Minecraft is a cross-platform, block-based sandbox game. It was originally intended as a Spiritual Successor of the free game Infiniminer and is inspired by Dwarf Fortress as well, even to the point that someone developed a program to convert Dwarf Fortress maps into Minecraft landscapes.Currently Minecraft has two main branches: "Classic" and simply "Minecraft" (previously "Beta"; "Alpha", "Infdev", and "Indev" before that), with the latter further sub-divided into "Survival", "Creative", "Adventure", and "Hardcore" modes. It is currently priced at €19.95 (US$26.95, £17.20), Classic is free to play, but has fewer features than the full release.Classic is a simple sandbox mode that can be played either single or multiplayer. Players can place or destroy blocks as they see fit, and can switch between various kinds of blocks. For the most part, it's focused solely on building, and can be used to easily make very large structures or pixel art. Many players have compared it to playing with LEGOnote Incidentally, LEGO is now offering Minecraft-themed sets by popular demand, though one must wonder how they'll differ at all from their normal Creator packages, and the visuals definitely carry that vibe. Classic is free to play, and a good way to introduce someone to the mechanics of Minecraft, but it is extremely basic when compared to the full game's more varied and complex features.The full version features four modes: Survival, Hardcore, Adventure, and Creative.Survival adds myriad features, such as a crafting system, a day/night cycle, and hostile monsters, and unlike Classic, the player must collect blocks manually. Players are dropped into an empty world with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back. At night, zombies, skeleton archers, Giant Spiders, exploding Creepers, and teleportingEndermen roam the land (unless you're playing on Peaceful Mode note prevents violent mobs from spawning; you don't get attacked, but on the other hand you can't get any of the neat items they drop). The player is forced to scrounge for supplies, building up a base to protect from the nocturnal beasts while also mining deep underground for valuable materials. The landscape is also populated by more docile animals, like cows, that can be killed for their meat (which fills your food meter) and other useful items. Even after its official release, the game is constantly updated with many new features and tweaks, and players who have already paid for the game receive these free. For more details about Survival mode, refer to the analysis section. Hardcore mode is similar to Survival in most respects, but the difficulty is permanently locked at hard, and the world is deleted upon death.Another game mode, Creative, removes the health barnote (although you can still die in the void to prevent lag), gives the player infinite access to every item/block in the game, lets the player spawn nearly every kind of mobnote Ender Dragons can't be spawned due to their ability to destroy virtually every block, which could ruin maps and gives them the ability to fly. It is, in essence, a more full-featured version of Classic.Adventure mode is much like Survival, but without the ability to break most blocks without specific tools. This mode is generally meant for user-created maps that focus on storylines or exploration.Notable for its frequent updates and very involved creator, Notch (now working on other projects, having turned Minecraft over to Jeb_). The full game was released on November 18, 2011 (originally slated for November 11, but due to some other game launching that day, Notch pushed it back a week). The game also exists as a mobile version for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and two official Android apps (one free and one paid version - both of which roughly correspond to the Classic and gold versions, respectively). An iOS version of this was released on November 17, one day before the computer version left Beta. A version for the Xbox 360 is also available. A version has also been announced especially for the Raspberry Pi computer, based on Minecraft - Pocket Edition. Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Play Station Vita and PlayStation 4 versions have also been announced; both the Xbox One and PS4 versions will be available at the launch of their respective consoles.Worth mentioning, one of the splashes that can pop up at the title screen is "Less addictive than TVTropes!" Although since there happen to be several unofficial Troper servers, you can have both at the same time...It also features music by C418!The Game Mod Index has a Minecraft section which has pages for various mods and maps. There is also another page reserved for fan-made Adventure Maps.The official wiki can be found here, which you will absolutely need if you want to get anything done.See also Minicraft, a spin-off game made in 48 hours by Minecraft creator Notch, as well as Terraria, the most popular of several games with a similar "blocky sandbox survival" genre to Minecraft. Mojang's following game was Scrolls, which is currently in open beta.
Minecraft provides examples of:
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Abandoned Mine: As of the Adventure update, you can now find these around the world.
All-Natural Gem Polish: Diamonds and emeralds only require a modicum of processing if you mine their ores with a Silk Touch tool, otherwise the ore breaks into gems fully ready to use.
The Aloner: You are this in single player mode. It's just you and a world (potentially) eight times the size of the planet Earth, populated with eerily abandoned structures and filled with hostile monsters. The few NPCs you meet serve only to emphasize how alone you are, as they are clearly not human.
In keeping with the theme of the game, the player character is a very blocky man named "Steve?" whose body is composed various shaped cubes and rectangles. Yes, that's "Steve?", with a question mark.
Averted with the "You are the Creeper" mod, in which you are a Creeper. Literally. It's not one of those 'Hurr-durr I changed mah skin' mods, either. Played straight with the 'enemies' you face, however.
Villagers look closer to Neanderthals (or Squidward) than anything else.
Antidote Effect: Drinking a bucket of milk will remove any status effects, including poison.
Anvil On Head: The Anvil item is mainly used to repair enchanted items, but it can also be used as a weapon by placing it next to a hovering block and having gravity make the Anvil fall. It does a ton of damage to any player or mob that gets hit by it.
You can find a broken, dusty record. If you play it, it details the final moments of someone being chased by an unknown mob and he cries out suddenly as the record ends. It only raises the question, who recorded it?
Players may write their own version of these in books and leave them for others to find.
Applied Phlebotinum: Redstone. Putting dust on the end of a stick makes an infinite power source (unless you short it out). It's also magnetic, given that it's used to make the Compass, and, as of 1.0, can be used as an ingredient in brewing potions, extending the desired effect's duration. With 1.5, enough Redstone can be turned into a Redstone block, which is similar to a torch but impossible to shut off.
April Fools' Day: The 2011 April Fool's Day featured a massive parody of Team Fortress 2 with the Steve Co. Supply Crates. They were found randomly in newly-generated territory and glowed at night. They were indestructible (except by TNT). When clicking on them, a sign pops up that says it requires a key to open, and had a link to the Store◊. In the store, after placing $10,000 worth of silly items in the cart, the site would start displaying flashing colors, and a velociraptor popped up and moved across the screen. After a warning, of course. On April 1, an "April Fools Day" sign moved across the store page, along with a rearrangement of "Never Gonna Give You Up." Sadly, the store page no longer exists.
April Fool's 2013 saw the release of the joke update Minecraft 2.0 that contained, among other things, a pink, friendly Wither, redstone "bugs" which were retextured Silverfish, and an Etho Slab which is a half-block of TNT. It also contained more serious and useful things like Blocks of Coal and Dyed Glass, the former of which actually made it into the 1.6 update. Not to mention the latter became stained glass and was added in the 1.7 update.
Arc Number: 11, usually whenever horror is involved. The music disc that plays a man running away from things until it suddenly cuts out is named "11". Endermen were the 11th mob in the game. Herobrine was removed 11 times. The only update in the Herobrine removal period that didn't have him being removed? 1.1. Music Disc 11's disc id is 11 and it's length is 1:11. Hell, Minecraft 1.0 was released on 11/11/11!
Arrows on Fire: Bows can be enchanted so the arrows they fire will set mobs on fire if struck. A similar effect can be achieved by shooting an arrow through fire or lava. As of snapshot 12w34b, these flaming arrows can be used to ignite TNT.
Enemies will only attack if there's a direct line of sight to the player. This results in awkward scenarios when groups of Creepers cluster atop a glass ceiling, unable to explode due to the completely transparent material blocking their view. At Minecraft Con 2010, Notch said he intentionally made them stupid.This is usually acceptable to Minecraft players; if creepers could explode no matter what was between them and the player, it would be damn near impossible to construct a good shelter.
In earlier versions of the game, Ghasts wouldn't aim their fireballs at the player character himself, but instead at the camera. Normally this wasn't an issue, since the game is played in first person view by default, but players are able to manually toggle into third person mode; thus, an easy way of dealing with Ghasts was to simply pop into third person mode whenever you saw one and laugh while their fireballs sailed harmless over your character. This has since been corrected, though.
If the player is inside a house and a spider spots them, the spider will climb up the wall in an attempt to get to the player. However, due to a quirk in the programming, the spider will drop off the wall if he climbs higher than your character. Thus, if your house is built high enough, the spider will repeatedly damage himself through fall damage each time he drops.
While them not being able to use ladders is in all ways logical, tamed wolves will just jump after the player if they go down a ladder, no matter how long the descent is. Time to go looking for a new dog...
Wolves also have a hard time getting through open doors. It's usually a better idea to make them sit and then push them into the house through the doorway, or perhaps build them a dog door their own height immediately adjacent to your door.
In the rare event in which there is an above-ground lava pool, neutral mobs (which spawn in light patches at night) can be seen almost ceremoniously throwing themselves into the lava.
Prior to the 1.2 enemies had effectively no path-finding - meaning they would gleefully jump into bottomless pits, walk through lava, and drown in order to reach the player. The path-finding was basically only "run at player, jump when you reach a block in your way".
Zombie Pigmen still do this.
Wolves who are standing up will teleport to the player if they move too far from them to prevent them from getting lost or killed. However, there is a glitch in which a wolf which is sitting down will stand up and teleport to the player by themselves. Now imagine that you're deep underground, climbing along narrow ledges over lava pits and suddenly your wolf who's been sitting in your living room at home suddenly teleports right over to you.
Bats, in their random flights, make no effort to avoid lava.
Even after the AI update, enemies will still drop from a ledge above you if that's the quickest (or only) way to reach you, even if that drop is enough to injure them.
If an Enderman manages to catch fire, it will teleport itself into water. This would be perfectly logical, if not for the fact that water kills Endermen.
