Column: Create new world


Photo credit: Paulina DePaulo

My friend and I took this screenshot of our avatars on one of our favorite servers. Throughout all the years I’ve played video games, it’s always been the one I can consistently return to, having built some of my strongest relationships and shaped who I am as a person.

By Paulina DePaulo, Columnist

It’s a bright morning in 2014, and a 9-year-old me is perched on the office chair in front of the family computer. I’m nearly an hour deep into the construction of my amusement park built entirely within my very own Minecraft world. Roller coasters in the shape of pickles and carnival games with watermelon prizes came to life before my eyes, one block at a time. 

I remember the exact moment when I first discovered Minecraft — my mom had heard from my classmate’s parents that everyone was playing it, so the next day, she bought me the Pocket Edition on my iPad. Soon enough, I spent all of my car rides mining iron and farming wheat with my younger brother on our shared server. 

Over the next few months, the game brought me infinitely closer to my brother, especially throughout all of our frivolous fights when sharing a room. We built our own mansions, raised chickens and cows, planted gardens and ventured out into the surrounding woods with our stone swords to fight off monsters. With a game as expansive as Minecraft, it felt as if the whole world was at our fingertips.

Eventually, like every childhood phase, we both slowly outgrew it. Minecarts and pickaxes were soon replaced with Instagram and Netflix. My brother and I moved back into separate rooms, and Minecraft was a thing of the past. That is, until the year 2020. 

While I’d like to say my eventual return to Minecraft came from the isolating days of quarantine, I started playing it again just months before the lockdown started. I noticed my friends had revived an old server from their childhood and were remodeling all of their old buildings. After a mere two days of false reluctance, I eagerly joined them. 

When quarantine started just weeks later, I already had an outlet to regress to. I think it’s safe to say most teenagers found comfort in returning to the nostalgia of past obsessions during the COVID-19 pandemic — Minecraft being mine. Each new building or adventure was reminiscent of the days I spent with my brother on our iPads way past our bedtime. In a time when the world seemed to crumble around us, it was amazing to feel like a kid again.

I spent hours on servers with my friends, building and dueling deep into the night. Any feeling of isolation that crept up on me during the long days of Zoom school was washed away the minute I logged on. The game had been such a bright light throughout my adolescence, and it only continued to guide me through COVID-19. 

I have absolutely loved sharing my passion for video games with Archer through this column, and it’s safe to say I owe most of it to Minecraft. I can’t thank you all enough for following my stories over the school year, and I hope, just like Minecraft was for me, you find a world to which you can always return.