One of UNESCO’s tasks is to protect the cultural heritage of all people around the world. Sadly, that is not always possible. Because of wars and armed conflicts, hundreds of monuments are being destroyed. Whether as collateral damage or as direct targets of cultural cleansing, they are being reduced to rubble – and so is our heritage. These historic places are now in danger of being left out of history. Some might never be reconstructed, and we may never be able to set foot in them again. With this in mind, we set out to keep the legacies of these endangered and destroyed heritage sites alive by rebuilding them in Minecraft.
What did the judges have to say?
Religious fundamentalists destroyed countless historical monuments in the Middle East which were lost forever. That’s a brutal fact and the loss has an even greater impact for the next generation. But instead of endless mourning and useless accusations UNESCO ‘simply’ took a stand and supported the development of the Minecraft-based game History Blocks. They answered the act of cruelty and violence with the development of a peaceful game which can’t be destroyed but will constantly grow and so protect memories and history and cultural achievements. With the simple act of gamification of education. Besides this, there are two more aspects I would like to point out: it might be a little bit subtle but while supporting the development of History Blocks UNESCO takes a brave stand against religious fanaticism. The second thing is that UNESCO fulfils its purpose perfectly: it protects already destroyed ancient monuments from falling into oblivion while providing knowledge and education and keeping memories and history alive. So with this game the UNESCO is doing what it’s supposed to do: protecting the cultural heritage of mankind.Katja Behnke, Creative Director, Digitas Pixelpark
We live in a time where we have a huge responsibility to the next generation, and this stretches to the entertainment that we create too. History Blocks is a tool bridging past and future, using entertainment to educate a new generation about the global culture that existed before them. Work like this is necessary today, and it will have a hugely positive impact on those that engage with it. That is the sign of important work that should be recognised.Holly Fraser, Director of Content / Editor-In-Chief, WePresent