Endermen can be seen as this applied to Herobrine (see Urban Legend of Zelda below) - like Herobrine, they have glowing eyes, shuffle around blocks to make strange and unnatural formations, and aren't really aggressive by default but don't take kindly to being watched.
Every single patch since around Beta 1.7.3 except 1.1 has had "Removed Herobrine" in its patch notes.
Version 1.5 of the Xbox 360 edition (aka TU12) includes in its tutorial world a hidden "Tower of Pimps", a trophy made famous by the crew at Achievement Hunter.
Asteroids Monster: Slimes come in three sizes, which can withstand and dispense proportional amounts of damage. If you kill a larger slime, it will split into two to four slimes of the next size down. The smallest size slime will still chase you around but can't hurt you (unless it pushes you off a ledge or into lava). In the Nether, Magma Cubes are similar.
Composite blocks made from ingots and/or gems (iron, gold, diamond, emeralds). On one hand, they're great for storage, turning nine items into one that you can easily convert back. On the other, it takes nine pieces to make a block, so in Survival you have to mine a massive amount of ore if you want to use them as building material. If you want to make a power pyramid for Beacons, you absolutely need these, 164 in total for full effectiveness.
Enchanted Golden Apples. They give five minutes of damage and fire resistance, plus minor health regeneration and hunger benefits. They require eight gold blocks to make. That's 72 ingots or 648 nuggets. This used to be the standard for Golden Apples, which healed all health, but the effect was changed to a five-second regeneration effect and the cost was reduced, while the enchanted version uses the old recipe.
Obsidian. It's the strongest block in the game that can still be mined and is explosion-proof. That's where the good ends. It can only be mined with a diamond pickaxe, which takes about ten seconds. Obsidian is only created when water runoff hits a lava source block, converting the latter into obsidian. Lava usually only appears far below the surface, forcing you to trek into hostile territory just to find some. Once down there, if you're lucky, you'll stumble upon a lava lake. You need to use water to convert that into obsidian, then try to mine it without the obsidian falling into the next lava layer (of which there tend to be at least three). This can be circumvented by dropping a water block behind you, creating an instant conversion process. Then, after you've strip-mined an entire lake, you'll have just enough for a tiny house (though more than enough for crafting), meaning larger projects will take several trips. On the plus side, once you have enough for building purposes, whatever you make will be almost indestructible, and the Nether has so much lava that you'll never run out, though it's annoying to collect. An alternative to mining it is to collect it in buckets and use other blocks to create molds (this is an extremely useful method of getting to the Nether without diamonds), but lava buckets don't stack so this takes a while.
Any type of brick block is impractical due to the smelting needed to make them (unless your pickaxe has the silk-touch enchantment), but red brick blocks (made of actual bricks) take the cake. Brick is smelted from clay, which is usually under a one-block layer of water, meaning you need to find lakes to find it. Each block drops four balls when mined, which must then be smelted into four bricks to form a red brick block. In other words, it takes four times the fuel to make red brick blocks than it does other similar blocks (except Nether Brick Blocks, which can be found naturally), and having Silk Touch doesn't let you get around it. Even then, its only benefit is appearance; it is functionally identical to other types in terms of resistance. Finally, version 1.6 added hardened clay, which is basically the same except that it's created from a clay block instead of clay balls, in a way similar to other materials; now there's no reason to make bricks when hardened clay is four times cheaper. Besides, hardened clay can be dyed, making it at least a good choice for decoration, whereas bricks can't.
Exploiting a glitch by sprint-jumping on a low ceiling can almost double your speed, but this drains your hunger meter extremely fast.
Gold tools create the best enchantments of any material and mine even faster than diamond, but they're even less durable than wood and can't mine any ore except coal and quartz.
The majority of contraptions involving excessive amounts of TNT. Endless fun for rigging up minefields, self-destruct systems, and even artillery cannons. Almost always requires great caution and planning to set up anything more complex than a basic pressure plate mine. In addition, restocking on TNT requires hunting down considerable numbers of creepers for the required gunpowder. And if that isn't enough, TNT remains one of the only artificial blocks Endermen can still pick up and place.
Buckets of lava/water, mushroom stew, and potions all have their awesome purposes, but their use is diminished heavily due to the fact that those items don't stack and they take up a lot of space as a result if you carry a lot of them. Food used to have the same problem in the beta days until they were made to be piled in stacks (cookies were the only food item back then that could be stacked).
Diamond hoes may be the single least practical item in the entire game regarding input cost to output reward, as hoes see very little use nor do they increase in anything except durability with different materials, and you rarely need to replace your regular stone hoe, if at all. But there's no better way to say "I'm so rich I use diamonds for mundane tasks" than to walk around carrying a Diamond Hoe.
Protection 4 diamond armor makes you pretty much invincible from everything from explosions to lava. However, the amount of diamonds it takes to make a full suit, as well as the amount of exp grinding required to enchant them all, and the fact that the armor will just break eventually, just makes them not really worth it. The exception to this is on PvP servers, where you need as much protection as you can to survive the onslaught of other players with their enchanted swords. The addition of the anvil and enchanted books does mitigate this to a degree, though.
Netherrack most likely takes the cake for this. It's basically dirt in the Nether, except it needs to be mined by a pickaxe to collect it. It mines ridiculously fast, it burns forever if lit on fire (great for fireplaces), and the 1.5 update finally gave it a practical use by allowing you to smelt it into Nether Bricks which can be used to make the Nether Brick Block (saves you the hassle of finding a fortress to get said blocks). Other than that, the Netherrack has no other use and gives poor cover from an attack by Ghasts.
Glowstone as a light source. Deposits are scattered and small, you get back less than you mine without silk touch, and the light level it provides is matched by a jack-o-lantern, the latter being a lot easier to make in large quantities. Glowstone is much more useful as a potion ingredient.
Carpeting; you get a few carpets from combining 2 of the same colored wool blocks, they take up the same space as a half slab would and does not catch fire, but aside from that there is no other use than aesthetics.
Horses outside of PvP matches. Sure, they look good both with or without armor, but donkeys and mules are just as fast, just as strong and can actually carry items. Given that outside of battle gaming, inventory is crucial throughout the entire game, and you hardly need to protect your rides from mobs, the horse takes second place to their long-eared brethren.
Wood. Trees are never hard to find, and they drop saplings that can be instantly grown to a full-size tree with a few bone meal, meaning you can grow new trees from the trees you harvest (ad infinitum). Jungle trees are even better, being 2 x 2 and absolutely giant. Wood is essential for workbenches, chests, and tools, but also makes doors, pressure plates, boats, fence posts, stairs, bowls, signs, and even charcoal for torches once you construct a furnace. It's also a decent starting material for a shelter, being a step up from dirt (provided you don't accidentally burn it down, though that's been nerfed for a while).
The update which added dye to the game also added the ability to dye sheep. Not only is this endlessly amusing, but it is somewhat more efficient than manually dyeing wool blocks, as shearing sheep has the potential to give more than one block of wool, they regrow their wool in the same color that you dyed it, and give birth to colored babies. Plus, if you breed different-colored sheep, their offspring will be a mix (if one exists on the palette) of the parents. E.g., a white sheep and a black sheep will breed a gray sheep. On the Xbox 360 version, this will result in a sheep the color of one of the parents, at random.
If you have a bunch of paintings, a metal door, and a switch, you can get a very useful set up where the metal door is behind a painting and you can still walk through it when the door is open. It's possibly handy for Survival Multiplayer, if you want/need to hide the entrance to something important.
When enchanting tables were added, bookshelves became this — having bookshelves nearby whilst enchanting will increase the maximum enchantment level, meaning better abilities and, if you're very lucky, multiple ones. This works to a maximum of 15 bookshelves. While later updates have nerfed the enchantment system, books themselves can be enchanted with a random power, allowing you to pick and choose what powers you want your weapons and armor to have instead of it being randomized.
Iron tools, due to having a pretty good cost-to-use ratio. While weaker than diamond tools, they're still relatively efficient and iron itself is far more abundant, making it more cost-efficient than diamond (which is only necessary to mine obsidian). They also enchant better than diamond tools.
For general maintenance, stone tools are a better idea than iron, mostly because stone and wood are renewable resources. You'll go through them faster, but any player will find themselves swimming in cobblestone before long so you can always make them in bulk.
Wolves, when tamed. They follow you, sit when right-clicked, have cute little puppy-dog eyes, shake themselves dry when getting out of water, tilt their heads to the side and beg when you pull out food, and murder anything that you attack with melee. Except creepers.
Badass Normal: Steve?. While his clothing and name suggest coming from some kind of civilization, he can swim up waterfalls, beat zombies to death with his bare hands, craft explosives, and survive without food or sleep indefinitely (in Easy and Normal modes). And that's not even half of it.
Endermen have the ability to steal certain kinds of blocks. The variety was greater at one point, but 1.0 nerfed it to a small selection of naturally-occurring blocks. You also cannot recover the block even if you kill the Enderman that stole it, unless you wait until he puts it down somewhere.
Snapshot 12w43b introduced this trope to zombies, skeletons, and zombie pigmen. Any items that are dropped can be picked up by these mobs and used against you. This means any undead mob that kills you may walk away with your stuff if you don't get back there quickly. Alternatively, they will become an Improbable Weapon User like this zombie trying to beat you down with a door.◊
Barrier-Busting Blow: If the difficulty is set on Hard, wooden doors won't stop zombies, just slow them down. Iron doors will keep them out.
Bat Scare: Lighting torches sometimes triggers this trope, but they're harmless outside of accidentally startling a more flinch-y player into falling off a steep drop or onto lava.
