The Minecraft Experiment, day 6: Melting

Tom Francis at

Minecraft Diary - Flood

When I first started playing Minecraft a few months ago, I played with a rule: if I die, I have to delete the entire world. This is the sixth entry in the diary I kept of that experiment - the first is here.

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World 3, Deaths 2

OK, so the jump key lets you swim. I didn’t know that, but hammering it in my panic let me squirm out of my hole into the flooded tunnel, where the current swept me back to the staircase I was digging.

Good news, guys! I found the river!

Coming terrifyingly close to death has shaken my resolve to discover everything for myself, so rather than mine aimlessly downward in the hope of discovering metal, I just ask Graham where you get it.

It turns out I already have metal, about 16 blocks of it - it’s those lumps of Caramac I’ve been finding in the stone. I thought it might be, but I couldn’t figure out a way to turn them into something I can craft with.

It turns out I need a stone furnace. Once I know that, finding the particular arrangement of blocks to build one isn’t hard, and I love torches so I have a ridiculous amount of coal stocked up. Soon I have a healthy fire melting all my Caramac into purest iron, and then a whole new world of crafting opens up.

I made a hat! I made a sword! I made a bucket! I made metal trousers! I made a spade! I’ve run out of metal! I forgot to make a pick!

I nip back upstairs to scoop up some of the flood water with my new bucket, then don my metal trousers and clatter back down to the rockface. I’m chipping away at it for more ore when a loud growl stops me.

All the areas I’ve dug are well-lit, so there can’t be any monsters there. I dig a little further down and the growling gets closer, more frequent, and eventually joined by others. There must be at least four of them, whatever makes that noise.

I’m just about to analyse what I’m doing, and probably decide that it’s stupid, when my pick hits some mossy stone I’ve never seen before. I am scared, and I do want to play it safe, but some mossy stone I’ve never seen before? Of course I'm going to smash it.

As soon as I do, I strike legs. A rich vein of purest legs. I wasn’t mining for legs, I am not trained in leg extraction, but legs I have found. In quantity.

What I’ve actually found is a dungeon. I’ve read about these. One type of monster - in this case zombies - spawns endlessly from a cage in the middle, and chests of rare treasure lie around the edge. I know they lie around the edge because I can see two of them through the one metre gap I’ve dug, between a forest of legs.

In fact, I can reach them.

I don’t know if reaching through zombie legs to loot treasure chests is dangerous, but it feels dangerous. Enough that I don’t even look at what I’m taking - I just frantically click icons until everything’s in my inventory. When I back out, brick up the hole and take stock - zombie gurgles unsettlingly close - my haul is bizarre.

String! Yay? I guess that’s valuable in that I haven’t found any before, but what I can do with it I have no idea.

Wheat! Oh, precious wheat! These zombies really knew how to hoard.

Eggs! For that souffle I’ve always dreamed of!

Gunpowder! For that gunpowder souffle I’ve always dreamed of!

A leather thing! I think that’s leather. I have no idea what it is or does, or what this thing dangling off it is.

When I stop dancing, I get back to digging my tunnel. And before long, I hit another type of block I’ve never seen before. I have a split second to identify it as ‘lava’ before it floods into my face.

Next:AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!