World builders – Minecraft has no bounds. I have seen it change the way a child thinks, be used by the academia to teach math and other subjects and it transform the way my son looks at the world. I personally have not played it, but I have watched how the students of my elementary school after years of playing still talk about it like a magical wonderland. In one of my post I wrote about a teacher who used Minecraft to teach math – it has also inspired many a funny YouTube videos, how to world builders tutorials and channels. In the spirit of continuing to inspire the minds of our children to think logically, collaboratively and outside the conventions of their own world I wanted to share some other interesting “Like Minecraft” engaging world builders that are out their today.
Like Minecraft: 3 engaging world builders
Oort Online – world builders
Oort Online. Lets players travel between multiple worlds, it is only in alpha testing, but early fans say it has great potential. Players assume roles, like hunters or merchants, and build societies that interact with the universe at large. The environment is rather precise, letting you create things like obstacle courses and structures to swing past with tools like grappling hooks. “I teach game design and development, so for me it comes down to what kinds of games you can build within the environment,” said Steve Isaacs, who teaches at William Annin Middle School in New Jersey. “I could totally see players creating their own American Ninja Warrior-like levels right in that game.”
Eco – world builders
Eco. It’s sort of “save the world” kind of mentality – hence the Eco title. File under “Something to look forward to,” this still-in-beta virtual world is also a sort of Minecraft’s resource mining concept with a sustainability twist. As the logistics get hammered out by the development team via player input, a lot of fun quirks are taking shape that lend to learning, said Isaacs whose class has been involved in beta testing. “When you start the game, you and all the players on the server are presented with a challenge,” he explained. “Maybe you have to build a certain amount of buildings, a little village, but you can’t allow more than one animal to go extinct, or more than one plant species. There’s all this criteria you’re balancing against.” Having to operate within the challenges gives players focus and forces them to be collaborative, another concept the game encourages.
OpenSim – world builders: is more the sophisticated and dedicated
OpenSim. A piece of open source software, OpenSim lets players create their own virtual worlds, using realistic avatars and building tools, which schools can host on their own servers. The content is entirely user-generated, but there are a number of existing “grids” designed for education, like the Jokaydia Grid out of Australia. Andrew Wheelock, a technology integrator in Buffalo, New York and chair of ISTE’s virtual learning network, has developed various classroom-friendly uses for the game, including a Frank Lloyd Wright building challenge, a medieval society roleplay, and a virtual tour of a “Diary of Anne Frank”-like annex. Malstrom calls OpenSim “reliable and flexible,” adding that “It wasn’t so popular when Minecraft came out, but I’ve had kids that play Minecraft and they’re loving it. They can push the building concepts a little bit further.”
If strategy is more your goal I would also suggest that you consider (as if many of you haven’t already heard) these two popular mobile app games: Clash of Clans and Boom Beach. Both of these games are not full on “world builders” per say but you do have to admit that strategy, timing, logic and other skills are learned while you play. I play Boom Beach because my son got me hooked on it. My son plays Clash of clans, Minecraft, Halo and Destiny. Of course he plays other games, but these games seem to evolve and continue to attract my son and many others long past the time most kids lose interest.
I hope you enjoy being part of the “world builders” club, I think it continues to prove that games can be fun and educational.