One participant works on his Minecraft structure at a competition at the Verona Public Library Saturday, Sept. 12.

 One participant works on his Minecraft structure at a competition at the Verona Public Library Saturday, Sept. 12.

Last weekend, Verona children spent their Saturday afternoon building giant structures. Each was constructed with formidable defenses and many surrounded by flames – and they did it all without leaving their local library.

The Verona Public Library hosted a Minecraft competition Saturday, Sept. 12 with prizes for the top finishers. The contest pitted 11 competitors against one another in the popular video game.

Minecraft, in its simplest form, is a game about breaking and placing blocks.

“At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things,” the Minecraft website states.

The imaginations of locals came to life for the virtual competition Saturday.

Eleven participants, ranging from youngsters in the fifth grade to those in high school, entered the library around 1 p.m., but only one left as the winner.

The competitors had an hour and a half to build whatever they could imagine, and they were then judged by their peers. Out of the three tables of participants, each chose a representative to move to the next round. The players then voted for their favorite, based on the most creative design and which structure would best keep out potential zombie invaders.

In the end, the voters chose seventh-grader Hannah Davey as the champion. The key to the success of her design? Fire.

“Lava, bedrock, fire and more fire, and diamonds, and more fire,” she said of the key elements of her Minecraft creation.

It only took Hannah 15 minutes to make her prized achievement, she said. For her efforts, she brought home a foam sword, designed to look pixilated like an old-school video game.

“I’m a pro,” she said after the win.

The seventh-grader was one of the 11 competitors to bring either a laptop, tablet or smartphone to compete.

Precious Mack, Verona’s young adult librarian, said she heard about similar competitions at other libraries, so she decided to bring it to town.

Minecraft was originally released in 2009 and has since sold over 20 million copies, according to its website.

More than one contestant left with a prize.

Storm Van Derzee, a fifth-grader, finished in second place and won a foam axe, and Matthew Brown placed third.

Storm said he had a lot of fun in the competition and did not think he would place as high as he did.

“I play a lot,” he said. “I find it to be very fun and relaxing most occasions, but sometimes I get angry with it. Like [when] I’ll lose all my stuff.”

The top-two finishers each have grand plans for their prizes.

Storm said he plans to hit his sister with his foam axe, while Hannah said she will use her sword to remind the boys that they lost to a girl.

Kids get creative for Minecraft competition at Verona Public Library