The trailblazing video game, Minecraft, has brought thousands of the younger generations behind their screens, pursuing and creating interactive 2-D worlds since 2011. Now, it has a revolutionary sister game–Rivercraft. But this version is nothing like every other video game, the popular rated ‘M’ for mature audiences has been replaced with strong educational experiences. In partnership with the Environment Agency, Microsoft, and BlockBuilders, Rivercraft2 was produced to engage and educate the younger people playing. Based on the flood risk management scheme in Preston and South Ribble, England, the original version, Rivercraft, was launched last April and had immediate success. The in-game interactive map is the first of its kind to be converted from the use of artificial intelligence mapping systems. 

Rivercraft2 is a continuation of the original sister project, illustrating larger and more generic urban and rural areas. Bringing in real world natural occurrences, this game is to educate the youngsters on the risks of flooding. As well as inspire those to pursue a career in humanity, environmental, or societal services. The suite of games was launched April 25th available on Minecraft Education Edition, and can be used as a great geographical resource for both students and teachers–aiming to inspire the engineers, scientists, teachers, and health workers of tomorrow. 

“We know that climate anxiety is a real issue for young people, so we hope these games not only help to educate but also inspire, by providing them with the skills and knowledge to take action and make a difference,” stated Environment Agency Chief Executive, John Curtis. 

The Games

Split into three different areas of focus, each game was created with the youngsters' impressionable brains in mind–

  • Game 1–Nature-based Solutions
  • Game 2–Farming, Irrigation, and Drought
  • Game 3–Sustainable Drainage Systems (SDS) and in home Water Efficiency

For even more realistic encounters, the game features real Environmental Agency specialists represented as non-playable characters (NPCs). The managers and advisors the players can encounter help ensure new projects protect species, habitats, landscapes and heritage, along with providing advice on water modernization projects, all outside of the computer screen. 

"The creative animation and competitive element built into the games kept the students engaged throughout. My students loved this new innovative way of learning…I highly recommend this educational product,” stated Head of Humanities at Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School, UK, Janet Ruffhead. 

The first three games released last April of 2022 have been played and used by 27,000 students and teachers across the UK. In high hopes, after the 2023 release, UK schools plan on having those numbers double. The new UK flood defenses, put into action by the Environment Agency, have protected 374,000 against floods since 2015. They continue to ensure safety in homes and have invested almost 5.2 billion GBP into better protection projects. Rivercraft2 is available to a variety of schools across the UK.