Often, it’s the most humble-looking things that go on to be sensations. Back when I was at school, what was the hot toy of the moment? Not some amazing electrical robo-doohickey that spins, flash and does your taxes for you, but the yo-yo.
The yo-yo, friends. Today, it’s hard to imagine a more low-tech toy, but this ancient contraption had one heckola of a resurgence in the nineties, let me tell you. It just goes to prove, you can never judge a book by its cover.
Today’s gamers are all about the flashy visuals. The 60fps 1080p 4K graphical extravaganza. A lot of us would have looked at something like Minecraft, in all its primitive, pixelated glory, and laughed it right out of existence. Nobody could really have foreseen the phenomenon that Minecraft would become.
The appeal here, quite plainly, is not about the visuals. If any game has ever perfectly demonstrated that gameplay is far, far more important, Minecraft is that game. It looks like… well, it looks like this, but it’s more than just a game. It’s an experience, and it’s one that will consume not just hours, but months of your life if it clicks with you.
At its core, it’s a building and/or survival game, but it can also be so much more than that. Quite literally, the only limit is your imagination. From breaking gravity itself to meeting Slenderman and making your own little Roman Empire, let’s take a look at some of the more unique possibilities Minecraft offers.
24 Playing Minecraft *IN* Minecraft (Minecraftception)
Eat your heart out, Leonardo DiCaprio. You might have been able to hop inside someone else’s subconscious and implant ideas there, but could you build a little PC inside Minecraft so you can play Minecraft IN Minecraft? No, no you couldn’t.
As we’ve demonstrated before, players have found ways to craft primitive PCs in the game, using Redstone and super-simple electrical circuits. From there, you can (if you know your way around this sort of thing) programme a very, very basic version of Minecraft inside the actual game.
Whether Notch ever saw this coming or not, nobody can say, but it’s certainly impressive.
23 Magical ‘Blocks’ Of Water
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought of water as a substance that’s… well, distinctly on the liquid-y side of things. Just ask any parent, and they’ll tell you that their child has a brilliant way of soaking all four walls of your bathroom at once while taking a bath.
As such, you might think that you couldn’t have a ‘block’ of water. That would be called ice. Minecraft simply doesn’t care about the laws of physics as we know them, though, and certainly does allow you to live all your water-block dreams.
If enclosed by pressure plates, water will indeed remain in block form without spilling. Even if you step on those pressure plates!
22 Not Forgetting The ‘Blocks’ Of Lava
So, there it is, friends. That’s the kind of brilliant creative freedom offered to you by Minecraft. We live in a world where water can exist in block form, happily jiggling away to itself like a jelly.
It’s one of many odd little things you can do in Minecraft that is totally impractical, but all kinds of neat nonetheless. And if cubes of water aren’t your thing, how about the even more absurd cubes of lava?
That’s right, the exact same principle applies here. I’m not sure who in heckola could ever want cubes of lava, but they are a very real and very frightening thing.
21 Sailing To The Ends Of The Earth
As fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies will know, the third movie sees Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and their swarthy, bearded cronies on their most treacherous voyage yet: to the end of the world itself, to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from the legendary Davy Jones’s Locker.
If they thought that journey was bad, they’re lucky they didn’t have Minecraft in those days. You can do some darn scary things with boats in this game.
How about this, for one thing: you can phase right through walls. You simply build a boat and push until around half of it has glitched through the wall. Hop into it, then back out, and (because you always exit a boat from the front) you’ll be on the other side of whichever wall you were messing with.
It’s a one-way trip, though, so be aware of that.
20 Breaking Gravity Itself
So, yes. As we saw with that shonky boat business, you can do all manner of ridiculous things in this game. Most of which were never intended, of course, but often, that’s the best reason to do it in the first place.
