This is a far more personal post than I often write on this blog, but there is good reason for it. I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of just under five years. My recent engagement made me start thinking about my relationship and what kept us going for so long, and I realized that the threads of our years together can almost exclusively be traced back to video games. Please indulge me here as I account one way that gaming kept our relationship strong over the years
The biggest part of our relationship to talk about involves Minecraft. After our first year of college was almost up, we were going back to our respective homes and would have to be a long-distance relationship for the summer. If we wanted our relationship to last, we needed a way to bridge the gap, and we turned to our mutual love of games. I really hated Minecraft, and actually spent an entire semester of college doing a project on the game’s toxic community, but my boyfriend was convinced that it would be the perfect game for us. He loaded up this community he knew about called Vox Populi (made popular by Markiplier’s “Drunk Minecraft” series) that turned the game into an MMORPG, with stat grinding, dungeons, and an entire economy.
My love of Vox Populi started slowly, primarily because I had no idea what I was doing. While I hated Minecraft, that really led to me learning very little about the game’s mechanics. I went around the forest we were in and planted trees, thinking that was helpful. Instead, I planted too many and now the enemies in the game would never despawn in daylight, which effectively ruined the home we had made. Still, we persevered, with my now-fiancé teaching me how to actually play the game and building us a beautiful base close to a town that we would later become a part of.
Our summer slowly ticked away as we explored the blocky landscape of Minecraft. We built houses and found our niches within a larger community. I took to farming, due to my deep appreciation for the Harvest Moon series, and he took to dungeon-crawling, sometimes dragging me through as I died repeatedly. We found a network of people to hang out with over this server, many of whom I still talk to on a daily basis to date and consider to be my closest friends.
As nerdy as this sounds, many of my best memories are attached to Vox Populi. There is a weekly raid boss that is, thankfully, now on a set schedule of Saturday evenings, but it used to be on a rotating schedule, leading to me waking up at three in the morning on a Wednesday to fight the boss and then pass out again. The town we are a part of celebrates holidays and birthdays together on the server, and I’ve spent every new year’s eve since joining ringing in the new year with all of my virtual buddies. There is a building system that allows us to create buildings with special perks in exchange for tons of resources, so I have many fond recollections of all-nighters pulled with friends trying to gather enough resources to finish up our latest quarry build.
Pictured: My fiancé fully decked-out in his awesome gear and ready to take on the raid boss.
Most of all, I have Vox Populi to thank for my strong relationship with my fiancé, as we still play on this server together most evenings. On the current map, I have built a massive farm for harvesting in exchange for money, and he has been working on a battle fortress that will serve as a base for our town in the future. Through this server, we have gotten through two summers apart, as well as two full years of separation after college as we got jobs on opposite sides of the country. Even now that we are in the same place, the server is a place where we know we can always go and relax, bringing us this sense of nostalgic joy that no other activity will ever give us. I have about four months of in-game time, and as long as the server keeps running, I will keep coming back.
What was the ultimate point of this post? I don’t really know, other than sharing a little piece of what makes our relationship so special to me. Since I talked at length about Vox Populi, and I obviously want to keep the community there alive for as long as possible, I thought I’d give a quick plug for the server as my way of giving back for all of the wonderful years I’ve had there. Here is their website with the server IPs, in case you want to come check out what makes the server special for yourself. My friends and I all play on the Diamond server, and I personally like the community there best, but Emerald and Gold are identical experiences with different players. If you ever do check it out, let me know and I can help you out!
Thank you for letting me ramble about my relationship for a few minutes. I’m excited for what the future holds for me and my fiancé.