Minecraft - Caves and Cliffs Part 2

I’ve mentioned this before, but I first played Minecraft way back when it had just entered its beta phase, 11 long years ago. Back then, the game was pretty barebones compared to now, after a decade of updates, additions, and improvements. But it was still a lot of fun, even in its rudimentary form.

In my first-ever Minecraft file, my game generated a really deep cave, which I attempted to explore. Just as I was coming to what I thought was going to be a dead end, it opened up into a massive amphitheater, which had half a dozen other smaller tunnels branching off of it. I spent weeks exploring that cave system, and there was one particular Sunday where I spent eight solid hours doing nothing but spelunking. I never reached the end of it; whenever I thought I’d seen the whole thing, I’d stumble into another dark corner that was hiding a small hole that opened up into yet another long and winding tunnel.

Even though there’s not much of a penalty for getting lost — aside from the possibility of dying and losing everything you’re carrying — there’s a terrifying sense of doom that comes with realizing you’re hopelessly lost deep in an underground cave. There’s a primal instinct that kicks in, causing the hair on your arms to stand straight. This very specific sense of terror (with a side dish of awe) was a constant in that nearly endless cave system. Dropping down into a dark shaft was a blind leap into a potentially fatal abyss, and even after a successful drop, trying to recover my sense of direction could sometimes take a half hour or more.

I don’t know what happened after that, but I suspect my cave system was a fluke of the game’s early random generation — something that was smoothed out over time. I’ve played countless other worlds since then, and I’ve never seen another cave system as impressive or overwhelming as that first one.

Until the second part of the Caves & Cliffs update, that is.

Minecraft - Caves and Cliffs Part 2

The first part of the update, released during the hot summer months, added a whole lot of new items to the game. The second part, which came out on November 30, completely overhauled the way caves generate within the game world. Not only do you have more variety in cave biomes, but you have more potential options for cave shapes and sizes.

I created a new world specifically to test it out, and I have to say that I’m thoroughly impressed. While I spent a good deal of my introductory time terraforming, I did eventually venture into a massive cave system. I immediately got lost, and was ultimately trounced by aggressive cave-dwelling mobs. And so it goes.

After further exploration, this cave system definitely has potential. Will it live up to the lofty expectations of my first one? I can’t say for certain at this point, but this is definitely the closest I’ve come to reliving that original glory.

I often lament the fact that I can’t go back and play Minecraft again for the first time. There really is nothing else like surveying your very first pristine blocky wild, before you’ve even figured out how to do much of anything. But cracking open Caves & Cliffs really does make the game feel a bit closer to my initial experience, the one that basically ensured I would be playing this game still a decade later (while rocking out to the “Minecraft Is Just Awesome” song, of course!)

Minecraft - Caves and Cliffs Part 2

By some flub in Minecraft‘s early random generation, I found a game world that was pure magic. With Caves & Cliffs: Part II, the rest of the world can finally have a similar experience. Just watch out, because those tunnels can be perilous!

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