What waits at the very edge of the world? Not Captain Jack Sparrow and many, many crabs, but another bizarre place you were never intended to visit. As reported by SomeRandomStickBoy,
“After about 12 million blocks in a certain direction, things get weird. The game doesn't have INFINITE terrain. It just goes super far. When you reach the far lands or travel about 12 million blocks, Gravity won't work right, chunks will load and stop and load and stop, blocks will work like air and won't be solid, and sometimes player-made blocks will appear.”
19 Meeting Slenderman
Ah, Slenderman. The internet sure does love its creepypasta, and this guy is probably the best-known example of that.
Slenderman (also known as The Slender Man) is a Jack Skellington-esque character, a tall, thin, spectre of a humanoid in a spiffy suit. You’ve probably heard the stories (and watched excitable YouTubers play the games), as this enigmatic being has made quite the name for himself.
Fellow pop culture mainstay Minecraft has referenced the character, in the form of the Enderman mob. Across the different editions of the game, their spawn patterns and locations have differed, but wherever you encounter them, they’re just as frightening as the original Slenderman.
18 Unlimited Mushrooms?
As fans will know, Minecraft isn’t all about the building. There’s another very different aspect of the game, and it’s one that you can also sink hundreds of hours into: survival.
In this mode, as the name suggests, it’s all about defeating enemies, keeping yourself fed, the usual gubbins of survival games. A nigh-unlimited source of food would be a huge boon, needless to say, but many players may not even know about the Mooshrooms.
These odd cow/mushroom hybrids spawn only on very rare biomes, called mushroom island. As we’ve reported previously, you can’t milk these creatures in the conventional way, but using a wooden bowl, you can get yourself some nourishing mushroom soup.
Play your cards right, and you’ve got yourself a self-sustaining food source.
17 Making Crop Circles
With these sorts of games, you’ll find that there are all different kinds of player. Some will lack the patience to craft something impressive for themselves, instead of traveling to various servers to check out others’ handywork. Some will make only the most rudimentary structures, while others will simply go survival-only.
Some are completely dedicated to ensuring that the Minecraft world and the real world collide. Many players try to reproduce real buildings and places in the game, but how about curious real-world phenomena?
Over on Planet Minecraft, some enterprising players have taken to making elaborate crop circles on their land. It’s yet another of those fantastic ideas that you wish you’d had first.
16 The Mighty Wall Of Game of Thrones
Generally speaking, walls don’t tend to be the most serious of serious business. They’re there to, you know, keep people out of our back yards and such. Necessary? Yes. Dramatic? No.
Try telling that to Game of Thrones fans, however, and they’ll point you in the direction of The Wall (you’d better believe that name gets capitalized). This enormous fortification is said to be 300 miles long and more than 700 feet tall, and was constructed over the centuries to keep the White Walkers at bay.
In any building-centric game, The Wall would be one of the ultimate construction projects. Naturally, then, it’s been done, and as IGN reports, it’s one of the most impressive things you’ll see in Minecraft.
15 Building A Whole New Roman Empire
If you’ve checked out WesterosCraft’s take on The Wall, you’ll know that it’s as awe-inspiring as the Game of Thrones original itself. Even so, though, that’s just the tip of the Minecraft iceberg.
The game was first released way back in 2011, meaning players have had almost a decade to hone their construction skills to the absolute limit. For me, the ultimate culmination of this would have to be Empire Legacy’s world based on the Roman empire. IGN describes it thusly:
“…crammed with magnificent buildings. The Coliseum is there, and actually holds in-game events. The basilica is a gorgeous building of domes, filled with healing religious artefacts. But it was the palace that I fell in love with. From the high chandeliered ceilings to the ballroom, the themed side rooms and the main throne room, it's an astonishing space to wander around. It gave me shivers.”
14 Of Course, There’s A Hogwarts Castle
When it comes to fantastical representations of the real world, there’s one famous structure that things just wouldn’t be complete without. You know the one I’m talking about: Hogwarts castle.
The iconic magical school of Harry Potter fame is a super ambitious build for any Minecraft player, but of course, people have made it. The hp.rennervatedgaming.net server brings us a fully-functioning Platform 9 ¾, as well as Diagon Alley and a stunning recreation of the castle itself.