Battle Trophy: Wither skeletons have a rare chance to drop their skulls upon defeat. You can keep them as a decoration or even wear them or use them to summon the Bonus Boss, the Wither.
House music producer Deadmau5loves Minecraft; about 1/4 or so of his YouTube videos are Minecraft-related, and he's looking to do a remix project with the game's composer.
A feature that accidentally made it into the mainstream release of Minecraft was the ability to rotate the camera on its horizontal axis, which was something created specifically for Deadmau5. It has since been removed.
One of the game's most popular multiplayer servers is Deadmau5's own server, which includes several giant statues and effigies of the mouse-headed musician (including one made out of solid diamond blocks) and some pretty amazing architecture.
Seananners of MachinimaRespawn also has many videos of Minecraft, some with Deadmau5.
Tobuscus has a long-running Let's Play of Minecraft and has two hit singles, "Safety Torch" and "I Can Swing My Sword", based on it.
Bilingual Bonus: On the title screen, there is a random splash. One such splash reads "Bread is Pain", and pain means bread in French. Other splashes say hello to various countries in the local language.
Blackout Basement: Lighting is a vital game mechanic to pay attention to, as hostile mobs will generally spawn in areas with low or no light. Since a good chunk of gameplay involves going underground, players are advised to carry plenty of torches.
Blatant Lies: One of the title screen random splashes claims "Absolutely no memes!" Aside from the fact that Minecraft has spawned a good dozen memes, it does make its own fair share of references in other title splashes.
This is variable as of the more recent updates. Pine trees in the cold biomes can grow quite large. The standard biomes other trees appear in can also grow to great size at random. It is not uncommon to see a grove of small trees around a much larger tree or two.
The jungle biomes generally invert this. The trees soar in them, forming a huge, high canopy.
Bonus Boss: To fight the Wither, you will have to gather up four blocks of soul sand and three Wither Skeleton skulls to construct it, both of which are found in the Nether. One of the paintings even shows you how to put it together.
Desert pyramids have treasure rooms with a pressure plate in the middle of it. If the plate is stepped onnote including by mobs which spawn inside the area due to its low light level, it triggers the TNT buried below and will blow you to hell, along with the loot. Jungle temples have tripwires that, when activated, makes dispensers nearby fire arrows at you.
The player can also create their own booby traps out of the various redstone devices to use against other players or mobs, from simple to very elaborate.
Cobblestone. As a building material, it's relatively durable. As a crafting material, it's abundant. Outside of massive super-projects, you'd be hard pressed to be at a loss as all the stone you mine turns into cobblestone. It's also one of the materials (all derived from wood, water, plants, and monsters) that can never run out as you can always create more through a combination of lava and water. This same property also allows you to construct simplistic shelters out of basically nothing so long as you have at least one bucket. Even better, it can be smelted into much nicer-looking stone blocks.
Wheat farming. It takes a while for the plants to grow, and the bread you make from the wheat isn't the best food, but as long as you harvest when the plants are ripe, it usually returns more seeds than what you put in. Not to mention the wheat and seeds can be used for cow and chicken farms, respectively, meaning you get the best food and feathers for arrows. Once you've reached a sustainable supply, you have limitless food.
Blocks of dirt. You can't craft it into anything, but it's vital to farming of any kind. It is also excellent for temporary platforms, since you'll never run out of it, and can be used for makeshift barricades if necessary. It can even serve as housing at the start of the game, until you've gathered the necessary supplies to build something more sturdy.
Water is as plain as it can get. It may slow you down and you can drown in it, but when combined with the humble bucket it is your absolute best friend. It puts out fires, solidifies lava, provides irrigation for farming, can be turned into a makeshift elevator to break your fall off a cliff, or be used as a trap. Water can also be used as an elevator by swimming up waterfalls.
Light sources. Light not only lets you see, but prevents monsters from spawning at certain light levels. It's also crucial to accelerated plant growth.
Composite blocks, as long as you're not using them for anything, are great for storing large amounts of items. One block is composed of nine individual items (in most cases), letting you store nine times as much of it. This is especially true of redstone and coal (but not charcoal, due to technical issues), which were only recently given the option to be blockified. Both substances are one of the most abundant products of mining short of cobblestone and dirt. They even have fringe benefits on top of being easy storage. A redstone block acts as a power source, and a coal block actually lasts longer as fuel than the coal used to make it.
Boss Room: Arguably the End, which is essentially one giant arena to fight the Ender Dragon.
Bottomless Pit: The Void. In the Overworld and Nether, it's blocked off by indestructible bedrock, but "indestructible" doesn't mean anything to a player in Creative mode. The End, being a series of floating islands, has a bit more of it to deal with.
Bottomless Magazines: A bow with the "Infinity" enchantment doesn't actually use up any arrows in your inventory. You still need at least one arrow in your inventory to fire the bow, though. Also, the bow is limited by durability, but that's still the equivalent of six full stacks of arrows—which you can further extend through repairs at an anvil.
Bragging Rights Reward: Once you go through all the trouble of farming Endermen for their pearls, farming Blazes to get blaze powder to convert those pearls into Eyes of Ender, using said eyes to find an End Portal (which you then must activate with up to 12 eyes), and defeating the Ender Dragon in The End, you're rewarded with... a dragon egg. It literally does nothing, and is annoying to even collect because it teleports if you try to touch it. But hey, at least you can say you got it.
Breakable Weapons: All weapons, tools and armor have a fixed number of uses before breaking. Bows are somewhat unique in that they lose durability when fired, but not when used to club things over the head; unfortunately, they are no more effective in this manner than fistsnote unless you combine it with a Sharpness enchanted book at an anvil, though it doesn't make it much better than a wooden/stone sword with no blocking capabilities.
Bubblegloop Swamp: One of the biomes. It has flat terrain and shallow pools of water containing lily pads able to support your weight. Edible mushrooms are more common here, and trees are overgrown with vines hanging to the ground. The water was originally very dark, but this was changed after players complained that it was too ugly. It also features an abundance of slimes.
The Xbox 360 version introduces an additional attack for the Dragon, Ender's Acid.
Call to Agriculture: There are all kinds of flora and fauna you can farm, including wheat, carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, watermelon, cocoa, sugar cane, mushrooms, trees, chickens, cows, pigs, sheep and so on. In fact, unless you want to spend half your time fishing, establishing farms to grow wheat and livestock is essential for a reliable food supply, since animals don't respawn in large numbers, so hunting and gathering will prove inadequate before long.
Canine Companion: Wolves can be tamed with bones, and will follow you around and fight for you.
Charged Attack: A game mechanic for the bow, introduced in the Beta 1.8 update. The longer the bow is charged, the more damage the arrow does and it will fly faster and farther.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Skeletons will spin and shoot you with pin-point accuracy and a reaction time no human could ever achieve. Particularly obvious with the Beta 1.8 update, which introduced bow pull-back. The longer you hold the bow back, the more powerful the shot. Your movement speed is also slowed to a crawl when you pull it back. Unfortunately, skeletons seem to be immune to this.
Continuing Is Painful: When you die, you'll drop all the items you're carrying, and all but six levels worth of your experience points are Lost Forever. This penalty can be softened by having fewer than six levels of EXP, causing you to lose only half of them, and if you can find the place where you died, you can run back and retrieve all your stuff. If you happened to die by falling in lava though, kiss all your items goodbye! Also, a recent update allows zombies to loot your belongings, so don't be surprised if you encounter a zombie dressed like you that you'll need to kill to get your armor and sword back.
Gold anything. As in real life, gold is treated as a soft malleable metal meaning that, at best, things made from gold were no better than the wood versions. Gold was really only useful for decoration and making watches, though presently they can mine through certain materials faster than even diamond... except they're just as fragile as they always were.
Golden booster tracks were introduced to defy this, but they didn't work until a glitch exploit that allowed for even faster boosting was removed. The removal of the bug, incidentally, was the other reason booster tracks were added.
Throwable negative effect potions. Unless you're trying to cure a zombie villager (itself a difficult task which may fall under this trope), there's nothing they can do to monsters that whacking them with a sword can't accomplish just as easily. Splash potions can, however, be more effective in multiplayer PvP.
Anvil traps. There are a lot of traps made possible by redstone circuitry, but anvils need to be dropped at least nine meters to be lethal, and they have to land directly on their target, making them inferior to lava traps, TNT traps, and long drop traps. Making it worse is that, to prevent a duplication bug, they can't be moved by pistons — to drop them, you need to use a sticky piston to pull out the block underneath them. If you manage to pull it off anyway, though, it is just as hilarious as in the cartoons.
They are made a bit more practical with traps utilizing deep holes and dispensers, though.
Cool Horse: The 1.6 update (starting with snapshot 13w16a) added horses and donkeys to the game. First you have to tame them by riding them without a saddle (feeding them certain items will speed this up) until they stop tossing you off, after which they can be saddled. A saddled horse is about as fast as a saddled pig led by carrot, with the added bonus that you can armor the horse to give it extra protection. Horses can jump, too, and you can even use weapons while riding them. Donkeys are similar, but can be given a chest for mobile storage and the two types can be bred to make mules. Like sheep, they come in various colors and breeds.
Couch Gag: Every time you open Minecraft, a different phrase is across the title. Though between the first Beta release and Beta 1.2_01, all it said was "Finally Beta" as well as "Merry Xmas!" and "Happy New Year!" for those holidays. It also wishes Notch a happy birthday.
Counterattack: The Thorns enchantment allows you to send some damage you take from mobs and other players back at them, but at the cost of your armor wearing down faster.
