depending on the location you can also expect giveaways, Q&A panels with developers or builders, costume contests, Minecraft trivia and the opportunity to snag exclusive MINECON Earth merch!

No less than 81 Microsoft Stores are joining in on the fun this year to celebrate this one-of-a-kind event! Visit the official MINECON Earth page for the full list of locations near you, details about each celebration and info on how to get tickets. Attendees will be admitted 30 minutes prior to the broadcast start time, so come early to ensure you get a seat!

Eight Microsoft Stores will also host some Minecraft content creators you may be familiar with. They’ll be hanging out with attendees at the following locations:

If you can’t make it to an in-store event, be sure to watch MINECON Earth on MixerYouTubeFacebook Live and Twitch. We hope you’ll join us!

Posted on Leave a comment

Minecraft Update Aquatic Phase Two available now

A whole new wave of features has drifted into Minecraft! Players on Windows 10, VR, mobile devices, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch will find the second Phase of Update Aquatic pouring into their game today, including adorable turtles, bubble columns that punish careless swimmers and a sinister new mob. Yay/yikes!

Java players, we haven’t forgotten you – the incredibly hard-working Java team are almost done putting together the Update Aquatic for your version – why not try the latest Java pre-release to experience some of the Aquatic features right now?

Here’s what’s new for Phase Two!


  • Realms are now available on Nintendo Switch
  • The Drowned – These dangerous, underwater zombies lurk in dark, deep water and will come up to the shore at night
  • Sea Turtles – These gentle creatures can be found swimming in oceans and tanning on beaches. Protect their eggs so more can hatch!
  • Turtle Shell and Scute items
  • Potion of the Turtle Master
  • Nautilus Shells – Can be found while fishing or held by the Drowned
  • Conduits can now be constructed underwater and give players the Conduit Power effect. Craft them with Nautilus Shells & Heart of the Sea
  • Bubble Columns – Magma Blocks create downward flowing columns and Soul Sand creates upward flowing bubbles
  • New Achievements!
  • Added new commands that only affect worlds with Education Edition enabled: 1. /ability – Sets a player’s ability 2. /immutableworld – Sets the immutable state of the world 3. /worldbuilder – Toggle World Builder status of caller


  • Changed the menu background to be themed for Update Aquatic
  • Undead mobs will now sink in water and can walk on the bottom
  • Improved the steering of Boats when using keyboard and mouse by pressing W to move forward and S to reverse
  • Dolphins can now be given Raw Fish or Raw Salmon and will swim towards the nearest Ocean Ruins or Shipwreck
  • Husks that have sunk in water will now transform into Zombies and Zombies will transform into Drowned
  • Skeleton Horses can now be ridden underwater
  • Skeletons and Strays will switch from ranged to melee attacks while underwater and switch back when out of water
  • Coral blocks will no longer die as long as one side is touching water
  • Improved player swimming at the surface of water
  • Tridents can now be enchanted with Mending and Unbreaking
  • Added an animation when using Riptide in first person perspective
  • Slightly decreased the friction of Blue Ice
  • Updated the texture of the top of Kelp
  • Updated the texture of Cooked Fish
  • Updated the Riptide spin texture
  • Default Field of View has been reduced from 70 to 60 and can be adjusted in Video Settings
  • Tridents will no longer break blocks in Creative mode
  • The Inventory button has been moved to the top of the Store page
Posted on Leave a comment

New version of Minecraft is out on Nintendo Switch

We’ve put together this handy FAQ with everything you need to know to enjoy the new version of Minecraft on Nintendo Switch!

Q: What is the Bedrock version of Minecraft?

A: The Bedrock version of Minecraft has been the codebase on mobile and Windows 10 since 2012, also known as our Bedrock Engine.  We brought this version to Xbox One with the Better Together Update last fall and now we’re launching it on Nintendo Switch.

Q: How is this version different than the one I already own?

