Minecraft launches Northern Ireland virtual world
Minecraft fans can now build a virtual world in Northern Ireland after a map of the region was incorporated into the popular computer game.
Created in Sweden, Minecraft's popularity among children has swept across the world.
The game, which has had 100 million downloads since it was launched in 2009, allows players to construct a 3D world in real life places using virtual blocks.
The Minecraft NI map was developed using ordnance survey data and is free to download for PC and Mac users.
Stormont's Finance Minister Arlene Foster joined schoolchildren in Belfast to launch the local version of the game.
"The Minecraft game has been hugely successful across the world, not least with our young people in Northern Ireland," she said.
"This exciting new development will allow people here to play the game across all of Northern Ireland, in places that are familiar to them.
"Gamers can have a go at building structures including the Giant's Causeway, the Marble Arch caves, their school or even their own house.
"It's important to recognise that this is about more than just playing a game. Minecraft inspires a high level of engagement and creativity in young people and it is an excellent tool for teaching children about a wide range of topics including geography, science, technology, engineering and computer coding."
Ordnance Survey GB have already created a Minecraft map of England, Scotland and Wales and it provided Northern Ireland's Land and Property Services with the software to assist with the Minecraft NI project.