How Minecraft saved me during the pandemic

Playing keeps me connected to the outside world, even in isolation

Photo Caroline Marsh

Before COVID-19, I spent Friday nights photographing sports games and getting drinks at bars. Now my Friday nights are spent voice chatting with strangers on Minecraft—and I’m surprisingly not mad about it.

With COVID restricting my traditional ways of social interaction, it’s been life-saving to have an alternate way to spend time with people. Everyone has been forced to get creative in their socializing, and Minecraft is how I’ve stayed sane. 

I originally redownloaded Minecraft at the start of quarantine as part of my regression to childhood comforts, along with watching old Scooby-Doo episodes and listening to my middle school playlists. It was meant to be a couple of weeks of bouncing around a pandemic-less block world and building some dirt huts, but I found that once I started playing, I could go for hours. I was even fishing during lectures. 

Minecraft is an incredibly open-ended game. With no real plotline or chronologic steps, there’s something for everyone. I just liked exploring and fighting things. 

I was bored, I was lonely, and I liked playing Minecraft, so I joined a server.

The server I play on has a strong focus on the community aspects of the game where new players are met with enthusiasm. Players are always answering each other’s questions in the chat or offering to take each other to rare biomes they need. 

I’ve been able to make friends in a variety of countries, including the UK, Scotland, Belgium, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand. The time difference somehow works out with my terrible sleep schedule. 

With COVID restricting my traditional ways of social interaction, it’s been life-saving to have an alternate way to spend time with people.

Over the course of nearly a year, I’ve gotten friendly with people who regularly play. There’s something comforting about seeing the same people when you log on, even if it’s just online. It’s like saying hi to the people in your classes that you sit by every week. Even if they aren’t your best friends, the consistency is grounding.

Just like in the real world, some long-term friendships were formed based on the most innocuous of moments. I’ve struck up conversations with people based on a shared love of sports or just because they seemed friendly. 

However, Minecraft offers some unique situations to get to know people. I’ve been able to begin talking to people on the basis of liking what they’re building or even their Minecraft username. It’s easy to strike up conversations, even for someone as anxious as I am. 

I’ve spent long nights in voice calls with a group of people I now consider to be good friends. I don’t even know what some of these people look like but I don’t believe that hinders the friendships in any way. I text these friends every day, I know about their past life experiences, future ambitions, and their day-to-day thoughts, just as they know mine. 

Though this isn’t how I imagined making friends in my early 20s, these people have kept me entertained and comforted over quarantine. I like to think that you can find really good people almost anywhere you go. I feel really fortunate that I’ve been able to do just that. 

If you play Minecraft, feel free to come visit me at the server IP:, I’m happy to introduce you to a server that I love to play on.