Minecraft is ten years old this year, and Microsoft is going big on the birthday celebrations - as is only right for one of gaming's most enduring titles. As part of those festivities, it's released a wonderful new map, featuring a huge interactive museum themed around the game's first decade.
To explore the free anniversary map, you'll first need to fire up Minecraft on any platform that supports the Bedrock version of the game (which is to say Xbox One, Windows 10, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch), then download it from the in-game store. There's also a version for Minecraft's original Java edition, which you can grab via the web.
And it's well worth taking the time to investigate the enormous freebie, which has been designed by Blockworks, a studio that specialises in elaborate Minecraft builds. It's an absolutely lovely thing, sitting somewhere between digital museum and theme park, and begins with a minecart-powered dark ride that whizzes passengers through numerous dioramas illustrating Minecraft's major milestones over the last ten years.
From there, you're deposited at the centre of the park, and can set out to explore five different "lands", each themed around a different area of the game. You might, for instance, choose to roam the Mob Gardens, the Biomedomes, the Museum of Redstone, or the Academy. And right in the middle of it all is the imposing Vault, where you're free to admire every single block in Minecraft, all neatly laid out as individual exhibits.
Everything comes with its own pamphlet, explaining more about what you're looking at, and there are all sorts of little games and activities to enjoy. Minecraft developer Mojang even promises a couple of easter eggs for those willing to probe further. It's a genuinely delightful way to celebrate an experience that's bought joy to so many people over the years - with Minecraft sales now having surpassed a staggering 250 million copies worldwide.
Minecraft's free museum map isn't the end of the ten year celebrations, either. Microsoft is promising some big new announcements on 17th May (even if original creator Notch isn't involved) - and if you'd like to kill some time before then, you could always play the game as it was back in 2009, courtesy of the newly released browser version. Additionally, if you're somehow not one of the 250 million people who've already bought the game, there's currently up to 50% off Minecraft's Windows 10, Java, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch editions.
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