A: Minecraft delivers a united experience to players on all platforms that the Bedrock codebase is used. Build with friends via cross-play with Xbox One, Windows 10, VR and mobile devices, and customize how you play with community content available through the in-game marketplace. Servers will become available via a post-launch update at a later date.

 Q: I already own Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition, how do I get this new version?

A: Players who already own Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition can download the new version of Minecraft free of charge. Either follow the prompts in-game to download or find it directly in the Nintendo eShop.

Q: Will DLC content I currently own transfer over to the new version of Minecraft?

A: All of the existing DLC content will be transferable from Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition to the new version of Minecraft.

Q: What’s a Microsoft Account and why do I need it for a Nintendo Switch?

A: A Microsoft Account is a free account you can sign-in on device that allows Minecraft players on Switch to play with others on non-Nintendo devices like iOS, Android, Xbox One and Windows 10 via cross-play, Realms or Servers. Having a Microsoft Account also enables the portability of your MINECOINS and marketplace purchases to other devices and platforms. To create an account click here.

Got more questions? Head over to our FAQ page.

We’d also like to thank SkyBox Labs for their outstanding help developing the new version of Minecraft for Nintendo Switch!

Posted on Leave a comment

Minecraft’s new Coral Crafters skin pack arrives: Proceeds help The Nature Conservancy help the oceans

We’re supporting the incredible work of The Nature Conservancy to protect and restore these coral reefs (which you can learn more about here). Both from sales of this new skin pack and with the promise to donate more money for every coral block YOU place in the game.

It’s true! As soon as players have collectively placed ten million coral blocks underwater in Minecraft, we’ll donate one hundred thousand dollars to The Nature Conservancy and their efforts. We’ve got no doubt you’ll manage it in no time!

So what are you waiting for? Build something amazing out of coral, help us help the oceans and enjoy the new skin pack!

Learn more about the Nature Conservancy by clicking this lovely line of green text.


Net proceeds from sales of the Coral Crafter Skin Pack excluding platform and marketplace operating fees will be donated to The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA, 22203-1606, USA, No portion of purchase or gift is tax deductible.

Minecraft will contribute $100,000.00 to The Nature Conservancy to protect and restore coral reefs around the world once players have placed 10 million coral blocks underwater, beginning on June 8th. (Coral blocks are only counted in Minecraft versions without “Edition” in the title.) The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the land and waters on which all life depends. More information about the Conservancy is available at

We’ll update on Twitter when ten million coral blocks have been placed.

Posted on Leave a comment

Block party: Communities use Minecraft to build new public spaces

As a native of Stockholm, Melin heard about the trial projects with Minecraft back in his hometown. During his next visit to Sweden, he made an appointment at Mojang to chat about some ideas. By the summer of 2012, Bui and Winters were on a flight to Nairobi to meet with Melin and U.N.-Habitat’s new hire, Westerberg, who would oversee the development of a Minecraft-based public space program with global ambitions soon to be known as Block by Block.

“One of most exciting parts is that Minecraft can bring millions of people into a debate about public space and make it more of a mainstream conversation,” said Melin. “We want people to ask their parents and politicians, ‘Why isn’t public space working in my city?’”

Westerberg, whose background is in digital communications for non-governmental organizations, took on more and more responsibilities around Block by Block, until it became his whole job. Also Swedish by birth, he lived in Zimbabwe for a few years during his youth and first recognized the depth of inequality when other kids on his soccer team had to play with borrowed shoes, or none at all. He said, “We knew that we couldn’t just host some workshops and pat ourselves on the back. From the start, we focused on the program’s methodology so that it would be able to build its own momentum and eventually take on a life of its own.”

The goals were relatively straightforward. Working with Minecraft collectives, U.N.-Habitat builds Minecraft models of public spaces that are slated for redevelopment. The models are then used in workshops in which participants are trained in the use of Minecraft and then asked to re-design the public space models in groups. On the final day of the workshop, the groups come together with other stakeholders to prioritize the top ideas. The community-developed Minecraft models are then used to inspire the final designs of the public spaces and, ultimately, the construction work.

