Minecraft: Diary of a Miner

The Minecraft deity known as Notch released update 1.6 recently which allows Nether Portals to work on Multiplayer Servers like the one I play on.

Since Minecraft itself doesn’t support multiple worlds, we all knew that something weird was going to happen when we built and went through a Nether Portal in another world. Maybe nothing would happen. Maybe each world would have it’s own Nether.

What really happens is a lot less exciting. Every portal in every world goes to the main world’s Nether. Then, if you go back through that gate, it spits you somewhere in the main world (Bunnies).

The first time I tried this, I went through a Nether Portal near the Floaty Stargate. Floaty is a world I spend a lot of time in. I found myself suspended high above some lava with little room to move somewhere in The Nether. Then I went back through before I fell or was killed by ghasts and ended up in the middle of the ground somewhere in Bunnies right by a monster spawner. I died a few times and repeated going back through. I cleaned out the area and Kiashien helped me make a Stargate called Bridge so that I could get out of wherever it was I’d ended up.

I’m pretty good at exploring The Nether. I practiced in our “psudo-nether” world (Stargates Nether1 and Glowstone). These were created using multi-world before the 1.6 update. In those days glowstone dropped less glowstone dust when harvested. I was pretty obsessed with finding a ‘prettier’ light source than torches, torches, and more torches to use in my bases and other creations. So, I did a lot of exploring and digging and building in The Nether. Ghasts were a huge problem because at that point, I couldn’t actually see the ghasts correctly. They would flicker across the screen as if they were in multiple spots at once and I couldn’t see their projectiles flying at me. So, dodging them and hitting them back at the ghasts was impossible. Killing ghasts was all guesswork.

So, when I was given a Nether Gate high above open lava with barely a platform to stand on and a lot of ghasts spawning, I said, “Challenge Accepted”.

I don’t die a lot in Minecraft, but here I died about a half dozen times trying to make a place to stand and walls around the portal.

Each time I died I’d end up in at the Bunnies spawn point by our main base Chuck. It didn’t matter that I’d slept in other beds in Bunnies, which is supposed to reset your spawn point to the bed. I spawned there every time. Each time I’d go into Chuck and hop the stargate to Floaty. Since the 1.6 update, Minecraft disconnects every time you transport to another world using a Stargate, accusing you of hacking. I’d reconnect, then go through the Nether Portal there and end up back in The Nether.

The last time I was there I actually made a lot of progress, but still messed up and fell to my doom. I was back at Chuck and made my way back to Floaty. This time, though, I didn’t end up at that same gate in The Nether. Instead I ended up coming out of a gate in the Nether that was fairly secure. I explored the tunnels for awhile and made the place a bit more homey. I mined some glowstone. I didn’t have a lot of supplies since I expected to end up back at the deathtrap and die again. Once I decided I needed to get some wood and other things, I went through the gate. I expected to come out at Bridge.

Instead I ended up under water at night somewhere. I swam up and looked around. It was a river. The banks had forested mountains. Our Other Places mod told me that I was closest to Bridge, but closest is a relative term since nothing familiar was anywhere in sight.

I didn’t have any supplies on me except netherrack, a shovel, and a flint and steel. Since I had no torches, I placed some blocks of nertherrack and lit them on fire to try to keep the bad mobs from spawning on top of me, then I waited in the water for morning. Things didn’t look any better in the morning. I was very, very lost. Kiashien decided it was okay to teleport me back to civilization since it seemed like the game had glitched.

Some people might decide to do something else at this point, but this just made me want to try again, and yes, possibly get stranded. However, this time I brought obsidian to make a stargate. That way if I was stranded, I could get myself out.

The Nether Gate went to the same place as before. After working for a short period of time, I stepped back into the Portal.

For the love of cheese, where am I now?

Oh, hey. It’s the netherrack beacons I made before! So I did come out at the same spot. It seems like last time the game fast forwarded to me falling and ending up below in the water. I had almost nowhere to stand, so it makes sense that I fell and, no, I didn’t think to look up.

So, now I’m here and I can build a Stargate, right? Actually, I need to build a place to stand first.

Watching night fall was pretty awesome. Since I was so high up I could see it fall on the lower elevations first and progress to other areas.

I worked through the night to build a platform around the Nether Portal. So, now I can build yet another Stargate.

The question still remains, what happened to the Nether Portal suspended over lava?

The better question is what happened to the Nether Portal at Bridge? Is it still there? What happens if I go through it?

I don’t know what happened to the Nether Portal suspended above lava and I kind of doubt I’ll ever find it again.

The Nether Portal at Bridge goes to this new, same spot in The Nether. When you go back through, it goes to this new little platform high in the sky.

This new Stargate, once it’s done, I think I’ll call it Pigeon because it’s kind of annoying and high up in the sky. That and this whole thing has been a pile of bird poop.

To be a useful place at all, there needs to be a way to get down, so I made a leap of faith into the river and started building a staircase…

As you can see, the rain is pooping on my head like a pigeon as I build away.

