November 9, 2023 | FEATURES | By Zeke Lloyd
Disclaimer: This writer was one of the event’s main organizers.
A tour came through the Worner Campus Center a little after noon on Saturday. The clock displaying the time remaining read a little over 12 hours. We were in good spirits. The dawn that morning had provided enough momentum to last through the early afternoon. It was gone by 3 p.m.
But when the tour came through, we were laughing and chatting. Looking around at our haggard yet determined faces, I wondered what we looked like to prospective students. I wondered what it made them think about this place. What would this have meant to me?
Over the course of our time playing, many people came through Worner Center. Some gave us funny looks. Some just watched for a moment, silently, then moved on. Most people ignored us.
But a few chose to share their opinions outright.
There were only two kinds of comments. The first kind were the various forms of support people shared. For instance, the game’s outset was charged with electricity. A number of people stayed around for a while to watch.
But at some point late Friday night, after we passed hour three, the board game club descended from the second floor and stood for a while, looking at our humble huddle. When they left, the initial crowd followed.
There were not many visitors during the early hours of Saturday morning. Very few of us stayed to play until dawn. Then came the Rastall brunch rush. We started to notice a change in the commentary. We began hearing the same question, over and over again.
Why hadn’t we beaten the game?
Throughout the entire session, we only beat the game once. It was at hour 16. Just a little after lunch on Saturday afternoon.
Beating it had a particular effect on us. Suddenly, we had nothing left to do.
We had eight hours to kill. That’s when it became about pushing ourselves.
“I’m exhausted. I don’t want to be doing this anymore, I know it’s rotting my brain,” said Ian Johnson ’24, one of the event’s main organizers.
The trick was to convince yourself it mattered. It was ludicrous; the medium felt so reductive. But the idea that the world we made had consequences. That things we built mattered. That adventures still held both risk and reward. That kept us going. So we tried to convince ourselves.
Then you realize it’s crazy to really care all that much about Minecraft. And then you notice the lights, in the last 20 hours, have not changed at all. You remember you’ve seen a sunset, a sunrise, and now there’s another sunset approaching.
You miss the world outside. And you’re excited to go back. You miss all the people who would’ve made it easier.
Over the time we were there, we had over 40 players. Some family members and close friends called in to play. Countless students dropped by our corner of Worner for just a few minutes.
We could not have done it without them. We found a community at the tables, and we felt the support from those we loved. It would have been impossible without both.
But after hecklers came to terms with our slow in-game progress, they started asking a different question. Really, everyone asked us this question eventually. It was the same question we keep asking ourselves: “Why are you doing this?”
By hour 18, we were on the brink. But we were still playing. None of us could explain it. “I can recognize that it’s irrational, but I’m going to do it anyway,” said Johnson.
If you have come here to find some explanation of why three people endeavored to play Minecraft for 24 consecutive hours, skip to the next article. Twenty-four hours later, we still don’t know why we did it.
It’s not why we did it, it’s why we tried. We wanted something larger. We put in 24 hours, and that number was multiplied by the investments from our community.
To those who put in 24-hours and to those who spent only five minutes, thank you for being part of something with us.
That’s all we wanted – something to share. It was just a time to be together, in one space, in one world. And it was fun.
Let’s do it again sometime.