Minecraft: How it became more than a game for me

“How does a game built around placing and breaking blocks teach you anything about the real world?” – Without my personal experience, I would’ve been right there with you. If you tell anybody that this game, designed for a younger audience, would allow you to express creativity beyond building and placing blocks, with the capability to learn highly-needed industry skills and put cold-hard cash in your pocket, of course, they’d think you’re BS’ing! This blog post will contain my experience creating and maintaining servers, and of course everything in between.

Huge misconception – “You will be lucky to find working adults in a Minecraft server.” Again, I’m right there with you; it’s hard to believe that this game could target an audience outside of its original design – but that’s the beauty behind it. Communities are built within servers; from a hardcore competitive scene to a laidback roleplaying server, your options are endless and this is the reason behind its broad player base.

At a very young age, I grew to understand this. I already had a creative side to me beforehand, creating imaginary games through whiteboards and asking my friends to play them with me. I found it so amazing that these server owners were able to change the game so much from its original state; as I began to dig deeper into creating servers, I realized that it wasn’t very hard to do either. There is a large repository of compatible plugins made by amazing developers at the palm of my hand, and without them, I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten started. These plugins were the base of content, they alternated the game so much you could mistake an indie built server for an AAA title.

“Okay, that’s nice and all – but where does your experience come into play?” In 2012 at 12 years old – I began creating my first few servers for my friends. I remember asking my parents for $5.00 a month to keep the server running and performing well for my friends by using a shared hosting service. My family never had a lot of money, so it was never really easy to ask. Every time I asked, there was always hesitation and a slight sigh before allowing me to fund my server. Until this realization, I never really understood the importance of money and the effect it plays on my parents. At this point in time, I realized that I had to start funding my own servers and expanding outside its current reach.

I started following the steps needed to create great servers. Every server with a player base had a site with forums, a donation store, and an intense amount of branding. It didn’t stop at the logo and site branding, the server itself fit a color scheme and style based on their branding. Up until 14 years old, I was using a site builder called Enjin. Enjin was the most popular site builder for game servers as it held every feature needed into one package; on top of that, it was free! A free service is essential for me as I had no source of income and I knew I couldn’t ask my parents any longer.

About fourteen is when I truly understood what it meant to create a good server. Before then, I understood the concepts, but I couldn’t put them into play. I was making money from my servers through donations beforehand, but it didn’t “pop off” till 2014. This was the year I began taking serious action by learning the skills needed to make my website, my logo, and develop my own plugins. This was also the year I started making $500/month being idle and by playing the game whether I had the server or not. It was a win-win, I was doing what I love, and making money from it; it was of course never enough to consider me successful, but I made the same amount I made working at McDonald’s at 16. Working at McDonald’s is a story for another time.

To wrap things up, Minecraft has taught me a lot of things. While I could go into real Minecraft success stories such as Hypixel, this is my personal experience. This is my roots – this is where I began learning Web Development, Branding, Software Development, and so much more. I don’t think I ever would’ve obtained my first few remote jobs without Minecraft; the game gave me a path to start, and I took it.