Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/ creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art

Research & Creation

Class Effect: Scavenger Hunt

This is a project produced by students in Darren Wershler’s 2014 Minecraft class.

The Class Effect Scavenger Hunt emerged from the realization that Minecraft really begins where most other games finish: at “The End”. Minecraft’s developers at Mojang have always strongly resisted the model of linear progression that structures many video games; the whole point of the Minecrraft “End Poem” — the 9+ minute narrative that fills your window after you slay the Ender Dragon — is that the End is only the beginning of self-actualized play.

Class Effect decided to try and provide some form of loose structure for those who found the open world of Minecraft too overwhelming by building a scavenger hunt. The hunt began, fittingly, at a compass rose, where a chest with a book in it provided a riddle that directed hunters to the next monument — a giant wooly rainbow — and so on. Solving further riddles led players from one giant whimsical monument to another; the absolutely open structure of the project allowed group members to exercise their creative whims by building a range of outsized, outlandish monuments … but the presence of other student work meant that a hunter could never be sure where to go next without solving the riddles.

After the project, the group spent some time enthusing about the potential of Minecraft as a creative tool. However, they also came away from the experience with a much better understanding of Julian K├╝cklich’s notion of “playbour” — an activity that players perform which transforms their play into capital for others.