Minecraft Mondays: A New Game Incorporates Tel Aviv culture

Minecraft Tel Aviv

Ah, another week another Minecraft Monday. It’s been a while… My sense of time is a bit off since I’ve been traveling, but I still wanted to drop by with the next installment of our Minecraft Monday series since there’s just so. Much. Going. On.

Remember Dolphin Reef Beach? Well that’s not the only site that our Minecraft team has been working on. As you may recall, Virtual Israel is part of our ongoing project for Lost Tribe community members who participate in our exclusive programming through local organizations, Truvie, and our upcoming Minecraft Camp. It’s a way to explore Israel without leaving your gaming chair, feeling connected to a place thousands of miles away in the most unexpected of ways.

We want to tell you about another site, Shuk HaCarmel, an outdoor area in Tel Aviv lined with vendors that sell food, clothing, and artwork. It’s one of many “shuks” in Israel that are celebrated for their vibrancy, culture, and quality local products and produce. But this is Minecraft — so we didn’t just recreate the market. You can experience it through a variety of activities.

Lost Tribe’s Shuk was created by Naomi Epstein, Jake Offenheim, and Elad Dekel by referencing real-life photographs of the one above. Elad also took photos on-site! At first, this was a place where players could run around and explore Shuk freely, but it lacked a dedicated activity.

So Naomi created “Shuk Schlep,” a game where players work together to put together a 25-piece puzzle that depicts classic Israeli foods that can be found there. Every shop has a Villager, a Minecraft NPC who barters items with players. Players will find specific items hidden in chests and barrels, which will then be brought to a Villager to trade for a piece of the puzzle.

“Using Villagers as a key mechanic in this game was very intentional,” Naomi said. “I wanted the process of trading with a Villager for a puzzle piece to mirror the experience of buying goods from a merchant at Shuk HaCarmel. I believe that getting this experience of the Shuk is going to be an important part of the participants learning about the site.”

This was a new experience for Naomi as well. She created the game using a code she wrote in Skript, a Minecraft-specific language. It had been five years since she coded something this complex — and that wasn’t using Skript. The process took a lot of trial and error (and Googling). Naomi also spent tons of time with code written by Elad, Lost Tribe’s Minecraft developer.

“In the end, I’m very proud with how it turned out and I hope to use what I’ve learned to create many more fun experiences for Lost Tribe members,” Naomi said.

If you want to experience Virtual Israel, join our Discord to be one of the first to know when Minecraft Camp registration for this summer is open!

For parents and professionals who want to learn more, and book these programs for 8-12 year olds, click here to visit our Minecraft page.