The Minecraft Experiment, day 21: The Veil

Tom Francis at

Minecraft Hell Diary - Day 21 - Cave View

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. Now I'm trying to get to hell and back. The diary starts here, and we're up to the 21st.

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Day 22 >


World 10, deaths 9

Space! After digging under an entire sea of lava and what felt like most of the rest of hell, I'm finally on the surface in a huge, beautiful cavern of twisting platforms and glooping drips of lava.

And, unfortunately, Ghasts. Every time I mention my trouble with the fireball-spitting jellyfish, someone in the comments tells me to bat them back. It doesn't sound like the kind of sport you try to learn when you're playing with a no-respawn rule, but what the hell. My armour's in surprisingly good nick considering, I'm at full health thanks to my hearty stock of grilled pork, and I'd love to clear this awesome cave out and claim it for myself.





I hit one! The other three hit my chest, my face, and my hiding place respectively. I don't want to play this game any more.

The one fireball I did manage to whack back just shot off uselessly in the wrong direction, so any hope of actually defeating the Ghasts is dead. The route from here to the other side of the cave, in the direction I'm meant to be traveling in, is criss-crossed with tickles of lava running over the rock. Jumping those with fireballs knocking me around just doesn't seem wise, so I'm going to have to do a little more digging to survive this.

It's not so bad, actually. I'm just below the surface, so I keep breaking through to fresh air, and by fresh I mean heavy with the stench of mutant zombies made from rotting pig parts. I also keep breaking through to lava, but that's nearly killed me so many times that it's now almost routine to rapidly block the flow and have a panic attack.

Eventually I've tunneled almost to the other side, and I break out into the open and immediately have to stop myself. I'm over a sea of lava, familiarly enough, but it's tiny. The ocean is to the left, all I've got to cross is a tiny inlet - almost jumping distance.

It's not jumping distance - I'm not that stupid. I need to build a bridge. The Ghasts are far enough away that they're not firing at me right now, but I don't want to risk that happening suddenly, and while I'm standing over a one-block-wide bridge over lava.

It takes me a minute to figure out the logic of the situation - I can build a barrier, but they can destroy it. So I need to build a barrier without them seeing me. They can shoot through hell rock, but they won't do it if they haven't spotted me in the first place, however close they roam.

So I jump up, briefly entering the danger zone but not while any are near, and slap one block down in mid-air. When I land, that block is high enough that I can keep building others onto the side of it to form a full screen, blocking line of sight for every Ghast in that direction.

It takes a while, but eventually I've got a barrier behind me, and the beginnings of a bridge ahead. As I walk precariously out onto it, I extend the wall alongside me to hide me from that angle too.

For once, everything goes my way. I build all the way to the other shore, not wanting to risk even a tiny hop over molten rock, and I'm safe.

This side is pretty deserted, and it's about as far as I can go in the direction I'm headed. I'll have to burrow through this wall to get any further.

In this moment of safety, I realise I'm tired. I'm not surprised that journeying through hell is hard, but I'm exhausted by how relentlessly I've had to fight to survive. I'm not even getting very far - I have to be so careful about each threat that I'd probably be making more ground walking at a normal pace in the real world, even though distances are seven times further there.

So instead of digging through this wall, I dig up. I do what I tried to on that island in the lava sea - head for the roof of the cave, and dig into the ceiling until I hit the top of the world. You can't dig through it, but you can dig along it. There may be lava up there - I assume that's where all these trickles and falls are coming from - but there won't be Ghasts, and digging in a straight line would be refreshingly simple. I'll dig until everything I can dig with has snapped, then I'll finally slap down these fourteen blocks of obsidian and build a gateway home.

I'm ready for the 'back' part of 'hell and back'.

Next:The journey home.