Savage Setpiece: The Zombie Pigman will even walk right up to you and look at you without attacking. When you attack him, not only does he attack full-on with his sword, but any other Zombie Pigmen in range come in swinging. It's worth noting that they deal the most damage per hit out of any monster (aside from creepers), and one blow can easily take off a quarter of your maximum health on easy. Wolves behave similarly to protect their own pack, but they can also be tamed, at which point they'll defend you from monsters. Endermen can be considered this as well, but they disarrange the environment and even consider looking directly at them a hostile act.
Save Scumming: the only way to have incremental savegames - quit the game, alt-tab out, copy save folder, reenter game, reload save.
Scare Chord: The "ambience" noises in unlit caves could count as this.
The map generator cranks out breathtaking views by the dozen and can make scenery porn like no other, however, this◊ is quite a great example.
Minecraft is unique in that despite its famous pixelated blocky graphics, it can still create some truly breathtaking scenery. And the nature of the game basically makes it a do-it-yourself scenery porn generator. Just type "minecraft scenery" or "minecraft creations" into a Google Image search and see what you get.
Check out some of Vareide's early videos for good natural and artificial examples.
The sweeping vistas of The Wizard Burgmund, the awe-inspiring architecture of The Pharaoh's Curse 2, the labyrinthine interior of the vast castle from Monarch Of Madness, the eerily beautiful ruined city from Chronotide... any Adventure Map worth its salt has at least some of this.
If you're playing one of the Super Hostile maps and you're not busy dying, it's because your busy gawking at the gorgeous landscapes. Even the maps designed to resemble Hell look beautiful.
The Temple from The Redmurk Mystery is a brilliant example, especially when you first see it (skip to about 11:30 in this video). It only gets better from there. Similarly, seeing The Sunken Island for the first time as you topple over the edge of a cliff is an extraordinary sight.
The Fall Of Gondolin. The whole thing. It's based on Lord Of The Rings, so what did you expect?
Many maps are entirely made of Scenery Porn, such as The Tourist, Rise Of The Rebellion, and OH MY GOD DEEP SPACE TURTLE CHASE.
If playing on an "anything goes" server, beware this. Unwitting players will wonder why no one is touching a vein of ore that's right out in the open, only to wander over to it and get dropped into a lava trap. It's also common to rig buttons labelled "DO NOT PUSH" with copious amounts of TNT or to bait griefers with decoy houses rigged to blow up by marking them with something along the lines of "Please don't grief my house, thanks."
Mystcraft, a mod for Minecraft can have books such as this too. Fail to create a book linking to the Overworld before jumping into an Age you've created will, more often than not, cause you to be stuck in that Age. Alternatively, certain Age symbols that you use to write Ages carry with them a hefty toll. Good luck mining all that extra ore in that Age when the entire world is falling apart at the seams.
Scoring Points: On death, a score is displayed that is determined by the amount of experience points you accumulated before dying. However, the scores currently do nothing, although the experience points can be spent to enchant equipment. Its only value is in hardcore mode where death causes your world to be deleted.
See Water: In addition to the general blue overlay and particles floating around, water gets darker the deeper down you go, making it impossible to see more than a few blocks down.
Minecraft also includes many types of seldom seen flowers such as bluets, peonies, and allium.
Selective Gravity: Only certain types of blocks (sand, gravel; partially, fluid blocks) are affected by gravity. Other block types are not, allowing them to float in midair. Sometimes the blocks that aren't supposed to float might still do so if they were generated that way. Such floating blocks typically fall as soon as you do something affecting them, though.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Minecraft, aside from avoiding the monsters, has no goals and would get boring very quickly if players didn't keep thinking up insane megaprojects to do.
Players also do self-imposed challenges with their gameplay style. In reality, a safe shelter can be made by digging 3 blocks straight down and capping off the hole made in the process. However, "How to survive your first night" tutorials usually show much more complex solutions, ranging from a simple hole in the cliff to a small house. The other parts of the gameplay style is also often self-imposed. It's easy to put treasure chests everywhere to minimalize the loss of items after death. Usually that's not done.
Some of the challenges players make are more unusual. There's "undercity challenge" where player spends only the first day above ground and rest of the time under ground.
Some have actually succeeded in completing the challenge of slaying the Enderdragon in Hardcore Mode, a mode that deletes your save file should you die, so this becomes a no death run. Getting TO the dragon is a challenge in itself, requiring lots of materials, time, and patience, even by normal game playing.
There's also the Skyblock challenge, in which you're spawned onto a small island in the sky with one tree, and must complete certain objectives (make a tree farm, make a stone generator, etc) being compounded by even MORE self-imposed challenges.
Basically, any Player-created map that is listed under Survival is an example of a challenge. Along with "No Work Bench" (only use the 2x2 crafting slot you have and not the 3x3 that the workbench gives you) "No chests" (You carry everything with you, nothing that can store items like Dispensers, furnaces; do not place blocks down for storage) "No shelter" (Open air campsites are okay, buildings/anything with walls and a roof is not.)
One enterprising Muslim gamer wrote an extensive topic on following Islamic dietary and behavioural restrictions as closely as the game allows.
Although the game has no preset sequence to break, it does have a tech tree that's fairly linear. Normally, making an obsidian portal to enter the Nether requires a diamond pickaxe with which to break obsidian. However, since obsidian is formed when water flows over a lava source block, it's possible (through clever use of buckets) to make a mold, fill it with lava, and solidify it into a portal with water, no diamonds needed. If you're really bloody-minded, you can even find a natural lava pool and destroy all the lava that's not in the portal shape by replacing it with dirt, then opening a hole to a pond/ocean above and let nature do its work, no iron (for buckets) needed either. Hope your stone tools are good enough to fend off Ghasts and Blazes!
To a lesser extent, trading with Villagers will get you offers for all sorts of different types of gear; if you're lucky (or just damn persistent) you can get access to quality equipment you normally shouldn't have at that point in the game, especially if you start near a Village and get your hands on Diamond tools before you even encounter Iron!. You can also get other valuable stuff like Enchantments, Saddles, Eyes of Ender, etc. without having to raid a dungeon or enter the Nether for them, though you'll have to grind for resources in order to get the requisite Emeralds. Finally, the Village itself will probably have Carrots and Potatoes to save you the trouble of waiting for a Zombie to drop one, as well as anything else like Chests you feel like stealing from them because you don't have one yourself.
The height of the map used to be capped at just above the height of the clouds. This made it very easy to reach the top, as even a high hill can touch the top of the map. Then Jeb_ doubled the height of the world. And in effect, TRIPLED the amount of building space..
