The Minecraft Experiment, day 2: The Dark
When I first started playing Minecraft a few months back, I played with a rule: if I die, I have to delete the entire world. This is the second entry in the diary I kept of that experiment, the first is here.
World 2, Deaths 1
I have no idea what killed me in World 1. I guess waterfalls explode? There are landmines in the snow? I’m explosively allergic to the dark? It doesn’t matter now, that gorgeous place is lost and I’m in a new one.
This one’s made of water. The moment it pops into existence I’m staring out to sea, with shallow sandy islands rising up out of it in the distance. Enticed, I dive in, sink, and start gurgling.
You can’t swim, I deduce, as I find a sandy ridge to clamber up before I drown. Nevermind, I like the island I’m on anyway. In fact, I’m not going to start wrecking it randomly. I’m going to see how far I can get just by exploring.
Every time I look around I notice new cool things in the horizon. This time I notice a slanting mountain that seems to extend into a horizontal plateau at its peak, and instinctively head in that direction.
I’m clambering up a smaller peak on my way when it starts to get dark. Uh oh. I’ve heard of a lot of nasty things in Minecraft, but during the day all I’ve seen are cows and pigs. I don’t know if bad things come out at night, but I don’t want to be halfway up a mountain when I find out.
After about five seconds of punching solid rock, I realise that I probably can’t wreck this particular bit of the world yet. In real life, I’m usually quicker at realising things like this.
I carry on up the cliff face, and by the time I reach softer ground it’s already hard to see. Panicking, I pummel the earth like a stepchild’s face and it crumbles - plunging me headfirst into a pitch black cave behind.
I stare into the cave for a while, still with fear, but I really can’t see anything. Very, very carefully, I head back towards the dim moonlight and set down blocks of earth to wall the scary cave off, leaving me in a tiny shallow alcove. Once I’m totally sure it’s sealed, I risk turning my back on it to peer carefully out at the world.
I jump out of my motherloving skin.
What the fuck was that? What the hell nearly hit my head? Is that a fucking arrow stuck in the wall? Did someone just shoot a fucking arrow at me? Jesus Christ! What is out there?
I cram myself back against the makeshift barrier I’d set up. My hole is just two squares: one next to the doorway shaped hole I came in through, and the one I’m standing in now - hidden from the outside world but gloomy and claustrophobic.
I quickly drop a block of earth at the doorway to make sure nothing can climb in, the one square hole remaining now my only source of dim moonlight. I try blocking it up, but the disorientation is terrifying: in the pitch black, the slightest mouse movement could let me lose track of which way is out, doomed to burrow into a mountain full of terrifying dark caves.
I break it open again.
Eventually I pluck up the courage to peer out of the hole, scanning frantically for an archer or something. I see cows still, pigs, and- fuck, is that something humanoid in the water down there? I’m edging closer to the mouth of my hole to get a better look when there’s a horrific squelchy growl inches from my ear, and I jump out of my motherloving skin.