Minecraft came out back in 2009. Since its alpha version, it has gathered a large number of players from every part of the world. Today, Minecraft has a player base of 126 million players. Entire cities and servers have been built by players to expand the peaceful game with infinite creative possibilities. For some players, it even serves as a coping mechanism and they create Minecraft memorials.
Many people who have suffered from loss or a tragic event in their life use Minecraft to sort out and process through their feelings. This is one reason why memorials are popular in Minecraft. In 2016 when the game suffered a downturn in its player base, many of the players left their servers.
But those who stayed built marvelous online memorial sites for their loved ones, in-game friends who left, and even real-world events such as 9/11. Below are some of the best and most moving of these memorials.
1. Underwater Temple
Underwater temples are naturally-spawning, Atlantis-like structures planted in the oceans for players to find. Deep inside the temple lies not only gold and rare wet sponges but guardians that can slow you down and fight you, as well.
Minecraft’s lead creative director, Jens Bergensten, said his goal with the sprawling underwater temple structures was to create a maze for players to explore. There are three “key” rooms to find in the labyrinth before the inner chamber can be reached.
While the underwater relics weren’t a nod to any specific story or idea, the concept of the lost city of Atlantis resonates with players as they work their way through the temple structures.
2. Emenbee’s Memorial
A player named Bryan started his server named Emenbee back in October 2011 months after the game first came out. For several years he was dedicated to making his server one of the best available.
While Emenbee started out as a single server, through Bryan's efforts, it grew to over ten servers all around the world and hosted 1500 unique players. The Emenbee server was elevated to the status of Emenbee Realm and was stated to be one of the fastest-growing realms in Minecraft.
At the start of 2018, Pendar2, which was Bryan's in-game name, started showing as inactive. Many thought that his interests had shifted and he had given up on Minecraft. But the reality was far from those assumptions.
Bryan had been diagnosed with cancer. He bravely endured chemotherapy and surgeries for many months, and after a while, doctors thought that he was cured. Then, it unexpectedly came back. Emenbee was eventually shut down by Bryan as he was unable to keep up with the stress of operating the server.
During the course of its life, Emenbee saw over 1 million unique players, and many were heartbroken when they heard about Bryan's death. Players gathered to leave tributes at an in-game memorial built by themselves to honor Pendar2.
Bryan's memorial is surrounded by wooden signs with messages left by some of the one million people who saw Bryan as a mentor and a friend. Bryan's best friend Mod_Masta left his moving tribute on his twitter and the Emenbee realms website.
“Bryan (Pendar2) was a true friend and an absolute gift to this world. He was an unbeatable server owner that I shared so many happy moments with. He will forever live in my memories. Rest in Peace.” — Mod_masta (@Mod_masta) March 21, 2019
"I played on this server since its birth. I'm saddened by its shutdown. The friends and memories I made are priceless. Thank you all for the time of my life," a player wrote at Bryan’s in-game memorial site.
"In its prime, this was the best part of my day," reads another message. "Thank you for making EM the best place to be. I will never forget all that you've done for me as a person."
While the story of Emenbee is a sad one, amazing amounts of love was displayed through the hundreds of messages and signs left at the memorial. Bryan's work brought joy to thousands of people and he left them with memories of friendship and good times spent in the world he created.
3. Abraham Lincoln Memorial
You might be surprised to learn that there isn’t just one Lincoln Memorial — there are many! Since Minecraft is a game that lets its players build anything their heart desires, multiple players have taken it upon themselves to create scale models of the Lincoln Memorial.
Depending on where you travel within the world of Minecraft, you can explore the entire city of Washington D.C. including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Whitehouse, and the Pentagon.
Some teachers have even used this portion of Minecraft as interactive material to teach their students about Washington D.C.
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4. 9/11 Memorial
The events that occurred on 9/11 shook the world and left an indelible mark. Even though it occurred in 2001 and Minecraft came out in 2009, Minecraft players sought an opportunity to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day.
The first 9/11 memorial was made in 2011 by a YouTuber named CallOfDutyYEAH. He created it in the memory of the relatives and friends that he lost. According to him, he built the memorial as a final goodbye to all those he lost.
Since then, many 9/11 memorials have been created by other players. While the memorials might look slightly different, the sentiment behind them all is the same.
5. Pauline’s Memorial
Minecraft has always provided a community for players to have fun, relax, make memories, and even cope with loss. One example of this occurred in 2013 when a Minecraft player lost his wife, Pauline, due to ovarian cancer. He and Pauline used to play Minecraft together. After her death, the player built a memorial in her honor.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of this story is that the entire memorial was created by one person alone. Pauline’s husband was so heartbroken that he couldn't bear to let anyone else help him build. His friends helped him gather materials for the build, but he designed and built the entire memorial himself.
At the foot of the memorial, it is written, "In Memoriam, Pauline, 1972-2013, 'Chikii.'" Pauline’s husband, whose in-game name is GasBandit, said that "She was diagnosed in early July and was gone by Thanksgiving. She didn't exhibit any symptoms until she was already at stage four. Building this has been a part of my coping process. I have put all my anger and all my sorrow in this. This memorial is to honor the woman I loved in the game she loved."
6. PewDiePie Joergen Memorial
PewDiePie is Youtube's most famous YouTuber. Though Minecraft was the first gameplay he ever posted on his channel, he hadn’t played it since that time. He mentioned several times in videos that he thought Minecraft was a kids game and that he would never play it. In 2019, PewDiePie had a change of heart, and for the first time in years, he started a new Minecraft gameplay series.
The PewDiePie Minecraft “Let’s Play” series caused a massive boost in Minecraft players and revitalized the slowly dying community of Minecraft. While PewDiePie mainly focuses on humor, there were moments in his game that genuinely left the viewers heartbroken.
Such an example was the death of his horse Joergen. In part 5 of his Let’s Play gameplay series, PewDiePie attempted to leave the nether while on Joergen through the nether portal. This resulted in Joergen disappearing and glitching into the edge of the portal in the overworld and suffocating to death. It was indeed a tragic moment.
In the memory of his first horse, Joergen, PewDiePie built a grave out of grey wool with flowers and an item frame as a memorial. Later he replaced the wool with gold blocks. PewDiePie regularly drops melons on the grave to pay his respect to his first horse.
Many other memorials also have been built in the PewDiePie Minecraft world to honor the death of Joergen#2, water sheep, and more.
Later, Ikea tower was built and dedicated to the memory of all the fallen heroes in Minecraft.
Minecraft Memorials: A Lasting Tribute
Minecraft has been a global breakout success and the game is full of caring, hard-working players. Every player has a unique, personal relationship with the game that allows them to create something connected to their lives. Minecraft allows its players to mold their own universes, and when it comes to pure creation, the possibilities are limitless.
That is why Minecraft has been a go-to for those who have suffered from traumatic events and the loss of someone close to them. The peaceful music and lush green environment create a truly serene place for people to share their grief and offer online condolences.
Emenebee's memorial, Pauline’s memorial, and hundreds like them are all evidence of how the Minecraft community uses the popular online game to express grief. While online memorial sites are not new, Minecraft gave them a whole new meaning.
It’s entirely possible that we’ll even see virtual funerals on this platform in the coming future. Since the press f to pay respects meme, virtual funerals have seen a boom in popularity. Minecraft layers have poured hours and days into creating memorials to honor their loved ones and pay final respects. Perhaps this is something you can do if you need a place to share your sorrow.