In the morning from the apocalyptic war, President Tubbo roamed the grassy hills of his estate, L’Manberg. His second-in-command, TommyInnit, rested beside him on a bench, nodding stoically. “Listen,” TommyInnit began, stopping dramatically. “I know you must have exiled me.”
Gestures with their Lego-like avatars, TommyInnit and Tubbo were putting an end to the tension in a Macchiavellian political drama that has unfolded over the past year. in Minecraft. Last week, over a million people logged in to watch live. TommyInnit said they would leave the past behind; he was no longer angry. L’Manberg’s future was in jeopardy. “It’s got to be me and you versus Dream, as it always has been,” TommyInnit said.
Dream is the owner of the Dream SMP server, since May the home of a virtual world built entirely by dozens of characters navigating intrigue and betrayal, with arcs and storylines more unpredictable than any TV. reality. Video games are not just pop culture, but material for its creation. And from that knowledge, a new theatrical tradition emerged – gunky and psychedelic and silly and random in that “lol so randOm” way that only the internet can be. Some of the most popular online video games have evolved into live theater stages, broadcast to millions of people on Twitch and YouTube.
Including Minecraft, game part and digital sandbox part. It is as if the imagined dramas that children invent around their Lego sets are obvious and infinitely malleable. Blocks and blocks of colorful terrain form perfect replicas of the Removed as if by magic universe or The iron Throne‘The landing of the king. Building is the base skill, but there is also a Survival mode, where players can collect items, craft tools, and fight creatures or against each other.
Dream SMP is just that: Dream player’s survival multiplayer server, where top Minecraft celebrities have built a continuous, mostly improvised narrative over dozens of combined hours of live streaming. On Twitch, attendees go live separately on their own channels to promote the fictional drama through their unique perspectives to their millions of subscribers. Their fans have assembled Thucydidean wikis describing each conflict: the BT period (before TommyInnit), the controversial election between the So We Are Gamers (SWAG2020) and Politicians of Gaming (POG2020) parties, the second pet war, until ‘at Doomsday.
“The stories are generally told in a more traditional way on television, in movies and in musicals. What is happening here is unique, ”says Quackity of Dream SMP. “For many people, Minecraft is a game where people extract and collect resources. We have legitimized the fact that we can tell very interesting stories through video games. “
Dream SMP has a small, exclusive writers room. It’s on Discord. The personalities that make up the storyline secretly meet in voice channels to sketch out general plot points: an election, perhaps, or a new building. Written declarations of war (“Sometimes you just have to kill people, sometimes yaknow – Sun Tzu”) or military strategies. However, once the live broadcasts get started, things can quickly go off the rails, and often do. Quackity recalled having waited on stage at a podium for the results of the presidential election of Dream SMP. His SWAG2020 teammate, GeorgeNotFound, did not show up. It turned out that he slept during the event.
“We’re kidding about it. This whole Dream SMP tradition has happened thanks to GeorgeNotFound, ”Quackity explains. Abandoned, Quackity formed an impromptu political party with a drunken insurgent, Jschlatt, to form SchWAG2020. They won with 46% of the popular vote against 45% for POG2020.
Role-playing in online video games is about as old as online video games themselves; In the 90s, Multi-User Dungeon Players (RP MUD) prescribed rules of engagement and built elaborate storylines through elaborate and invented characters, all with text. In early massively multiplayer online role-playing games, players would forgo the prescribed storyline to take advantage of avatar modes, emotes, and customizable homes for community storytelling. But live video platforms like Twitch and YouTube have reformulated role-playing from private video games into entertainment and corporate entertainment. It’s an art form that has become a true visual experience, a cultural machine, closer to live theater than Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins’ Fortnite trickshots.