Turning Gamers into Readers?

The Guardian has  a story on an effort to bridge literature and the wildly successful game Minecraft. Herewith the lede:

The analog version, my preferred version. From https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47403086

Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1881 classic Treasure Island tells of Jim Hawkins’s adventures on board the Hispaniola, as he and his crew – along with double-crossing pirate Long John Silver – set out to find Captain Flint’s missing treasure on Skeleton Island. Now, more than a century later, children can try and find it themselves, with the bays and mountains of Stevenson’s fictional island given a blocky remodelling in Minecraft, as part of a new project aimed at bringing reluctant readers to literary classics.

From Spyglass Hill to Ben Gunn’s cave, children can explore every nook and cranny of Skeleton Island as part of Litcraft, a new partnership between Lancaster University and Microsoft, which bought the game for $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in 2015 and which is now played by 74 million people each month.The Litcraft platform uses Minecraft to create accurate scale models of fictional islands: Treasure Island is the first, with Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom just completed and many others planned.


There’s part of me that goes “cool”–the embarrassing answer of a 50-something former librarian who has never played Minecraft. Interesting to see stories jump genres and stimulate creativity and interest.

I did pause a bit at this bit,

Libraries are particularly interested in the possibilities of multiplayer, Bushell says, adding that one of the future projects will be Lord of the Flies: “In that case, you want all the kids in there playing out a scenario and asking philosophical questions. We hope they do some reading, then play the game, then do some empathetic writing based on what they did in there.”

A multiplayer realtime Lord of the Flies? I’m thinking that runs a little to close to what the story itself embodies, and not sure that philosophical questions are exactly what will be stimulated.

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