Cities can be drivers of innovation and great contributors to economic growth. But done badly, cities cause social disparity and huge environmental problems. That’s true in the slums of Nairobi or Kathmandu but also in the sprawling cities of North America.

The first Block by Block projects were in Nairobi. After a trial project at Silanga sports field, they moved on to Dandora, a once well-planned area that had degenerated to near slum status and is known for its high crime rate and as the location of the largest garbage dump in East Africa.

Block by Block teamed up with a variety of local organizations to revitalize Dandora’s public spaces, initially focusing on creating a “model street” that would influence other improvements in the neighborhood. Proposals built in Minecraft in the Block by Block workshop led to upgrading a main street, clearing ditches, planting trees and now building gateways along the corridor.

“Designing in Minecraft allowed people in Dandora to explore the merits of various design alternatives and visualize their ideas,” said Westerberg. “The process also encouraged people to develop a broader understanding of the urban environment, speak in public with greater confidence and improve community relations.” For many participants, it was the first time they had publicly expressed opinions about local issues.

Melin added, “Minecraft is a tool that is increasing community engagement in public space projects by enabling participants to express themselves in a visual way, develop skills, network with other people from the community and provide new ways to influence the policy agenda.”

U.N.-Habitat and Mojang set out the grand goal of 300 Block by Block projects in the coming years. However, they found that they didn’t have the human resources or capital to hit that target within their desired timeline.

Then, Mojang was acquired by Microsoft in 2014. After careful consideration and planning, Microsoft and Mojang re-launched the Block by Block Foundation as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2016.

“As a nonprofit, Block by Block can now accept donations, and we can focus on the growth of that charity and making sure it gets everything it needs to succeed. Like all organizations, it must continue to evolve,” said David Boker, a senior director on the Minecraft team who celebrated 20 years with Microsoft while in Hanoi.

U.N.-Habitat signed a long-term agreement with the foundation in August 2016, ensuring sustainable funding for Block by Block for years to come. The board now meets three times a year to approve public space projects, which will be funded by the foundation.

In 2016, Block by Block held community participation workshops using Minecraft in Indonesia, Madagascar, India, Kosovo, Mexico, Nepal, the U.S., Ecuador and Lebanon. There are currently more than 650 applications for Block by Block projects around the world.

The Block by Block project at the public market in Mitrovica, Kosovo, was designated as the site for the first board meeting in the field. The bridge over the river in Mitrovica in Northern Kosovo is a symbol of traditional ethnic division between the Serbian and Albanian communities. The project aimed to revitalize the city market neighborhoods around the bridge, one of few areas in the city where the two communities meet.

Using Minecraft to devise urban design improvements for the city market and both river banks helped local stakeholders and citizens to think of Mitrovica as one city.

“It not only democratized the development process but really gave people ownership over the space,” said Winters, who was on-site for the project. “There are a lot of new residents in the area, and Block by Block gave them a path to come together in a positive way. They even created one of the first skate parks in Kosovo.”

Hanoi was the kickoff project for 2017 and a chance for the board to re-convene and plan for the upcoming year while getting to witness the first Block by Block in Vietnam. The project goal was to design secure and friendly public spaces in the burgeoning, working-class neighborhood of Kim Chung, especially as many of the local girls must travel many miles to reach the school and need to have a safe zone around the buildings.

Prior to the workshop, the schoolgirl participants did “safety walks” to score the surrounding areas in various categories including “can see and be seen,” “can hear and be heard” and “able to get away.”

Problem areas that emerged included: inadequate lighting, dark corners where criminals can hide and piles of garbage in the streets. They judged the tunnel under the five-lane highway to be particularly challenging.

“I hate the tunnel and never like to walk through it by myself, but I have to do it at least twice per day when I go to school,” said 15-year-old Nguyen Ngoc Anh. “We have lots of ideas how to make it nicer so that people will learn to treat it better and then it can be a safer place for everyone.”

