The Minecraft Experiment, day 22: Last Day in Hell

Tom Francis at

Minecraft Diary 22 - Ghast Lurk

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 this is day 22.

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Day 23 >

 

World 10, deaths 9

I'm making a staircase to the ceiling of hell. Sounds sort of poetic, but it's actually incredibly dull. I'm going slightly mad from staring at endlessly exploding low-res rocks by the time my pick hits Adminium directly above - the only substance in Minecraft that can never be destroyed. I'm as high as I can go and as safe as I can be, so all that's left to do in this dimension is dig as far as I can humanly go. In other words, stare at more exploding low-res rocks.

I slap down some hellmud to double-check I'm heading in the right direction - the screaming faces in it point right, so I'm on the right track. And so I dig.

I wouldnt say I go entirely mad during the process, but I'll say this: it's a straight tunnel. I dig in one direction, never turning, deviating or encountering any kind of gap, obstacle or danger. But I still have to put mud down to check, three times, that I'm still heading in the same direction.

After hundreds, perhaps a thousand metres, my diamond pick finally snaps. That's saying something - hell stone only takes one hit to knock out, and diamond picks can take an extraordinary beating. I brought a stack of metal and a stack of wood with me for just this eventuality, so I punch out a little alcove and set up a workshop to make some steel pickaxes.

I make four, and in ten minutes I've broken three of them. I've gone an extraordinary distance, and it's not until my last pick is half broken that I think about where I am.

I'm at the roof, both of this world and presumably the other one. When you portal to or from hell, I think your altitude is preserved. I've been assuming that you always come out on land, but I don't actually know that. If I portal through and come out at cloud level, I'm going to be spectacularly screwed. I don't think that can happen, but there's no point in taking the risk. I may as well use my remaining pick strength to dig down, and hopefully come out at ground level.

So I build a staircase down. That's all I'm going to say about that, because it's every bit as boring as building one up. Up until the point where I fall into a huge cave.

There's a moment of utter panic before I realise I'm on dry land, I haven't taken that much fall damage, and this place is actually pretty sweet.

Big, open, lots of adorable rotting zombie pigmen, and there are only a couple of Ghasts. This might actually let me get significantly further before I head back home.

I'm on the second level of this cavern - in the gaps I can see a lava sea and another level of rock down there. That would be ideal for the portal, but I'm going to get as far as I can without digging first.

Pretty soon I reach a ledge that's blocked by mud. It's plain sailing on the other side, and I don't have to use up my last pick to get through this - I can use my shiny diamond spade. I knew that thing was worth the 148.3 million dollars I could have made selling the raw materials instead.

That's when, predictably, a Ghast attacks. I don't have a choice, I spade out some mud directly beneath my feet to sink out of sight, before the fireballs scorch off too much health. Once I'm hidden, I dig down through the rock more carefully, in the hope of reaching the ground floor - it uses up precious pickaxe durability, but it's pretty much life or death now.

When I finally do break through, the ground floor is perfect - wide open spaces, exactly at lava level, with spectacular views of the surrounding cavern that make it a suitably impressive place for an obsidian portal to another dimension.

The only problem is the Ghast. He evidently hadn't lost track of me through all my digging, and now he's making the regional fireball count annoyingly high. It's not hard to survive, but I need some peace to build my portal. So I start to erect a small wall, being careful not to bait him into shooting it to pieces.

Unfortunately a zombie pigman is standing in the way of the next block I urgently need to place, so I bat him out of the way with the rock in my hand.

Wait.

Shit!

No! I didn't mean it! I'm sorry ugly pigjerk! I forgot you were actually pretty vicious when pissed off, and that pissing one of you off pisses all of you off, and that I was surrounded by you, and that you never, ever stop stabbing me with golden swords until I'm dead. I swear, I thought you were defenceless when I hit you in the face with that rock!

I run backwards as their gold blades swing at me robotically, scarfing ham and slapping down blocks to try and block them. For the most part is just puts them on a pedestal while they stab me, but at last I manage to get two blocks up in quick succession and delay them a second. It gives me a chance to make a proper barrier and then - remembering the Ghast might destroy it at any time - dig frantically downwards with my bare hands.

I don't know how long I've been digging. I blocked the shaft up above me in case the horde of angry pigmen got through the barricade, so I'm in the pitch dark. After a while I start tunneling more sensibly, staircase-style, so I can't fall into any lava pits. Eventually I hit a small, empty cave, and I'm done. No more digging. I have the space, I'm building it here, and I'm going home.

I only have 14 bocks, the exact number needed to build a proper portal, so I am very, very careful to build it exactly right. You can leave off the corners and it'll still work, but without a diamond pick I don't have anything hard enough to chip out a misplaced block, so I could easily screw this up and leave myself stranded in hell forever.

For once, I don't. I build a perfect portal first time, light the center, and soon I'm facing the wibbly purple interface I stepped through to get here many days ago. I take one last look at the quietest, nicest place I've found in this noisy, horrible dimension, then step through.

I'm enclosed in solid rock.

Fuck.

Next:Surfacing.