The whole game is this trope when you think about it. You begin by punching down a tree with your bare hands, swim backwards up waterfalls to get around and eventually turn hell itself into your own personal highway.
So what the hell else can we build? Another mass mob holocaust? A mincart station that has hundreds of destinations? Another giant creeper statue? Replacing every block with TNT?
The Youtube user kurtjmac is attempting to walk to the Far Lands. He's been at it for quite a number of hours now (if you take a look at the "Far Lands Or Bust" playlist, he started walking to the Far Lands in the 11th video). Coming just before his 100th episode, he has walked 292202 meters from his spawn (blocks are 1 meter in all directions) ~180 miles, this is about 2.3% the way to one edge. When he looked at his data again, he had a total distance of 699492 meters (434.64 miles) walked away from spawn.
Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Enemies will switch targets if they are hit by another enemy, but will otherwise go for you. Handy if you happen to be chased by more than one enemy. Also, having a Skeleton kill a Creeper is how you get records. Easier said than done, since it won't count if the Creeper detonates or gets killed by anything else. It must be killed by a skeleton's arrow to drop a Music Disc.
Share Ware: The game is this now - unpaid users can play "demo mode", where a single map only lets you play for 5 in-game days before asking you to pay. After that, the map is locked until you pay.
Shifting Sand Land: Deserts. That "shifting" bit is taken more literally than some cases, as Sand blocks, like Gravel blocks, actually obey gravity (barring those created at world generation, which will float until disturbed).
Shovel Strike: In a pinch, you can use your shovel as a weapon, though it doesn't do as much damage as a sword, or even other tools like the axe or pick-axe.
Shown Their Work: This could be a just graphics bug, but when you look at lava flowing down through water you can see it surrounded by a hazy light-blue glow. This looks very much like steam that should be created by boiling water as lava is flowing through it.
Minecraft is available in a wide variety of languages: the default English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic... Elvish, Klingon, Pirate...
Since 1.2, there's a chance the title screen logo will say "Minceraft" instead of "Minecraft."
If you use a Name Tag to rename a mob to "Dinnerbone" or "Grumm" case-wise, their model will render upside down. If you rename a sheep to "jeb_", its wool will cycle through all of its possible colours to create a rainbow effect.
The options menu has the option "Super Secret Settings". Clicking it plays a random sound effect run through a filter and cycles through several built-in shader effects, such as flipping the screen upside down, applying a CRT television filter, pixelating the screen in a limited palette reminiscent of 8-bit consoles, or making the screen wave while every colour on-screen cycle through the hue range constantly.
The Simple Life Is Simple: Farming is much easier than in Real Life - for instance, you can make your crops grow on demand by adding bonemeal, and you can create healthy livestock out of mere two mobs. Somewhat enforced in this as in other video games, since games are intended to be, what was that word again, fun.
The fishing rod. Obviously used for fishing, but can also be used to yank mobs toward you (or off tall places), knock mobs back, reel in transports like boats and minecarts and (bizarrely) knock pictures off walls.
Bone meal, when applied any plant, will grow it to full size immediately (it make take two tries, but rarely). This allows you to create full grown trees, harvest them, then re-grow and re-harvest a new tree from the saplings of the tree you just harvested. Wheat farms (to feed livestock) can be fast-tracked for a large surplus (this is the least efficient use of bone meal, however). Melon/pumpkin stalks can be grown to full size instantly, and once grown as such will grow new melons/pumpkins extremely quickly (this part can't be affected by bone meal, though). Grass can be spread quickly to gather wheat seeds and flowers. Finally, you can even grow a single regular mushroom into a huge mushroom that can be harvested for over a dozen more mushrooms. Best of all, skeletons will almost always drop a bone, and one bone is three bone meal, meaning one night of hunting can net you enough bone meal to last a good long while. It was nerfed in 1.5, requiring around two to seven bone meal on tree saplings and around two to three bone meal on crops to do the same job, but this is arguably still worth it for everything except large fields of crops.
Torches. They are an absolute must-have when you go mining, and they're very easy to make. Not only does they help you see in the dark, they also decrease the rate at which mobs spawn. Falling sand and gravel can be broken by putting down a torch underneath them, thus preventing you from being suffocated, and therefore averting the Minecraft Safety Rule Number Two completely. Torches also melt nearby snow and ice, making them useful to keep skylights from being snowed over and lakes from freezing in snow biomes (only for a radius of two blocks, though). Placing a torch underwater helps to regain air while underwater, so you do not have to resurface for air and may even save you from drowning (the torch itself is destroyed upon being placed, though).
Donkeys and mules are a golden example. Sure, they might not be able to fit that snazzy diamond horse armor you plundered from the dungeon/temple/stronghold/whatever, but they're just as fast and durable as horses and you can easily fit them with chests for extra inventory space. Besides, the only thing you'd really need to protect your mount from is other players in PvP servers - you can easily run past creepers before they even hiss, dodging skeleton arrows and leaving zombies and spiders in the dust.
Single-Biome Planet: The game averts this: there are several biomes available, with varying degrees of probability. If you start in an arctic biome and don't like it, just keeping walking until you find a biome you do like (note: may take a very long walk).
A mod can create biomes so big they are effectively this. The same mod can also make them so small they are only a few blocks wide. Before biomes were added to the game, however, the trope was in full effect.
Situational Sword: You can end up with a rather specialized armor piece or tool depending on which enchantments you get on it, literally if enchanting a Sword. For instance, a Diamond Sword with Smite and Looting will be exceptionally useful for slaying undead and farming their Gold Nuggets and Wither Skulls, though average against everything else (then again, a Diamond Sword is still a Diamond Sword). A sword with Looting for farming Ender Pearls is better without Fire Aspect, since Endermen will teleport away as soon as they catch fire, making them more difficult to kill. It's a bit worse with armor, since it's possible to end up with a specific protection that's only encountered some of the time and it's faster to swap out weapons/tools than armor. Fire Protection and Blast Protection can be useful throughout all of the Nether though.
Slash Command: The game has these. For single-player, they are enabled by default in creative mode, enabled or disabled at world creation in survival mode, and force-disabled in hardcore. Servers have them enabled for all gamemodes, and server plugins can take them Up to Eleven with commands that remove all entities, spawn things like spheres, or make new worlds.
Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: The game looks to be shaping up to be at level 6. Though Notch stated that he wanted a "climax" of some sort (Which later came in the form of the Enderdragon,) he also speaks of "emergent" plot and gameplay; it would probably be a surprise if you had to try to "win".
