The rebirth of Minecraft

In search of nostalgia, I return to video game of my childhood

When+the+world+feels+like+it+may+fall+apart+any+minute%2C+escaping+into+a+virtual+world+of+flower-picking+%2C+house-building+and+exploring+can+feel+like+free+therapy.

Bella Russo

When the world feels like it may fall apart any minute, escaping into a virtual world of flower-picking , house-building and exploring can feel like free therapy.

Alysa Spiro, opinions editor

During my quarantine, Sophocles has been replaced with Japanese manga. Money formerly spent at Urban Outfitters is now being channeled into excessive stuffed animal purchases. Paul Thomas Anderson films have stepped aside for countless Studio Ghibli rewatches. And I absolutely love it. So why? Why am I seeking to surround myself with media that at first glance may appear “childish”?

Here’s what I think: the boundless time we have on our hands has led me, among others, to seek the most comforting feeling in the world–nostalgia.

I think my favorite example of the nostalgia-seeking that characterizes my quarantine has been my journey back into the world of Minecraft. Let me preface by saying the following: this is not my first Minecraft rodeo. When I was in sixth grade, I was absolutely obsessed. I’d play for hours and then watch other people play for hours. I was even going to be a moderator on my favorite server (one of the youngest ever because of my exceptional behavior in-game).

The sense of nostalgia I get from both watching and playing Minecraft is pretty unparalleled. I can’t really tell if sixth-grade me is proud or disgusted that I haven’t really changed at all in the last five years.”

Things eventually fell off between us, and I left the world of Minecraft behind in favor of more “mature” forms of media. Hours previously spent building elaborate houses on Minecraft were converted into hours mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Those years and memories of Minecraft-filled weekends are, however, anything but forgotten.

Fast forward to COVID-19. I’m going to assume that not all my readers are as well-versed in the current state as Minecraft as I am. And that’s OK. There’s one person, however, a group of people actually, that’s essential to this story: the Dream team. Is the name original? Maybe not. But their story is. Basically, this group consists of Dream, this guy who’s crazy good at Minecraft, and his two friends George and Sapnap, who are also really good at Minecraft. And that’s pretty much it: three guys making videos of themselves being smart-asses and chasing each other around in Minecraft. Maybe you non-Minecrafters are wondering to yourself: what’s the appeal of this? Who would even watch those videos? Forty million people. That’s the view count on a single Dream team video.

The widespread popularity of these Dream team videos has led me and many others to go back down the Minecraft rabbit hole. Either way, the sense of nostalgia I get from both watching and playing Minecraft is pretty unparalleled. I can’t really tell if sixth-grade me is proud or disgusted that I haven’t really changed at all in the last five years. There is and always will be something comforting about the fact that some things never do change. But why Minecraft? Why not some other game? The real answer is this: I actually don’t know how to play anything else. I’m a gamer in spirit but not in reality. With that being said, Minecraft does have its own merits and reasons why it deserves the attention it’s been getting recently. During these weird and sometimes lonely times, I know a lot of people are seeking a way to escape. And guess what? There’s really no better way to do that then to transport yourself into a world of virtual blocks. It really never gets old–running around sporadically, picking up flowers or adopting a family of wolves.

Is or was Minecraft in your video game arsenal?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Sometimes it’s good to just put down your SAT review book or stop working on your newest set of AP multiple-choice problems. Not always, but sometimes. Let yourself breathe.

Another thing I know a lot of people are seeking in quarantine is human interaction. Minecraft, and really, gaming as a whole, is really a great way to fix the lonely bug. Over the summer, I hopped onto a voice call with two of my friends I hadn’t talked to in years. The chaos that ensued that night ended up being the highlight of my week.

I leave you with one final message: indulge. Explore your interests freely and don’t be ashamed. Seek emotions without a care in the world. And don’t let societal notions of what is “mature” and “childish” lead you astray; I can guarantee you half the anime’s I’ve watched are better than multiple Oscar-nominated movies. So, my friends, let’s get mining.