If you’re someone interested in reading alternative gaming media, like the gorgeous gaming magazine you’re currently reading, chances are you can quickly and easily recite dozens of game titles that have served to mold you into the person you are today. . Many of us have played video games religiously for as long as we can remember, and as such, their influence on our lives is evident. As for the rest of our global society, there are only a handful of video games that have permanently altered the trajectory of the cultural spirit. Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, Space Invaders, and more recently, games like Fortnite, have transcended typical gaming circles and become household names. A welcome addition to this cultural hall of fame is the 2011 indie titan known as Mojang’s Minecraft.
Minecraft it’s a bit strange when it comes to games that permeate society. It’s a delightfully simple survival game in its concepts: the player can survive and gather resources to build larger, more elaborate bases from pixelated blocks, or they can forego the survival aspect and simply craft whatever they want using the game’s systems. What started out as a pretty humble indie game Has exploded into a billionaire industry titan. The appeal of this phenomenon has been and always will be its simple and understandable core: creative freedom.
Because Minecraft gives the player the ability to create basically anything they can imagine, players have almost endless possibilities that come their way. Of total recreations of game of Thrones King’s Landingto work functionally cell phones and computers, anything and everything has been done or is currently being done for the awesome pixel powerhouse. However, one of the most interesting and fundamentally important pieces published recently is the huge undertaking of Reporters Without Borders: The uncensored library.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two facets of democracy that those of us lucky enough to enjoy them take for granted. It is hard to imagine in a post-Internet age that millions of people around the world are constantly excluded from the endless ocean of information available on the web. Yet this is the unfortunate truth for dozens of countries whose governments and religious overlords actively censor their people and their ability to spread news and information as they see fit. the persecution, oppression and possible execution of those journalists whose job it is to give people truthful and factual information is a real-world problem with real-world consequences. Reporters Without Borders built the Library Without Censorship as a direct response to these problems, giving previously silenced journalists the ability to reclaim their voices through the virtual walls of a Minecraft library.
The Uncensored Library is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a huge library that can be accessed for free through a Minecraft server. Developed by 24 people from 16 different countries over a period of 3 months, the game’s huge library is made up of 12.5 million Minecraft blocks. The main dome of the library is reportedly over 300 meters wide, which would make it the second largest dome in the world if it had been made in the physical world. The Library is styled using the neoclassical architectural style, in the same vein as the United States Capitol building or the British Museum.
From a distance, one could easily mistake images of this massive construction for material, as the details are so striking. The magnificent structure encompasses nearly the entirety of the island it stands on, complete with multiple courtyards, a grand staircase, and a beautiful block sculpture of a clenched fist clutching a fountain pen that graces the main entrance. There have been some intense creations that adorn Minecraft extensive history, but Reporters Without Borders was able to make this building feel like a very real and grand place.
The inside of the library is packed with books, articles, and gaming news from five heavily censored countries. Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are all represented in the hallowed halls of the Library, each with its own dedicated wing. In addition, Reporters Without Borders has its own wing and a room dedicated to truthful information about the Covid-19 pandemic. The architecture of each wing was inspired by the individual countries represented and their unique struggles regarding journalism and censorship within their cultures. More than 200 articles in total are represented in the Library without censorship, readable as Minecraft books, with more being added and updated all the time. Library goers can freely access as much information as they want for as long as they want, effectively turning this Minecraft server into a veritable information vending machine.
It might seem a bit silly at first: combating something as culturally important and sensitive as mass censorship through a blocky pixelated creative survival video game like Minecraft. However, the reasoning behind this is pretty solid. It is incredibly difficult to block certain servers within Minecraft without crashing the entire game itself. Minecraft it is an international phenomenon and as such generates considerable income for the countries in which it is hosted, as well as allowing a harmless outlet for creative freedom. The innocuous nature of Minecraft could potentially contribute to the Library’s success, as video games are still globally considered a childhood pastime and not worth investigating. Despite a few pushbacks from servers who fear upsetting their customers (especially those in China), the Uncensored Library has been open for over two years, with no sign of closing its doors any time soon.
Governments dictating the press, threats of violent reprisals, private interests overriding those of the public – all contribute to an uninformed and ignorant society. The less the information society has, the easier it will be to manipulate and coerce them by those who wish to influence public opinion for their own personal benefit. There have been countless attempts to lessen or eradicate censorship in everyday media by so many individuals and groups throughout history, most of which ultimately prove unsuccessful due to the relentless force of the powers that be imposing censorship.
It makes it all the more surprising and moving that a humble computer game has become a relatively ironclad way to get past censorship in countries whose governments and citizens kill for less. The digital murals represent the brave journalists who have lost their lives in pursuit of the truth, standing tall and proud in the pixelated corridors of the Uncensored Library, ever present and everlasting in their solidarity to oppose those who purposely keep us in Darkness. Reporters Without Borders uses Minecraft fearlessly oppose authoritarian tyranny, and if that doesn’t prove the importance and magnitude of video games, I don’t know what will.
Login or become a member of SUPERJUMP to join the conversation.