Minecraft beginner's guide

At this point, you have all the key components you need to really start playing the game. But what can a person do now that the immediate danger of dying due to no shelter or gear is mitigated? There’s actually a lot to find and to do in the world of Minecraft. Here’s some examples of fun things that make the game well worth your time.


The game’s namesake, mining, can be either a huge timesink that you lose yourself in for days, or just something you do occasionally to grab a couple new pieces of ore. But it’s more than just digging and laying torches. More often than not, a mining expedition will result in the discovery of underground caverns, full of riches and cubic beauty to explore.

If you hear the sound of whooshing air, running water, or boiling lava, then there’s likely a cavern somewhere very close by, so dig around yourself until you find it. As we were digging, we heard a sound somewhere between water dripping and a clock ticking. Eventually, we dug through a block that revealed this:

Above: Why hello, there

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a slime monster. After we sliced it down a bit, it split into smaller monsters, until we were left with only one tiny little slime that was actually cute.

Above: Cute li’l fella

It didn’t do us any damage when we touched it, so we let it tag along while we explored the massive underground cavern beneath it. Eventually, we came across a room filled with deadly spiders guarding treasure chests.

Above: This is all totally randomly generated, and totally awesome

Inside the chests, we found all sorts of interesting booty. So there’s a lot more to mining than just digging a hole downwards. Just a bit of advice, however: there ARE some indestructible blocks in the game - bedrock blocks. Once you start seeing these, you’ve reached the bottom levels of the world, so start digging either sideways or start a new mine somewhere else.

Above: Even the hardest of pickaxes and the explodiest of dynamite will not destroy these


The game’s other namesake is where you can start to get creative. Minecraft is kind of like a grown-up version of Lego, with infinite pieces and space. This means that if you can imagine a 3D object composed of blocks, you can create it. Which means you can build pretty much ANYTHING. We finished work on our earlier house, adding some windows (putting a sand block in the furnace will make glass) and a jack o’ lantern to scare away the creepers until it looked like a respectable beach house.

Above: Our house is a very, very, very fine house

We even dug a new trench for water in front of it until we had a river/moat keeping us that much safer. But even that got stale after a while, so we got a little more ambitious, and decided to build a fortress floating in the sky.

Above: Our house, in the middle of our sky

We were fairly impressed with ourselves, too, until we got onto a community server that’s been around for a while, and saw some of the truly inspiring and intimidating structures built by some pros.

Above: Man-made mountain

Above: Giant sand temple

Above: Huge signage

Above: Massive skyscrapers, floating islands, flowing lava/water streams

Not to mention this guy, who made a 1:1 replica model of the Starship Enterprise.

Above: Geek points +1,000,000. Social life -1,000

So as far as creation in Minecraft goes, you’re going to get as much out of it as you put in. We recommend finding a public server with some friends and starting group projects. Here are a few handy recipes to get you started building and upgrading:

Above: The door is handy for keeping enemies out, and removes the need to demolish a wall when you want to go outside