For years, Minecraft fans have been able to build nearly anything they could imagine using the game's simple, low-res interface and 3D simulated environment. They killed monsters and crafted items, created replicas of the starship Enterprise and even built a working Verizon smartphone.
As of this summer, they're now able to develop under water with the release of Update Aquatic, an expansion to Minecraft capabilities that opens up undersea areas for exploration and populates the oceans with blocky swimming creatures.
Unlike their Minecraft counterpart, the real world's oceans are suffering, as pollution and climate change kill off sea life, especially coral reefs, which supply the infrastructure for some of the world's most biodiverse locations. Enter Coral Crafters, an idea conceived by 215 McCann that enlisted the Minecraft creators community to design a series of real-life sculptures meant to help regrow coral off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.
Minecraft video creator LogDotZip designed three different pieces, one of which was selected by community to be built. Video creator StacyPlays and her fans were behind another design and students in Mexico landed the third spot, with help from creator Rabahrex.
215 McCann also partnered with The Nature Conservancy, triggering donations from Microsoft and Minecraft when players build coral or buy custom content in the game. The global campaign began running earlier this week. The Update Aquatic will be available on Xbox One, Windows 10, Nintendo Switch and mobile.