3D Block

There are all kinds of gamers out there. Even though I own newer consoles and play new games, I think I’d still have to classify myself as a classic gamer.

I don’t really know why old games facinate me. I’m sure that nostagia has a lot to do with some of them since they’re what I grew up with. However, I am equally (if not more) excited to play old games that I never had or played growing up. Maybe it’s still nostalgia; I’m six years old again and somehow got a new game I’ve never played before.

A lot of the games I played over and over again as a kid was becuase I only owned so many games. There was a small selection of rentable games across the street in the video store that was owned by a guy, his pug, and an iguana. Most of my friends didn’t own game systems and some even had parents who thought that video games were bad for you or the work of the devil. New games came from birthday and Christmas (or money from birthday and Christmas). Even then, it was usually a one game deal.

This was also pre-internet, so the only way to figure out all of the ins and outs of the games was to replay them over and over. In some cases you could find the right magazine. I was never allowed to call the 900 number.

I can’t be six years old again and I can’t give games to my past self, but I can now play any classic game ever made. It’s enjoyable even if I don’t have as much time and it’s a little less exciting. I don’t know how kids today ever leave their room.

The internet might tell us which games are worth playing, but sometimes I get the most satisfaction out of the weirdest, glitchiest, bad games there are. I know I’m not the only one with this facination. If you look up The Angry Video Game Nerd, you’ll find someone else who is a glutton for punishment. Most people probably watch and say, “Wow, I now know not to touch Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde for the Nintendo with a ten foot pole.” Me? Unless The AVGN covers the game completely, title screen to finish, I’m just tempted to check the game out myself.

This post about a game I tried out recently for the Nintendo called 3D Block. From the title I imagined the game is both 3D, or as 3D as NES games can be, and has something to do with blocks. Though they were being pretty literal with the title, I suspected this game didn’t just contain a single block.

If the title was literal, the title screen was… no, not figurative. It was somewhere in left field, or maybe more like Mars. I imagine some guy with a handlebar mustache saying, “3D Block? That won’t sell. You want to know what sells? Sex. That’s what sells.” That’s the only explanation I can come up with for the random shadow of a pin-up model: pointy nipple, high heels, and all.

Oh. There are a few blocks there under her. I guess that makes it relevant.

I don’t know why this guy has a handlebar mustache, but I don’t need a reason. This is my imagination.

You begin by pressing start and then get a selection screen where you can pick the stage and speed you start off with. I left it alone since I didn’t even know what I was playing yet. The game starts and I immediately say, “3D Tetris”, because that’s what it is.

I generally love puzzle games, but I never actually got into any versions of 3D Tetris I played. Puzzle games are fun when you get a smooth rhythm going, but you never do with this game. It’s not that it’s a bad version of 3D Tetris, I feel that way about every 3D Tetris game I’ve played. You’ve got an exponential amount of space, blocks, and block angles to deals with. It’s just too much.

A and B rotate the blocks, one controlling each axis. Start makes the piece drop if you get it in place and want to speed up its decent. The side tells you what’s next as well as what row you’re on.

Surprisingly, I actually can figure out where to put the blocks and get them there. For this reason, I already like it better than the version for the Virtual Boy. Well, okay, that’s probably not surprising.

It constantly feels like there isn’t really enough time even when the blocks ares’t moving that fast. You’re rotating in two directions and have to position up, down, left and right. After the lowest level and lowest speed setting, it all goes downhill fast.

That being said, I’m a bit confused on that point. In Tetris, the blocks move down faster every stage. At first this game does that, but then in goes slower again in the next stage. Then you notice a new kind of block. Then it gets faster again. I guess they were trying to make it more interesting or less hard. I just think that’s confusing that stage 3 is easier than 2.

You can see through the block you’re putting down which helps. The grid is clearly marked. The height of the rows is indicated by what color each square is.

The music is bad. Without playing much, it’s a forgettable cute carnival merry-go-round like tune. After not too long, it’s like one of those really evil children’s toys that makes irritating noises and music.

It takes awhile, but eventually you complete a row. In Tetris you have a single line across the screen, where here you have a whole floor. You can see why game play is a slow crawl compared to Tertris. You fill in the last bit and- the screen goes away. Where did it go? The it’s back and the row is gone. I’m not really sure why the whole screen has to go away for a row to disappear. Maybe that row of blocks is embarrassed to be associated with the skimpy shadow on the title screen and wants to make a quick get away. Maybe that row of blocks is sneaking away to go under that same scantily clad shadow like it depicts in the title screen. “Ohhh yeah! Blocks!” I have no idea.

In Honor of the Vaguely Heritage Based Drinking Holiday

Today’s screen shot is brought to you by Final Fantasy III, as emulated for Nintendo.

In honor of the vaguely heritage based drinking holiday last Wednesday, we present the tavern. Adventures begin here according to most fantasy-based games and literature, but besides that, it’s also where drinking begins, commences, ends, and begins again. Happy vaguely heritage based drinking holiday, everyone!