Crapsaccharine World: The Overworld is a lovely place filled with friendly animals, beautiful natural wonders, and peaceful villages populated with simple agrarian people... who are forced to cower in terror in their homes every single night, desperately hoping that the endless hordes of undead horrors won't break down their doors and eat them and their families. If the village is extremely lucky, their resident Iron Golem may, half the time, check the zombie threat of a given night before half the population is wiped out. Their only hope of salvation, really, is the demigod-like Steve?, should he decide it's worth his trouble to fortify the village into a well-lit, walled, safe haven. Unfortunately, he is probably just as likely to steal everything in sight save the buildings themselves. note though if Steve? is in the early game, he may just decide to steal those, too.
Critical Hit: In a melee attack, your normal damage can be buffed by up to 50% if you attack them while you're falling.
The Croc Is Ticking: All the monsters make their own distinct noises that warn you when they're near. Of all monster noises, though, the most dreaded is the Creeper's hiss. This is because Creepers don't hiss (or make ANY noise, for that matter) until they're right next to you, and they only hiss for a second and a half before they explode. note Not a snake's hiss, by the way. It's actually the sound of the Creeper's fuse burning. So when you hear a Creeper's hiss, you usually only have time to think "Oh Crap" before the Creeper detonates and kills or severely injures you.
Cutting the Knot: Jungle temples have a three-switch puzzle that needs to be solved in order to open a secret room containing potential treasure... or the player can just knock a few cobblestone blocks off the wall, reach in, and grab the goods while ignoring the puzzle entirely.
The game actually seems to encourage this; doing so rewards you with one of the rarest blocks in the game, which only spawns in jungle temples at a rate of 3 per temple.
The default buttons for walking and 'toss whatever is in your hand' button are right next to each other. It is normally a simple inconvenience — until you accidentally throw your diamond pick into lava. It also happens to be the same button that is commonly "Previously selected weapon" in a great deal of PC first-person shooters. Fortunately, you can change the Drop button to something harder to reach, but most people don't bother until after it's already caused a big enough problem.
Just try going back and forth between Minecraft and any game that requires multiple presses of the attack button in order to perform multiple attacks. Neither will end well.
Going the other way, holding the shift key lets you sneak. This reduces your speed, makes enemies less likely to notice you, and most importantly, allows you to walk right up to the edge of a cliff without falling off. It's not uncommon for someone who plays a lot of Minecraft to eventually take this for granted and subsequently fall to their death in some other game where sneaking/crouching lacks that functionality.
Similarly, crouch-jumping in Minecraft will only cause the player to fall miserably short of his target (often causing him to plummet to his demise) instead of allowing him to jump higher/farther.
Sprinting movement in other FPS games is completely swapped in Minecraft. The shift key, usually used for sprinting, is used for sneaking around in Minecraft. Additionally, players usually would have to double tap the W key in order to make small adjustments with ordinary player movement... guess what double tapping forward does in Minecraft?
Tunneling through bedrock in creative mode and falling into the pitch black void results in relatively instant death.
Dead Character Walking: Mobs have a glitch where if you kill them, and exit quickly and on return they will be alive and moving around in whatever position in dying animation they were in when you exited.
On Hard difficulty and now on Normal, mobs will take fall damage if it means reaching you. Creepers can also explode immediately upon falling next to you, a literal "dive bomb".
Being on the wrong end of a cave-in, or accidentally flooding a corridor with water (or lava) can result in this for the unlucky player.
An update made lava in the nether flow a lot faster than it does in the overworld, which means if you got lava falling on your head, you have very little time to react, as this poor guy found out.
An update added anvils. Which can be dropped on enemies. Ouch.
Some players make deathtraps for other players involving TNT. However, since lit TNT has a time delay and makes a distinctive hissing noise before exploding, certain trap designs drops the TNT from high above so that by the time the player becomes aware of the explosive it will already be too late to run.
Death Mountain: Can crop up anywhere, but especially common in Extreme Hills biomes. Usually several blocks tall, with sheer cliffs or precipitous overhangs. The EXTREME biome setting cranks the trope Up to Eleven where the mountains go beyond the clouds and they even have snow past a certain height.
Dem Bones: There are arrow-shooting skeletons among the many enemies.
The bow, as of the Adventure Update. Charging it to full brings your movement to a crawl, making you a sitting duck unless you have superhuman reflexes, but it deals more damage than a diamond sword. It's also very accurate at 20 meters, but it's possible to kill monsters as much as 100 meters away if you compensate for gravity by aiming above your target.
Redstone mechanisms. Building anything much more complicated than a light switch requires understanding of logic gates, BUD switches, monostable circuits... but this stuff alone can be looked up on Youtube these days. Using it to build and troubleshoot your OWN contraptions, however (especially after patch changes like the Redstone Update), can be very difficult if you've relied on videos. The logic behind redstone circuitry is often difficult for commentators to EXPLAIN, never mind those trying to learn. Nonetheless, there is no denying how satisfying it is to successfully build a mechanism yourself, and those who master redstone are capable of truly awe-inspiring feats.
Disadvantageous Disintegration: Traps that blow up, set fire to or bring cacti into uncomfortably close contact with enemies, while fun, will also generally destroy whatever items they drop.
Disney Villain Death: It is quite possible to knock mobs, or other players, off cliffs to their deaths. It is also common to make traps to invoke this trope.
Dream Land: The entire game, according to the endgame text — and it also states that the real world might be this, if it isn't meant metaphorically.
Dungeon Bypass: Since bedrock is the only thing in this game you can't mine, there's nothing stopping you from tunneling through the walls of basically any structure to get to where you want to go. Strongholds have Silverfish hidden in the walls which will punish you for trying this, but in all likelihood this is how you will ''find' said Stronghold in the first place, since the only reliable way to locate them is to search above ground then dig down.
The bottom z level of every Classic mode map is nothing but lava. In the full game, every map has a rough layer of unbreakable bedrock (which can be revealed in Classic with water); if you somehow get past that, you'll find an endless void that quickly kills you.
In Alpha 1.2.0, the rules changed so the deeper you dug, the more light you needed to prevent enemies from spawning, until eventually they could spawn even in direct sunlight. However, Notch reverted it back to the old light rules in 1.2.1, saying it was too annoying and he'd have to come up with a better way to carry out this trope.
There has been discussion about the addition of megabeasts, sea monsters, and prefix mobs which may make this trope a greater reality.
It has always been possible, using external editing tools to remove the bedrock layer of the map and literally fall out of the bottom of the world, but the Adventure Update made it both easier and significantly creepier. Easier in that Creative Mode allows you to destroy any block with a single hit, up to and including the otherwise-indestructible bedrock. Creepier in that The Void is now a pitch-black... well... void, glittering with the same particle effects used for the Endermen. And it kills you. (For comparison, the pre-1.8 void still killed you, but it was at least the color of the sky.)
As of Beta 1.8, the immediate area above bedrock level has a peculiar fog that precludes seeing much beyond twenty meters, so bedrock-level branchmines and caverns are rather difficult to navigate, with the reduced viewing radius, and the reduced viewing distance might hide hostile mobs... Placing more torches doesn't seem to help, either. The "fog" effect slowly fades the farther you get from the bedrock layer, and once you get above y-30, the effect goes away completely. The fog effect also does not apply when a player is standing in sunlight.
Dummied Out: Over the course of development and the various betas, lots of items appeared in the game before they had a function, such as milk, eggs, fishing rods, slimeballs, bookshelves, and dragon eggs. More traditionally, sponge blocks and chain armor are in the game files but there was no way to acquire them in Survival mode until patch 1.3 introduced NPC vendors.
Apart from the status effects available through potions or golden apples, several status effects are present in the game's coding, but there's no actual way to use them other than through console commands or with modding. Effects include nausea (Camera Screw via wobbling/distortion), haste (break blocks faster), mining fatigue (break blocks slower), jump boost (higher jumps), health boost (increases maximum health), saturation (replenishes the hunger meter) and blindness (reduced visibility and prevents sprinting and critical hits). Haste and jump boost are actually possible to get with a beacon, eating a pufferfish gives you nausea (along with hunger and poison), and the nausea and blindness effects (to an extent) are implemented as well with the Nether Portal effect and fog effect, respectively.
Dynamic Difficulty: A feature introduced with 1.6 is escalating difficulty in a region the more time the player spends there.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Compare today's Minecraft with how it was in Indev, Alpha, and even early Beta. A lot has changed since then thanks to its frequent updates. Early Minecraft almost feels like a different game compared to current Minecraft.
Earn Your Fun: Certain useful items are only available infrequently (if at all) in Peaceful Mode, whereas they become much more common as random drops from hostile mobs on higher difficulties. These include gunpowder (used to craft TNT, dropped by creepers) and string (used to craft bows, dropped by spiders), among others. The 1.6 update will scale the effectiveness of enchantments and items with difficultly level.
Easier Than Easy: Peaceful difficulty, which gets rid of hostile monsters and grants regenerating health. Falls and lava remain dangerous, though. Creative Mode removes your health bar altogether, making you otherwise invincible, but you can still die by falling into The Void.
If you look in the splashes.txt file, you'll see that the deja vu splash is listed twice.
Renaming a mob to Dinnerbone or Grumm (Minecraft developers) with the Name Tag item will flip the renamed mob upside down.
The most recent version of the tutorial world of the Xbox 360 Edition now features a hidden Tower of Pimpsnote The Tower of Pimps is a stack of four blocks of gold on top of an Obsidian block. It is located in the top floor of a sandstone pyramid in the southwest sector of the map.!
Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Word of Notch says this is what the villagers are based on. There's also the Iron Golem, which appears to be a robotic villager.
