Minecraft making a comeback

Emma Lee, Reporter

     Reaching its tenth anniversary this year, Minecraft has come back in trend with swarms of players returning to their favorite childhood game. The sandbox-style video game lets players freely build and explore in a virtual world and it has re-emerged as a top gaming trend.

     “One day it just happened. I saw a lot of Minecraft stuff on my Explore page and ever since then, it’s all I see on Instagram. And Minecraft is back in my life,” said Senior Malia Boksanski.

     Despite its initial peak in 2012 and 2013, the game had slunk in recent years with the rise of Epic Games’ Fortnite, which has amassed nearly 250 million players. This year, data from Google Trends shows Minecraft spiking in online searches above the popular battle royale game. “To be completely honest, I think it’s because people don’t like Fortnite,” said Boksanski. “But I feel like it’s one of those games that it’ll get popular for a little bit, but then kind of — you’ll forget about it and you won’t play it,” said Boksanski.

     The decade-old game’s reclamation of the throne was as sudden as it was unexpected. The change was greatly helped by a burst in Minecraft’s media presence. Twitch streamer Ph1lza recently lost his five-year survival streak in Minecraft Hardcore, a mode where players must survive in the hardest difficulty settings. The loss, along with YouTubers like Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) making new Minecraft videos, has generated a lot of attention for the game this year. “I guess some people might’ve lost some interest as time went on. But then as more creators or I guess, YouTubers started putting their attention to Minecraft, it regained popularity with the public,” said Senior Louie Yang.

     Minecraft’s unprecedented resurgence is in large part due to nostalgia. Most are returning to the game they knew as kids, which gives it a different appeal compared to newer games.  “There’s a lot of other games like Fortnite that you’ll play and they’re popular for a little bit. But I feel like Minecraft is very nostalgic and (I) just remember all the good times we had. It reminds me of being a little kid,” said Boksanski.

     Like most trends, a ripple effect took place. Boksanski, who was first introduced to the game in 2011, kept the app on her phone even when Minecraft declined in popularity. “But I hid it in a folder because I was always scared that people were gonna like judge me if they saw it on my phone,” said Boksanski. “No one thought it was cool anymore.”

     With the return of Minecraft on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, as well as other peers talking about the game again, that fear dissipated. This summer, Boksanski started playing Minecraft with friends again. “We made a group chat for it and everything and we would play together. And then slowly, more people would talk about it. Like ‘Wow, it’s not just a small amount of people. Everyone really likes Minecraft,’” Boksanski said.

     For many players, the fun comes from all the different options the game offers. At its base is Survival mode and Creative mode, where players can survive by eating, mining and killing monsters, or freely build with unlimited materials. There is also the option to play with friends on servers, as well. “There’s so many things that people have made within the game that are superb to the actual base game and like mods,” said Senior Sheung-Yee Yiu. “A lot of people make data packs for it so that it enhances the game and more of a community can form through that, so I guess it’s versatility that makes it enjoyable.”

     Yiu first played Minecraft in 2015. Regardless of trends, he stuck with the game all four years. “It was just really fun to play and even though a lot of it is time-consuming and you have to mine to get where you are, it’s just really fun. It doesn’t get old that quick, so yeah, it’s a really fun game to play,” said Yiu.

  With a generation of players reconnecting with old memories of the game, Minecraft has risen in the charts again. At its tenth birthday, the game has stood the test of time.