Minecraft takes its ‘Revenge’

September 5, 2019 — by Andy Chen and Megan Chen

After years of scrolling past the humble Minecraft icon on his desktop, sophomore Jason Lin finally decided to reboot the app, just for old times sake. Lin was surprised to find that he really enjoyed playing the game again, and from there, he quickly became an active member of the revitalized Minecraft community.

Minecraft, often considered the most successful video game of all time, has made a huge resurgence within mainstream internet culture. The object of Minecraft is to survive and thrive by collecting and managing basic resources, which are randomly generated and scattered across each unique world.

YouTube powerhouse Pewdiepie recently restarted his immensely popular Minecraft series, which initially ironically began but quickly became a legitimate playthrough. Pewdiepie served as the catalyst that launched Minecraft into mainstream popularity, but the reason for its comeback is rooted in several other factors.

Minecraft first regained attention on its 10-year anniversary, which occurred in May. The anniversary events drew several nostalgic former players back into the game.

Former players were also incentivized to return due to the revival of popular servers with a large number of minigames and gamemodes. Hypixel, one of Minecraft's most popular servers, attracted former Minecraft content creators, which spread the game to a variety of audiences.

Another possible factor for its revival is the decline in popularity of battle royale games like Fortnite, encouraging players such as senior Jackson Gress, the president of Saratoga’s Esports club, to return to Minecraft. 

“I played a long time ago, in 2013 or 2014, and then once everyone started playing again, I started playing,” Gress said. “It’s such a fun multiplayer game, and if you’re playing with friends, it's a blast.”

Pewdiepie’s Minecraft series on YouTube pushed the the game’s popularity even further.

His Minecraft playthroughs, which are some of his most iconic videos, have brought a new demographic into the equation: his younger channel viewers who haven’t ever played Minecraft. 

Pewdiepie also brought traffic to YouTuber Keemstar’s already heavily watched “Minecraft Monday” series, where celebrities like James Charles and well-known Minecraft YouTubers like Technoblade compete in weekly minigames for a $10,000 prize. Pewdiepie participated in the second week of Minecraft Monday, drawing both old and new players back to the game.

As a result of the game’s comeback, Minecraft song parodies are gaining popularity, sometimes outpacing their original release. YouTuber CaptainSparklez’s parody song “Revenge” has amassed over 200 million views, because of its iconic opening lyrics: “Creeper … aww man.” The phrase has sparked a trend in Discord servers; different players will type out the lyrics line by line and try to get through the song with no interruptions. 

Because of the increased popularity of Minecraft, the Esports club has created a new Minecraft server for students to play together.

“Right now, Esports club is only doing tournaments,” Gress said, “so we thought that introducing Minecraft would be fun and give us some variety.”

Although a variety of factors contributed to the game’s recent surge, Gress believes that people were driven back to Minecraft due to its everlasting appeal.

“It has endless possibilities, endless amounts of fun and updates, so it’s never going to get boring,” Gress said. “It’s such a great game at the core; it’s really one of the best games of all time.”

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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