The Beano's Dennis, Gnasher and Walter join Minecraft

By Emily Thomas
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightBeano/ Minecraft

Minecraft players need to watch out for "softy" Walter and his stinky pants.

Walter, Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher, from The Beano, can now be added to PC versions of the game.

Players can make a sausage for Gnasher and use all of Dennis' best pranks, including catapults and stink bombs.

It's part of the Beano's wider plans to expand into digital and its mod has come out of a partnership between the cartoon and Frima Studios, a Canadian multiplatform game developer.

Mark Cotton, who is leading the Beano's digital changes, told Newsbeat: "If you talk to any 7 to 11-year-old kid Minecraft is pretty much their biggest passion and love."

image copyrightBeano/Minecraft

Mark says the game is an "extension" of the comic and an attempt to make The Beano "a more overall experience" for kids.

"Roughly 32,000 comics are sold each week of the Beano - so still a very healthy number," he says.

But it's far fewer than the two million sold at the magazines' peak.

"We are very aware kids today have a passion for digital," says Mark.

"We need to turn The Beano into a 360 brand where Dennis and Gnasher is everywhere that kids are, instead of expecting them to come to us.

"So we're working on a whole series of initiatives over the next three to six months."

Some of those initiatives include puzzle apps, an interactive comic, and an "action 3D game for kids".

The Beano's publisher DC Thompson has already extended the brand onto a TV show, a photo-sharing app and a YouTube channel.

Grand Theft Auto?

The comic's been around since 1938 and has plenty of adult fans. So might the Beano characters make an appearance in any adult games - Dennis the Menace in Grand Theft Auto perhaps?

"No. That's not something we'd focus on at the moment," says Mark.

"We're focussing on the 7 to 11-year-old digital product - for the moment digital for us is about really engaging with kids and understanding their passions."

And to do that they've been consulting a group of 10 seven to 11-year-old Beano and Minecraft fans throughout the development process.

image copyrightThe Beano/ Minecraft

Minnie the Minx?

"We basically asked kids, 'If you put Beano into Minecraft, what would you imagine?'

"This was the first stage of what they imagined. Obviously their imaginations go a lot further than we can possibly do for the time being.

"But they wanted pranks, they wanted Walter, they wanted Gnasher, they wanted to dress up as Dennis, and that's what we've given them.

"We'll continue to talk to them. Our desire is to extend this and to build Beanotown and let kids be creative.

"Minecraft is so popular as it gives kids the power. If we try to constrain the kids and tell them what to do they'd reject it."

Will any other characters get a look in?

"We definitely want to extend it," says Mark.

"The obvious character and the ones the kids have been asking for is Minnie the Minx so that's what we'd probably look at next."

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