Minecraft saved my sanity

October 1, 2014, Author: Simon Weatherall

Relationships are one of the biggest, most complex changes that a person has in their lifetime. One second you only have yourself to worry about, the next you have this other person that makes you happy. Sometimes, you can be blinded a little and, before you know it, these things can fall apart. There can be no warning, it just happens.

Unless you like the sound of your own voice and your own company, most people have experienced this at one time or another. Breakups are always hard and sometimes it’s difficult to see the way forward. When you’re all on your own, your mind can start to wander and sometimes thinking isn’t always the best thing. When I recently split from my partner I was all alone. I spent all my free time in my house and had nobody who I could talk to.

I needed something to do, and that something was Minecraft.

To help you understand, I guess I should explain a little about my relationship. Sam is one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my life. What attracted me to her in the first place was that she was kind, fun and, in secret, she was also a gamer. This love for games was something we shared together. We did our fair share of co-op like any normal gamer couple; Borderlands was a firm favourite, as was Dead Space 3. If there was a game that had co-op, you would be sure that we would give it a play. Sam wasn’t just my co-op partner either, she was my best friend. She was the one person I had been totally open with and although it was difficult to do, I trust her with my life.

When we split up, I don’t think I heard the words properly, the noise was there but all I could hear was my heart pounding through my chest. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried a fair bit as I died a little on the inside. I don’t want to go too much into detail as its personal, but I knew that the time I needed something to do.

Minecraft: PlayStation®4 Edition_20140907013458

This is how it begins…

I already had Minecraft on the PS3 and when the PS4 version came, I was very quick to adopt. In my house it’s a firm favourite, which originally, I and Sam acquired so that we could play with my kids. Sometimes we didn’t use the kids as an excuse, we popped it on anyway and we could sit there building away. Hours would go by while we had our little adventures.

Sitting in a house all alone, especially when you’re so used to someone being there, can make you go mad, so I decided to use Minecraft as a way to stop my brain from bringing me down.

In my first attempt, wandering through my game world, I had my sword, my pick and my shovel, plus an adventure waiting before me. Before I knew it, I was deep in a cave with the Mobs and I was running for my life. It was okay, but something was missing: my co-op partner.

Think big, think... MASSIVE

Think big, think… MASSIVE

So, I decided that being creative was probably the best way to go in my mood. I switched worlds, created a new one called ‘D’Hara’ (named after the world from my favourite book), and used the same name as the seed, just to see what I got.

After wandering around to find a new place to begin building, I came across a wide open space which I thought was ideal. I began to make the foundations and before I knew it, I was four hours in and I had barely even done the front of the house, let alone any other area. The best bit, however, was not the satisfaction of creating a monster build, but when Sam, surprisingly, had decided to join me online.

Not only had the game provided me with a way to keep my brain preoccupied up to now, but here we also had a perfect place to talk and connect.

This actually happened. Sam started it, I added the 2

This actually happened. Sam started it, I added the 2

If you had told me two years ago that I would find such comfort in Minecraft, I would have told you that you had been dropped at birth. Until I was convinced by my children, I had little or no interest in it at all; I just didn’t see the point. This was mainly because I was an outsider looking in. Once I played it for myself, got to grips with the fundamentals, I found it to be one of the most interesting games I’ve ever played. I can absolutely see why people are addicted to it.

Choosing Minecraft for my game of choice through this difficult time seems like a no brainer in retrospect. I had to find something to do that would keep occupied when I was all alone. Being able to have a new adventure every day was certainly what I was looking for. With each strategically placed block, I was able to think of something else other than what was making me hurt. Before I knew it, I’d knocked down a wall again, or changed something else. I was making something spectacular.

A new dawn, a new day... a total cliche

A new dawn, a new day… a total cliche

With Sam deciding to join me in the way that she did, I was able to find a common ground with her, and we could have a laugh and a joke together without it being strange. We were experiencing some of what we did when we were together.

I think that if it wasn’t for Minecraft, I would have gone a little crazy, especially at times when the kids were in bed or I was home alone. Creating something from nothing allowed me to forge a bond with the woman I have loved and also lost. I got a chance to have a new adventure and it’s been a life saver. I had a lot of different blocks which fit in the places they needed to be, and bits of my broken life have been slowly pulled back together again. I’m feeling normal once more.

More than that, as I journey through my world, still making new buildings, gardens and creating something awesome, I’m also finding hope.

Me and Sam are still not together and I may have to face one day that it may never happen, but we are talking and have found more common ground than I could have ever imagined, thanks partly to Minecraft. Things are looking up and we are talking more like we used to, long before things got messed up.

The highlight of my day is turning on my PS4 and going into my world. Even if I am alone, I know she will follow soon enough. I know that we will talk and things will seem better.

Minecraft saved my sanity, something I don’t think would have been possible with any other game.