The Minecraft Experiment, day 18: The Red Sea

Tom Francis

Minecraft Diary - Day 18 - Zombie Pig Island

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 over Christmas new entries will go up weekly on Wednesdays.

World 10, deaths 9

Right, a sea of lava. I can probably do this. There's probably a way to do this. This might be doable.

I could turn around, of course, but the whole point of this experiment is to get as far as possible in one direction in the Nether realm, so that I'll be eight times as far from home when I build a portal back to the real world. If I turn back every time I hit an obstacle - well, it's hell. It's made of obstacles.

The only thing I can think, staring out at the lava sea while dodging the occasional Ghast fireball, is that I've been in a situation like this before. Trying to avoid Creepers back in the real world, I moonwalked through the air building a one-block bridge beneath me as I went.

Ghast fireballs would make that tricky in this situation - you can't stop and carefully peer over the edge to place the next block. The fireballs don't just hurt, they destroy everything in a four metre radius. The bridge itself would be smashed and I'd fall - which, over lava, is frowned upon.

But it's really the only option. If you do it perfectly, aiming at exactly the right spot and slapping a block down with metronomic precision when the end of your bridge comes into view, you can keep moving continuously as you do this. Not fast, but maybe fast enough to be out of the blast radius when the next Ghast shot hits.

So I have to do it exactly right, and it still might not work. I hate things like that.

I do need some breathing room to get started, so I can't build this bridge from the surface. I duck back underground and tunnel out to the cliff face, so I can start my bridge out of sight of the Ghasts, in a hopefully fireball-free zone. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was famous for his strict insistence on a fireball-free working environment, as I recall.

Perfect.

OK, well it's less perfect now.

That's better.

This is daunting. But there is a clump of land out there - an island of zombie pigmen I can drop down onto when I'm half way, to restock on blocks and hide to let the Ghasts disperse. I gulp, turn around, and walk backwards out over the sea of molten rock.

Donk.

Donk.

Donk. Donk. Donk. Donk. Donkdonkdonkdonk- BOOM.

Donkdonkdonkdonkdonkdonk-BOOM-donkdonk-BOOM-donkdonkdonkdonk-BOOM-donk-BOOM-do-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-donkBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM.

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. After minutes of being able to see nothing but the lava beneath me and the blocks I'm frantically donking down, I've glimpsed the island and it's in the wrong place . I need to be at least ten metres to the right to land on it when I drop off this bridge. With the storm of Ghast fireballs reaching fever pitch, my bridge in tatters, I have to very, very carefully change direction.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOMBOOMBOOM Donk. Donk. Donk. Donk. Donkdonkdonkdonk-BOOOOOOOOOM

It hits me. My bridge is obliterated and I'm sent flying into the air, exacly over the lava coast of the island below. But the fireball hit in front of me, sending me backwards. Backwards is the way I want to go. That gives me just enough momentum to reach dry land during my fall, at which point I pummel a hole in the blood-red rock until I'm sitting at the bottom of a dark pit, safe from Ghast eyes.

I dig a chunk out of the rock and light a fire in it to see my surroundings, and immediately burn myself on it.

God damn it.

Next: Crossing the other, bigger lava sea .

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