Passing Time Through a Pandemic

Pictured above: Minecraft game-play
Pictured above: Minecraft game-play

As cases of COVID-19 rise and schools close, high school students around the world are scrambling to connect with friends despite physical limitations. In the digital age, it makes sense that Minecraft stepped up to fill that role.

Known for its simple gameplay and infinite surroundings, Minecraft has been a staple for many throughout this historic pandemic. For example, as the virus progressed throughout Japan, Japanese high school student and twitter user “Backyennew” made a graduation stage for his classmates after the event was canceled. It seems the allure of the popular game has reached GlenOak students as well.

Over the extended break, a small group of students made a Minecraft Realm referred to as “Corona Craft” and extended the invite to close friends. It served as a way to connect and talk with friends without meeting face to face.

“The realm gives me something to work on over the extended break, and allows me to see many friends I’d otherwise wouldn’t be able to talk to during quarantine,” sophomore Claytin Sweeney said.

Minecraft Realms is a multiplayer server and hosting service meant to connect others, even when they are offline. It is a subscription based program, and players can pool money together each month in order to play on a shared world. 

While it was popular in the late 2000s, the game has had a resurgence in popularity.

Part of the reason why it is so popular is because of the countless variables that can be manipulated to fit the needs of the group. Players around the world have been using it as a way to customize their online experience. They can save a variety of templates, maps and minigames that are made by professionals and hardcore fans of the game alike.

This group in particular transformed Minecraft into an anarchy realm, where players fight for materials and the power to build the best bases. They enforce the rules among themselves, enacting schemes of revenge at the slightest misstep. 

It has grown into a world spanning different biomes, and they even have their own discord server to talk through their adventures.

Despite this customization, the realm has a limit of 10 players. While it fits with Mojang’s goal of creating a family friendly and close knit environment, some players feel that it is restricting and wish to play with more people in the future. 

“I feel that only having 10 people on the realm at a time makes others feel left out, the whole point of us doing a realm on bedrock and not java was so that more people could play,” sophomore Haley McNichol said.

While this limitation seems to be a dealbreaker to some, it is clear that the group has worked past it and incorporated Minecraft Realms into their daily lives. 

“Minecraft is an amazing way to play with friends, enjoy yourself, and still continue to use your brain while we’re off of school and not using our brains as much as we’re used to,” sophomore Daniel Herttna said.

The group recommends that other high school students take advantage of Minecraft Realms for a unique gaming experience.

“Minecraft gives everyone a chance to do as they please, more so if it is modded,“ McNichol said. “We all get a chance to play and talk together without having to jump through a bunch of other hoops that other games have.”

Overall, the world of Minecraft has added a splash of color into the otherwise bleak reality of living in isolation.