Most custom Adventure maps tend towards 1 or 2 if they have an actual plot. Wool collection maps are usually 3 or 4. There's a lot Survival Maps made which basically follow the basic rules of Minecraft, but add some theme or twist, like being stranded on an island, or being stuck in the sky, or something along those lines. These maps tend to be anywhere from level 3 to 5.
Slippy-Slidey Ice World: You used to have a chance of this each time you started a new world. Snow fell 24/7 and water froze to ice. Now there are biomes that look like this, with frozen lakes and snow-covered terrain, and instead of raining in those biomes it snows.
Slow Electricity: Quite a few contraptions end up working this way, but that's justified because it's difficult not to use a lot of repeaters in the not even electrical but "redstone" circuits as the power gets further away from the input.
Sniper Duel: One of the achievements is called "Sniper Duel", and is awarded for shooting a skeleton from 50 blocks of distance. It's actually easier than it sounds, since most monsters can't detect players beyond 16 blocks of distance.
Snowlems: You can build a golem out of snow with a jack-o-lantern for a head. It'll wander around, spreading snow on the ground. It also throws snowballs at nearby monsters. The snowballs don't deal any damage directly (except for some nether mobs), but they'll knock the monster back and distract it, which you can use to your advantage whether you're trying to fight, flee, or lure it into a trap.
Socialization Bonus: There's an achievement gained by tossing a diamond towards another player. Thankfully, this can be done in single-player mode as well, since tossing a diamond at any mob that can hold items also counts.
Soft Water: Falling damage is proportional to distance fallen, but landing in even an inch of water completely negates the damage, even if you fall from the top of the world to the bottom.
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Nearly every enemy makes its own distinct idle sounds. Zombies groan, skeletons clunk, spiders skitter and hiss, ghasts... uh, impersonate the sound designer's cat, and so on. The only exception is creepers, who, as their name suggests, are stealth-based and do not make any sound at all. Flowing water and lava also make sounds indicating that they are near.
Soundtrack Dissonance: The serene piano melodies that grace the game's audio only serve to make the tunnels to hell all the more horrifying. Even worse if your audio on the game happens to glitch horribly and distort.
So What Do We Do Now?: The bizarre ending sequence has two entities speaking directly to the player, praising their accomplishments in the game and suggesting that maybe their next adventure will be to do great things in the real world, too.
Space Compression: Although the map is theoretically infinite, the biomes are unrealistically small. The Large Biomes worldgen option changes this.
Space Jews: The Testificates, now known simply as villagers, are large-nosed merchants protected by Golems, which are just as large-nosed.
Spam Attack: Archery used to be this before the Adventure Update changed bows to the "hold to draw back farther" system, requiring players to pause and aim shots more. To compensate, bow durability got buffed.
Sprint Meter: Done somewhat differently. Your Hunger Meter (which can be refilled by eating) is made of ten muttonchops. If the top one is not empty, you'll slowly heal. If three or less are full, there's no way to sprint. If it's empty, you start to starve to nothing (in Hard or Hardcore difficulties only)
Sprite/Polygon Mix: The game uses billboarded sprites for dropped non-block items. Dropped block items are rotating 3D models of the blocks.
Less so after 1.4.6., where all entities are 3D. Saplings and other fauna are still billboards, and don't rotate to match the player.
The famous Creeper, an enemy best described as a suicide-bombing leaf monster. On the players' side of things, it also features TNT blocks, which when placed in close proximity with one another (or triggered Creepers) can create chain reactions. Sufficiently large explosions have been known to crash the game and break the current world's save file.
Beds violently explode in a fiery ball when used in the two alternate dimensions.
Suicide Attack: The Creepers are a race of hostile green creatures whose main battle tactic is to run up into your face and blow themselves up. Or to run up behind you, silently, and blow themselves up. This led Yahtzee to label them "kamikaze shrubs" and "suicide hedges."
Super Drowning Skills: In the 1.4.2 update, slimes could spawn at night in swamp biomes. However, they can't swim, so it's quite likely that they will jump in deep water and eventually drown.
This has been fixed in the 1.8 update, with slimes now being able to "swim" i.e floating to the surface of the water.
Supernatural Is Purple: The game has this. Nether portals are made from dark purple volcanic glass and are filled with some sort of purple glowing stuff. They also suck in purple smoke, as do Endermen, whose eyes glow purple. Their dimension is also home to the Enderdragon, whose eyes and mouth glow purple, and floating pink and purple crystals that heal the dragon.
Super OCD: The game tends to evoke this trope in the players. You WILL have a specific way in which to order your inventory for maximum efficiency, and you will cringe EVERY time you see a Let's Play that has a person who does not stack all of their items properly.
Super Strength: Zig-zagged. Players can fill up their inventory with feathers (a total of 4.6kg) and not carry any more... but they can carry up to just short of 50,000 tons (filling the inventory with nothing but gold blocks), without any difficulty whatsoever.
Superweapon Surprise: Villagers are incapable of defending themselves. The iron golems that patrol their villages aren't. Attack a villager and have a several ton golem bearing down on you like an enraged bear made of metal defending her cubs.
Survival Horror: Is kind of what Minecraft is, due to the amount of Nightmare Fuel the game contains. It's especially evident in Hardcore mode, where you only have one shot; if you die, you can't respawn, and the world is deleted.
I've publicly told people there's never been any such thing as Herobrine, and that I don't have any dead brothers, and that letting too many animals die in lava is a fool proof way to summon him but that you don't need to be afraid of him. He only means well, he's looking out for you, trying to warn you of the dangers you can't see. There certainly are NO physical manifestations of Herobrine that will sneak out of your computer if you leave Minecraft running at night, looming over you as you sleep with his pale eyes inches away from your face, as he tries to shout at you to wake up. Sometimes you wake up with a jolt, and he's gone, and all that lingers is the memory and faint echo of his wordless screaming. Of course it was just a dream. There's no way a morally dubious ghost with a god complex could at any point decide to haunt the children who play my game "for their own good", as there is NO SUCH THING, etc, etc.
Tactical Door Use: The game zigzags this one. Wooden doors cannot be locked, while iron ones have one built in because they need power to open or close. Villagers can go through wooden doors at their leisure, sometimes making them Too Dumb to Live. Zombies alone of the hostile mobs can use doors... as in, they'll break down wooden doors given enough time (and only on the highest difficulty at that).
Tagline: Tons; the page image's caption is one of a set of many, from which one is randomly pulled every time the game's title screen pops up.
Taking You with Me: The creepers, which explode if you get too close. Though experienced players can get around them with bows and arrows, the strength of their explosions drive beginners insane and make miners paranoid.
Talk Like a Pirate: The 1.1 Update has an option to change your language. Naturally, Pirate Speak is one of the options.
