I started playing Minecraft in 2012, shortly after the full game launched. I was a freshman in high school with a new laptop and I couldn’t wait to stay up all night exploring and building and fighting my way through a blocky, graphically-simplistic world. I became addicted to the power I had over my sandbox. Here was a game where I had didn’t have to compete with anyone else for resources or territory or worry that my clunky laptop would crash during a building marathon. I felt at peace whenever I played Minecraft. My creativity was limited to the game’s rules but that gave me more than enough freedom to try whatever I could think of. I created castles, cities, space stations, pirate ships, and more. During my sophomore year, the party came to an end. My laptop suffered an unfixable error and all of my progress vanished.
My next laptop, a Chromebook, was incapable of downloading the game, so I was forced to look for another outlet for my Minecraft passion. I turned to Youtube. Youtube hosted thousands of channels centered around gamers playing Minecraft in various iterations. One of the first channels that I began to follow religiously was BDoubleO100. BDubs, as his fans called him, enjoyed goofing off and building structures on his own and with a few other fellow Youtubers. I was introduced to BDoubleO through his long-running series “Building with BDoubleO” in which he focused on exploring a Minecraft world in single player and create large and complex structures. What drew me to BDubs was his effusive personality and willingness to improve his building skills. As far as Minecraft Youtubers go, BDubs was not the most aesthetically gifted builder when I first started following him, but his eye for building has progressed in the years since. BDubs does not present a polished version of himself on Youtube, and that is one of his most endearing characteristics for many of his fans, myself included.
Around the time I came to follow BDoubleO, I also began watching another, more talented builder named Jamziboy. In contrast to BDubs, Jamziboy had an extraordinary eye for detailed medieval/fantasy building in Minecraft and he gave excellent reasons for why he styled his work in a particular fashion. Jamziboy’s personality was also different from BDubs in that he was very critical of other players’ work that fell short of his standards. His channel was mostly known for his tutorial videos where he demonstrated step by step how to build houses, castles, and even the landscape. Jamziboy’s channel ended during my junior year of high school due to his lack of interest in the updates to Minecraft and it was his departure from Youtube that ultimately caused me to stop watching Minecraft videos on Youtube altogether.
Flash forward to the summer before my junior year of college when I bought a Macbook Pro to replace my Chromebook. Finding myself in a position to redownload Minecraft, I decided to resume playing the game as a way to pass those long summer days. Sure enough, I became addicted to that same feeling I had felt so many years before. Unsurprisingly I returned to scouring Youtube for Minecraft inspiration. I followed BDoubleO, who had managed in the time that I was unsubscribed to him to pick up over a million followers. Jamziboy’s channel was still inactive but he had spawned a new group of building-oriented Minecrafters. One such personality was Grian. A younger player than either Jamziboy or BDoubleO, Grian’s channel was crafted for a kid-centric audience who might be playing Minecraft for the first time. Due to his cheery and encouraging presence he picked up over two million followers very quickly. While I am not part of his core audience, I find Grian to be an honest reflection of the new wave of Minecraft Youtubers.
My final project in clearly informed by a long and positive relationship with Minecraft and to a lesser extent Youtube. I intend to explore the shifting dynamics of Youtube channels that feature Minecraft content predominantly through the lens of my own experience. My goal is to display the depth and width of the Minecraft community and their interactions with one another on Youtube’s platform.