Chris Binder is an artist and trainer for media literacy and game-based learning. He consults and speaks on the topics of media literacy, games, and art. Since 2020, he has working together closely with the Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg on the project „BLOCKALOT: The Creative Minetest Server for Future-Oriented Learning“
Abundant Bricks: Exploring economic systems and decision-making in the sandbox world of Minetest
FROG 2023 – Talk
The sandbox world of Minetest leaves it to the players whether they would like to participate in capitalist behaviour or not. Based on the principles of collaboration and creativity, Minetest doesn’t offer a monetary currency in its base game. Instead, one could argue that its economic value is derived from the structures that players create out of the basic building blocks found in its virtual world. The choice of (an) economic system(s) and its or their governance if left to those who are active in the world. As a free and open-source game, Minetest questions the state of game-making as a higly lucrative form of entertainment deeply intertwined with economic aspects.
Through the project BLOCKALOT, the Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Germany, (LMZ) has enabled learning facilitators to engage effortlessly in Game-based Learning via its possibilites to manage Minetest worlds and use premodelled learning scenarios with the learners. How do players and learners interact with the sandbox world? What, if any, economic decisions are made by individuals and groups? How could an alternative to the capitalist system that most players interact with on a daily basis look like in Minetest and what would be its incentive for interaction?
This talk willl give some insights into the ways in which economy and currency are perceived and used in Minetest worlds and learning scenarios. In particular, one international project that incorporates content and language integrated learning (CLIL) with sustainability issues will be presented as an example for a test site of economic decision-making and collaboration.