Technicolor Death: While normally mobs simply fall over and vanish in a puff of smoke when killed, the Ender Dragon starts to explode and disintergrate pixel by pixel while shooting out beams of light.
Technicolor Toxin: Being poisoned turns your health bar a sickly green, and contracting food poisoning makes your hunger bar green. During both kinds of poisoning you also have green swirls appear around you.
Teleportation Sickness: The player can throw an Enderpearl (dropped by the Teleport Spaming Endermen) in order to be teleported to where it lands - but it does 2 1/2 hearts worth of damage in the process.
The game lets you create portals to a hellish world (called the Nether) which you use to travel back to the surface again in an alternate-reality way. 1 block in the Nether equals 8 blocks on the earth-like main world and so people are using them to travel large distances.
There's a similar type of gate that takes you to "The End," a floating island in a spooky black alternate dimension. These gates can't be built, though; you have to find one in the overworld and activate it with a bunch of rare items.
Teleport Spam: Endermen are capable of this, as once they become aggressive, they can continually evade your attacks and teleport behind you. The ultimate example comes when it rains; as water damages them, they will teleport madly around until they either die or happen upon a sheltered location. On the good side, this also renders them harmless as they will not attack.
Tennis Boss: You can reflect Ghast fireballs with melee attacks, arrows, fishing rods, or even snowballs. Good thing, too, since they love to float out of range of your conventional weapons. Killing a ghast with its own fireball is the purpose of the achievement "Return to Sender".
Terraform: Sort of— planting lots of trees to ensure a healthy wood supply is an important part of the game, and if you're in a desert or a tundra it can come off as turning the wastelands into a forest. However, the weather patterns won't change, and creatures specific to your intended biome still won't spawn.
Terrain Sculpting: You can pretty much change everything you can touch, from creating a mountain, destroying it, then rebuilding it in the middle of the ocean. It's almost certain you'll end up flattening large portions of land to hold farms and such.
Players of Minecraft have reported starting to see everything as cubes.
When walking back out into the real world, one might wonder why trees aren't blockier.
When one sees a tree stump, he might wonder why the person who cut down the tree didn't harvest the stump and left that good wood there.
Also applies when you try to reach for the "F" key on a foggy day.
Or if you happen to live in a hilly, tree-filled area and wake up early in the morning, just as the sun is coming up...and start scanning the horizon for creepers.
Another, more entertaining example, is how some players have adopted the terms "Full Stack," "Half Stack," and "Quarter Stack" as an expression of the numbers 64, 32, and 16. It's usually a good indicator if someone plays Minecraft by whether they understand or use this phrase without a second thought.
Spend enough time on large projects and you'll start to look at real life structures (anything from a chapel to a skyscraper) and you'll start picturing how long it'd take you to put together the Minecraft replica, if not mine and craft all the needed pieces too.
Walk up behind a Minecraft player and make a hissing sound. Ideally you should be wearing a football helmet when you try this.
Play or watch the game for half an hour. You will never take the real meaning of the word "creeper" seriously again, trust me.
Seeing something large enough to be made of blocks on a stand. "Why is there a stand there? I mean, it's not one of the gravity-affected blocks."
Once you start dreaming in Minecraft blocks, it's probably time to step away.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One of the achievements, "Overkill", requires doing eight hearts of damage with a sword (actually nine in practice). Subverted in that it's just a name, since eight or nine hearts of damage is not enough to kill Skeletons, Creepers, or Zombies (works on Spiders, though).
Things That Go Bump in the Night: Hostile mobs will spawn outside at night, or in any area which sufficient shade to emulate nighttime light levels. You can mitigate this somewhat by lighting up your surroundings, but the only truly safe place is a well-lit and illuminated safehouse.
30-Day Free Trial: Playing Minecraft on an account that hasn't bought the game yet will limit the player to 100 minutes (5 in-game days) of gameplay on a preset world, after which their only options are to reset the world or buy the game.
Time Lapse: A large portion of building projects are posted on YouTube as a time lapse.
Enchanted Golden Apples. 9 blocks of gold (81 ingots), while farmable and not all that useful for anything else, is still pretty hard to come by.
Diamond tools and armor whenever you strike gold (metaphorically) in Enchanting. As awesome as it is to have a Diamond Pickaxe with max tier Unbreaking, Efficiency, and Fortune on it, it gets less awesome when you realize that repairing using an Anvil costs a stupid amount of experience each time (or even to re-name it). Repairing it will cost higher and higher until it exceeds 40 levels and cannot be repaired anymore, meaning it'll eventually break. Treasure it while it lasts!
Wolves fall under this once you tame them. A wild wolf has 4 hearts of health and low attack power. When you tame one to your side, its health is boosted to 10 hearts and gains a boost in attack power. It will also attack anyone you attack or attack anyone that strikes you first.
Zombies and Skeletons received several upgrades that make them more dangerous to fight directly. Originally, zombies and skeletons had simple AI where they would walk straight at you no matter what pitfalls that stood in their way. A patch upgraded their AI to walk around pitfalls when chasing the player and skeletons will flank the player should the player try to hide behind a wall. Zombies and skeletons also had their AI upgraded where they will seek shade under a tree or jump in a pool of water should they catch fire from sunlight. On top of this, there's also a rare chance that skeletons and zombies will wear armor (from leather to even diamond material and also a chance those will be enchanted) and zombies may spawn in with iron shovels or iron swords to cause extra damage to you. Skeletons may also spawn with their bows enchanted for even more lethal power. These mobs have come a long way from being simple monsters to ones that can cause serious trouble on par with a creeper.
Training the Peaceful Villagers: Well, more like Fortifying the Peaceful Village to prevent the zombie hordes from ravaging the place, as Villagers are completely incapable of defending themselves from anything.
Trap Master: This game sees a fair few automatic enemy-harvesting machines, too.
Not to mention TNT rooms... some players are themselves trap masters.
Trophy Room: The addition of item frames allows you to build trophy rooms into your constructions.
Tunnel King: The player will become this eventually. At the start of the game, it is actually one of the most practical means of finding shelter. Simply dig a small tunnel into a hill and wall the entrance up. You not only get resources for basic supplies, but a hideout that costs practically nothing to make. At the very least players will make one large mining shaft from the surface to bedrock where they'll reach diamond and lava, often times creating several more tunnels and caves in the process.
Tunnel Network: Elaborate tunnel networks are typically created by many players.
