Seattle's Child

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Review: Whole new worlds at MoPop as Minecraft exhibit makes world premiere

A parent's review of the world premiere exhibit at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop).

 

Kids can get up close and personal with a wolf, a llama and a Creeper at MoPop’s new addition, “Minecraft: The Exhibition.” (Petting will be allowed, but please don’t climb the animals. And, yes, the Creeper will explode. And, yes, it’s worth trying that out.) 

It’s an immersive version of Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time, and parents and grandparents can get in on the fun and gain some perspective on how to play — and how players build different worlds in this 10-year-old game. The brand-new exhibit opens on Saturday, Oct. 19, and will tour the United States and beyond after it leaves Seattle, its debut city, in fall 2020. 

The exhibit also explores how Minecraft, created by Sweden’s Mojang and now owned by Microsoft, has made attempts to change the real world with game-linked initiatives for ensuring access to clean water, protecting pandas and restoring the growth of coral reefs near Mexico. There’s also a display where one can play and explore Minecraft’s education initiatives, which includes a world that gives a tutorial on Maori culture and language. 

It was surreal to hear the Minecraft music outside the confines of my own living room, where Minecraft has been a regular presence since about 2013, but made me realize it would also work well as the calming but slightly somber soundtrack in the lobby of an upscale hotel. (It would pair quite nicely with some strawberry- and rosemary-infused water.)

There’s an interactive crafting table that will likely be a big hit with toddlers and curious adults who enjoy making diamond pickaxes, and you can step into the Nether, too, which is a Mojang version of, say, Hades, the underworld in Greek mythology. The purple-tinged metallic streamers at the entrance enhance the feeling that you’re indeed changing worlds. The Zombie Pigman inside confirms that. 

Outside the Nether, you can punch a tree to get a piece of wood, just like in the game. (Which, of course, I had to do.) 

And, of course, there are various controllers inside the exhibition where you can just, you know, relax and play Minecraft. If you survive your first night. 

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Tickets went on sale Sept. 17 and can be purchased at at MoPOP.org/Minecraft if you want to avoid a mob at the ticket counter. 

The exhibit will run through Sept. 7, 2020.