The Oregon Trail is perhaps the most beloved educational game ever made — and soon it’ll be getting a new life in schools thanks to Minecraft. A blocky rendition of The Oregon Trail is now available for Minecraft: Education Edition, a version of the game tailored specifically for classrooms. The new Oregon Trail was created by educational publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and features the complete storyline from the original release, as well as a number of new activities that span everything from fine arts to STEM subjects.
It’s also just one of several new partnerships aimed at expanding the educational aspect of Minecraft. Microsoft also partnered with the Roald Dahl Estate recently for a writing competition aimed at elementary and middle school-aged children. The story that won — called Fluffletopolis — is now available as an explorable world in Minecraft. Similarly, the Smithsonian is also contributing to the game, with a new series of lesson plans that utilize Minecraft. “These lesson plans are designed to stimulate STEM activities in a variety of settings,” the institution explains.
Minecraft: Education Edition first launched last year, and according to Microsoft it’s now available in 115 countries. Given the overwhelming popularity of the sandbox game, especially among younger players, it’s an initiative that makes a lot of sense. Of course, Minecraft isn’t the only big game being repurposed for education; historical strategy title Civilization V has also been retooled with schools in mind.