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


  • PortalFTW - April 11, 2011 9:34 p.m.

    Unless you want to pirate it you can't. Unless you mean Minecraft Classic which is on the website. OMG IT'S HEROBRINE. RUN FOR YOUR LLLLLLIIIIIVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS
  • bjossi - April 11, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    How can i play minecraft for free?
  • FreedomPhantom - April 11, 2011 3:45 a.m.

    I gotta get this; I can play it until Portal 2!!! and nice Led Zeppelin Reference! \m/
  • c1nd3rcell - April 10, 2011 11:16 p.m.

    Ah, Minecraft. How you have taken over my life in just a few short weeks is astonishing.!
  • hfghg - April 10, 2011 1:34 p.m. I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
  • NightAce84 - April 10, 2011 5:59 a.m.

    Great guide, but I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the order of importance of things you have. Personally, I worry less about a nice wooden home the first night and focus on punching enough trees and digging enough cobblestone to make charcoal and then charcoal torches. After that, I dig myself a little hole in a mountain, fill the temporary home with torches, leave a 1x1 block at the entrance for viewing, and wait out the night. At night, your biggest ally is light, and you do not want to be caught without torches. Just my .02.
  • reveffect - April 10, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    NIce Nice Nice. I really want this game. I have spent way too much time watching lets play videos of people playing minecraft.
  • PortalFTW - April 10, 2011 12:29 a.m.

    Sure Skeletons Creepers and Spider's may be scary. But you have never been truly terrified until you meet... Herobrine. OMG HE'S RIGHT BEHIND ME
  • Kingofthewoodlandrealm - April 9, 2011 10:56 p.m.
  • Kingofthewoodlandrealm - April 9, 2011 10:53 p.m.

    Or just watch these guys :D their funny.
  • Cleanser247 - April 8, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    Check out the TalkRadar General forums! I've started a Minecraft server for TalkRadar!!
  • philipshaw - April 8, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    I tried playing but I don't get what all the fuss is about
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - April 8, 2011 7:06 a.m.

    Oh man, once finals are through I am playing so much Minecraft! I'll have plenty of time to go to the beach when I'm dead.
  • ZenPhoenix - April 8, 2011 5:08 a.m.

    This game has officially wrecked my freetime, but do not regret it at all.
  • DamnHippy - April 8, 2011 3:41 a.m.

    wow an Aldous Huxley reference AND a Led Zeppepelin reference; props, you deserve a medal
  • NightCrawler_358 - April 8, 2011 2:24 a.m.

    Nice guide for beginners, when I started I also made a floating castle hours in the sky haha. I learned all my Minecraft knowledge from "the Yogscast" videos on Youtube, their channel is called "BlueXephos." I recommend their Multiplayer survival series-very funny. Sorry if that sounded like spam lol.
  • AlSwearengenHatesCocksuckers - April 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

  • FNG - April 8, 2011 1:53 a.m.

    Page 2 paragraph 3: You do not get stone blocks from mining stone, you get cobblestone.
  • JHONNYOHH - April 8, 2011 12:35 a.m.

    "OH JESUS OH FUCK" That correctly describes how I feel when I see a creeper! haha great article guys, I was wondering when you'd get the chance to do this <3

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