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Nightmare Fuel / PBG Hardcore

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  • The concept in general: one death means you're out for good. In games where death typically just results in losing your items, this can make something as simple as a zombie approaching someone not paying attention go from a mild concern to a full-on disaster. Most Minecraft let's plays have the viewers laughing as they watch people die, but in Hardcore, you find yourself tensing up when battles begin, seeing someone's health drop low is extremely worrying, and actually seeing a death can make you jump no matter how much you expected it. And that's just as a viewer; imagine how it feels for the players.
    • This goes double for when the season progresses without any deaths. As a viewer, you enter a state where you almost want to see someone die, only to regret it as soon as it happens. But if a season goes on for a long time without a death, the anticipation becomes palpable.
  • In MineZ #1, the atmosphere in Episode 13 when disease-ridden PBG and McJones try to meet up and get out of the cave of Sirius without taking any damage whatsoever. The creepy music helps the atmosphere.
  • Minecraft #4 has the first trip to the Ocean Monument, which is cut short when the guardians pressure them so greatly that they barely make any progress, run out of water-breathing potions, and are forced to leave before they drown. All while being repeatedly hit by the guardians.
    Dean: God, I hate this place.
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    • The second trip to the Ocean Monument in the same season. While they do succeed in defeating the Elder Guardians and have enough potions, the intense battles with the regular guardians is enough to bring several near-misses to the group. The fact that they got lost during it and had to backtrack to find their way made things more tense. The entire group flashes red permanently (the indicator for immediate danger) as soon as they approach the Ocean Monument, something that no other location throughout the entire series has had. And when they arrive, it's an extremely confusing maze of a temple that they are forced to travel through at a snail's pace, all while running down the clock on their water-breathing potions, and their reactions fully invoke Nothing Is Scarier in their extreme caution and paranoia.
  • Minecraft #5 has a moment in Episode 7 where Barry is poisoned and trapped by cobwebs as he's surrounded by spiders. He manages to destroy the spider spawner but dies immediately afterward, unable to free himself.
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    • At the very end of Episode 9, ProJared gets attacked by a spider, knocked into lava, and dies screaming. It comes out of nowhere.
    • In Episode 13, Ray accidentally mines a lava vein, causing immediate panic and the death of Dean. There was nothing he could do as the lava pinned him in a corner and quickly caught up to him while keeping his teammates far enough away that they couldn't help him. Ray and Jeff could only watch as their friend's fate was sealed in the blink of an eye.
    • Right off the heels of Episode 13, the end of Episode 14 has PBG, Ray, Spacehamster, and McJones trapped in a small bunker, swarmed by seemingly endless hordes of zombie pigmen, with no way out. At one point, they open a one-block hole so that they're not completely blind to the location of the horde. Almost immediately, a Baby Pigman, the only creature in the horde capable of squeezing through, charges right in, resulting in the four-man team desperately trying to bat down the Pint-Sized Powerhouse in the cramped bunker without hitting each other. PBG only survives by the skin of his teeth.
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    • Episode 15 could be best described as From Bad to Worse: The Episode. After another wave of Pigmen, they make their way to a nearby fortress, where everything goes from the frying pan to the fire. Waves of Pigmen are bad, but getting repeatedly caged in by enough respawning Blazes to turn things into a 3D Bullet Hell and a small army of Wither Skeletons is worse. In the end, they finally found the Netherwart they needed... but McJones and Ray are dead, and now PBG and Jeff have to fight their way out against an army and rapidly dwindling supplies.
    • Episode 19 ends with Jeff being knocked back near a Creeper, which starts to explode, ending on a cliffhanger where a Creeper's face and hiss appear in a Jump Scare.
    • Episode 20 has PBG getting a bridge dropped on him, becoming the victim of a One-Hit Kill courtesy of a Creeper with zero warning. PBG was at full health and was nearly at the maximum armour limit in the game, and he got unceremoniously killed by a common enemy just for being in the wrong place in the wrong time. Unlike most deaths in Hardcore, there was no big leadup, no heroic last stand, no avoidable fatal mistake—just someone getting cut down at a time where everyone thought they were safe. His and Jeff's screams really sell the fear.
  • Terraria #3's Episode 8 has McJones' team finding a den of spiders sealed in a cave... which McJones begins digging to scout the area, stopping just short of destroying the walls. Worse, the spiders kill an NPC named Rox, freaking out both teams for a bit. It didn't help that he accidentally mined out a cave of water and nearly drowned everyone in his party.
    • Episode 9 has Lucahjin being left behind in a very dangerous area by accident, leading McJones to risk his life to retrieve her.
    • Episode 10 has the group going to a desert and running into a sandstorm, which quickly takes a turn for the worse as they're swarmed by huge, fast ants and dragonflies, with ProtonJon being reduced to 3 health. When they try it again, the same thing happens, leading to a retreat. Jon's scream of "I'M FUCKED! I'M FUCKED!" as he gets attacked can send chills down your spine. It's such a panicky shout from such a normally calm guy.
    • In Episodes 21 and 22, metallic clanging noises and rising spike graphics were edited in whenever someone came close to dying to a spike trap in the dungeon without realizing it. It happens quite a few times, which can really put viewers on edge, especially when Dean ends up dying this way in the latter episode.
    • In Episode 23,Luke almost dies via drowning in a small pit of water, making the screen turn wavy and blue until Lucahjin is able to save him by pointing out his low health bar. Especially for people with aquaphobia, which Lucahjin has.
    • The season's finale. Following the boss battle, the three remaining heroes warp home and cheerfully celebrate their victory—or at least, they do until static cuts into the screen and time reverses to right before they warped home. It then shows the three of them warping into an attacking horde of hard mode goblins, and one by one the victorious heroes are killed off, with McJones narrowly managing to make it to the snow before being killed.