The Wither is a powerful, three-headed black skeleton... thing that floats around and shoots at you with skulls that inflict an effect like poison but deadlier. Each head fires its own projectiles, so the Wither can attack three opponents at once. Oh, yes, it also eats through walls to reach you (including obsidian), can see you when you're invisible, is immune to fire and lava, has more hit points than the Ender Dragon, and becomes immune to arrows when its health falls to the halfway point. Here's a picture.◊
The Far Lands used to be an example of this. At very great distances from the origin point the game glitched out, distorting structures, preventing blocks from being placed or even staying put, generating immense lag, and all in all making the game unplayable. The game's creator said that he hadn't intended for this to happen, but left it in because he liked the idea of physics breaking down at the "edge" of an infinite map that was virtually impossible to reach without cheating. However, the terrain generator overhaul in Beta 1.8 accidentally Dummied Them Out.
The Nether. Compasses, maps, and clocks don't work properly there, and beds explode if used there. The 1.5. update made lava flow at twice the speed and hid pockets of lava in the walls.
The realm known as "The End." The sky is grey TV-static style, it has a dull green ambiance to it, the world is nothing but floating islands in a black void, and giant obsidian pillars dot the otherwise featureless landscape, with a black dragon called the Ender Dragon flying above. It's also home to Endermen. And once you enter The End, the only way out is killing the Ender Dragon. Here's a video of this place.
The player and Zombie Pigmen when confronting Ghasts.
Any mob hit by a skeleton's arrow will stop attacking you to deal with its aggressor unless you hit it again to focus it back towards you (and once that mob hits the skeleton, the skeleton will ignore you to attack them!)
Equipment-Based Progression: Your character's baseline health and physical abilities never change. You can gain levels of experience, but you spend them to enchant, merge, or repair equipment. Your strength, health and ability to interact with or shape your environment entirely depends on the type and quality of the items you own or use.
Eternal Equinox: Day lasts ten minutes, night lasts seven minutes, and they're separated by an intermediate period 90 seconds long. Though the moon has different phases, the moon always rises as the sun sets and vice versa, behavior typically associated with a full moon.
Everything Breaks: All tools have durability which eventually wears out, and even using an anvil to extend their life requires more and more experience with each repair. All blocks except a scant few necessary for game mechanics can be mined. Command Blocks are also unbreakable due to them needing to be around so that they can affect the map properly when needed.
Blocks and items mysteriously disappear when dropped and left on the ground for a few minutes. Averted if the player moves far enough until the area the items are in vanishes, to which they can stay in the game indefinitely until that area is loaded again.
Mobs (including players) leave no corpse, merely falling over and vanishing in a puff of smoke.
Waterfalls and running water from a spring vanish the minute you plug up the water source or scoop it up in a bucket.
Everything's Cuter with Kittens: The jungle biome contains ocelots. Ocelots can be domesticated into cats. Cats can be bred to make kittens, which are the first kind of baby animal whose head doesn't look disproportionately large. When they were initially added, they did nothing useful. It was just for the adorable. But it gets better: as of 1.2.1 they are the only thing creepers fear.
Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Nether has a strong ressemblance to this, being filled with lava, fire, netherrack (the game's equivalent of brimstone), sand made out of souls (with faces on it), and monsters such as the Ghast and Zombie Pigman.
Fireballs: Ghasts shoot devastating fireballs that can destroy most blocks. Blazes shoot fireballs that will set you on fire. You can make a harmless version by throwing snowballs through a lavafall. You can make a considerably more powerful version by combining blaze powder, gunpowder, and coal, and loading the result into a dispenser.
In a more literal sense, the super flat option when creating a new world. You won't find any hills, caves, dungeons, or anything else. You get nothing but grass, two layers of dirt underneath it, and the bedrock layer after that. This feature was added in version 1.1 to help players that want to build something without having to clear away the landscape first. It also gives them about twice as much vertical space to build in, since the surface of the ground is so much closer to the bedrock. Note that this only applies to the Overworld; the Nether and the End generate independently of whatever settings are used to generate the Overworld. Version 1.4 added additional types of Flat Worlds. If you know how to create a preset code (a line of text that determines what layers will be), you can even make your own.
The End consists of this, floating in a black void.
Depending on the generation of the terrain, you may sometimes get small islands floating in the air. You can also create your own floating landmass, but it will take a lot of building and terraforming.
In the old Indev version, there was an option to create the world as a "floating" type, resulting in a floating island.
Floating Water: In past versions, water not only floated, but duplicated itself infinitely to occupy all space below the highest point of water. Nowadays, water still has very strange physical properties. You can use a bucket to pick up a water source block and place it somewhere else, where it will create an endless flow of water that travels a limited distance horizontally.
Terraria is usually described as "2DMinecraft", but its gameplay is largely different — more like a platformer/RPG set in a Minecraft-ish environment.
Then there's Don't Starve, an isomorphic game based around surviving in a randomly-generated, flat environment. More generally, TotalBiscuit has noted that survival as a game mechanic seems to be getting more popular, even in big-budget retail games like Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider 2013.
Minecraft itself was a successful result of Infiniminer clone wave.
Foreshadowing: One of the random paintings you get from placing a painting depicts three dark gray skulls on a T-formation of Soul Sand. Replicating this pattern nets you a front seat ticket to the summoning of The Wither.
The 2013 April Fools 2.0 had several incomplete features in it which where later added into 1.6. These include:
Blocks of coal.
Chickens would spawn back-up when hit. Zombies now have that feature.
Tinted glass and stained clay.
Horses were added as a new mob, hinted at by the re-textured pigs and cows.
Fungus Humongous: As of Beta 1.8, these can be found occasionally growing in the wild, as well as grown by the player via sprinkling bonemeal on a normal mushroom.
Gainax Ending: After beating the Ender Dragon, you get an 8 minute long scroll of confusing text. It seems to be a pair of sentient cosmic forces discussing you, the player at the keyboard. The conversation implies, among other things, that Minecraft was All Just a Dream, life itself is a much longer dream, all the monsters you've been fighting are fragments of the darkness in your heart, and humanity is the universe's attempt at understanding itself. This is probably a Shout Out to the Herobrine Mythos, a persistent Urban Legend of Zelda about a stealthy, undocumented NPC changing the environment (similar to the later-introduced Enderman mob), and one of whose propagators also posted a hidden message very similar to the ending scroll in content.
Game-Breaking Bug: Even though the game has (officially) gone gold, Mojang still outsources the majority of update beta testing to the playerbase, just because there's so damn many of them. Nearly every release contains something that just doesn't work, though it's generally fixed very quickly.
Game Mod: Minecraft has a large and enthusiastic modding community for everything from texture changes to full-blown gameplay overhauls. Go here for a comprehensive list.
Ghibli Hills: The vast majority of the Overworld is absolutely pristine wilderness (at least until you start developing on it), and the player is encouraged to explore it as much as possible. The terrain generation algorithm can often produce some quite picturesque scenes.
Game focused on creation plus multiplayer equals obvious. Some servers will allow it, maintaining that it is up to the player to protect their own creations. Those that don't nearly always ban the placement of TNT or magma and the usage of flint and steel, for their heavily destructive power.
Creepers themselves are an in-universe griefer. Their only purpose in life is to kill you or at least destroy the structures you put a lot of effort into building.
Admit it, when new players start a new game, punching a tree is not going to be the first thing they think of. The wiki is basically an integral part of the game, due to the fact that nothing within the game itself tells you how the crafting system actually works, much less the far more complicated things down the line. Achievements were implemented in an attempt to alleviate some of this, but they only tell you what you need, not how to use it, and only to a point.
One game mod does just this: show you every recipe. Aptly named Recipe book (at bottom of OP).
The Aether mod comes with a feature where all you have to do is hit a certain key and a book for the world you're in (Nether, Normal, or Aether) will pop into your inventory.
Even mods are far from immune - IndustrialCraft2, which adds machine components and 3 more ore types, requires more trips to documentation (typically its own wiki) for experts than Vanilla Minecraft does for newbies. And that's not even getting to the Nuclear Reactors, which were redesigned from the ground up in IC 2 and will involve some trial and error - very painful trial and error - even when you do have a rough guide. Nuclear Reactors require your constant attention - unlike every other set and forget power source, you have to replace exhausted cooling cells constantly, implement the perfect pattern of fuel cells and cooling cells for maximum power without overheat, and if you turn your back to it for even a moment, you will turn back around to find an enormous crater and a blast area the size of Hiroshima carved into your map, that is, if you survived the explosion. But what really tops it is that while Nuclear Reactors are awesome, their power output can be matched or exceeded by a very large solar power array, which won't meltdown and destroy a large area of the map in the process.
Hammerspace: The items in your inventory, and where items placed in an Ender Chest go. Ender Chests even work across dimensions, making it possible to transport items from one realm to another and destroying the chests won't destroy the items!
Harder Than Hard: Hardcore mode, which is the same as Hard mode, but when you die, your world is permanently deleted.
Have a Nice Death: Dying on a multiplayer server produces a humorous announcement on how you died, such as "[player] blew up" and "[player] fell out of the world".
Healing Potion: These can be made with some water, netherwart, gold, and watermelon. Another variety made with ghast tears will steadily regenerate your health.
Heart Symbol: These can be seen after taming a wolf, or when farm animals breed.
Hell: The Nether. In fact, the Nether was originally called Hell.
If you press F3 in the Nether, the biome is listed as "Hell".
Hell Gate: With a 4 x 5 obsidian frame and a fire to activate it, you can build a portal to the Nether.
Hello, Insert Name Here: With the Anvil and the use of spawn eggs in Creative mode, you can give any mob a unique name.
The 1.6 update also added Name Tags (which still have to be given a name via Anvil), which give the same effect as the above method, can be used on any mob without the need of a spawn egg, and the item can only be found inside dungeons.
