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Minecraft releases mobile version of Burns’ farm

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By Fiona Reid
Minecraft releases mobile version of Burns’ farm

A MINECRAFT recreation of the Dumfries farm where Robert Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne has been launched for mobile phones.

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

An educational version of the game is also being released for use in schools, just in time for the Bard’s birthday on January 25.

It recreates the 1788 farm – which still stands of the banks of the River Nith – in the world’s most popular computer game. Minecraft has nearly 140 million monthly active users around the world.

Players of Explore Ellisland! can hear an exclusive recorded version of Auld Lang Syne by the singer Emily Smith and also listen to the epic poem Tam o Shanter, which was written at Ellisland, the best preserved of all Burns’ homes and the only one he built himself.

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), the connection with the University’s Games and Gaming Lab being made by Interface Online.

It was funded through the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership and Recovery Fund and was designed to encourage more visitors to the farmhouse museum.

The PC version of the game, launched in 2022, was shortlisted in last year’s Knowledge Exchange Awards’ ‘Innovation of the Year’ and Scottish Games Awards’ ‘Best Educational Programme’. All three versions can now be downloaded from the Robert Burns Ellisland Farm website by anyone with Minecraft enabled on their device.

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

And Joan McAlpine, 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.”

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