A new version of Explore Ellisland! created by the students and academics at the University of Glasgow’s Minecraft Society allows for even more users to explore our 18th century farm and interact with Burns and his family. You can download the latest version here – you will need Minecraft on your device to play.
An education version of the game is also released in time for the Bard’s birthday. To get a guide on how to set up the education version for the classroom please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Minecraft is one of the most popular computer games ever released with over 140m monthly active users. Players of Explore Ellisland! can hear an exclusive recording of Auld Lang Syne by the singer Emily Smith and listen to the epic poem Tam o Shanter, both of which were written at Ellisland.
The project is the conclusion of a fruitful partnership between the University of Glasgow, ourselves at Robert Burns Ellisland Trust and The South of Scotland Destination Alliance. We were connected to the University’s Games and Gaming Lab by Interface Online, which links academics to real world projects. The project was funded through the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership Recovery Fund to support businesses and community-led enterprises recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was designed to encourage more visitors to the farmhouse museum in Dumfriesshire.
Games and Gaming
Explore Ellisland! was created by students in the Universities Minecraft Society and academics from its Games and Gaming Lab. 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’. Bailey Hodgson, the Minecraft Society’s President and one of its founders, who has been playing Minecraft for the best part of 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.” The project was lead by Dr Timothy Peacock and Dr Matthew Barr from the University’s Games and Gaming Lab – a cross-disciplinary lab – based in the University’s College of Arts and Humanities – on how games and gaming can be used in research and teaching. Dr Peacock, the lab director and a Lecturer in History, based at the University’s School of Humanities | Sgoil Nan Daonnachdan, 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.”
Words from our Director
Joan McAlpine, the Project Director of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, gave some words on the success of the PC version and her hopes on the impact of the latest version: “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’ poems. It reaches out to a different generation and modernises the understanding of Burns and the time he lived. The mobile and education versions of the game will help us reach many more young people”.