Writer's Block (or How Minecraft Changed My Relationship with My Brother)

Written by: Carlos Zotomayor

Features | Apr 21, 2016

family minecraft

I always hated my younger brother.

Now, anyone with a sibling can relate to how they can drive you nuts sometimes but mine was a special case. See, for the better part of twenty years, my brother and I had nothing but scorn for each other since the day he left the womb and I always wondered what horrible deed I may have committed in a past life to deserve this little shit.

We fought, as all brothers do, both verbally and physically for everyday of our childhood, teens, and well into our adult lives. It drove our parents nuts that we personally went out of our way just to make the other's life miserable for so long... and then it just stopped.

Well, more or less.

The year was 2014: Minecraft had been out for some time and I had just finished my very elaborate dirt settlement within a mountain with five-star accommodations for one when my brother decided to join in. Now, this made me as hesitant as a hippie can be around soap since whenever the two of us do anything together it usually ends with death, a lot of shouting, or both- but I figured that if I keep PVP off, then not much harm could be done.

I was partly right.

After getting over the initial hurdles of setting each other on fire and trapping the other in countless holes, we finally got around to doing whatever we wanted to- he would usually go adventuring while I built a house and a gigantic poo for starters.

It wasn't easy, mind you.

We always bickered about how Minecraft should be played, from the importance of gigantic poo crafting all the way to who would get to own the first wolf we came across. It went on and on but then what became of our arguments was so weird that it could only have come from a game like this: we started to respect each other.

See, in Minecraft survival mode, you actually have to find the resources needed to make a house, farm, or a giant poo so about half the game is spent just looking for the things you need and that was the part that I didn't like since I would rather just build stuff than go on a date with about fifty creepers (in hindsight, I could have just opened creative mode where resources are infinitely available).

On the other hand, my brother felt differently. Being the more adventurous one, gathering enough sheep to contribute to my poo mountain took less time that it would have if I did it alone. 

So that's how it went: he would be the one to gather materials and I would make sure we had a place to stay that wouldn't look like a lived-in refugee camp. We still fought a lot about the game but there was that unspoken trust that neither would make it without the other... especially at night.

If you have ever played even a little of Minecraft, you'll know that the first few nights can be absolutely horrible if you do not have a place to sleep in. There are creepers, skeletons, witches, and more all looking out to wear your ass as a hat and without a house or a friend, you can get pretty screwed pretty fast.

Now I didn't have a friend, but I had a dirt house and an extremely unstable roommate who would just wander off and get into trouble so eventually I had to tag along to make sure his stupid ass wouldn't lose any important items and what happened was utter chaos.

Things were all fine and peachy during the daytime but at night we kept getting killed by dozens of hostile NPCs whenever we tried to explore or expand our territory. Needless to say, it was a learning experience.

It was weird but whenever I had to go fight the legions of Minecraft hell with my brother, I always remembered this talk I had with my dad where he said that when he and my mom were gone, all we would have left was each other against the rest of the world and that it was not doing us any favours to fight one another when there was something bigger out there that wanted to kick both our asses.

So we fought the hostiles, we built stuff, and we shaped the world to our liking. We still fought, that one constant will never change, but when it came to the serious stuff like building a gigantic T-Rex, at least we had the common courtesy to shelve our hatred for one another and work together.

I still hate my brother from time to time.

It didn't do it on by itself; Minecraft let me build a great many things but I never once considered that it could fix something that therapy usually does. It helped show the both of us that even though two people can hate each other so much, they can still team up to take on a pixelated, blocky world that very much wants them dead.

Oh, and that world we built?

About the author: Carlos Zotomayor

Zoto can see your underpants. Mmm... tasteful.

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