Minecraft beginner's guide

Are you late to the party on this hot indie title? If so, we can help get you ready to join the cult of craft in no time at all


There’s a mod for the game, called Runecraft, in which you can place blocks in a specific fashion to evoke magical effects, from teleportation, to the summoning of pre-dug mine shafts, to “chrono triggers” that speed up the passage of night so you can focus on crafting. The system for Runecrafting is so rich and detailed, it would take way more space than we have here to explain it all, but there’s an entire Wiki on it here, which incidentally also has a bunch of general game info, if you get stumped).

Above: In the upper shot, you see the assembled Compass rune. In the lower, the rune has been used, and the arrow of the rock arrangement is pointing north. Simple, but useful if you get lost

To get Runecrafting, you’ll have to either mod the game, or join a server that already has it enabled. In either case, it certainly adds new depth to the game.


The fun thing about your randomly generated world is that it’s functionally infinite in size. If you keep on walking in one direction, the game will keep generating a world around you. Get bored of a continent? Find a new one!

Above: Welcome to the land of the ice and snow, with the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow

You’re not limited to exploring above ground, either. If you want, you can explore hell. Simply make a gateway with some obsidian, light the doorway with steel & flint, and BAM! Your very own portal to The Nether, a ghastly, ghostly place filled with monsters and all sorts of rare blocks. There’ll be an exit gate created in The Nether, so you don’t have to worry about getting trapped.

Beware, though - you have to be hardy to go into here. We recommend having at least a set of iron armor and weapons before you go traipsing about the deepest bowels of the abyss.

Above: And the sun is setting right behind the gate. That’s not, like, foreboding at all

Once in the nether, you’ll face a brutal and unforgiving terrain filled with lava and fire, and all sorts of new monsters. Be careful not to fall into the lava - if you die while in lava, when you resurrect, you won’t be able to recover the items you dropped. You’ll also face all sorts of new monsters, like a creature we can only describe as a Pigman Zombie.

Above: That cuddly looking ghost is stories tall, and shoots fireballs. These guys do not mess around


Those are the basics. There’s a ton more to the game that you can find out through experimenting, or by hitting up community sites and talking with other players, but this basic guide should be enough to ease your initial confusion. Minecraft is a truly unique game in regard to the freedom it gives the user. And given the fact it has no real set objectives at this point, it’s not really accurate to even call it a game. It is, however, an experience. And this is an experience that must be experienced to be believed. Put the proper time and effort into Minecraft, and you’ll get more fun out of it than pretty much any other game you can name. And given the strength and fervency of the online community, Minecraft isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, or ever be forgotten.

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