You can even get sorted into a house while you’re there. Which is, if we’re honest, the main draw of the whole thing in the first place. Come on, Hufflepuff!
13 Taming Lynxes And Wolves
Now, true enough, this isn’t really a secret as such. At the same time, though, when it comes to wild things to do in Minecraft, tangling with wolves and lynxes really puts the W,I,L and D in wild.
This is some Bear Grylls-level stuff, right here. When a lynx or wolf mob spawns, you’re able to befriend it through canny use of a bone or raw fish respectively (sometimes it’ll take multiple of these items).
Just take care not to aggro them, because they will not want to be your buddies if you pull any of that nonsense. There are also parrots to tame, if you’d prefer a feathered friend.
12 Become A Professional Builder
Remember that snarky teacher who told you that your love for gaming wouldn’t get you anywhere? Well, apparently they didn’t know that there was money to be made in the virtual construction business.
That’s right, friends. Back in 2016, property site Elysian Estates advertised for somebody to make some of their most luxurious properties in Minecraft. They were offering $10,000 a year to the talented ‘builder’ they hired.
This is just one of the many money-making opportunities that experienced Minecraft craftspeople have enjoyed. The game’s terms of service have changed over the years and so have these opportunities, but still.
11 The Amazing Load-Bearing Torches
Needless to say, the intricacies of Minecraft building take some time to master. You can’t just load the game for the first time, skip through the tutorial and then throw together a beautiful recreation of Hogwarts castle in ten minutes. Ten months is probably more like it.
There are so many advanced techniques that you’d just never consider at first. For one thing, did you know that torches can hold unlimited loads? You can stack any amount of weight on top of them, which is both brilliantly bizarre and handy.
The best Minecraft builders can implement all kinds of odd things like this into their work, allowing for much more variety in their builds.
10 Creature Customisation
So, as we’ve seen, you can go ahead and tame yourself a dog, cat or other companion in the game. It can certainly be worth your while, too, as they can fight hostile mobs for you (the wolf is pretty darn strong, as a bonus).
More experienced players will surely already know this, but there’s a little more to it than that. You can also change your pet’s appearance a little, but customising its collar. To do this, grab one of the in-game dyes and use it on your new friend. Their collar will change to the colour you chose. How exciting is this tip? Well, ask an animal lover, and they’ll tell you.
9 Crafting… Yourself
Again, this tip isn’t going to be a brand-new revelation for you. It’s something that’s probably at the forefront of a lot of players’ minds already, actually. That’s the beauty of it, though.
If you’re a fan of The Sims and similar games, you’ve probably made yourself, your partner, your family and friends as sims several times. Minecraft, however, takes all this one stage further. Here, you can build a scale replica of your house (complete with yourself and the family), your neighborhood, your whole darn town, if you’re up for the challenge.
As we saw earlier, you can play a primitive version of Minecraft within Minecraft itself. Now, imagine your Minecraft self is playing Minecraft, and there’s a version of you inside that version, and another inside that one, and they’re all playing Minecraft… I need to lay down for a moment.
8 A Rollercoaster To The Nether
If you’ve only really dabbled in the game before, or you haven’t played at all, what would get you on board? What kind of wow factor would it take?
In a title with boundless potential, like this one, there’s really no way of drawing that line. I mean, it’s super neat that you can build rollercoasters and such, but that’s not really going to cut it.
How about a rollercoaster that passes across into another fiery dimension? That’s the Nether, right there, a dangerous realm you can only access by means of a nether portal. Cunningly implement one of these in the path of your rollercoaster and you’ve got one heckola of theme park ride on your hands.
7 A Pet Polar Bear?
Over its long span, Minecraft has been ported to just about every system in existence. Along the way, it’s also seen all kinds of updates and additional content.
We’ve already seen the standard-issue pets that you can tame (cats, dogs, parrots), but did you think that was the end of it? Not even close, friends. Several different species are featured in the game, and you can domesticate thing that you’d never have thought possible.