Hidden Depths: If one trope could be used to describe Minecraft as a whole, it would be this (and no, not because there are literally hidden chasms in it). Everything looks pixelated and blocky and simple. Everything is simple, until you realize what you can do while playing around with things. Especially when it comes to stuff like all the things you can do with such simple devices as those powered by redstone.
It is possible to harm yourself with your own arrows, either by firing them upwards, having them recoil off an enemy currently experiencing Mercy Invincibility, or simply outrunning your arrows, which got much easier when bows became hold-to-charge instead of instant-fire.
Furthermore, tamed wolves will fight to the death against any creature that harms you. You yourself are not exempt from this rule – if you manage to shoot yourself with an arrow, they'll try to kill you. Talk about adding insult to injury (and also, a whole shit load of additional injury).
This can happen to the skeletons as well, if you have another hostile mob in the way, the skeleton will be attacked by it if its own arrow hits the mob. Skeletons can even duel each other if one were to shoot another. It's also the only way you can get records.
Ghasts love to fly out of range of your arrows and shoot fireballs at you that aren't affected by gravity. It's possible to kill them by hitting their fireballs back at them. There's even an achievement for it called "Return to Sender."
One Game Mod introduces the ability to use elemental arrows, such as Ice Arrows, Exploding Arrows, Fire Arrows, and Lightning Arrows. Lightning can supercharge Creepers. Do the math.
Or, for a more literal take on this trope, if you set off TNT and don't get far enough away from it, you may be blown into the air.
Before the Beta 1.8 update, all consumable food instantly restored your health. Even now, having a near-full hunger meter causes fairly quick regeneration.
Sheep now eat grass to recover their wool nearly-instantaneously.
Hyperspace Arsenal: It's possible to make a cube of 13x13x13 tiles (2197 cubic meters of material) from the blocks you can carry around and still have more than a hundred to spare.
Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Nether. If you enter through one Hell Gate and leave through another, you'll find yourself displaced eight times further than you traveled within The Nether. It's a very useful shortcut, if you don't mind the fact that the place is full of steep cliffs, lava lakes, and ghasts.
If you're fighting a mob with anything other than a sword or bow, this is likely what you're using. You can beat zombies down with axes, mining picks, shovels, blocks of stone, blocks of dirt, blocks of sand, blocks of wool, flowers, hunks of grilled pork meat, fish, doors, ladders, furnaces, minecarts, glass, mushrooms, diamonds, eggs, paintings.... Most of these are no better than your bare hands, but the standard tools do better (though not as good as a sword), and some of these are surprisingly effective against certain mobs, such as snowballs against Blazes.
I Call It Vera: Snapshot 12w41a introduced the enhanced item repair system that has naming your tools, armor, and weapons possible at the expense of several experience levels. This can also apply to non combat based items.
Some madmen have put them deep under ground with a mob spawner. Of course, it's one of the few games where the player can put chests containing things in the most unlikely places.
Chests can also naturally spawn in the hallways and libraries of a stronghold, which makes a bit more sense.
Infernal Retaliation: As of the Redstone Update, burning Zombies will set the player on fire when attacking.
Insistent Terminology: Notch has said via his twitter that the Minecraft default player's name is "Steve?," not "Steve."
Instant A.I., Just Add Pumpkins: The player can build snow or iron golems that wander around, attacking monsters. How do you get a pile of snow or iron to come to life and move independently? Give it a pumpkin for a head. Sure, why not?
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: You can now build them yourself. They're the same height as a regular block, but you can't jump up on them without first using another block as a step. That's because they count as being 1½ blocks high in character collision checks (yes, that also means you're half a block above the fence if you're "standing" on it), and you jump just less than that.
Interface Screw: The 'Wither' status effect acts as a more lethal (read: can actually kill you) but briefer poison effect, and also turns all your hearts black to make it much harder to tell how much you have left.
Putting a pumpkin on your face does this by restricting your view of your surroundings to only the eyes and mouth on the pumpkin's face, and blocks off the rest of it. It makes for effective protection against Endermen - it mostly stops you from looking directly into their eyes and angering them.
The "Super Secret Settings" for the 1.7 update also have these effects, which are picked at random. One such effect turns your screen upside down and laterally inverts it, another adds high-speed motion blur to your movement, and yet another inverts the colours of your surroundings on your screen.
In-Universe Game Clock: One complete daily cycle, from sunrise to sunset to sunrise, lasts for 20 minutes. This means that time is compressed at a 72:1 ratio (72 Minecraft days equals one real-time day). The time of day has dramatic effects on gameplay: nighttime is when the monsters come out. Daytime is when they burn. As you can imagine, being several miles away from your house at sunset is not a good idea. There are also moon phases.
Inventory Management Puzzle: The player has 36 slots for items (27 inventory slots and 9 hotkey slots), plus four for armor. While this may seem generous, you'd be surprised how quickly that gets filled during mining expeditions and such. Furthermore, part of your inventory will be dedicated to necessary survival equipment (food, light, crafting material, tools, etc.). A properly managed inventory can mean the difference between making safe trips back to base and finding yourself fighting off a horde of creepers and zombies with your bare hands.
Invisibility: Potions of invisibility will make your skin invisible, but not your armor or any item you are holding. This means if you want true invisibility, you have to walk around naked so that mobs can't see you (but they will ignore items you hold). For Pv P servers, invisibility also hides your name tag, making sneak attacks much more effective. And yes, you can also use the splash version of the potion on a Creeper for an invisible mad bomber.
Invisible Anatomy: When you're not using your fists to punch something, the item you're holding is just floating in front of you.
Item Crafting: With a drag and drop inventory, and a 2x2 or 3x3 craft slot depending on how you're doing it, you spend pretty much 11% of the time doing this.
Item Farming: The villager trading system. Villagers can sell better weapons and tools for you for Emeralds, you get Emeralds by trading items to them or mining. Wheat, paper and charcoal are the easiest to farm emeralds from, as they are derived from renewable resources.
It's a Wonderful Failure: Death in Hardcore mode. The game doesn't automatically delete your world. It sits you at the game over screen until you manually activate the deletion process.
You cannot respawn in hardcore mode! (Delete world)
The Joys Of Torturing Mooks: With enough creative planning, you can make traps with water, lava, cacti, or natural gravity to kill mobs of all kinds, friendly or hostile, as you watch them helplessly flail about to their deaths. With a bit of trial and error, you can make a trap that leaves them barely alive so you can kill them with your bare hands and gain experience.
Just Add Water: Crafting is a crude form of pixelated drawing with crafting materials. No actual labor required. Even complicated items like a clock can be made by merely putting the materials together in a vague clock-like shape. To put it simply, a clock and a compass can be made using the same configuration, except the clock requires gold whereas the compass requires iron.
Flint and Steel can ignite enemies. If they were already damaged or not near water, they will more than likely die. If you want to kill non-hostile spiders without them retaliating, you can ignite the ground below them, and they'll take damage without recognizing you as the source. Fire as a whole is more or less lethal, unless you conveniently dug into water and lava at the same time.
Inverted with the Ghast: It's immune to fire and will in turn kill you with exploding fireballs that you can reflect.
When livestock is killed in this fashion, the meat it drops will already be cooked.
Blaze powder, gunpowder, and coal can be combined to make a fire charge. This item can be used like flint and steel to start a faster-spreading fire, or you can load it into a dispenser to launch fireballs.
Endermen are, in addition to fire and lava, weak to water. Leading them to a pool of water or exposing them to a rainstorm will damage them, though they're not stupid enough to keep standing there after taking one hit.
This is the standard way to farm slime balls; since slimes can't swim, a drowner trap is very effective against them.
Also four doors arranged around a block of water suspended above a stone pressure plate, topped by any solid block. Mobs walking on the plate will cause the doors to lock them in. Trapping them with their head in the water, unable to get out. Once they die the pressure plate is released and the trap reopens to visitors.
Lamarck Was Right: When dyes were added, you could colour sheep and recieve more wool (see Awesome yet Practical above). Breeding two sheep will pass on their (dyed) colour to their children and will even regrow dyed colours of wool. Since the colour passed on to the child is selected at random, you can use one lapis lazuli to create an entire flock of blue sheep, since Minecraft animals have no set gender and can reproduce with any other animal that isn't juvenile. Say goodbye to hoarding your lapis!
Lava Adds Awesome: You can collect and use lava in constructions, either as an exotic light source, a trap for intruders, or an incinerator for junk. If you're not careful, it can easily kill you or ignite wood nearby.
Lava Pit: Mostly underground, but occasionally one boils up to the surface.
Ledge Bats: Skeletons; be especially careful when fighting them near pits...
LEGO Genetics: Minecraft's dyes are so powerful, they can re-sequence sheep DNA. Dyeing a sheep causes it to permanently produce wool that color, and pass the color to its offspring.
Continuing the proud tradition of fishing rods in this role is, well, the fishing rod. Normally, it's used for just that—casting out into a body of water and flinging in a fish when it bites (or, if the rod has the Luck of the Sea enchantment, maybe something else more valuable). Most players wouldn't even bother using it for anything else. But suddenly, a whole new world of possibility opens up when the astute player realizes that it doesn't just reel in fish, it reels in ANY creature. With practice, a player atop a wall can heave up monsters into sword range and with a quick switch, slash the unfortunate on his way back down to fall-damage town. The cherry on top? Even Ghasts are affected, which can be used to pull the elusive flying buggers closer so they can't avoid your hail of arrows.
Snowballs can be thrown at mobs to knock them backward, but don't actually deal any damage, except against blazes and the Ender Dragon. Even then, they're much weaker than arrows, and the faster rate of fire is offset by the short range. Most people wouldn't even consider bringing snowballs into the final battle against the high-flying boss, whose immense health is daunting even to players with diamond swords. However, the snowball's knockback actually stuns the Ender Dragon for longer than it takes to throw another snowball. As a result, one of the easiest ways to defeat the Ender Dragon is to lure it into its normally unstoppable charge, then pelt it with a steady stream of hundreds of snowballs.
