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A Minecraft Expedition

August 12, 2012

 

A fine, new day breaks over my little mismatched shed of a house. I’m not particularly one for symmetry, and it shows in most of my Minecraft constructions, though not only is my house an oddity on the landscape, but the chosen spot for my house is somewhat of an oddity.

It all looks wonderful and unassuming, and most of all, doesn’t hint at the true danger that sits close by.

For what lays beyond the door of my little get away on the lake is this…

Vertigo

 

I decided to build my house here, mainly because of this massive hole in the ground. I wanted to go down there and explore, man an expedition down into these dark bowels of the Minecraftian earth to seek my fortune, whether it be iron, gold, diamond or even gravel. I just wanted to get down there.

In preparation, I had created an entire stack of ladders, but I feared my clumsy Minecraft skills would eventually cause me to plummet to my death. I considered making a elevator by placing a water source at the top of the hole and using it to gently carry me down to the bottom of the hole, but I feared once again. I fear a lot in Minecraft. If I reach the bottom, would I make it back up? Eventually, I decided on the ladder approach.

I also began to rant as my world began to lag. It is something I have not experienced before. Not until I started this world. I reasoned that perhaps there was a nearby dungeon or village, guessing as mobs spawned my gameplay suffered.

Putting my technological failings to one side, I gazed down in the hole beyond, only for my footing to give way under me. I toppled down into the hole. However, I managed to slam into a small outcropping. I turned, looking up at a clear four to five blocks of sheer wall (topped with sand) as I sat precariously on the little perch of stone. Only then did I realize I hadn’t picked up the ladders from my chest or any torches.

After much cursing, I decided to cowardly try to scramble my way out, rather than push on heroically into the hole. I had unfortunately dumped all my useable building blocks back in my inventory chest so I was unable to build a way out, that left only one thing. Dig.

I set to work as night fell, my nerves on an edge. I imagined a wandering creeper dropping onto my head from the surface above. Digging out a rudimentary staircase was going well before I dug out one too many blocks of sand. I had accidentally dug into the adjacent lake next to the hole, and water broke out and swept me into the drop below. Luckily, I used the water to spring myself that one last block to freedom.

Blocking off the water again I retreated for a well-deserved nap.

As the new dawn broke I was already hard at work, grabbing a spare stack of wooden blocks, crafting some torches and building a small two block wide staircase back down to the edge I had so helplessly clung to the day before. I set to work building out a stairwell that was to spiral round the edge of the hole. I dug out some precious coal, because what was the use of finding iron and gold ore if I had no coal with which to smelt it? I daringly built out a spindly bridge to reach some iron ore on the far side of the hole.

I looked back up some time later to see little progress, for all my clever circumnavigating of obstacles my expedition was still only taking its baby steps…

 

Work in progress

 

… until I reached where this hole ended and a greater one began.

 

Better not be any Balrogs or I’m boned

 

This hole was merely an entrance to an entire underground canyon. I looked left and right as my mind tried to clutch onto the enormity on what my little Jedi faced (my avatar’s skin was Obi Wan Kenobi… obviously). Out of the corner of my eye I saw it.

A wooden bridge spanning the canyon.

I sprinted back up to my house, dumping all my coal and Iron I had dug up on my way downand set off back down to enter into what I could only assume was a dungeon.

 

Entrance… but to what?

 

I gingerly stepped out onto the ledge, frantically digging myself a path to the bridge. I hopped on, ready to run at the first sound of a skeleton archer who would undoubtedly knock me into the darkness below. I sighed a deep “Thank you,” as I slowly made my way off the bridge into the dark corridors beyond.

The walls were close and spider-webs hung from the ceiling. Lighting my way with my torches, beyond some mine-cart tracks, I heard a zombie. I stopped. I remained motionless, my fingers clinging onto my iron sword with dear life. The sound of the zombie’s moaning and lumbering footsteps faded away.

I continued on into the darkness when I came across a chest. A chest with loot. My first ever loot in Minecraft, because I’m a coward and usually try to avoid dungeons etc. I was blessed with 3 iron ingots, 2 pumpkin seeds and one piece of bread. I gleefully spun on the spot with my treasures clutched against my chest when I saw them. Across another bridge, in the darkness was the glow of four red eyes.

 

Now is not the time for cowards!

 

I’m unfortunately gifted with a complete cack-handedness when playing Minecraft, especially in combat. I can easily be finished off by one or two spiders who jump out on me. This was an important moment. I held my sword tight in my hands and, forgetting all sense of good reason, I charged at the spider. Slaying it gallantly with a skillful swing of my sword, I pressed further on into the darkness.

Coming to a four-way wooden crossroad, I took a page from Hansen and Gretel and decided to mark out my choice of direction using some dirt, much less appealing to the pallet than breadcrumbs for any would-be following saboteurs.

A left, then a right, then a left, and another left. I pushed further and further into the abandoned mine. The number of chests was simply glorious, having grabbed 7 Lapis Lazuli dye, 8 redstone, 1 gold ingot, 5 iron ingots, 6 melon seeds and 4 pumpkin seeds in total. I had a sickening feeling I was pushing my luck too far though. I didn’t want to stray too far only to fall at the next hurdle and lose all my spoils, so I decided to check out one last corridor before I left.

This corridor was very dark and dirty. I hopped over an mound of dirt that collapsed in from the ceiling, but only then did I see the recognizable outline of a creeper in the darkness before me. I stood frozen as it stopped and meandered towards me, but luckily the drop off was too much on the other side, he couldn’t hop up to me. I jeered the creeper with an unfounded arrogance.

He disappeared off into the darkness, a zombie following in toe. Deciding to take the creeper as a warning, I turned back down the long corridor only to see the creeper and zombie emerge from a hole in the corridor that I hadn’t seen. It felt like my back was to the wall, It seemed like the end. Desperate to prove myself, I charged at the creeper with my sword, striking when I could and backing away to (hopefully) avoid him detonating. I stopped, what! I looked round frantically to see my back caught on a wooden beam, I turned back in time to see as if in slow motion to see creeper swell and then engulf me and his lumbering lackey in an explosion. As the blocks settled I looked at my life.

One and a half hearts. I padded myself down to make sure all my limbs were intact and raced for the surface.

Having reached the surface I looked up to see the blood red glow of the sun bleeding back into the horizon. I had spent a day in that abandoned mine. I nodded with pride and set about sorting my spoils and putting them to good use.

Taking a short break as my iron ore smelted, I wandered around the area, just taking a breather, thinking back on how successfully I navigated one too many dangers than I’m used to, when suddenly I looked downto see another gigantic hole at my feet.

 

 

Does this hole connect with the underground canyon system I found? What treasures lay in the depths of this hole? Can I or will I survive next time when I start my next expedition beneath the earth?

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