Throughout our lives as adults, we tend to forget what it’s like being a kid. Some become so un-relatable to their small counterparts that they use words like “tubular,” “sick,” and even “Daddy-O.” This is why when the opportunity to feel young again presents itself, we must seize it!
Minecraft is one of those opportunities. On the surface, it looks like a game with just blocks and the mission of building a house, simple enough right? The depth of this game however is vast, and its potential to bring people joy, while also extracting their creativity is inspiring.
I’ve bought Minecraft a total of three times and I’m on my way to a fourth. I’ve spent too much on it from the base copies alone, and despite everything, I deem these repeated purchases completely worth it. This is one of the few, if not the only open-ended games I’ve sunk countless hours into, taken a break and returned months later to enjoy all over again. I wouldn’t call it my favorite game, though! But, despite that, there is too much to love and it is, in fact, my most returned to title.
It seems silly, with a world as pixellated as Minecraft to be so enamored by it. And yet, every time I listen to the music it transports me. I feel like it takes me to a simpler time, where my friends were within reach, a feeling of being young, without a care in the world. The soundtrack and the environment it creates soothes me, but these feelings also lead to something else, a sense of kid like adventure.
Think back to when you were a smaller version of yourself, what did you do when there was a massive hill? Or a tree that just begged to be climbed? In Minecraft I find myself emulating these very things, with childlike joy. Tall mountain in the distance? I must climb it and peer down at the blocky world below, claiming my title as king on the top!
Black as can be in the nighttime cycle, far away is a brightly lit area, a pool of lava! I take off in a sprint to discover the budding land around it, gazing in wonder at the naturally formed bright spot the game has created.
Granted there are some not so peaceful times. Getting blown up by a Creeper deep in a mine while I have fourteen diamonds on me, is not…. Ideal. That’s part of the fun though, the challenge. The game elicits a sense of adventure around every corner, even more so with an infinite world to explore. Did anyone else as a kid pick up a random stick and dub it their mighty sword?! Then proceed to take vengeance with your friends against imaginary enemies who had wronged your merry group in some way! I doubt it’s just me.
This pixellated world remains the same, except now I have a sword, and there are enemies who have wronged me. That jerk of a creeper who blew up part of my house because he was trying to kill me, or those Skeletons who shot me to death while I was exploring a mineral rich mine. Out into the night I go with my companions to seek revenge and make my video game enemies suffer! At this point I’m basically an adult playing pretend, and I love it.
None of these situations would be complete without my most cherished of memories in this game: my friends. If you’re an adult you have probably already realized your closest friendships from when you were a child or college have their own lives now, and have chosen paths that took them to different places all over the world. Three of my closest friends and myself have experienced just that. Minecraft has given us back something that, at times, feels like it’s missing.
Being with people who truly care for each other only gets harder as you get older. They take different paths, have kids, go into the military, or any other life events one can think up. This leads to that familiar bonding time slowly or sometimes quickly fading away. Despite that however, there is one place where we have taken many breaks from, but always draws us back in. Minecraft it’s a game we all play and love, and it’s easy to accomplish things while having real conversations with your friends.
It’s also one of the best cooperative games out there. Gathering resources and building something by yourself is fun and all, but what if you had two, three or even four other people helping you? Suddenly that little treehouse you planned on building turns into a giant castle with a drawbridge which just happens to have a tree within its walls. Or what about that rail system you had set up to go from main base down into a mine? Add friends to the mix and now you have a rail system that is vast, it goes from one biome to the next, to the far reaches of the map and back. That’s the power of friendship in both Minecraft and life. It is always easier and more enjoyable accomplishing things with friends.
This is as close as we’ll get to hanging out. Nights where we simply stay up way too late, because we just need to finish one more thing. Reminiscent of the days when we were kids and our only goal during the evening was to walk to our local grocery store so that we may fill ourselves with Monster energy drinks and Funyuns. Instead, our hang out sessions are now filled with endless crafting, laughter and on occasion getting to know other people in our lives, such as spouses or even kids. Late night talks when we were young have simply carried over to a mic while we tend to our little farms.
It may sound silly but Minecraft feels like home. Maybe that’s what it is. A place I can always return to, where no matter the changes or updates, spending time with friends makes me feel like a kid all over again.