  • The very first episode of MineZ #2 has the players attacked by very fast zombies and Dean in danger of infection, which he heals with a bandage.
    • In Episode 3 of MineZ #2, Jeff temporarily disconnects. When he comes back, several areas haven't loaded yet, making them invisible, as well as letting him see the sky below him. What really sells the moment is that Todd decided to put in Metroid: Fusion music while Jeff was in somewhat of a freaky predicament.
    • Episode 6 of MineZ #2 has Jeff, Jared, and McJones exploring the Anvalia Upper Housing area, where they climb up the area, and go so high that a careless drop would most likely kill anyone. For people with acrophobia, this part is pretty unnerving, with holes that drop you downwards everywhere. Then there's Jared's bloodcurdling scream as he drops down a hole right at the end of the episode.
    • The dark forest PBG's group traverses through isn't much better, being extremely claustrophobic and dark to the point that they can barely see anything. In the next episode the other team goes there and finds it just as bad. The same episode opens with PBG and company announcing that, while their recording software was off, an unidentified player (they think) had appeared in the distance, rushed at them (apparently with 'clear hostile intent'), and spontaneously vanished moments before reaching the group. The fact that it's dark and pouring rain at the time, and eerie music plays over PBG telling the story, does not help the creep factor.
    • The season finale of MineZ #2 shows just how fast everything can fall apart in Hardcore. The surviving five party members get wiped out less than five minutes after reaching the Floating Isles—Barry falls to his death by accidentally clipping a wall as he sprinted for his first jump, PBG dies at the same time by getting pushed into the chasm by a Zombie after making his jumps successfully, Jeff and Ian get mauled to death when Pigman Zombies start spawning on top of them, which explode into a small army of standard- and mini-Zombies and easily overwhelm the party, and Jared ultimately falls to his death when he's forced to take a running leap to safety and falls just short. The bloodcurdling screams that occur during PBG's, Barry's, and Jared's deaths are disturbingly realistic, which makes hearing them an absolute nightmare, and their deaths are not instant. They have the last couple of seconds to absorb the fact that they missed the jump and are plummeting into certain death.
  • McJones dies in the second episode of Minecraft #6, being tricked by an (accidental) optical illusion into thinking that a small ledge has solid ground beneath it, falling several feet into lava, and burning to death before he can understand why.
  • In Episode 13 of Minecraft #6, the gang starts to go to the Nether to get Wither skulls. PBG decides to go into the portal first before everyone else. Then PBG's server disconnects, and boots him out of the game. When he connects back into the game, he spawns far away from the portal and everyone else and has to make his way back. It doesn't help that where the gang actually comes out of the portal, it has absolutely no ground below other than a sea of lava. They immediately work to fix this, but neglect the back end, which heads intoa free-fall with nothing but lava below.
    • Not knowing about the unblocked portal and lava sea is what kills Dodger, who runs through the portal and off the unblocked back side and falls. PBG then gets knocked off the portal by a Pigman, and his scream as he burns alive is chilling.
  • In Episode 14 of Minecraft #6, when PBG angers the Pigmen, everybody starts running for the Nether Portal... except for Jeff, who was cut off from the group because of the mob of enemies. He ends up barricading himself in a small hole for safety, and finds a baby Zombie Pigman hiding in there when he returns from scouting out the situation at the Portal.
  • Episode 22 of Starbound drives home just how unforgiving Hardcore can be, as PBG dies by no fault of his own, falling to his death purely as the result of a glitch caused by lag. The reminder that the game itself can screw the players over with no warning, and that there's very little, if anything, they can do about it if something happens is a heavy dose of Paranoia Fuel.
  • MineCraft #7 adds a couple of new gimmicks to discourage splitting up. The season uses positional audio to adjust the volume of their communication based on distance and location, meaning that getting isolated also means not being able to call for help. In addition, serverwide death messages are disabled, which means that if someone, or even an entire group, is killed without someone witnessing it or finding their dropped items, the others will never know what happened to them. It also means that the party has to keep second-guessing everything that they can't hear clearly— even the season's first mining expedition is incredibly tense, with the players frequently wondering aloud if every callout is someone getting into trouble.
  • Episode 2 of Minecraft #7 turns into an utter, horrifying disaster. As Jeff, Ray, and Barry explore the mines underneath the party's house, Jeff accidentally unearths a massive wave of Zombies and baby Zombies that charge into the tunnel before they can plug the hole back up. In the resulting carnage, Barry gets backed into a corner and gets overrun by the horde, killing him effortlessly, while Jeff and Ray retreat to the ground floor with Jeff only barely escaping with his life. The Zombies quickly seize the house, and Jared is herded away from the door, cornered, and killed. While the group eventually retakes the house, it's a Pyrrhic Victory, with two survivors killed off before they even had a chance to get decent equipment. Last, but by no means least, the aforementioned lack of death messages briefly leaves the survivors holding onto the desperate hope that their comrades somehow survived.
  • The realization from fans that Minecraft #7 was effectively becoming a retread of Minecraft #5 down to the death order and how they died was bizarre and frightening, making the viewers and characters worried for Ray's safety. This reached a particularly terrifying conclusion in Episode 15 when an unexpected hole sent Ray into a fiery death. His screams just make it worse. And, once again, PBG and Jeff are left the last two alive.
    • This reaches its culmination in Episode 18, where while near the stronghold, PBG nearly falls into lava in a ravine cutting through the stronghold. PBG manages to survive due to nearby water... And is then unceremoniously killed by a Creeper, and just like Minecraft #5, Jeff is left alone in confronting the Ender Dragon after everyone else died in the same order as last time. The montage of the relevant deaths, the text asking "But... Isn't it [a repeat]," and the intense music during said montage is like something out of a horror movie.

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