I was transported to the inside of a cave. Caves in the upper Minecraft world are completely pitch black unless there are torches or lava around, yet here in the Nether, I could see even without any source of light. I wandered down a narrow passage, which opened into a larger room. In that room were about a half-dozen zombie pig men. Yes, zombie pig men actually exist in the Nether. And what was really surprising is that these things were friendly. They didn't care that I was there as long as I managed to stay out of their way.
I wandered around in the tunnels for a while, swiftly growing bored of this version of the Nether. I was hoping for something much larger and more open.
So I started a brand new Minecraft world from scratch, eventually gathering the necessary materials to build another portal. I stepped through, and this time I was sent to a much more dangerous place. I was in an enormous cavern, filled with steep cliffs, gigantic lava spills, and spooky creatures called ghasts. Ghasts are squid-like ghosts that spew fireballs that explode on impact. After seeing my first ghast, I immediately made up my mind that I must take one down, and so I began making preparations for my big ghast hunt.
I built myself a diamond sword and a full set of diamond armor – diamonds are not easy to come by in Minecraft, by the way – as well as a bow and several stacks of arrows.
My first attempt was met with failure pretty quickly. I dodged an exploding fireball, only to find the ground beneath me had given way in the blast, causing me to fall into a pool of lava far below. Of course, all of my weapons and armor were permanently lost, meaning I had to start gathering the materials to build my inventory all over again.
I was a bit more careful my second time, yet I was confronted by two ghasts at once. I was able to dodge fireballs long enough to launch some arrows. But ghasts are a lot larger than they look, making it difficult to judge how far away they are. After way too many close calls, I was finally able to take down a ghast. I didn't get to count the number of arrows required to bring one of these monstrosities down, but it certainly felt like a lot. The second ghast was a bit more difficult, and I managed to find a small cavern to hide in while a constant stream of fireballs rained down around me. I was able to get outside of the cavern, fire off a couple shots, then retreat back inside before a fireball struck. It was a slow process, but I was eventually able to defeat the second ghast.
I felt like a true warrior, master of all things Minecraft. However, during my lengthy battle with those two ghasts, a whole army of those things was able to pinpoint my location and come after me with a vengeance. Admittedly, I was unable to hold them off forever, and I soon became fireball fodder.
But the feeling of victory was still with me. Sure, I had been completely destroyed by a massive army of ghasts, but I was able to bring down a few of them with me, and that's no easy feat.
In the current state of the game, you can't really ever beat Minecraft. But getting to the point where you can actually defeat ghasts is the closest thing. Of course my exploration and adventures will continue, but I'm not sure the game will throw anything at me quite as difficult to conquer as the Nether. I can now truly say that Minecraft is a domain that I have fully conquered.
But that doesn't mean I won't continue to explore it.
CCC Freelance Writer