Twenty Bear Asses: Both boss fights have elements of this. The Ender Dragon can only be reached by looting enough Ender Pearls from slain Endermen to craft into Eyes of Ender with which to locate the Stronghold containing the End Portals (which the Eyes then activate). The Wither is even worse, requiring three Wither Skeleton Heads, which said skeletons only have a 2.5% chance of dropping (4% with maximum looting enchantments), not to mention the fact that you have to enter the Nether to find them and find a Nether Fortress where you also have Blazes to deal with.
24-Hour Armor: There is no reason to not wear armor if you can. It's better to sleep with armor on, in case a monster appears in your bedroom that night.
Unbreakable Weapons: As of the official release, bows break after 385 uses, but for a long time, bows were indestructible to offset the fact that arrows vanish whenever they do damage.
Undead Child: Baby zombies. They are just like regular zombies, except that they are smaller, faster and make higher pitched sounds.
Underground Level: Miles upon miles of underground caverns, as well as Abandoned Mineshafts and Dungeons.
Diamonds. You have to go near the bottom of the map, usually near lava, and even then it's terribly rare. They usually only appear in groups of four or so. If you can manage to get a Fortune-enchanted pickaxe, you can get more per block, but it's still not that much.
Emeralds are even worse. Emeralds spawn only in Extreme Hills biomes, in around one block per 16x16x16 chunk (if that) and drop exactly one emerald per block (more with the Fortune enchantment, as above). Their only use is as currency when trading with Villagers, but then doing anything else with them would be extremely impractical.
Diamonds and Emeralds can both be found as treasure in Temples, making them a little easier to get.
Glowstone. Just to reach it you have to get enough diamonds to make a diamond pickaxe, then convert lava to obsidian so you can mine it, and finally form that obsidian into a Nether portal. Once you're there, you have to find a Glowstone deposit hanging from the ceiling, build a platform so you can reach it, possibly build another platform to capture the dust if it's over lava (which is everywhere), and then mine it while hoping that some Ghast doesn't show up and blow you up (along with your platform). Furthermore, without a Fortune or Silk Touch enchantment to increase the yield or just take the whole block, you'll only get an average of three blocks for every four mined.
Obsidian, as mentioned above, takes quite some effort to obtain. You need a diamond pickaxe just to start. Obsidian is created when water flows over a lava source block (not to be confused with flowing lava, which creates cobblestone). While the properties of water let you infinitely reuse a single bucket to make as much obsidian as there is lava, lava is finite. Using it on a lava fall creates a single block. If you happen upon a lava lake, you can get a lot more, but lakes are several layers deep and you need to mine carefully to avoid losing the obsidian as you mine it, not to mention being careful not to accidentally kill yourself.
You can cheat your way around this if you have a large supply of redstone dust, which exists in much greater quantities than lava source blocks. Redstone dust becomes obsidian when exposed to lava and water flow, rather than their source blocks. The practical upshot is that entire machines can be built to transform redstone dust into obsidian using a single lava source block which is never extinguished by the process.
Even worse, in a way, is the case of Cracked Stone Bricks. These blocks spawn naturally... but only in strongholds, and only a very, very small percentage of the stone bricks are the special kind. At least plain Stone Bricks are easily obtainable, and all other variants of Stone Bricks are all craftable as of 1.8.
Somewhat ridiculously, melons are this. Melons don't grow naturally, and their seeds are only obtainable from chests in Abandoned Mineshafts (or by buying one from a villager). While this doesn't sound like too big a deal, melon slices are a required component of healing potions. The 1.7 update makes melons grow in Jungle biomes, alliviating this problem (although not much, since jungles are among the rarest biomes).
Un Sound Effect: The 2014 April Fools Day joke was to add either these or onomatopeias (in a "durrrrr" tone) to every single action taken. Even ambient noise became repeated ad naseum, with bubbling sound of lava being replaced with "LAVA!" or the sound of stepping on stone being replaced with "STONE!".
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Skeletons use bows (possibly enchanted) and may wear armor, zombies can occasionally show up wielding swords or a shovel an may also wear armor, zombie pigmen use gold swords, and wither skeletons use stone swords. All of these items can be crafted by the player, but until the 1.2 update there was no chance that the aforementioned baddies would drop their gear for you to take. 1.2 added 'rare drops', making it so mobs would occasionally drop the equipment they use, though it's usually in poor condition (though worth repairing via anvil if it's a decent material with good enchantments).
Unusual Chapter Numbers: Alpha and Beta releases had version numbers in the format of 1._____, eventually culminating in 1.9 prerelease 5. The "final" version of Minecraft is simply numbered version 1.0.0.
In order to reach The End dimension, you need to activate the end portal, found in Strongholds, which only spawn 3 times per world. Generation bugs can cause the portals to be incomplete, and if all 3 portals are incomplete, you're screwed.
Before the hunger bar was introduced, there's a possibility of getting stuck in a 2 block deep hole in Bedrock. Normally, if you have a supply of blocks this wouldn't be a real problem since you could create a platform under you to escape. However, if you for some reason fell into this hole without any blocks, you better hope there's an enemy mob nearby that can kill you because there's no way you can respawn without death and Bedrock is indestructable.
If you place lava on your original spawn point (the one not set with beds) and die, you will respawn on the lava, and die again, ad infinitum.
Vader Breath: Blazes are recongizable by their heavy mechanical breathing.
Sugar cane can quickly become this if you have even a modest farm for it. For example, a 17 x 17 farm, using as much growth area as possible, produces nearly 7 full stacks of sugar cane (assuming you leave a one-block layer for regrowth). Once you've made enough paper to get 15 bookshelves and an enchantment table (a bit more than two stacks), the only other use it has is to make sugar, and you will still have a massive surplus. Excess paper, however, can be traded to an NPC Librarian for a decent sum once you've finished using it to make maps or written books (if you feel so inclined).
In Minecraft, the only real buyers and sellers are Villagers, who'll buy some materials that you yourself can make practical use of, making this by and large averted, though some of them are abundant enough so that they can be worth more to you traded for Emeralds (Wheat being one example). It's also worth noting that no enemy drop is totally useless, no matter what it looks like at first. Bones? Make them into beneficial Bone Meal or tame wolves with them. Spider Eyes? Save them up and you'll thank yourself when you start Brewing. Hell, Rotten Flesh can be fed to dogs safely once you have one (and, as of the 1.8 update, some villagers will buy it of you have large quantities of it).
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The game "ends" rather aptly, in The End, an Eldritch Location filled with nothing but endless expanses of air, a background that looks like TV static, making it very hard to see, tons of Endermen, massive Obsidian towers, and the Enderdragon.
Tamed wolves. They'll kill for you. They'll die for you. It's in your best interest to keep their health up, especially since you can heal them with zombie meat (which serves no other purpose and is poisonous to the player).
