Ready your bricks and stones, Minecraft is coming to the $35 Raspberry Pi platform with Minecraft: Pi Edition. The best part? It’s free! The open-ended building game is now available in a free edition for the Raspberry Pi from pi.minecraft.net. Why is it free on this platform but paid everywhere else? According to TechCrunch, Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, sees it as a way to get people more interested in programming and to see near immediate results.
For those unfamiliar, Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that hooks up to your TV and keyboard and is meant to foster an interest in programming. The device is completely open source, so anyone can modify it and build upon its basic structure. The Model B has 512MB of RAM and an ARM 11 processor plus ports for USB, HDMI, audio, RCA video, a LAN connection, an SD card reader, and a power jack. The computer runs on a type of Linux optimized for it called Raspbian. The whole idea is that it’s easily programmable, affordable, and doesn’t involve risking your $500 computer if you make a programming mistake.
That’s where Minecraft: Pi Edition is helpful – there are several different languages that are supported by the game in addition to regular game play. Users, especially kids who love Minecraft, can try out different commands and learn how they affect aspects of the virtual world. It’s a very cool way to introduce kids to computer programming. Plus, it helps foster an interest in learning more about programming and developing games, which can lead to a lifelong career in computer science.
Check out the video below of a very early version of Minecraft: Pi Edition with the programming window and the game running side-by-side.