As for the workshop itself, the 45 girls divided into seven teams and Christelle Lahoud, a Lebanese architect and urban planner who works for U.N.-Habitat, ran the day’s events.

“I have no specific background in Minecraft but was still able to teach everyone how to use it in an hour or so,” said Lahoud. “Then they were able to start creating their designs.”

They sat four to six at a desktop computer, as they built out their designs in Minecraft atop a model of the neighborhood around their school. Phan Thi Ngoc Huyen, also 15, said, “It was really fun and exciting to have an idea and then be able to make it to show to adults.”

The true significance of the day became clear as the teams of girls presented not only their findings but interactive 3D models built in Minecraft. By improving the security, the girls will have a chance at more inclusion and participation in their education. But there was another level to the experience. By presenting these findings to local government officials, U.N.-Habitat officials, architects and others, the girls are building their confidence in using technology, expressing their ideas and learning that their views matter.

Prior to Block by Block, Westerberg had long searched for a way to use technology to engage youth in the development process. “We found a language that kids enjoy and understand which is important because they are the majority in many places and will grow up to be the adults in the city,” he said. “Minecraft is not just a game. It is a co-creation tool to build better cities and better communities with more equal societies.”

Deirdre Quarnstrom, director of Minecraft Education, who is also on the board, said, “In the workshops we saw valuable ideas for better lighting and safer walkways. The students were able to communicate specific safety improvements to city planners through their Minecraft designs. I see the same increase in student voice and shifting power dynamic when I visit classrooms using Minecraft as part of their curriculum as well.”

Quarnstrom agreed that the workshops and other game-based learning offer numerous indirect impacts too. “Participation also builds confidence in youth and in girls who are often left out of planning and design conversations. They see that they have the potential to make a difference. And this confidence encourages girls to use technology and express their ideas.”

“Minecraft inspires people to be creative,” said Winters. “For some, they have never been able to express that side of themselves before. You can take a complex idea, and easily create a virtual world.” Phan Thi Ngoc Huyen added, “Games are usually fantasy. It was nice to use a game for the real world.”

The ideas that the girls presented to the board, other NGOs and Vietnamese politicians ranged from play areas to a women-only coffee shop to a shelter with a camera that does facial identification at the door. There were plans for unbreakable streetlights in the tunnel, a tree house shelter (why not?) and a free phone to call for help. Other general improvements included street benches, trash cans, improved signage, lighted walkways, security fences along a stream, murals in the tunnel, flower beds and cutting back overgrown hedges. They even talked about converting abandoned structures into public restrooms.

Dr. Nguyen Quay of U.N.-Habitat Vietnam said, “It was great to see how this engages young minds in creative thinking.” But the girls still expect to see their plans come to fruition. They even came up with a group slogan: “Just take action.”

Sometimes Block by Block funds the construction of the projects. Sometimes they fund the workshop and the municipality funds the construction. But the ultimate goal for every project is for the methodology to go viral. They want it to get to the point where Block by Block need not be involved at all.

“That’s when we’ll start to see real scale and growth,” said Westerberg. “People are recognizing the value of participation and value of Minecraft in this process. It’s already gaining momentum. We can accomplish more by educating people than by trying to fund it all ourselves.”

He said, “Now, in Nairobi, the local government is going to upgrade 60 public spaces. At first they didn’t even think about public spaces. It took us two years to get the line in the budget for public spaces, and it was still at zero. Now, after all of the Block by Block workshops, they see the impact and are going to fund all of these new developments themselves.”

The inspiration goes both ways, Bui mused. “We grew into this. Our community brought us into all of these experiences. We continue to listen to the community and are busy figuring out other cool things we can do with Minecraft.”

When asked what is the most common thing that they see across all of the Block by Block projects, Winters responded immediately. “People are shocked and always say, ‘Who knew kids would have such good ideas?’”

Bui smiled. “And we always answer, ‘We did.’”