The same goes for cats, aka tamed ocelots. They're adorable, and also serve as a handy creeper repellent. You can get quite attached to them, as long as they don't drive you mad by holding sit-ins on your bed and crafting table.
Befriending horses will gain you a very useful companion that'll let you traverse the overworld and scale hills and mountains far faster than on foot. Breeding them takes more resources than normal (you need 2 Gold Ingots' worth of nuggets for Golden Carrots just to get them in "love mode") but the resulting offspring can potentially be even better than their parents (i.e. more health, higher top speed, better at jumping, etc.)
You'll feel very good after curing an infected villager. You're practically saving their life. As for villagers in general, you can go out of your way to fortify the place against zombie attacks and build more houses for them so they'll happily reproduce, something can be worth the effort as you get more villagers to trade with.
The game has a lot of cruelty potential for the imaginative. Want to run around punching chickens, cows and pigs? You can. It's also very possible to build complicated traps to use against the mobs that come after you with enough time and resources, and once you've got the right materials, it's entirely possible, depending on the environment you're in, to start a forest fire that engulfs an area the size of a large city in flames. Assuming you can bear to destroy your own constructions, there's even more cruel fun to be had creating, and then setting off a self-destructing base.
It takes a special brand of cruelty to log into a multiplayer server just to burn the place down, or leave crude designs and message everywhere, though most servers have measures against this kind of thing.
There are also people who will build elaborate castles and the like for the sole purpose of filling them with death traps, with people under the impression that there is treasure at the end. Often times there is not.
One version introduced the feature that if pigs die due to being on fire, they drop cooked pork. In his twitter he acknowledged this was probably bad.
1.8 added for cows and chickens to drop their respective meats and cooked variants if on fire, the full release adds the ability to enchant weapons with fire aspect...
Taken Up to Eleven with the advent of auto-generated NPC villages complete with villagers. There's also villages, populated by dopey, passive NPC villagers. The sadistic player can easily slaughter the inhabitants, burn the houses down, and if you're feeling extra dickish, you can even bomb the ruins. Feel like being a jerk? Rob them blind! Set their buildings on fire! Set them on fire! Pack every building with so much TNT that nothing remains but a smouldering crater! They don't care at all. Unfortunately, as mentioned below, their Iron Golem protectors do, provided you attack the villagers directly.
Using flint and steel to clear leaves can result in massive forest fires. Bad for the wildlife and wastes saplings, but convenient if you want to eliminate hiding places for creepers.
Making mobs, enemy or friendly, suffocate to death by making a block of sand or gravel fall on their head and prevent them from breathing. Death by suffocation is treated at the same rate as drowning underwater, i.e. very slowly, but nothing can be more pleasurable than watching a Creeper suffocate to death while being helpless. The player can also suffocate the same way but would generally be smart enough to just get out from under it.
Though it's more pragmatic than cruel, one of the most effective ways to get a steady supply of material that can only be taken from farm animals is to herd them into a pen, breed them, slaughter most of them, then repeat. This is especially true of cows, which can be a lot harder to find in the wild and provide vital resources for enchanting in addition to the best cooked meat available.
Beta 1.8 added Creative Mode, which allows you to spawn any item you want directly into your inventory, allows you to fly, and makes you invincible... except that hostile mobs can still spawn. Want revenge for all those times you've been killed? Now's your chance.
That's just the tip of the iceberg; you can drop a kitten's parents into the void, then lock said kitten in a cell made entirely out of TNT and blow it to smithereens; you can place a chicken in a minecart, then proceed to push the minecart into a pit of lava; you can use piglets as target practice; anything to do with animals, especially babies, that doesn't fall under caring potential is usually this.
The Better Than Wolves mod rewards the player with more dung, a resource in the mod, for locking their pet wolves in windowless cells, increasing the production rate.
Wolves never attack the player unless they are hurt first.
Naturally-spawned Iron Golems will attack you if you harm them or a villager in their presence. This is generally a bad idea, because Iron Golems have tons of HP and do a lot of damage. Unless you make your own iron golems. Those will never attack you.
Video Game Demake: Minecraft users couldn't resist the temptation to remake maps from other games in cubed glory. Here's an example with a multiplayer map of the first Halo.
Video Game Time: A full day is 20 minutes. (8 of day, 2 of sundown, 8 of night (seems a lot longer...) and 2 of sunrise.) If you have two of one type of animal together, you can bop them each with a stalk of wheat, they breed and pop out a baby version in half a (in-game) day.
Violation of Common Sense: Some aspects of Minecraft physics can create some of these moments for newer players. One example is fluid physics: you cannot scoop up lava/water from anywhere on the lava/waterfall, you need to remove a source block (i.e. a whole square of it, not just an incomplete one in flowing motion).
Creepers can be forced to explode prematurely by using a Flint and Steel on them. Naturally, you can't get away fast enough to escape the explosion, but forcing a Creeper to explode can be handy to blow holes into the ground/walls without wasting your own explosives or tools.
Virtual Paper Doll: The game allows you to dye your leather armor to any color you want, which can result in mismatched armor pieces or just something extremely tacky.
The Virus: Villagers attacked by zombies can become infected, if a village is close enough to the player, they may see them milling about with other zombies.
Void Between the Worlds: Anywhere above and below the spaces you can place blocks on the map is called The Void. Normally you can't get to the Void below the map because of "unbreakable" bedrock, but if you manage to find a gap in the bedrock, you'll find that the void is rather plain-looking, and that if you jump into it, you'll die within seconds. And once you go in, there's no way to leave.
Vulnerable Civilians: Villagers are utterly incapable of self-defense and are as good as dead if zombies come, moreso in Hard mode where they can't even cower behind wooden doors since the zombies will just break those down.
Wall Master: Silverfish. They hide inside the wall blocks of Strongholds to discourage you from just tunneling through. Silverfish can also naturally spawn within stone blocks in the Extreme Hills biome, but they appear as frequently as Emeralds, i.e. very rarely. They're weak alone, but if you fail to kill one immediately, it may wake up other Silverfish nearby, resulting in a Zerg Rush that can easily kill you if they get a big enough swarm. (Note that it may wake up the other Silverfish. Don't assume you are now safe (oops).) Worse still, Silverfish blocks are visually identical to actual blocks. The only way to tell them apart is to try mining them by hand first, since Silverfish blocks mine much faster than a real block does. Alternatively, a Silk Touch-enchanted pick can take the block, but not the Silverfish inside.
Wall of Text: Due to the lack of usable books or notes (Until 1.3), most downloadable scenarios, public servers, etc. will leave introductory text written on signs attached to walls near the initial spawn point. This results in literal walls of text.
