Mourning Technoblade: Fans Mourn a Minecraft Star They Never Met

Mourning Technoblade: Fans Mourn a Minecraft Star They Never Met

Late last month, more than 10.4 million subscribers to a YouTube channel received a notification that usually brought good news: Technoblade, an expert Minecraft player, had posted a new video.

For fans, each new video promised the warm humor of Technoblade, whether it was winning a tournament or embarking on an inexplicable quest to produce more potatoes than anyone else in a Minecraft minigame.

But when fans clicked play this latest video, called “see you later nerds,” It was immediately obvious that something was wrong. Instead of showing Minecraft gameplay, a man appeared who identified himself as Technoblade’s father. He announced that his son, whose first name was Alex, had died after being diagnosed with cancer.

The video has been viewed more than 72.9 million times since it was posted on June 30, as fans who used to wait for notifications from Technoblade try to process the death of someone they only know through a screen.

Social media is awash with fan art, tributes, and links to grief resources. Monuments have been erected within Minecraft, including a digital book which had been signed by more than 377,000 people.

The pain has ricocheted offline, including at the home of Noelle, 13, and her sister Ilana, 11, who had recently told their aunt to name their baby Technoblade.

In a video call from her home near Toronto, Noelle said she learned Alex had died on her last day of school.

“It was just a mess,” he said. “I was sitting in my room crying. Not know what to do”.

Ilana, who dressed up as Technoblade’s avatar, a pig with a crown, for Halloween, said: “I don’t like to bring it up when I’m sitting with others.”

They both started watching Alex’s videos in late 2020. They liked his light-hearted banter with other Minecraft players and how he monologued about the absurdity of the routine parts of life, like using and losing, a box to carry soap to a communal shower at the university.

Alex talked about screen recordings of himself playing Minecraft, the hugely popular video game developed by Mojang Studios in which players can create their own world piece by piece and compete against others online. The game developer was later bought by Microsoft.

The guided game garnered such a following that the company paid tribute to Technoblade on its launch page after his death. Mojang Studios said that Technoblade “became synonymous with a source of good” in an emailed statement.

Among Technoblade’s most beloved gaming adventures was his whimsical quest to make more potatoes than anyone else in Minecraft, a feat first documented in The Great Potato War video, which had 35.8 million views.

In the video, Alex makes several references to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, as he attempts to take down the leading potato farmer at the time, a player who goes by the nickname im_a_squid_kid. After Technoblade sees that his competition has created a representation of the Mona Lisa in their Minecraft lair, he declares that im_a_squid_kid is not just “a potato nut, but a potato supervillain.”

In Alex’s videos, he talked about going to college (and giving up to play Minecraft full time) and made occasional references to his family, but there was a clear line between Alex, the son and brother, and Technoblade. His family has tried to maintain that privacy since his death and declined to be interviewed.

Alex announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer at a August 2021 video uploaded with jokes in which he also mentioned that he was 22 years old at the time. He did not specify what type of cancer he had, but his supporters assumed he had sarcoma, a rare form of cancer found in the bones and soft tissues, because he created a fundraiser for the Sarcoma Foundation of America at his Youtube. page. He had raised over $500,000 for the organization before the “so long nerds” video was released.

The foundation, which created a special donation page for Technoblade, said an estimated 17,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with sarcoma in 2022 and more than 7,200 people will die from the disease.

After Alex’s death, his fans encouraged eligible people to donate blood to help cancer patients.

Riley, a 21-year-old from Connecticut, routinely donates blood in honor of a friend who died of sarcoma, and made her most recent donation in honor of Technoblade. She said that her death was made even more difficult because of her earlier loss. “I was crying like a baby for a couple of hours,” she said. (Riley spoke on the condition that her last name not be used because she has faced online harassment.)

He’s been playing Minecraft for about 10 years, but he didn’t discover Technoblade until the early days of the pandemic, when he was working grueling shifts at a grocery store. “There wasn’t a lot of joy in my life being an essential worker,” she said.

He liked Technoblade’s humor and introduced his videos to some of his co-workers, who reminisced about his famous potato war at work. “We were stocking potatoes one night and we started laughing,” he said.

Technoblade inspired Riley to start streaming videos of herself playing video games or streaming, under the name Notable_Crayon. It’s been a great way to relax, she said, but it’s also shown her why someone as popular as Technoblade would protect her identity offline from her.

Occasionally, people find out Riley’s full name and send her “creepy” messages, she said. She also has a friend who was the victim of false reports of crimes in progress intended to lure armed police to the victim’s home. Her friend was not injured, but others were injured, with one man killed by police and another dying of a heart attack.

In the “So Long, Nerds” video, Alex’s father read a letter that he said his son wrote about eight hours before he died. In the letter, Alex acknowledged the consequences of sharing personal information online, revealing that he and a brother had managed to convince fans online that his first name was Dave by using the name in a 2016 video, which was later removed. .

Alex said the prank resulted in “thousands of creepy guys online trying to get too personal and saying, ‘Hey Dave, how’s it going?'”.

For some fans, the mystery of Alex’s identity has added a layer of confusion to the confusion of pain.

Richard England, vicar of Crofton Parish on Britain’s south coast, said his teenage sons were devastated by Alex’s death and had some conversations about how not knowing Technoblade’s offline identity affected their grief.

“Through this new online and offline world that we have, a lot of them will feel like they know Technoblade and other members of those online communities better than they know the kids at their own school,” said Mr England. , 47 years old. “They will have spent so much time with them.”

In Canada, Noelle and Ilana’s mother, Janice, admitted she was initially skeptical about the idea that you could have fun watching videos of someone else playing video games. But she said the girls had educated her about the world of Minecraft and her personalities, which she now appreciates.

Janice, 52, was well equipped to handle her children’s grief by Technoblade because she said she previously worked with bereaved children as a child life specialist, a role that helps children and families deal with the stress they experience. due to health problems, hospitalization and bereavement. .

He said that adults tend to want to protect children from uncomfortable feelings, but that it was important to give them space to express, or not express, how they felt about Technoblade.

“If we help our children get through grief when they experience it,” he said, “then they will be able to cope better when they are older and have other situations in their lives that cause them to grieve.”

On the video call with her daughters, Janice said that her sister in Maryland had called after Technoblade’s death, because her son was also a big fan. The boy had decided to raise funds for the sarcoma foundation, Janice said, prompting Ilana to turn to her mother and ask, “Is there any way she can help you with that?”

Leave a Comment