Will Careri estimated that he has spent more than 150 hours so far toiling with Temple University’s campus staples, like the Bell Tower, the Student Center, Richie’s, and Annenberg Hall, in the world of Minecraft.
Careri, a senior public relations major, spent all summer working on rendering a Minecraft version of Main Campus on his Nintendo Switch, a hand-held video game device.
Minecraft is a lego-style video game, where users place blocks, go on adventures and build their own worlds. The game was released in 2009 and had 91 million players in 2018.
He began working on the project in April at friends’ suggestions and plans to have it completed by the time he graduates in May 2020.
“[My roommate] originally got me into Minecraft,” Careri said. “I was just joking around about what I should build next. [He] said ‘you should just build the Bell Tower.’”
Careri spent around an hour building the campus’s focal point, and when he was finished, returned to his roommate with the same question.
“After that I said, ‘OK, what’s next?’ to which he replied, ‘The rest of the campus.’ And that’s how it all started,” Careri said.
His friends think it’s hysterical as it started off as a joke, but then progressed over time.
Nick Shupinski, Careri’s roommate and a junior information science and technology major, said Careri “locks himself away” in his room more now to work on the project.
“It’s kind of how Will is,” Shupinski said. “He’s the fun, interesting person at the party because he always has something weird going on, but it’s always the coolest thing that you’ve never thought of… It’s pretty status quo for him.”
Careri is currently tackling the brand new Charles Library along with the TECH Center.
He struggled with measuring the accuracy of campus’ dimensions, which he tries to find using Google Maps’ imaging and measuring tool, he said.
Careri added it is also challenging to match materials in Minecraft to those that make up Temple’s buildings.
“Obviously Minecraft doesn’t have every material, so I had to improvise,” he said. “Getting the color right for Annenberg I had to use mushroom, so Annenberg is built completely out of mushrooms.”
The Minecraft mushroom is a common mining material, appearing as a red fungi and matching Annenberg’s facade.
Careri decides the order of his Temple projects through Twitter polls, where he asks his followers which campus building they would like to see next. He said he built Richie’s solely because of student feedback.
Some of campus colleges have taken notice of Careri’s project, sharing it on their social media.
Don Heller, senior vice dean of Klein College of Media and Communication, said he feels Careri’s project is a good use of his time.
“He was playing video games anyway, so what he did is say, ‘I’ll still deal with the game, but I’m going to do something constructive,’” Heller said. “So when I look at it, I see that this is something that would really be nice for Temple to have.”
Once completed, Careri plans to open access on Minecraft for the public to play and explore Main Campus on their own.
“I think it’s another statement about the value of students here to the university, and the mark that they make as they’re journeying through the university and what leave behind,” Heller added.