The latest resurgence of Minecraft into popular culture is caused by multiple things. One such is the simple passing of time and nostalgia – where we now have people in their 20s that have witnessed their favourite content creators start their careers on the game. These same people have since re-discovered it for themselves.
Others were drawn back with the increase in high quality updates. After long periods of no updates or updates we wish we never had (diorite and its friends), Mojang and Microsoft seem to have finally started paying proper attention to the game and giving it quality, new content with which creators to interact.
However, the event which is often credited as the revival of Minecraft is the start of the SMLive server and the beginning of the “SMP” style servers, such as “SMP World” and “Dream SMP”.
Started on the 1st of March 2019 by the streamers “cscoop” and “CallMeCarson”, along with another 10 players, SMPLive eventually brought together over 130 players. In order to begin playing on the server, you had to be a streaming during play, with stream donators being able to place “hits” on other players, which meant that the streamer would have to kill the other play in game.
With many content creators playing, some of whom were active during the original boom of Minecraft, many of the older fans who had forgotten about the game would end up watching. Seeing the interactions, the memes, and the possibilities in the game, would lead many of us to return to not only playing Minecraft again, but also watching favorite new and old Minecraft creators.
While SMPLive is fondly remembered, and introduced many great personalities to new audiences, the server was for the most part vanilla Minecraft, we would watch the funny moments compilations and have a great time, the tune to streamer mining stone for hours. The popularity was fading, new SMP servers were taking the spotlight, and on December 31st the finale happened, where a museum was made, the server whitelist was removed, allowing anyone to join for a brief period, after which the server was shut down a few minutes later on January 1st 2020.
One of the reasons which led to the drop in viewership for the SMPLive server, was the creation of the SMP Earth server on the 22nd of November 2019. While still mostly the vanilla game, the map was made to be a 1:3000 scale representation of the real world. Players were able to create factions and claim land, as well as form alliances or even go to war with other factions.
Many of the players and thus viewers from SMPLive migrated to SMP Earth, as well as many new players. In order to play, you had to be content creator who knew an already whitelisted player, and be vouched for by other creators.
The server ran for 142 days and in that period many events took place, so much so that to this day I still find new lore from that project. However, while so many content creators were invited, many of them became less active or not playing at all, as such the server had the feeling of being “empty” or “dead”. Nonetheless, being a viewer of the Antarctic empire, I had plenty of content (and world domination) to experience. However, the server was indeed losing viewership and interest, and was it was finally shut down on the 11th of April 2020.
After the shutdown of the SMP Earth server, a fast growing Minecraft Youtuber – Dream, known for his speedruns and “Manhunt” series, started his “Dream SMP” server on the 25th of April 2020.
While the server originally began as a Minecraft Survival server for Dream and his friends, after the addition of new members (especially TommyInnit), drama, chaos and conflict would arise. The server quickly became into a roleplay server, where the streamers played an exaggerated version of themselves. Soon after, a plot would start to be written, and the server would become a scripted show of sorts.
While the server is still mostly creators playing the game, the plot will bring them together to interact and create content that is not hours of stone mining. The story would also bring an actual goal for players, who often reach the top of the Minecraft upgrade tree - Netherite tools and armor, in just a few days. For example the destruction of the L’Manberg faction led to many players having to work and rebuild it, and its second destruction led to players leaving and creating multiple smaller factions which they had to build from the ground up.
Another goal brought to the story was the prison, a cool Minecraft build in any server, here it has an actual purpose, to keep a prisoner locked up without being able to escape with any possible Minecraft mechanic. This server took a long time for its builder “Awesomedude” to make, and has been the latest part of the story, with Dream being locked up after generally acting as the villain on the server.
The Dream SMP server has brought many of its content creators to the spotlight and many have reached sky-high viewership. For example, Technoblade had almost a million concurrent viewers during his stream on YouTube, where he was working along with Dream and Ph1lza to destroy L’Manburg a second time. TommyInnit had over 650k viewers during the “finale” of his storyline with Dream, which led to Dream’s imprisonment. And a small youtuber “Ranboo” who started streaming in September 2020, has managed to become the most subscribed to streamer on Twitch during his “subathon” stream on the 20th of February 2021.
The Dream SMP has managed to maintain interest in Minecraft much like its predecessors and has brought great attention to new and old great personalities whom greatly deserve it. While the server has seen somewhat of a drop in interest after the L’Manberg destruction and the TommyInnit finale. The creators who are active with the writing of the story have mentioned that plenty of cool lore is coming soon. The server has persisted much longer than its predecessors and it seems it is here to stay for the time being.
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