What makes a game an essential buy? For me, the chance to get yourself a pet polar bear is right up there. Gloriously, if you’re brave and you’ve got some fish to hand, you can make this happen.
6 Riding The Ender Dragon
Dragons, as we all know, are some of the most popular creatures in the fantasy genre. Everything about these scaly titans is iconic.
Often, they’re depicted as powerful boss monsters. The fact that they tend to be around twenty feet tall fire-breathers helps with that, it’s more than a little intimidating.
Minecraft proves to be no exception to this. The game’s first boss monster was the ender dragon, a lithe black creature that spawns in the End as the player first enters.
It’s a fearsome foe, but thanks to mods and commands, you can also opt to simply ride this magnificent beast around the world.
5 Breathe Underwater… Using A Signpost?
Now, this is one of those things that just doesn’t quite compute for me. I can totally understand that Minecraft is playing a little fast and loose with the laws of physics (I can’t say I’ve ever sailed a boat right into a wall before and magically reached the other side), but there’s a line, and this has crossed it.
When you’re exploring the world for any and all resources you can muster, you’re going to find yourself underwater at times. There’s some valuable loot down there, too.
How to breathe underwater? With a sign, naturally. You simply place it on a block while underwater and there you are, a handy-dandy air pocket!
4 When Creepers Get Struck By Lightning
Ah, yes. You don’t need to have played Minecraft to be familiar with the Creepers. These odd, lumbering, green monstrosities are the iconic enemies of the game, and have managed to transcend it. they’re an uncomfortably-shaped, lime-colored slice of pop culture now, and we just have to deal with it.
You might think you know the Creepers’ general gameplan (to wit: chase you, explode), but there’s something more that these guys can do. Something you may have never seen.
Charged Creepers are created when a vanilla creeper is struck by lightning (or a strike occurs in close enough proximity). They’re distinguished by the blue effect around their bodies, and their explosion is much more potent than before.
3 Hiding From The Enderman… With A Pumpkin
As we’ve already seen, the Enderman mob is not a creature to mess with. They’re darn frightening-looking, for one thing, but it’s their behavior that really makes them something to fear. They’re programmed to attack if they catch you looking at them (which they can do from up to 64 blocks away), which is not a good time.
What can you do to escape this fate? Well, interestingly, a carved pumpkin is your most effective weapon against these mysterious beings. You may not have known this, but if you wear the pumpkin as a helmet, the Endermen won’t see you looking at them, and so won’t aggro (unless you attack them directly, which is entirely your own fault).
2 Dress As The Stranger Things Cast
As we’ve seen over the course of this rundown, Minecraft isn’t a simple cutesy building game. There’s a lot of darkness below the surface, a lot of mysterious goings-on. Just check out the average fan-made horror-themed server, there’s some very frightening stuff going on.
Just in time for Halloween 2017, then, the team hit upon the perfect collaboration: Minecraft and Stranger Things. Right there in the store, you could buy yourself skins of some of the show’s classic characters. Mike, Hopper, Eleven, they’re all here, and they all look completely bizarre Minecraft-ified.
This is one of those things you just don’t question. All you can do is appreciate it and roll with it.
1 Meet Herobrine (Or Don’t, Or Maybe Do)
In a game as customizable and moddable as this one, so much of the lore is the product of the players themselves. It’s a lot like Animal Crossing in that regard: it’s anything but a horror game, but horror-themed content (Animal Crossing houses, for instance) is rife.
As far as Minecraft is concerned, the best example of this would have to be Herobrine. This ‘character’ does not exist in the game itself, but a real creepypasta cult has emerged around it. The story goes that the Herobrine entity is the deceased brother of Notch himself, but Notch does not have a brother.
Whatever its origins, Herobrine continues to endure. Whether it’s a virus, a hoax, players trolling each other, or all of these besides, nobody can quite say for sure. Nevertheless, some insist that they’ve seen ‘him’ in the game.