Snowballs can also be immensely useful on certain challenge maps that consist of nothing but an island or two in the sky. Throw a couple, and suddenly that creeper's plunging off the edge to its death.
Chicken eggs also provide the same effect as the snowballs, minus the ability to harm the Blaze.
Lethal Lava Land: The Nether. There are full-blown oceans of lava, lava falls coming from the ceiling, more lava falls sprouting from random walls, and with the 1.5 updates there are even pockets of lava hidden in the walls, just waiting for you to stumble upon them. Oh, and the same update doubled the flow speed of lava in the Nether.
Let's Play: If the autocomplete feature is any indication, this is the most popular game to LP on YouTube - and that's not counting tutorials, walkthroughs, demonstrations of building projects and servers, etc.
Level-Map Display: There's a Map item which you can craft to keep track of the world you explore.
Lightning Can Do Anything: Lightning will turn pigs into Zombie Pigmen, and massively power up the explosion of a Creeper. It also ignites inactive portals. Forest fires can also be started if a thunderbolt hits a tree and even the player can be struck by lighting, but only for minor damage.
Lily Pad Platform: Lily pads can be collected from water in certain biomes. They count as a half-block like slabs, making them excellent for covering water source blocks in farms and such.
Literal Genie: The game's creator falls into this occasionally. Fans begged Notch for a way to ride animals, so he created saddles, which can only be found in dungeon chests. This saddle can be placed on a pig, allowing you to ride it. Unfortunately, due to Notch's sense of humor, the pig continues to wander around aimlessly, since most of the fans were asking for a way to ride animals, but didn't specifically say anything about being able to control them. Fortunately, Jeb later introduced a method to steer pigs with the carrot on a stick.
Loads and Loads of Loading: Zig-zagged. Loading the game itself is pretty quick, barring any updates, but the time it takes to load a map is proportional to how much of it has been explored and the overall size. There's also loading times when switching between dimensions.
Loophole Abuse: Collecting the Ender Dragon egg requires exploiting the behavior of certain items and gravity. You cannot touch the egg directly without it teleporting, but it is affected by gravity, and a torch will convert any block that falls onto it into a collectible item. Pistons work, too.
Forest map setting in classic, obviously. Likewise, the Forest and Taiga biomes in the full game.
The Halloween Update introduced the forest biome, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, as well as the rare rainforest biome. True to the trope, undead creatures will take refuge from the sun by hiding in the shadows of the trees during the daytime.
Luck-Based Mission: Enchanting. You place an item and are given three lines of gibberish representing your options. The more levels you spend, the better the enchantments may be. Adding bookshelves (to a max of 15) raises the level requirement but also improves the enchantments you get. However, the basic mechanics aside, the actual results can vary from awesome to extremely disappointing. You can put in one item and get three nice enchantments, only to put in an identical one and get a comparatively useless one. You can't control what enchantments you get, only increase the likelihood of said enchantments being ranked higher.
The enchanting system was made more practical/less annoying with the addition of enchanted books in 1.5.1.
MacGyvering: All the player has at the beginning of the game is their bare hands and the clothes on their back. They can fashion a crafting table after chopping down a tree and processing it into planks with their bare hands, use that table and those planks to make makeshift wooden tools, use those tools to gather cobblestone, which they can then use to build a furnace and upgrade to makeshift stone tools, which they can use in turn to gather coal and iron ore... and so on. With the right raw materials and a crafting table (which can be crafted on the spot in a pinch), the player can make whatever they need almost instantly.
Creepers. Pretty much all they do is silently sneak up on you, hiss for a second and a half, and explode. Even on easy, the explosion can kill you instantly (sans armor) if you can't get away in time. It also destroys most types of blocks, which can allow other monsters to invade your shelter.
Ghasts (found only in the Nether), which shoot fireballs at you, which not only punch a hole in the terrain but also sets it on fire.
If you have Mad Bomber tendencies yourself, you can blow stuff up with TNT or Fire Charges. Incidentally, to make these explosives, you need to get gunpowder by killing Ghasts or Creepers, the other two Mad Bombers in the game.
Mechanical Monster: The Blaze mob in the Nether appear to be of this. There's nothing in between their rotating rods and their sounds, pain sounds, and death cries sound very mechanical instead of organic.
Metal Slime: Notch used to be one. Red Apples used to be very, very rare, and when you killed him on a SMP server, he would drop one. As of more recent updates, however, you can get apples from trees by breaking their leaves.
The Mockbuster: If you go on the Xbox 360's Indie Games section, you'll find several rip-offs of this game such as FortressCraft, Total Miner, and CastleMiner. Mind you that those clones are actually the first three clones on the service (more have been released since, obviously), and for the most part they are still commercially successful well after the release of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.
Moe Anthropomorphism: "Creeparka", is a Japanese meme combining the Creeper and a Parka (which is more typically called a "Hoodie" in English slang). Specifically, this meme involves a cute girl wearing a Creeper-themed hoodie (and often little else) and generally looking cute and frustrated.
Narnia Time: Time only passes in a dimension if there's a player in it. In single player, this means time effectively stops when you change dimensions. Multiplayer requires every player to vacate a dimension to achieve the effect.
Swords were quite powerful for a time, but their damage output was slightly reduced by the 1.0 release. This was likely to encourage players to use the Enchantment Table to power up their swords with various effects to compensate for the reduced damage.
Cake used to be an extremely practical method of healing—just plonk it on the ground and right-click it whenever you need to heal, up to six iterations of 1.5 hearts. The 1.8 update turned food into stamina restoration rather than health restoration, nerfing it severely. A full cake restores six food points, and that restoration is very brief. Cooked steak, on the other hand, lasts significantly longer and restores four points a piece. Not to mention that cake requires a considerable resource investment, while cows can bred with much less effort.
Golden Apples used to be extremely difficult to make, due to the fact the normal Apple was effectively dummied out of the game until Strongholds were introduced (unless you play MP with the game's creator) and you needed 8 Gold Blocks (72 Gold Ingots!) to craft. The 1.1 update made crafting Golden Apples a lot cheaper; instead of 8 Gold Blocks, you just need 8 Gold Nuggets (8/9ths of an ingot), which can be farmed from Zombie Pigmen in the Nether, and normal Apples can now be found in the leaves of a basic tree (the 1.6 nerfed them, though, by making the requisite 8 ingots). At the same time, the effects of eating a Golden Apple have been severely reduced; they went from restoring all health to restoring 5 units of hunger and granting health regeneration for 30 seconds, and now they only restore 2 units of hunger and the health regeneration only lasts a meager 4 seconds. Of course, 1.3 introduced an even more powerful version with the old recipe.
Ever wonder why there aren't as many videos of people accidentally burning their house down anymore? That's because fire was toned down not long after, and it usually fizzles out on its own. Fire can still spread pretty quickly on higher difficulties, though.
Tools and weapons dropped by skeletons and zombies are now randomized in how much durability they have, whereas they used to be dropped as a fresh item that was never used. This is to discourage people from farming the rare drops.
Horse armor was also nerfed in obtainability. Before the nerf, horse armor could be crafted. Horse armor can no longer be crafted and they can only be found within dungeon chests now.
As of 1.6, health regeneration now drains the food meter. Potions of healing and regeneration were also reduced in effectiveness.
Night Vision Potion: The Potion of Night Vision makes everything around you instantly light up as if the sun was there, even in deep caves. However, this doesn't affect the actual light level in the world, which means monsters will still spawn as they normally do. The night vision effect also makes fog (especially in the Nether and the End) much more pronounced, which makes it more difficult to see at times.
The Respiration enchantment acts like a smaller version of the trope; it removes the fog while you swim underwater, but you're still subjected to the diminished light levels since the sun can't fully penetrate water, unless you drink the Potion of Night Vision as well, which then gives you clear vision underwater.
Nitro Boost: Dash Pad variety is seen in powered minecart rails as the boost the mine cart when it rolls over the set of activated golden rails.
No Arc in Archery: Averted; arrows follow parabolic arcs. They also can be slowed by water and do damage according to how fast they're moving.
Non-Combat EXP: Since version 1.3 you can gain experience from mining and smelting — specifically, you get experience for mining anything that drops a usable block (diamond, coal, redstone, lapis lazuli, emerald) and experience for smelting raw blocks (iron, gold) into usable blocks (iron ingots, gold ingots). Breeding animals also nets experience.
You're at bedrock level in a nearby mine. Near pitch black darkness, a narrow hallway, limited weapons. No music, no sounds (with the exception of when you mine). And you know that there are zombies, skeletons and spiders waiting randomly around to tear you to pieces, but you haven't found them yet.
Made worse by the fact that some enemies don't make sound.
Peaceful mode removes the mobs, no ifs ands or buts, but unless you turn off the game's sound, ambient soundclips will still play in deep caves, making you question if you're really alone.
Obvious Beta: The game started off as this for years until it finally became a full game at the end of 2011. The weekly snapshots (developmental versions of the game) published by Mojang play the trope straight since their only purpose is for players to test the planned features and/or bug fixes before they go live in the next major update.
Oh Crap: It happens sometimes that, when you build a nether portal in the Overworld then happily waltz into the Nether with your most expensive tools and items, the gate you arrive in the Nether... is fifty blocks up high, floating in space with no land near the gate... with a sea of lava right underneath the single block gate.
Also, pretty much any time you hear a creeper hiss.
