It was the home of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. It was also the location and inspiration for some of the poet’s most famous works, such as Tam o Shanter and Auld Lang Syne.
Now Ellisland Farm, where Burns lived between 1788 and 1791, is brought back to virtual life in the video game Minecraft.
Students and academics from the University of Glasgow working with the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust have helped to faithfully recreate, in Minecraft, the 18theLast century farm as Burns and his family knew it.
Players also have the opportunity to not only listen to Burns’ poetry and song while in the world of Minecraft, but will also be able to interact in Scots with the poet and his wife Jean Armour. This is believed to be the first time Scots has been used in Minecraft, which has almost 140 million monthly active users worldwide.
The project is a partnership between the University, the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, which runs the Ellisland Museum and Farm, and The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA).
It was funded through the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership and Recovery Fund to support community-led tourism businesses and businesses taking the lead in the sector’s recovery from COVID-19.
The Ellisland Minecraft world was built by around 15 students, undergraduates and postgraduates from a variety of different subjects, who are part of the University Minecraft Society.
Bailey Hodgson, president of the Minecraft Society and one of its founders, who has been playing Minecraft for a decade, played a major role in both setting up and delivering the project.
Bailey said: “I live on a farm near Ellisland so this was a project I really enjoyed taking on. Our society is new with just under 100 members, around 15 of us are actively involved in different parts of this from build to testing. We found that our playtesters said the game made them want to visit Ellisland in real life.
“We worked closely with Joan McAlpine at Ellisland along with Dr. Timothy Peacock and Dr. Matthew Barr to ensure we create an authentic experience that captures the farm as Burns would have known it, while also having educational elements. Players can interact with Burns and use this experience to read and listen to his works.
“Everyone who worked on the game is delighted with the project we have created. We hope everyone who experiences it will enjoy it while learning something about Burns and his work.”
The Minecraft Ellisland project was led by Dr. Timothy Peacock and Dr. Matthew Barr of the University’s Gaming and Gaming Laboratory, an interdisciplinary laboratory, based in the University’s College of Arts, on how gaming and gaming They can be used in research and teaching.
Dr. Peacock, Laboratory Co-Director and Professor of History in the University’s College of Humanities | Sgoil nan Daonnachdan, said: “The life and works of Robert Burns have a significant global impact by inspiring people, while the games, in different ways, inspired and transported gamers to new worlds or even provided new ways of playing. understand ours.
“It has been a privilege working with the various partners to bring Ellisland and Minecraft together on this creative project, and we hope it will be something that inspires new ways to engage people with this cultural treasure for years to come.”
Joan McAlpine, Business Development Manager for the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, said: “Heritage attractions are always striving to attract new and diverse audiences and this Minecraft game opens up Ellisland to a potentially large number of children and young people around the world. They will know Auld Lang Syne, but they may not know where it was written or by whom.
“The game includes a new version of the song by our manager, singer Emily Smith, and the original audio of Tam o Shanter. We are very excited and loved working with Bailey and the team at the University of Glasgow.”
Ross McAuley, CEO of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this exciting project and it is amazing to see it come to life and to see people actually play. The designers have done a fantastic job bringing Robert Burns’ Ellisland Farm home to Minecraft and I’m sure players will be inspired to come from far and wide to visit the farm and see for themselves the beautiful area where Burns lived and wrote.
“It’s such an innovative way to use new technology to reach a larger, younger audience. What better way to introduce young people to the Burns story in the south of Scotland, an area that is absolutely teeming with undiscovered literary connections, perfect for the growing trend of literary tourism.”
The University of Glasgow was contracted for the project by Interface, a Scottish organization that helps businesses grow by benchmarking them against Scotland’s world-leading academic expertise.
Born in 1759, Robert Burns’s poems and songs have been translated into every major language and his influence has spread far beyond Scotland. Today an estimated 9.5 million people worldwide attend Burns Suppers annually. The poet died at Dumfries, near Ellisland, on July 21, 1796, aged 37.
To access Minecraft Ellisland, you will need to have a Microsoft account and purchase Minecraft on that account in order to play it.
Minecraft Ellisland is for Minecraft: Java Edition, which is compatible with desktop and laptop computers. A mobile version of Minecraft Ellisland is in development.
The Minecraft Ellisland game is available for download from the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust website via this Web page.
Ellisland Farm, outside Dumfries, was the home of Robert Burns from 1788 to 1791. During his time there, he experienced his most creative and fruitful years in terms of poetry and song. During his time at Ellisland, he wrote Tam o’Shanter and Auld Lang Syne.
Learn more about the Ellisland Farm and Museum at this website.
The Games and Gaming Lab at the University of Glasgow
The Gaming and Gaming Lab (GGLab) (UofGGamesLab) is an interdisciplinary arts lab on how games and gaming can be used to aid research and teaching.
UofGGamesLab, based in the University’s Faculty of Arts, promotes gaming and gaming research, looking at everything from board games to electronic media, from kids to adults, and across time periods from ancient to modern, fantastical to futuristic .
The South of Scotland Destinations Alliance (SSDA)
The South of Scotland Destinations Alliance (SSDA) is the strategic marketing and destination management organization for the south of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.
The company was created in May 2020 and formally brings together the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership and Visit South West Scotland to be the new region-wide industry-led organization for tourism and hospitality marketing and destination development.