ROBERT Burns fans can now interact with the poet - thanks to the video game Minecraft.

Ellisland Farm near Dumfries, where Burns lived from 1788-91, has been faithfully recreated for the game by students and academics at the University of Glasgow working with the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust.

Players also have an opportunity to not only hear Burns’ poetry and song while in the Minecraft world, pictured above, but will also be able to interact in Scots with the poet and his wife Jean Armour.

It is believed to be the first time Scots has been used in Minecraft which has nearly 140 million monthly active users around the world.

The project was funded through the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership & Recovery Fund to support business and community-led tourism enterprises taking the lead in the sector’s COVID-19 recovery.

The Minecraft Ellisland world was built by around 15 students – undergraduates and postgraduates drawn from a range of different subjects - who are part of the University’s Minecraft Society.

Bailey Hodgson, the Minecraft Society’s President and one of its founders, who has been playing Minecraft for a decade, played a significant role both in project setup and delivery.

Bailey said: “I live on a farm near Ellisland so this was a project I really enjoyed taking on. Our society is new with just under 100 members, around 15 of us were actively involved in different parts of this from building to testing.

“We found that our play testers said the game encouraged them to want to visit Ellisland in real life.

“We worked closely with Joan McAlpine at Ellisland along with Dr Timothy Peacock and Dr Matthew Barr to ensure we created an authentic experience that captures the farm as Burns would have known it, while also having educational elements. Players can interact with Burns as well as use this experience to read and listen to his works.

“Everybody that worked on the game is delighted with the project we have created. We hope that everyone who gets to experience it has an enjoyable time while also learning something about Burns and his work.”

The Minecraft Ellisland project was led by Dr Timothy Peacock and Dr Matthew Barr from the University’s Game and Gaming Lab – a cross-disciplinary lab – based in the University’s College of Arts - on how games and gaming can be used in research and teaching.

Dr Peacock, the Lab Co-director and a history lecturer based at the University’s School of Humanities | Sgoil nan Daonnachdan, said: “Robert Burns’ life and works have a significant global impact in inspiring people, while games have, in different forms, inspired and transported players to new worlds or even provided new ways of understanding our own.

“It has been a privilege to work with the different partners to bring both Ellisland and Minecraft together in this creative project, and we hope it is something which will inspire new ways of people engaging with this cultural treasure in the years ahead.”

Joan McAlpine, the Business Development Manager of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, said: “Heritage attractions are always striving to attract diverse new audiences and this Minecraft Game opens Ellisland to potentially large numbers of children and young people all round the world

“They will know Auld Lang Syne, but may not have known where it was written or by whom.”