One of Us: Unsurprisingly, the game and its wide-open nature have garnered fans of all sorts, resulting in seemingly odd or quirky references to Minecraft in various places. For instance, in this seemingly-serious Flash animation about the scale of the universe - from atom to visible universe, there is a picture of the scale of a Minecraft world compared to everything.
One-Hit Kill: Since the 1.9 update buffed their explosion power, creepers can do this even to players whose armour is in a decent state.
Only Six Faces: Zombies, skeletons, blazes, and enderman use a re-colored version of Steve?'s face texture.
And all the villagers have the exact same head and face, they are only identifiable by their clothes, which differ depending on their profession.
Omnicidal Maniac: The Wither, once summoned, attacks everything that is alive. Undead mobs are ignored.
Organ Drops: Skeletons and their Nether counterparts drop their bones, as well as their heads. Zombies can drop their flesh, albeit rotten. Some passive mobs drop the appropriate form of meat, while cows additionally drop leather.
Our Dragons Are Different: The Ender Dragon in The End. It's mostly black with bits of gray on the wings and sporting purple eyes, but it looks pretty much the same as any western type dragon. The Ender Dragon doesn't have any attacks other than ramming into you to send you flying back several feet, but it has a TON of health (complete with its own Life Meter) and is healed by the nearby Ender Crystals. Killing it nets you 20,000 experience points and opens a portal to exit the realm. However, only one Ender Dragon can spawn per The End world.
Our Zombies Are Different: The ones featured here have the classic arms-forward walk, greenish-gray skin, and burst into flames when exposed to sunlight. They used to drop feathers when killed, simply because something had to drop feathers and zombies were introduced before chickens. Nowadays, they drop rotten flesh, which you can eat in emergencies, and the most you have to worry about is food poisoning. You can feed it to pet wolves to heal them without any downsides.
Oxygen Meter: When you're fully submerged under water, you have 15 seconds. If you run out of air, you'll start taking one heart of damage per second. Enchanted helmets of respiration can expand your oxygen meter and reduce the rate of damage once you run out.
Palette Swap: Many blocks and items are the same models with different colored textures. The ores such as Coal, iron, gold, redstone, and diamond play this straight in respective colors, then Lapis ore subverts this, then the Emerald ore averts this completely
Gold and diamond, when condensed into solid blocks, have the same texture but different colors. Iron blocks used to have this texture too but it was changed to a more stacked pattern.
Originally, the game tried to simulate biomes according to wetness and temperature, therefore a change in either of them would mean a change of biome. This system was eventually abolished, and afterwards you could walk in rapid succession from a temperate forest, to a tundra, to a sandy desert, to a tropical rainforest (which for some reason, has livestock instead of the normal stuff). Without skipping a beat. The Beta 1.8 update changed that once more, biomes are significantly bigger now, so it's not as stark anymore, though you can see a desert that shares close boundaries with a very large, temperate forest and ocean. The introduction of the Large Biomes option obviously makes these borders even less obvious/common.
According to one of the snapshots for the upcoming 1.7 update, biomes will be put into four main categories: snow-covered, cold, medium, and dry/warm. Biomes will be avoided getting placed next to a biome that is too different to itself. (Though this isn't completely foolproof yet, as mistakes will still happen occasionally.)
Power Creep, Power Seep: The Endermen are going through a phase of this. Notch claims he nerfed them before the official Beta 1.8 release, and then complained that they're too easy, so the next major update gave their AI an overhaul, removed their vulnerability to sunlight, and doubled their health. It also limited the types of blocks they could move to the softer kinds. Time will tell how much of this stays permanent.
Power-Up Mount: Pigs make great parachutes when you ride them via saddle.
Pressure Plate: There are several types of switches you can create. They can be used to open or close doors, toggle redstone torches, switch minecart tracks, or detonate TNT. Stone pressure plates can be triggered by players and mobs walking or riding over them, while wooden pressure plates can additionally be triggered by arrows, dropped items, and minecarts. There are also pressure-sensitive minecart tracks, useful for triggering boosters. Pressure plates, when placed on top of a fence post, can also be used as an improvised table. Weighted pressure plates trigger stronger signals if lots of items are placed on them.
Puffer Fish: One of the things you can fish up from the 1.7 Update onward. Eating these will cause bad poisoning, but you can brew them to make them into Potions of Water Breathing.
Puff of Logic: Due to the way terrain is generated, it is possible for certain blocks to be placed in ways the player could never replicate (floating sand or gravel, for instance), only to immediately obey the rules as soon as the player acts upon them.
Pyramid Power: The Beacon Block, when attached to a pyramid of blocks and fed a resource as power, buffs friendlies in the vicinity. Enlarging the pyramid extends its range and makes it possible to add more bonuses. Due to the way Beacon Blocks check their structure, it is possible to build a composite pyramid with numerous Beacons.
Random Drop: Almost every mob in the game, except for villagers and silverfish, have a chance to drop some sort of loot upon being killed.
Rare Random Drop: Most enemies have a chance to drop items they wouldn't normally, such as armor pieces, weapons, and consumables. The king, however, is the Wither Skulls dropped by Wither Skeletons, which barely ever drop even with max Looting enchantments and are required to summon the Wither.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Spider eyes glow red. All eight of them. Wolves also gain red eyes when they turn hostile. Ghasts have red eyes and are a more extreme example of this trope, since they only open their eyes when they're spitting an exploding fireball at you.
Real Is Brown: The biomes introduced grasses with more "realistic" hues. The bright green grass does still exist, however.
Reality Breaking Paradox: Presumably the reason beds explode in the Nether when you try to use them. Beds can only be used at night (or during a thunderstorm), and reset the clock to sunrise. Since neither thunderstorms nor the day/night cycle exist in the Nether...
Reality Ensues: In defiance of fantasy genre conventions, gold tools and armor, while effective, have extremely low durability and as such are almost useless except for looking cool. They are, however, the best material for holding enchantments.
Refining Resources: Essentially how the crafting system works. Most recipes require some combination of wood, stone, and metal, either as part of the target item itself or to create the tools needed to make it.
Revive Kills Zombie: Beta 1.9 introduced several kinds of potions with beneficial or harmful effects. For every type, you can use it on yourself, or turn it into a splash potion to throw at friends or enemies. Zombies and skeletons are healed by potions of Poison or Instant Harm, but can be damaged with potions of Regeneration and Instant Health.
Right Behind Me: Creepers have a nasty habit of doing this, being completely quiet until you hear that tell-tale hiss, which means it's already too late to flee. Endermen also have a nasty habit of appearing behind you during their Teleport Spam.
Robinsonade: When starting a new game, you're dropped in the middle of nowhere with only your bare hands and the clothes on your back and must survive using your wits and whatever you can harvest, scavenge, or craft. Sometimes the game will even dump you on a Deserted Island.
Rollercoaster Mine: Thanks to the various track pieces, this can result from deliberate player designs. Sometimes players will use this as part of an elaborate transportation system.
Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Multiple examples. Among others, Abandoned Mineshafts, Jungle and Desert Temples, Strongholds, and Nether Fortresses are all both clearly artificial and rather eerie.
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.
Scenery Porn: The map generator cranks out breathtaking views by the dozen.
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.
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.
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.
Sequence Breaking: 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!
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 deliberately explodes.
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).
A Halloween texture pack released for the Xbox 360 version turns the Endermen into Slendermen. As if the Enderman wasn't a big enough shout out to Slendy on its own!
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.
Silliness Switch: 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."
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.
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.
Space Compression: Although the map is theoretically infinite, the biomes are unrealistically small. The Large Biomes worldgen option changes this.
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.
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.
Star Scraper: Thanks to the enormous building height, these can be built in anywhere between a few minutes or a few hours, depending on how elaborate you want them to be.
Standard Status Effects: With the introduction of potions, many status effects were put into the game, such as faster speed, slower speed, boosted attack strength, health regeneration, poison, etc.
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.
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.
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".
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.
The Tetris Effect: 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.
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.
Throw It In: The Creeper is a result of a failed pig model. Oh how far he's come. Also, cookies.
Too Awesome to Use: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Underground Level: Miles upon miles of underground caverns, as well as Abandoned Mineshafts and Dungeons.
Underwater Ruins: Due to the way Strongholds are created on a map, it's quite possible you'll end up with one or more in the middle of the ocean, buried a few blocks below the sea bed.
Redstone. You have to go fairly deep to get it, but once you do it appears with the same regularity as coal, and the blocks drop around four units of redstone dust when mined.
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, making this method Awesome yet Practical.
Even worse, in a way, is the case of Mossy Cobblestone, Cracked and Mossy Stone Bricks, and Circle Stone Bricks. All of these blocks spawn naturally...but only in dungeons (mossy cobble) or strongholds (stone bricks)... and, in the latter case, only in a very, very small percentage of the stone bricks are the special kinds. Although now Stone Bricks can be crafted easily.
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, eliminating this problem.
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.
The entity known as "HIM" or "Herobrine", a white-eyed version of the default player skin who would stalk the player from a distance, a la Slender Man.
Notch, creator of Minecraft, has now removed Herobrine from the game several times now (or so the changelog says) but the rumor still will not die. Or is it Herobrine who refuses to stay gone?
Vendor Trash: 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.
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.
You'll feel very good after curing an infected villager. You're practically saving their life.
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.
There's also villages, populated by dopey, passive NPC villagers. 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.
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.
Wall Master: Silverfish. They hide inside the wall blocks of Strongholds to discourage you from just tunneling through. 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. 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.
Note that it may wake up the other Silverfish. Don't assume you are now safe (oops).
Silverfish can also naturally spawn within stone blocks in the Extreme Hills biome, but they appear as frequently as Emeralds, i.e. very rarely.
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 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. While moon phases occur, 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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, 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 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.)
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.