Minecraft: The Collapse
During the day, I explore. At night, I dig.
And in all hours, I build.
I build a boat so that I can cross the ocean without having to hop and splash through the waters like a drunken moose. I build a miles-long underground tunnel connecting my spawn point and my rat’s warren canyon. Upon my spawn point I build a glass house so that I may watch the sun set and the moon rise. At the top of my glass house I build an air bridge traveling to the peak of the nearest mountain.
And it is near to this peak that I find my first dungeon.
It’s already pre-carved out of the side of the hill. I descend into the deep, placing torches along the way so I can find my way back. Down there in the dark I hear the first rheumy growls: zombies.
Sure enough, there they are: a trio of the blockheaded assholes, playing a game of clumsy grab-ass. Ah. But a waterfall and stream separate us. It’s easy for me to wade into the water, hack at them with my diamond-edged sword, and cut them into little puffs of pixillated smoke.
But somehow, more of them show.
They’re coming from somewhere back there. In the dark. Spawning endlessly.
I cross the water. I quick throw torches on the wall just as a zombie tries to paw my face with his rotten box-hands. Then another, then another. I back to the wall, I cut ‘em down with my blade, and then I see more of this room: mossy stone, two chests, and a burning cage in the center with a little zombie effigy doll in the center, endlessly spinning.
I kill the zombies.
I flood the room with torchlight.
I end the spawning.
I open the chests and claim my booty: gold and iron and arrows.
I am the hero, triumphant.
The Hero, Descendant (Or, “The Hero Shits His Pants Multiple Times And Falls Down Into The Deep Dark Where He Must Contend With Lava And Evil”)
I continue to dig, build, and explore.
Fact is, I want to find another dungeon. The dungeon made me feel like an intrepid hero-architect, a builder of great things but also a slayer of demons, a gatherer of treasure.
I find my second cavern opening not far from the first: just a quarter-day’s walk. I see the deep dark grotto. I gather torches. And I wade into the mouth of shadow.
This one goes deep. Much deeper than the last. Every step is a step down, a step around a corner, a step around a stream of falling water or past tunnel mouths where I hear spiders hissing or the rattle of a skeleton archer’s bones. I’m getting worried.
But I’m also getting pretty fucking geeked.
I travel for a long time — sometimes falling a few blocks without certainty of how I’ll get out (I can always build steps, I tell myself), until finally I reach the bottom.
I know it’s the bottom because, ye gods, it’s full of lava.
In the center of this canyon tumbles a massive column of lava, a lavafall coming from way, way up there. Up there in shadow. Up there where monsters roam.
It’s easy to see that this is a special place. The walls are lined with precious kit: gold and diamonds and redstone and so much iron, so much coal. I even see some lapis lazuli and some obsidian.
I hear water. I fling up torches. I step into the heavy current.
And — b-d-d-d-ing.
The sound of a bowstring drawn and loosed. A skeleton archer’s arrow pierces my heart. Then another. Then another. I die there in the water, my inventory exploded around me.
I respawn upon my glass house, I hurry to my stash of goods in the house, I snatch up a blade. I’m going back. Fuck that archer. Fuck him up his bony ass with his own damn femur.
Once again I descend into the void — this time, with only an iron blade. I follow the trail of light. I fall again into darkness. I wander aimlessly on the shores of scorching lava.
Finally, I see it: all my shit laid bare, floating there in the water like flotsam (or jetsam, whatever). This time it’s no skeleton archer but rather a creeper. But he can’t get to me on this ledge. He’s easy to dispatch. A swipey-swipe of the blade and he’s down, the dumb geek. Another jumps in: hack-slash, nighty-night.
I jump into the water.
I grab all my shit. My compass, my watch, my diamond sword.
And then a zombie appears out of nowhere and bashes my block-head in with one of his block-fists.
Okay. Fine. My stuff’s still down there. I’ll just go back again. Except this time, I think, I’ll run back to my other stash and grab another sword, because I can’t go down there unarmed. This takes me a little time, but I manage. And — you know the story: again I stumble blindly into the booty hole.
Uhh. Rephrase that at your leisure.
This time, it’s different. I go down. I wander the trails. I follow the torches. I jog along lava.
No monsters this time.
And also: no stuff.
My shit is all gone. My compass, my watch, my diamond sword.
Little do I know: loose materials degrade to nothing after five minutes. Poof. Gone. It’s not here because I took too long fetching a sword. And ironically, the canyon has no more monsters for me to fight.
Frustrated, I still recognize that this is a bountiful canyon. I can easily make up what I lost just by spending some time down here, cutting away the precious metals and mystical materials.
So, I do that. I begin to mine.
I mine until my pockets are bulging with goodness. So many diamonds. So much iron. I’m filled to the tits with redstone dust and lapis lazuli. And the gold! I’m rich! I’m a king! Eeeee! Thing is, this place is even bigger than I thought. It goes on, and on, and on. I keep wandering. I keep digging.
I see a little more iron, so I cross a little stream to get it.
The stream has a current. I am pulled not two squares to my right, and I slip under a ledge because the water is deeper than anticipated.
And then I tumble into a pit of lava.
I struggle in the well, burning alive. Cooking. Hissing. Screaming.
All my items explode out of my body. And then they hit the lava.
When they do, they go Sssss! and are gone. Burned up into the void.
I am once more a pauper. No longer the hero-architect, I am just a burned-up chump, a scarred buckethead fumbling around the dark, pawing at my junk with my impossible, fingerless hands.
And so it is that I think I must back away from Minecraft for a time. I achieved a lot in a short time, but I jumped for the brass ring…
…and fell into a hole filled with fire and death.
I retreat, beaten.