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This Irish mum set up a Minecraft convention. The response has been absolutely crazy

Lisa O’Brien sold 1,500 tickets in just nine hours for events in Dublin and Meath.

A landscape in Minecraft Source: Wesley Fryer

LISA O’BRIEN IS a mother of three young children in Galway. She set up a Minecraft convention – and earlier this week, she sold 1,500 tickets to ‘panicked’ parents in just nine hours.

“We didn’t even need to advertise it,” she said of a sold-out event in Galway next month. “It was word of mouth, Facebook and Twitter.”

Lisa announced two more MineVention locations, in Cork and Meath, this week. That’s when the sales avalanche began. “The panic on parents to buy is quite something,” Lisa told DailyEdge.ie.

And the stories I’m hearing – that they kids hardly got a chance to say goodbye to their parents, that they were kicked out of the car so the parents could get home [and buy tickets].

Hang on, hang on. What’s Minecraft again?

For anyone who doesn’t know what Minecraft is: it’s a ‘sandbox‘ video game that allows players to create their own worlds and compete to gather resources. It’s phenomenally popular, especially with children – most of Lisa’s ticket sales have been to kids under 14.

And it’s one of the biggest-selling video games of all time, with around 54 million copies sold worldwide at the last count.

(To put that in perspective, the world’s biggest-selling game Tetris has sold 143 million copies since 1984. Minecraft has only been accumulating sales since 2009.)

Source: colmmcsky

OK. But… why the conventions?

Minecraft is so big that it has its own community of professional YouTubers – people who make a living from posting videos of themselves playing Minecraft. Videos like this:

Source: LittleLizardGaming - Minecraft Mods!/YouTube

And that’s the attraction of the conventions, Lisa says. “That’s the pull. The fans want to meet these famous YouTubers”. And that was part of her inspiration:

I said, nothing comes to Ireland – why not [...] get these YouTubers over? Now, kids can get together and all play the game together with their idols.

The biggest star at the Galway event, Dan The Diamond Minecart, has more than four million subscribers on his YouTube channel alone. There are also Irish brothers Ryan and Scott Fitzsimons - LittleLizardGaming - who make a living from the game in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

Playing Minecraft in an after-school club Source: kjarrett

While organising the conventions, Lisa noticed a particular demand among parents of children with disorders on the autism spectrum. So they’ve allocated a number of tickets per event to children with autism.

We wanted to do something for these guys, because the large crowds and the queuing wouldn’t suit them. So they’ll get in there an hour before, and the YouTubers will be on the floor [to interact with them].

(These tickets are available through Irish Autism Action.)

Source: mendhak

So why is Minecraft so good?

Good question. It’s hugely popular with the gaming fraternity at large, some of whom will devote hours, days and weeks to building elaborate worlds like those in the screencaps above.

But why children especially? ”It’s the fact that children are using their own brains for developing their own worlds,” Lisa says. “Building their own houses, having their own animals.”

There’s also a communal aspect, she says:

From my own kids, the three of them will sit down in the living froom. And they’ll be on their own tablets, but they’re in the same worlds. And they’ll help each other build something.

Just to give you a flavour, here’s one kid’s reaction to getting Minecraft for his birthday:

Source: Kenn N/YouTube

Full details of MineVention are available here>

More: These Irish brothers have turned playing Minecraft into a full-time job>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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