Warp Zone: The multiplayer servers generally have a warp zone at the spawn point providing easy access to player towns.
Waterfall into the Abyss: May appear on floating islands and can be intentionally created by the player using a water or lava "source block".
However, both water and lava stop flowing when they reach the lowest layer of the created world, therefore it is advisable to build floating islands quite high for the best flowing effect.
Water Is Blue: Darker blue in this case. There are plans to implement a biome gradient similar to grass, so water will be a lighter shade of blue in areas with a higher temperature and/or higher rainfall. So far this has only taken the form of murky water in swamp biomes.
Skeletons and zombies are set on fire by direct sunlight, and torches can prevent monsters from spawning underground. Spiders become neutral during the day. Note that this is all determined by light, not time of day, so thunderstorms, even at high noon, will be full of monsters ready to eat your face.
To clarify: Spawning depends on light level. Undead burning up, or spiders going peaceful depends on sunlight. Sunlight requires both time of day (technically sun above the horizon; some mods add worlds where this doesn't happen) AND exposure to the sky.
Averted only for the Creepers and Endermen, who are ready to party at all hours, but only spawn in low light like other monsters. They become more dangerous in the daytime, because the player gets complacent when there's not supposed to be anything roaming around, and Creepers can blend in with the sunlit vegetation (though not as much as they used to; see Real Is Brown above). Thankfully, in the case of Endermen, they are typically neutral unless the player looks at them directly (i.e. with the crosshairs).
Endermen and water don't mix. Not only does it hurt them but they instantly teleport away from it and forget what they were just doing. This means that if the player is about to be killed by one, he only needs to dunk a bucket of water on it to make it go away.
Weapon of X Slaying: The "Smite" and "Bane of Arthropods" enchantments make weapons more effective against undead and spiders, respectively.
Weird Currency: Prior to the introduction of their ability of Apples and Cocoa Beans to be grown, Cookies and Apples were used as currency on many servers because their extreme rarity outweighed their usefulness as food items. Slimeballs, which were renewable but still difficult to obtain, were also sometimes used as currency simply because they had no other use until the introduction of Sticky Pistons.
Weird Moon: In the normal world, it's a square, it always comes up when the sun goes down and vice versa, and prior to Beta 1.9 it was always full. It was round for a short time (during a pre-release update). While moon phases occur, which show round sections of shadow moving across it (the one exception is the new moon, where only the outermost edge is visible - and about half as bright as on a full moon), the Moon is still always on the opposite side of the Sun, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise, behavior typically associated with a full moon.
Weird Sun: Also a square. (Texture packs can change it to whatever the player wants.)
Whale Egg: In creative mode, any and all of the mobs can be spawned with eggs, even pigmen and ghasts and villagers.
When It Rains, It Pours: When the rainy weather comes, it rains intensely. Worse, if it rains during the daytime, monsters that would ordinarily die in sunlight don't, and can roam freely. Even worse, if it becomes a thunderstorm, it gets dark enough that monsters will spawn. The one good thing about it is that it renders Endermen harmless (if rather amusingnote Until one teleports insider your house), as they will Teleport Spam in an attempt to escape from the rain. It also makes fish bite more frequently, though either fish in an artificial lake in a safe spot or watch your back if you're fishing out in the open.
When Trees Attack: The Creepers are mottled green, have multiple legs but no arms, and according to Word Of God their hide feels like leaves. This makes them strongly resemble mobile, explosive plants.
Notch has said that, were they real, their texture would be "crunchy, like dried leaves", basically meaning they're supposed to be concussive walking topiaries.
Who Forgot The Lights?: The game does this intentionally. As monsters spawn at lower light levels, the creator (Notch) wanted to encourage players not to simply blindly wander through the night or through dark tunnels, and to place torches as often as possible. A side effect of this is a generally scary atmosphere, especially outside Peaceful mode.
Though there are instances where the lighting for various covered blocks fail to take full effect and make the space within at a light level of 0. This can be fixed by placing or removing a block next to the affected area, causing a chunk update.
The brightness setting, which was added sometime later, can avert the trope. With the brightness turned up to the max, you can still see in caves with zero light, but it's still dark enough to partially cover up whatever dangers are lurking. You can also avert the trope completely by drinking a Potion of Night Vision, which makes everything bright as if the sun was up.
Wicked Witch: The game added witches as a second ranged hostile mob in the Pretty Scary Update (version 1.4). They attack by throwing negative status effect splash potions (slowness, poison, damage, & weakness) at the player and use positive status effect potions (healing, fire resistance, & swiftness) to heal/protect themselves.
Wide Open Sandbox: A bit more literal of an example than most, which is half the appeal. Most sandbox games have some kind of goal, like killing monsters or scoring points, which guides the gameplay. For Minecraft, there's merely a handful of suggestions that hint at the different facets of the game. Everything is entirely optional, which means different people can do completely different things, and every style of play is equally valid. You can build huge castles or pixel art tapestries. You can explore near and far, by land or sea. You can grow wheat, melons, pumpkins, sugar cane, cacti, or various trees. You can mine for iron, gold, diamonds, redstone, or lapis lazuli. You can search for dungeons, either for the rare treasure contained therein or a chance to fight an endless stream of monsters. You can build machines with pistons and redstone circuitry. You can construct a sinister portal and invade hell itself, then turn it into your own personal network of roads so you can move quickly between each of your outposts. You can experiment with potions and equipment enchantments to give yourself an edge in battle or just make it easier to gather your favorite resources. There's even a dragon you can slay to get something resembling an ending, but you're free to keep playing afterward, and nothing really changes. You're invited to try your hand at all of it, and settle into whichever sort of gameplay personally appeals to you. And if that isn't enough, you can set up a server and play with your friends, whether you prefer to build cooperatively or wage war. And, of course, you can dig up an entire desert and make a literal sandbox stretching as far as the eye can see.
Wild Wilderness: Almost the entire map, the only exception being the NPC Villages.
A Winner Is You: For a long time, the game had no ending or sign of progression at all, living up to the true wide open sandbox name. When the game became a full version, players could go on a lengthy quest to gather materials needed to eventually reach The End realm and fight the Enderdragon. Beating the dragon got you 20,000 experience points and the player was left with a really long and pretty slow crolling text with two unseen beings talking to the player, having a verysurrealist dialogue about existence and reality, followed by the credits.
Witch Species: As of 1.4 witches are now in the game, they are aggressive mobs that most often spawn in witch huts which appear in swamp biomes (although, as of 1.7, they can rarely spawn anywhere) they look similar to villagers but are a completely different mob. They have paler skin, pointed hats, a wart on their nose, and use potions to hurt you and heal themselves. And can be farmed for infinite glowstone, redstone, and other potion ingredients.
