Mobile phone gamers can explore Scots poet’s farm in Minecraft game

22 January 2024, 08:54

Ellisland farm minecraft
Ellisland farm minecraft. Picture: PA

The mobile edition of Explore Ellisland! follows a PC version, released in 2022.

A video game version of the farm where Robert Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne has been launched for mobile phones.

The Minecraft version of Explore Ellisland! created by students and academics at the University of Glasgow allows users to explore the 18th century farm and interact with Burns and his family.

An educational version of the game will also be released in schools on January 25 – the date of the bard’s birthday.

The game recreates the 1788 farm, which still stands on the banks of the River Nith in Dumfries.

A group from the University of Glasgow worked on the Minecraft Ellisland farm project (University of Glasgow/PA)

Gamers can hear an exclusive recorded version of Auld Lang Syne by singer Emily Smith and listen to Tam o’ Shanter, which was also written at the farm.

The project is a partnership between the university, Robert Burns Ellisland Trust which runs Ellisland Museum and Farm, and the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA), while the connection with the university’s Games and Gaming Lab was made by Interface Online.

The project was funded by the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership and Recovery Fund to support business and community-led tourism enterprises.

The mobile edition of the game follows a PC edition, which was released in 2022.

Bailey Hodgson, the Minecraft Society’s president and one of its founders, who has played the game for a decade, said: “These new versions will make the game more accessible to many more people ahead of Burns night.

“We were delighted with the success of the PC game and have had so many expressions of interest – it even features in some university courses.”

Dr Timothy Peacock, the lab director and a lecturer in history, based at the university’s School of Humanities, said: “The success of Minecraft Ellisland has led to our being approached about similar projects.

“We are delighted with the interest in it, and in the opportunities provided to find new collaborative ways of exploring heritage through research-led gaming.”

Joan McAlpine, the project director of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, added: “Our visitor numbers increased last year and the publicity surrounding the Minecraft Ellisland game definitely helped.

“The game is a very rich experience, using Scots language and several of Burns’s poems.

“It reaches out to a different generation and modernises the understanding of Burns and the time he lived.

“The mobile and education version of the game will help us reach many more young people.”

By Press Association

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