Gift: Minecraft meets multimedia

As many Minecrafters know, Minecraft has been put to a number of uses which Notch may never have imagined. Well, earlier this week, Kristal1 pointed me in the direction of another innovative usage for the game: book tie-in… Andrea “Andi” J Buchanan is a New York Times-bestselling author whose work includes The Daring Book for Girls, and her latest book, Gift, is a multimedia young-adult eBook combining music, video, art and “spooky text events”.

In this ghost-story/thriller, high-schooler Daisy Jones has an unpredictable power she’s struggled to keep a secret from everyone – aside from her best friend, Danielle. But when Daisy comes to the aid of Vivi, a mysterious classmate in crisis, she discovers that her new friend has her own secret to hide…

Andi Buchanan's eBook, Gift, not only makes use of multimedia to tell the story - there's also a companion Minecraft map. (Picture source:

Andi Buchanan's eBook, Gift. (Picture source:

It turns out that Andi is a fan of Minecraft, and she thought that a Minecraft map based on the book would be an ideal companion to the whole multimedia experience – though it’s not necessary to own the book in order to play the freely downloadable map. Just a word of warning, though: The person whom Andi commissioned to produce the map is none other than the charmingly devious Vechs of “Super Hostile” and “Race for Wool” fame (of whom Kristal is an ardent fan), and if you’re familiar with the “Super Hostile” maps, you’ll have a head-start on what to expect.

If you’re perhaps not up to playing the map for yourself, Andi also commissioned two prominent Minecrafters to record Let’s Plays of the world of Gift: Joe Hills (another favourite of Kristal’s), and Paul Soares Jr. Joe’s LP is already under way on YouTube at the time of writing, and Paul should be making his own available fairly soon. In Paul’s case, he announced that he’s going to be one of four players attempting the map in his LP, the other three being Paul’s daughter and one of her friends, plus Andi’s daughter! They’ve all read the book, but whether it will help them remains to be seen, considering Vechs’ sneaky constructions… I’m already a few episodes into Joe’s LP and thoroughly enjoying it. I should point out, slightly sheepishly, that this is the first of Joe’s Minecraft LPs that I’ve sampled; Kristal had been keeping well up-to-date, if I recall correctly – particularly when Joe gets to grips with Vechs’ creations.

Gift is available for iOS devices ($11.99), Amazon Kindle ($9.99), Barnes & Noble Nook ($10.19), Google Books ($9.99), and Kobo ($12.99). Out of those formats, only the iOS version has the full suite of enhancements. However, all versions have links to the music, created by Swedish singer-songwriter Fredrik Larsson, plus Danielle’s journal, and a graphic novel illustrated by Alexis Seabrook. According to this article by Publisher’s Weekly, publisher Open Road has also signed a deal which will enable all of its eBooks, including Gift, to be available in a print version, so people without an eBook reader aren’t completely left out.

Vechs' version of Castle Creek High School.

Vechs' version of Castle Creek High School.

I agree with Kristal: This is a wonderfully innovative use for Minecraft, and kudos to Andi for coming up with the idea! You can find out more about Gift from the book’s main website, which is replete with all the links I’ve provided here, plus links to follow Andi on Twitter, Google+ and GoodReads, as well as trailers for the book.

Please note that all prices were correct at the time of writing, and that the links provided for purchasing the various versions of the book are not affiliate links.

UPDATE! (April 2, 2012): Vechs upgraded the map to version 1.2 (map version, not Minecraft version)… seems the 1.1 version had something vital missing from it – and he’s added more random lewtz to grab from chests. And, as a bonus, Vechs also created “GIFTWARPED” – a much harder version of the map… just in case the original map wasn’t enough of a challenge for you! You can get both of those at the Gift website, along with the original 1.1 map.

1 I’d like to say thank you to Joe Hills himself, who also directed me towards his Let’s Play – though Kristal beat him to the punch by a couple of days…

If you’d like to read about my love of tabletop games (and my surprise that they’re apparently just for nerds, now), why not head over to The Digital Quill!
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