With This Herring: You're plonked down into the middle of nowhere in a world that's going to be crawling with giant spiders, skeletons, and creepers in ten minutes with nothing but your bare hands and expected to survive. In a rather more literal interpretation of the trope, you can actually chop down trees with fish. It's no harder than chopping a tree down with your bare hands, which is one of the first things you're expected to do when you start playing.
Wizard Needs Food Badly: Starting with Beta 1.8, you have a food meter that gradually drains over time. If your food meter is at least 80% full, you regenerate health. If it drops to 30%, you become unable to sprint. If it reaches 0%, your health meter starts draining instead. With the difficulty set to easy, your maximum health is effectively cut in half. On normal, you become a One-Hit-Point Wonder. On hard, you'll starve to death.
The End seems to qualify. It's a floating continent made of a type of white stone, with obsidian towers and is the home dimension of the Endermen.
There's also the old fan-made map "skylands". No points for guessing why it's called that.
The Aether mod adds a new dimension made up entirely of floating continents.
The World Is Just Awesome: The first thing most new players do is scale a mountain, and look around. At that moment, you realize just how tiny you are and how much space you have. According to the other wiki, the maximum limit of the game world generator can go to before it hits its technical limit is eight times the surface area of the Earth.
World Limited to the Plot: Enforced in a meta sense. While the world is predefined by the seed it's given at the game's start, only those sections of the map that the player has already visited are actively generated and saved.
World of Chaos: Endermen, given enough time, will inevitably turn the world into something along these lines with their block moving abilities. See this video for the damage endermen can cause over a period of 3 years on a server.
X on a Stick: Crafting. A torch is coal on a stick, a redstone torch is a pile of crushed redstone on a stick, an iron sword is two ingots on a stick, and a diamond pickaxe is three diamonds on two sticks.
Yet Another Stupid Death: Deaths that can be easily avoided encompass half of the decisions with bad results (most of the other half is about trying to build fireplaces in wooden houses). Oftentimes lava, falling, or sand/gravel is involved. Sometimes it's a combination of the preceding. And when other players get involved...
A persistent bug due to out of date LWJGL involves randomly starting to walk in a different direction while walking while clicking. The way to fix it is by hitting that direction key. Which is the very most counter-intuitive thing to do. Cliffs and lava pools become an object of horror due to this bug.
Rule number one of Minecraft: don't dig straight down. Rule number two: don't dig straight up. If you ignore these rules, it's only a matter of time before you die stupidly. If you dig the ground out from under you, you can tunnel down faster, but you run the risk of hitting a hollow cave, which can lead to falling damage and/or finding yourself surrounded by monsters you can barely see. Even worse, you may fall into lava with no way to climb out, guaranteeing a swift death and the total destruction of everything in your inventory. Digging straight up has its own unique risks. While blocks directly below lava and water now emit little warning drops (plus the fact you can hear lava bubbling or water even through solid blocks), nothing prevents you from striking sand or gravel, which can lead to a quick death by suffocation if you're not careful (and if you broke Minecraft Safety Rule Number Two™, one assumes you aren't!).
You All Look Familiar: Many players don't bother to change the default player skin, making multiplayer servers full of identical Steve?s. However, players with an image editor can make their own custom skins.
Players also have this glaring tendency to use famous skins; be it a widely-known Let's Player, a Mojang employee, or a Mob skin remodeled to fit the Player mesh.
Your Costume Needs Work: Minecraft developer Jens Bergensten has tweeted an image showing him joining a server and being called "not the best fake I've ever seen".
Your Soul Is Mine: You can collect an item called Soul Sand, which is made up of screaming faces.
Also popular Fanon holds that Enderpearls are the souls/life force of the Endermen. You can use them to teleport, expending the pearl in the process.
You Will Not Evade Me: The Fishing Rod can be used to reel in mobs. It's especially useful against Ghasts, which love to shoot fireballs at you while flying out of your attack range. (The Fishing Rod doesn't hurt mobs, but you can pull them in close and slash them with your sword before running. You can also get creative with them, pulling them into damaging obstacles like cacti or lava.)
If you have multiple tamed wolves following you, they will rush any mob that you attack or get attacked by. Normally one wolf is enough to make quick work of a Zombie or Skeleton, but against a very strong enemy (like an Enderman or an Iron Golem) they will keep swarming it and suffer some casualties if it doesn't go down fast enough.
Zip Mode: The game has railroads, teleporting Ender Pearls, and Nether Portals. It's worth noting however that the Railroads have to be set-up manually, Ender Pearls need to be thrown and have a habit of teleporting you far above your intended destination causing fall damage, and Nether Portals mean you have to navigate through the Nether, a hell-like dimension. This can be utilised by setting two Portals in the real world first, and then trekking through the Nether, which is often more dangerous than just trekking through the regular world.
Even this is not fast enough for some, and so enterprising mod developers have created addons that allow creation of portal networks and instantaneous teleportation to user-definable waypoints.
This is also possible through use of command blocks and an attached trigger.
Zombie Apocalypse: This happens every night in villages, with zombies being spawned into the game just for this purpose. Luckily for the villagers, they can repopulate and have an iron golem protector to counter this. Zombies are also infectious, and can create "testificate" zombies which are mostly functionally identical to regular ones. Zombie Villagers can be cured, though.
Unfortunately, in the vanilla game, village population is determined by wood doors on the edge of buildings (approximation.). For every 3 doors, the village supports one villager. This means that most villages have a "target" population level of 2-3, and will probably be wiped out in two or three nights if you don't properly wall off/fence off the village by then (and, of course, make sure the village is properly lit). If you want a quick recovery from a zombie invasion, you'll need to build more houses (and/or install more doors in existing structures).
The 1.6 update added a wrinkle for Hard difficulty: every time you hit a zombie, there's a chance of another zombie spawning nearby. This chance is higher for armored zombies, who require more hits to kill. Combine this with the zombie's extended eyesight (they can see you long before you see them) and you can get overwhelmed pretty quickly.
The 1.7.4 update added chicken jockeys (a baby zombie on a chicken). Although the zombie can despawn (or get killed by suffocation), the chicken can't, as it's a passive mob, so you can sometimes find chickens inside of caves. Chickens that can lay eggs indefinitely. Any zombie that picks up one of those eggs will no longer be able to despawn, what means more and more zombies will progressively fill the area, as new zombies are being spawned and they're prevented from despawning through eggs. This is an example of such a situation.